Replacement windows should be custom made to fit the openings in your home, so proper sizing is extremely important. Buying a replacement that doesn’t fit is simply a wasted investment. It’s critically important to get the measurements right and you should probably hire a professional to measure and install. However, once you determine the features, needs, and rough measurements of your windows, then you can browse designs and styles freely and be able to compare companies more easily.
Step 1 – Examine the window
Looking at the window, be sure you can identify the different parts that form the window.
What is the head? It’s the horizontal part of the window at the very top. Basically, the top, horizontal part of the frame. It’s typically made of wood, aluminum, steel or vinyl.
What is the jamb? These are the vertical frames of the window that connect with the head, and sill to complete the frame, which forms the outer housing.
What is the sash? The sash outlines the glass and it is the operating part of the window, not including the frame. It’s the part you hold if you want to slide or swing the window open.
What is the sill? It’s the bottom portion of the window, attached to the jambs and head. In other words the bottom portion of the window frame. It’s horizontal and meant to direct water from the outside from touching your walls in case it rains and you’ve left the window open.
Step 2 – How much work needs to be done
You may only need to replace the inner part or the ‘guts’ of the window. This is a retrofit installation. This situation arises if the glass is broken or the sash isn’t functioning, but you’d like to keep the rest. A retrofit window will be smaller than a window that is being installed against the rough stud opening. Take a measurement from the inside of the jambs to give you your width and from the bottom of the head to the top of the sill to give height.
If you’re remodelling your home or the window frame is damaged or rotted, you will need an entirely new window. This is a brick-to-brick installation and you will need to take the interior trims off and measure the old window itself, width and height. As an approximation, you can measure from the middle of the casing (trim), width and height.
Step 3 – Taking measurements
The most important measurements for windows are width and height. Depth is also important, but best left to professionals to determine. For quotation purposes, know if you’d like a retrofit or brick-to-brick (or full frame removal) type of installation and the width and height of each windows. At least then you’ll know that you’re being quoted for the proper size and type of window and you’re window shopping will be that much easier.