Pros and cons of installing windows from inside or outside

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cojo47
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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:27 pm
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Pros and cons of installing windows from inside or outside

#1 Post by cojo47 »

We’re ordinary, not particularly window-savvy, homeowners who are seeking to replace about 20 original double hung windows in a 1930s brick house. Until recently, every window salesman we’ve spoken with has told us that his company would install the windows from the outside and that it would take about a day to complete the job.

Recently a company that carries Schuco and Simonton (both of which we are considering) told us that they install from the inside only, that it would take 2-3 days, and that it is structurally preferable to install from the inside (e.g., less prone to water leakage). We are concerned about damage to the old, original molding and trim inside the windows, and wonder whether installing from the inside will leave us with a lot of repairs to do afterward.

We’d appreciate any insights and guidance from the experienced installers on this site, whose many postings have taught us a great deal about other subjects. Many thanks!

PK
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:58 pm

#2 Post by PK »

I do it which ever way is easier. Most of my installs are from the inside, however if there is really detailed molding, or the interior stops are not easily removed, I will install from the outside. The main thing is the way the installer feels most comfortable with and will gaurantee everything looks perfect when finished.
PK

FenEx
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Location: Illinois

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#3 Post by FenEx »

I would agree and disagree with that. I agree that most contractors will do what is easier and more comfortable for them, but disagree with it being the best practice. Removing the interior trim releases lead paint dust in most homes that are old enough to replace windows and I'm yet to see a contractor properly protect the homeowners for this. It also means paint touch-ups for the interior stops and filled nail holes that will never exactly match the original surfaces. Installing from the outside is less convenient to the contractor but typically more convenient and less intrusive for the homeowner... without additional work. Properly sealing the exterior should be a no-brainer basic for any qualified installer.

In the case of certain window types, or full frame replacements, the mess and intrusion is often unavoidable. The above statements apply to plug-in installs.

cojo47
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:27 pm
Location: Silver Spring, MD

#4 Post by cojo47 »

Many thanks, PK and FenEx, for sharing your expertise, and for setting standards that we should expect in an installation! I feel lucky to have access to you … especially FenEx when you are busy with a new baby. (Please accept congratulations from a grateful stranger.)

Interestingly, the pitch to us wasn't based upon the installer seeing our house; rather it was part of a presentation to us in the showroom where we saw the windows. The salesman drew pictures to impress upon us that installing from the outside involves destroying some structural member – thus leading to potential for air and water infiltration - that, he said, can be avoided if the installation is done from the inside. But, in addition to the cosmetic considerations you raise – and the issue of lead paint never even crossed my mind! - the "do it only from the inside" pitch sounded odd .... At least I hadn’t heard complaints of customers with outside installations typically shivering in their homes while cold and rain whip through their leaky window frames. Brr ….

A take-away message seems to be that one size does not fit all, and that an installer should likely see the house before recommending a best approach. And for “plug-in” installs, I infer that, unless an installer spots some problem that is specific to our house, there is no disadvantage to installing from the outside. Correct?

Do you have any other tips on how a lay person can prejudge the quality of an installer?

Thanks again!

Guy
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Minnesota

#5 Post by Guy »

Personally we do what's best for the home owner. The lead paint issues FenX stated are very important to consider when installing. I think most installers work from the inside. I think the misunderstanding is the application of the window. Whether we do it as an "Outside In" or an "Inside Out", we do it from the inside (unless it's a bay). When I detail a home for windows I look at all the scenarios for the install. If the inside stops are part of the frame or well stained or painted, we won't remove them. The only time we would is if they were the old double hungs that had the screw on stops. Lately we've found the windows to turn out much nicer by leaving the inside alone and pulling the window in from the outside. This really makes it easier on the customer for touch up or any work after we're done. We always putty up our trim nail holes on the inside with matching putty. We carry the rainbow of putty to match almost any stained wood. In most cases the customer has no work to do when we're done. The only time would be if we provided new casing or did a total replacement. Otherwise we make it real "Turn Key" for our customers. I can honestly agree with FenX that the easy way isn't always the right way.

PK
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:58 pm

#6 Post by PK »

While we are on the subject anyone care to share their favorite way for removing outside stops? Ive used fancy rotary tools, jamb cutters, cordless circular saws. Anyone have a fast relatively easy way? Or some sort of jig?
PK

Guy
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Minnesota

#7 Post by Guy »

Fein Multimaster with a 2" cutting blade. It works great!
http://www.feinus.com/multimaster/multi ... rcial.html

Blackhatch
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:53 am

#8 Post by Blackhatch »

What is the frame construtction of the existing window? If the window are going to be capped as part of the install, I would leave the interior trim stops alone to avoid the potential lead paint issue (easily determinable with test kit).

2-3 days is an awful long time for that size project too. It would only take me 2 days if they were steel buck frames. Make sure that if they are steel frames that they are removing the entire frame. There is zero point to installing new energy efficient windows if you are going to leave that frame.

cojo47
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Location: Silver Spring, MD

#9 Post by cojo47 »

Thanks for the tips Blackhatch. To my knowledge the frames are wood - but I will have to look very carefully to be certain that I am not missing anything. And thanks for confirming the likely desirability in this case of installing from the inside.

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Windows on Washington
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#10 Post by Windows on Washington »

cojo47 wrote:Thanks for the tips Blackhatch. To my knowledge the frames are wood - but I will have to look very carefully to be certain that I am not missing anything. And thanks for confirming the likely desirability in this case of installing from the inside.
You are welcome. This is still Blackhatch but I opened an account with the proper screename. Let me know how your search goes and if you have any other questions.

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