Putting in new windows and doors can make a big difference when renovating an existing home. For the best results, choose models that match your house’s style, but that also incorporate the numerous new features available to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
From traditional to contemporary, our products can meet all your needs. They adjust to any type of construction, old or new. Choose the classic wood lines of Elite Tradition windows or the easy upkeep and modern style of the all-PVC Elite Horizon line. Our steel doors and window doors can also be matched to a variety of styles.
This section offers useful tips on finding the right window for you as well as advice on how to remove old windows and install new ones.
How to choose? You’ll find all the information you need in our “Products” section.
Asking the Right Questions
New windows will affect the look of an existing building for years to come. Before beginning, be sure the options you’ve selected are a good match for the building’s original look.
- Is the style of your home better suited to the classical look of wood or the modern appeal of PVC?
- If you choose wood, will you want to minimize upkeep with PVC or aluminum cladding, or do you prefer the natural look of wood?
- Based on your needs in terms of efficiency, ventilation, and esthetics, should you choose casement, awning, hung, or sliding windows?
- If you’re renovating a historic house or if your home is located in a heritage neighborhood, are there municipal bylaws that could restrict your choice of windows?
- What types of window locks and handles should you choose?
- Should you choose energy efficient or standard glass?
If you decide on the latter, keep in mind that energy efficient glass can double the efficiency of a window, while increasing the comfort level of the room. The difference in price is about 10%, a small investment considering the lasting benefits you’ll enjoy.
Taking the Right Measurments
First take measurements of the window around the frame, from one side jamb to the other, then retake measurements in at least two other locations on the frame, both vertically and horizontally. It’s also good to check whether the opening is square, or if the structure has warped over the years to give it more of a parallelogram or trapezoid shape.
Use the narrowest measurement in a given direction, and remember to leave about an extra ¼ inch (6 or 7 millimeters) on each side of the window for adjustment and insulation.
In addition, you need to check to make sure your inside and outside measurements match. To take inside measurements, remove the casing in order to have access to the frame. If the outside is wider than the inside, you’ll need a window with moulding to compensate for the difference. You must choose a moulding based on the difference between the two measurements and the exterior cladding you have selected (vinyl, “Cannelex,” etc.).
Removing Old Windows
Removing old windows is a task that requires a certain degree of care in order to avoid breaking the window, the frame, or the surrounding wall. Be sure to use the right tools when removing the casings, sashes, and other parts that kept the old windows in place, and take the material type and age into consideration.
One important question to ask is whether or not you should leave the existing frame in place. Removing the frame will give you a bit more room, and thus more light, but you could also run into some unpleasant surprises—a structure that has warped over the years, or insulation materials inside the wall. Most of the time, it is recommended to leave the frame in place in order to simplify installation and avoid potential aggravations.
Installing the New Product
There are two ways to install new products in a renovation project:
- Installing without the frame
- Installing a frame within the frame
The no-frame method allows you to maximize the amount of natural light that comes through the opening because the window won’t be mounted inside the former window frame. However, for older houses, removing the existing frame could lead to unexpected problems or, at the very least, entail additional work to prep the structure for the new window.
Although it may slightly reduce the size of the opening, frame-in-frame installation is easier and faster to do, and allows you to avoid potential problems. We recommend that you protect the existing frame, which can generally be done by covering it with folded aluminum.
When installing your new windows, make sure you place the glass in the warm part of the wall. If your window is installed too far outward, its energy efficiency will suffer and you could have condensation problems in winter.
Pressure on the Frame
Also note that the window frame must not come under pressure. This means that the building’s weight must not rest on the windows, but also that undue pressure that could twist and damage the frame must not be put on the window during installation and insulation.
To avoid pressure, leave about ¼ inch (6 or 7 millimeters) of play on each side of the window. You can fill this space with an insulating material (mineral wool or urethane foam), but be careful not to apply too much, as this could twist the frame. If you use urethane, opt for non-expanding foam, and apply it in small quantities in two or three applications.
Choosing the Right Finish
Before installation, you also need to consider the various finishing options:
- Do you need windows with integrated moulding or with no moulding?
- Do you want a colored outer finish (five choices in extruded aluminum)?
- What blowing method should you use to fill the gap between the window and the wall?
- Wood, PVC-clad wood, or solid PVC?
- What type of casing will you choose to match the window model?
- Do you want to add rosettes or other decorative elements?
Elite offers most of the finishing elements you need for window installation.