Is it worth it to replace windows on your own? The short answer is, no.
To install a window properly, you need an advanced degree of skill that could only be gained through training and experience. Unlike various other home improvement tasks for which you can simply follow a set of instructions, installing windows is difficult and time-consuming. Changing a window is nothing like painting a wall or changing a light bulb.
10 Reasons Why DIY Window Installations Aren’t Worth It
Should you replace windows on your own? If you’ve never had a window replaced, you might think you can do the job yourself. Many people assume replacing a window is simply a matter of removing one window and snapping a new one into the same wall space. However, the steps involved are a lot more complicated. Here are the top 10 reasons you should never try to install a window on your own:
1. Reduced Energy Efficiency
If you attempt to install a window yourself, your home is liable to undergo a drop in efficiency. This is one of the key problems with DIY window installation that most people don’t foresee when they take on the task. Windows are one of the most important features of your home because they help keep your rooms insulated while also providing sunlight and views to the outside. As such, each window must have an air-tight fitting.
So how could a DIY installation impact your home’s energy efficiency? It all comes down to the placement of the window within its space in the wall. If your fitting is just a hairline off, you could seriously disrupt the balance of the window and not realize the problem at hand. Consequently, the window could have a draft on one or more sides due to a tilted placement.
Even if your placement of the window appears perfect to the untrained eye, the draft could expose your interior to air passages. This, in turn, would cause you to rely more heavily on your HVAC system during the hot and cold months.
Insulation impacts your comfort as a homeowner and the monthly rate of your energy bills. Over the course of a long, cold winter, the drafts could cause you to rely more heavily on your heating system — plus, you might not even notice the problem because the effects would be slow and subtle. Moreover, the source of the problem could easily evade the naked eye. Months down the line from what you thought was a successful DIY installation, you could be paying more to heat and cool your house, all because of an undiscovered draft created by your faulty installation work.
2. Poor Aesthetic Quality
Someone who is not a professional may not finish window installations in an aesthetically pleasing way, thereby decreasing a home’s curb appeal. For example, you might be off in the placement of the window and end up with a look that is slightly ajar. You might not even be able to pinpoint what is wrong with the finished look, but the visual effect could still be unsettling. Ultimately, there are subtle nuances to the art of window installation that can only be mastered through professional experience.
In addition to the strength required to lift a window and prop it into place, the task of installation requires a degree of hand-eye coordination that you cannot master in the space of an afternoon. The window could end up slightly tilted to the left or right due to improper placement.
Even if you do notice the problem prior to completion, attempts to straighten the window might only tilt it the other way. You would also end up with a window that protrudes inward or outward at one side or corner.
During the course of a DIY installation, you could also end up damaging the window or the surrounding wall space. If you were purchasing a new window for aesthetic purposes, it would be disappointing to end up with a scraped frame or having to patch a portion of the surrounding plasterboard.
3. Security Issues and Complications
Amateur work is rife with certain dangers, especially when the work involves something as critical to the safety of your home as a window. An improperly installed window may not close properly, making it easier for intruders to break into your home.
Likewise, the window might fail to rise when you need it to open, leaving you trapped in the event of a fire emergency. A poorly installed window could lessen your home’s safety in ways that might not be apparent upon completion.
In addition to the security and safety issues, a poorly installed window can simply cause undue burden and aggravation down the line. Even if the window appears to work properly at first, a slight imbalance in its placement could wear on the window over time. By the time summer comes, you might find yourself unable to open the window high enough to set up your air conditioner. Or, you might open the window to let in a draft, only to find that it will no longer shut all the way.
You could ultimately spend more time working around these types of problems than you might spend performing the installation, which could easily be performed with superior results by a professional.
4. Additional Tools Are Necessary
To install a window, you need more than just the new window itself. The task requires a set of tools that are unlikely to be in your household arsenal. Most people do not have all of the tools necessary for this task. Consequently, you would need to invest even more in the project. Already, the costs of DIY installation begin to mount before you’ve even selected your new window.
The tool requirements for window installation can be a nuisance for anyone who is not a regular handyperson. You could end up making several trips to the hardware store just to get the necessary supplies. You might begin the actual task, only to find that you have to make a return trip to the supply store because you don’t have the right size or type of a certain tool.
