When dealing with a new construction or complete renovation, window installation is generally about looks. Homeowners want to be able to enjoy not only the inside of their houses, but the area surrounding it, too. Well-placed windows of the appropriate size provide a view to the outdoors, let in the sunshine, and increase the value and curb appeal of a property.
In an older house, window installation can be a near necessity. Old windows and window frames simply are not as energy-efficient as their modern counterparts. Drafty windows aren't just uncomfortable, but costly, as well. The transfer of heat into or out of a house can really add up over a period of years, and old windows can be a large part of this problem.
At its root, this operation is basically just pulling out one window and sticking in another. That is certainly an over simplification, but unlike other window installations, there is already a hole in the wall waiting to be filled. To get the most from a new window, both the frame and the window itself will often need to be replaced. A brand new pane will do absolutely nothing to stop heat transfer if the gaps are contained in the frame.
Window Pane Replacement
If you are simply dealing with a broken pane of glass, it may be possible to do the job without the help of a professional. It will require a basic knowledge of carpentry, and a few common tools, but a DIY?er can often fix the glass in a single paned window of average size. The home improvement center where you purchase supplies may even have a pamphlet containing step-by-step instructions to help you on your way.
Replacing broken glass in a double paned window is much more complicated, and is almost never a job for a non-professional. You may be able to remove the sash that contains the broken glass, however, and bring it to a shop yourself (which will save the repair person a trip, and save you some money).
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Bay, Picture, and New Window Installation
None of these jobs are very DIY friendly. Putting in a new window where there wasn't one already will involve cutting a hole in a load-bearing wall (as all exterior walls are considered load-bearing). The process will be much more difficult than just "popping" the window and frame into the space that's created for it. Making the hole should be handled carefully, and the wall above the space will require sufficient support throughout the procedure.
Picture window installation has all the same problems as putting in a new window, plus the additional hassle of dealing with at least one enormous piece of glass. Picture window panes are quite expensive, and very cumbersome, especially without specialized tools.
Bay window installation, growing ever more popular, has its own specific problems dealing with support. Since bay windows jut out from the side of the house, a new and stable support system must be put into place for them to function properly. If this task is not done correctly, a piece of broken glass or a minor draft will be the least of your worries.