How To Measure Replacement Windows

woman measuring window using tape measure

Do you live in an older home? If so, then you understand how important it is to keep up with common household repairs.

After all, taking care of your home can feel like a full-time job. That includes making sure the interior of your home remains at the proper temperature. Heating and cooling your home can be expensive when you don't have proper insulation. Thus the importance of replacing old windows with more energy-efficient ones.

Fortunately, you've come to the right place for help. This article takes a look at how to measure replacement windows for your home. Keep reading to get the inside scoop. 

When to Replace Your Windows

Before we get started on measuring your windows, let's take a look at how to know when they need to be replaced.

It's important to keep in mind that the windows in your house aren't designed to last forever. That being said, quality windows should serve you well for decades. The key is to invest in quality windows that will hold up against the outside elements, including extreme changes in temperature and high winds.

Windows are designed to serve several purposes. The first is to be aesthetically appealing. In other words, you want them to look good. Next, homeowners need their windows to protect the interior of your home against the hot or cold air from the outside to leak around the seal. This will help keep you home comfortable throughout the seasons of the year. Quality windows should also help protect you from harsh UV. The key to this is the quality of the glass in your windows.

Once your windows begin to look worn or unattractive or no longer help to insulate your home, it's a good time to consider investing in replacement windows.

Recording Your Window Measurements

Once you've made the decision to replace your windows, it's crucial to write everything down. Many people make the mistake of believing they can simply remember all the measurements and details they need to know. But this is just being lazy and it's an easy way to end up ordering the wrong items.

The key is to have a physical notebook and pen or record the measurements in a file on your mobile device.

Checking Your Windows for Square

Once you're to start taking the measurements of your windows, it's best to begin by checking for square. What exactly does this mean? Well, it's important to remember that the shape of a window will directly affect how easily it will operate once it's installed.

For example, if the window frame isn't perfectly square, the window will sit at an awkward angle, making the sash difficult to open and close. That's why it's so important to make sure the old windows are square before rushing to replace them. The key to checking square is to measure the window frame from corner to corner going in both directions. The two sides should be within a 1/4-inch of each other. Otherwise, they are out of square.

If you discover that the frame is not square, you'd be wise to rebuild the frame rather than simply attempting to force the window to fit.

Measuring Height

Next, let's take a look at measuring window height. The key to this part of the measurement is to take three separate measurements. These include measuring the middle, as well as both of the two far ends, from left to right.

Keep in mind that it's important to measure directly from the head jamp at the top of the window to the bottom sill. Be sure that the window is open before taking this measurement, and don't forget to make note of the shortest measurement to ensure total accuracy. 

Measuring Width

Once you've correctly recorded the measurements of the height of your window, you need to also measure its width.

As with measuring height, measuring the width of your window again requires three different measurements. These include measuring the top, bottom, and middle parts of your window. 

It's important to keep in mind that you should always make sure your tape is touching the window jamb in order to get the most accurate measurement possible.

Here is a helpful replacement window calculator.

Measuring Depth

Now you're ready to measure the depth of your window. Keep in mind that this really isn't an issue if you live in a traditional home. The debt of your window is only a factor when you live in a modular or mobile home.

When measuring the depth of your window, the window should be open. Be sure to measure the sill space from front to back. The depth should always be a minimum of 3 1/4.

Rounding the Numbers

Once you've taken all the needed measurements, it's time to round each of the measurements to the nearest 1/8-inch. Why is this necessary? Basically, it's because your measurements are taken in inches, thus you have to round off to the nearest whole number for the greatest accuracy. 

This final whole number is crucial for ordering windows in order to receive a product that will provide the proper fit for your window frame.

Investing In Custom Replacement Windows

Now, let's discuss buying custom windows.

Why do some people prefer custom windows over pre-made windows? The reason basically boils down to two big factors. These are the quality and the size of the window needed. 

The simple fact is that custom windows are typically higher quality because they are built one at a time rather than on a cookie-cutter factory line and the materials are often superior. Custom windows are also needed when the desired isn't available and has to be built to specific dimensions. 

The key to deciding whether to order windows for your home is to discuss the issue with your building contractor. Just keep in mind that custom windows are typically more expensive than windows that are mass-produced.

A Guide to How to Measure Replacement Windows for Your Home

Renovating your home can be exciting yet stressful. Fortunately, these tips on how to measure replacement windows will help make the process a little easier.

Keep scrolling to discover more great lifestyle tips and advice on this blog.


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