Additionally, you will not likely have any other use for those tools. Once you complete the project, those costly tools would likely gather dust in a closet.
If you try to install a window with no prior experience, you will be surprised at the amount of time it will take to understand the instructions and prepare for the task itself. Choosing to DIY can be much more time-consuming than hiring a professional when you consider all the hours it could take to watch tutorials, perform the task and handle the cleanup.
Most window installations are completed within an hour, so all you need to do is set aside an afternoon for the installation professional to come to your house. Knowing this, you might assume that installing the window yourself will only take a few hours. Unfortunately, the task is not that easy for a first-time DIY installer.
When you install a window yourself, the process will likely take much longer than you anticipate. You might even find yourself stuck on a problem with the installation for hours on end. The problem could even spill into the evening hours after the stores have closed, and you can’t run out to buy a needed tool.
6. No Guarantee
When you perform a task like a DIY window installation and finish the project, success can sometimes be deceiving. The inherent flaws in your work might only become apparent weeks or months after the fact. If the installation has to be performed a second time, you might have to make the same investment all over again.
Many professionals offer warranties and guarantees for their labor and products. These benefits are often absent when an individual decides to “do it themselves.” Even worse, you could void a window’s warranty by installing it on your own.
When you have your windows installed by licensed professionals, the service and quality are guaranteed. That way, the installer will happily follow up with any additional work that might be needed after the new window has gone into your wall. If something goes wrong with an installation, the installer will fix the problem free of charge. Alternatively, if something goes wrong while you’re installing a window yourself, you’re liable for the cost of fixing it.
7. Windows Don’t Meet Inspection Standards
Even if your own DIY installation is satisfactory enough to fulfill your standards, the flaws in your work could still cost down the line. For example, if you decide to put the home back on the market, the window that you self-installed might not pass inspections. This could make it difficult to sell your home unless you spend money on a second installation.
When you have a new window installed in your home, the finished work should add value to your home — this would not be the case if you have to invest in a second replacement a few years after the flawed DIY installation. If a window cannot provide two decades of energy efficiency and comfort, it is not a good investment. Only a professional installation can ensure that level of satisfaction.
8. Expensive Mistakes
When you attempt a project for the first time, you are bound to make mistakes. This can make DIY work a dangerous proposition when the slightest mistakes can prove costly over the long run. A window is something that you should expect to live with for many years, and even the slightest imperfections could impact your comfort as a homeowner. Therefore, you cannot afford to make mistakes during a window installation.
People often choose to go the DIY route because they think it will save them money. To the contrary, it is often more cost-effective to hire a professional, because choosing to install a window yourself could leave room for errors and mistakes. These mistakes could result in additional costs for repair work, replacement parts and various unforeseen factors. One small mistake could possibly cost you more than the window itself.
9. Professional Installation Is Better
When you need a new window, the benefits of hiring a professional to do the job are unsurpassable. When you hire a professional, you simply buy the window and the accompanying labor. Once installed, your home has a beautiful new window that could easily last for the remaining time of your occupancy.
The job could be completed in a short amount of time while you watch or do other things. Moreover, the work will be guaranteed, so if any problems arise with the window, the installer will return to fix the problem.
If you perform the installation yourself, there would be no such benefits. The cost of the window would be yours to shoulder with no guarantee of satisfaction. Before you even begin working, you would need to purchase several of tools and read or watch instruction tutorials.
The physical task of changing out the window would likely be heavy and awkward for someone with no prior experience. After hours of frustration, you might finally get the job done, only to have problems surface in the months that follow. When problems do become apparent, the window would be out of warranty.
Professional Roofing and Window Installation Services From Brothers Aluminum
Whether you want to replace one window or all the windows in your home, the work should be done by a professional. For roofing and window replacement services in the New York Area, contact Brothers Aluminum.
Our team has been completing roof and window home renovation projects for more than 40 years at homes in Long Island, Suffolk, Queens, Westchester, and Nassau counties. Contact Brothers Aluminum today to learn more about our window installation services.