Robert Lamoureux | ‘Like-for-like’ window installation best for long haul

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Question No. 1  

Robert,  

After the last rains, we realized that we have two leaky windows that need to be changed out. We have exterior stucco, so changing these for new with the exact same style means breaking out the stucco, per the window company.  

They told us that we could save some money by installing what they called retrofit windows, where they simply pull out the old and “pop” these into the space using weatherproofing materials and sealant. They say that this is a viable alternative and, though there is more maintenance over the years with replacing the sealer, it is less costly than the “like-for-like” installation where they have more labor breaking out the stucco and replacing.  

I know you’ve touched on this previously because I remember reading about it, but I was not invested at the time so didn’t pay enough attention to remember and can’t find the topic online. Could you revisit this, please? Because now we don’t have an option but to do this work, but want to ultimately do the best for our home, which we plan on staying in for the long haul.  

Thanks in advance for your help, and all of the wonderful advice you share.  

Richard T.  

Answer No. 1  

Richard,  

I have strong opinions on this topic, especially for someone who plans on staying in a home. Your best value overall for longevity is absolutely going to be the like-for-like exchange on these windows. My motto in my business is, “do it once, do it right.” If you go with a standard install, you’ll not have to worry about these windows again for many, many years, if the product is good.  

Yes, you’ll pay more initially but then you’re done and won’t have to pay anyone every couple of years the labor it will cost to remove old sealant and replace with new. This can get a bit tacky-looking, also, depending on who you choose.  

I’ve seen where some “contractors” or handyman types will perform this work and, in the end, it appears to have been repaired vs. a clean seal that is not visible.  

These are good windows overall and can work well for a good amount of time, but when you compare apples to apples, hands down the regular install lasts longer and looks better.  

I vote for a like-for-like replacement, once and done. Good luck. 

— Robert 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

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