Servicing Mississauga, Halton Region and Hamilton

Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I know when I need to replace windows or repair them?

There is no simple answer and it usually requires a home visit by an experienced window consultant.

If the windows and wood and the frames or sash are rotting there is rarely a time when they can be saved and repaired. If they are vinyl windows and the thermal units are fogging up in between the glass that is a case where they may be repairable.

It is usually based on the quality of the vinyl window, the original installation and the overall appearance of the window. Replacement glass does not come with much of a warranty like a window would.

Other reasons for replacing windows are poor insulation value, freezing up in the winter, they don’t open and close well, difficulty cleaning, paint won’t hold any longer, they are drafty, and last but not least they look dated from an appearance standpoint.

Vinyl windows look so similar. How can I tell the difference between a good quality vinyl window and a poor quality one?

This is one question that makes me feel for a client trying to get the best value because outwardly they do look pretty similar.

First, is the fact that I am replacing windows as new as 5 years old. How can that be? Aren’t windows designed to last longer than that? In my opinion they should last longer but to a builder price is the priority and the minimum requirements leave a lot to be desired.

Secondly the installation is done by the on site framers at a fixed rate per opening and with a cheap window they require even more precision in the installation than a good one since they are weaker and more prone to warping, bowing and moving after construction.

What you need to look for is additional chambers in the profile, thicker walls and ports for fastening hardware. The glazing system should incorporate co-extruded glazing gaskets that will stand up to the sun and cold. You want a positive drainage system that allows water to escape the frame to the outside.

Also, a very important factor is the installation of the windows. Vinyl windows require more care and attention than wood windows as they have rigidity but it needs to be supported properly.

What's the difference between clad wood windows and extruded vinyl windows?

Clad wood means the window is essentially a wood window that has been covered in either aluminum or vinyl to make it maintenance free. Please be sure to choose a quality cladding system to avoid trapping moisture and accelerating wood rot.

Extruded vinyl windows are made completely of vinyl inside and out.

Vinyl windows come in various painted colours. Does the paint really hold or will it fade and peel over time?

Today’s vinyl windows from a quality supplier have paint systems that bond to the vinyl with a chemical reaction. When the auto industry introduced vinyl components to the outside of vehicles they needed paint systems that would stand up to the elements and maintain their luster. The window industry utilized this technology and began over 20 years ago, painting the exterior of vinyl windows. This system is proven effective and we have not experienced any issues with the fading, peeling or chalking of painted windows and doors. Poor quality vinyl windows usually cannot handle any dark colours so you rarely see them painted. The paint must have uv inhibitors to minimize heat build up and fading. These paints are quite expensive at over $ 150.00 per gallon.

I’ve heard there are two different approaches to window and door installation. One known as 'brick to brick' or 'full rip out' and the other as “retrofit” or 'insert' . What are the pro’s and con’s of each?

This is one of the most asked questions we receive.
The retrofit installation involves leaving the existing (original) window frames in place and only removing the sashes, screens and stops.
The new window is then inserted into the old frame. The existing exterior frame is then capped with aluminum that is bent and molded to finish from the new frame to the existing masonry, siding or stucco to complete the finish. Caulking is then usually applied to the joints between the new window and aluminum and the aluminum and the exterior wall material.

Pro’s to this method.

  1. Slightly cheaper than full replacement.
  2. There is very little disturbing of the interior finishes.

Con’s of this method.

  1. The window frame to glass area is reduced since you now effectively have two window frames, the old one and the new one.
  2. There is a mix of materials on the outside of aluminum and vinyl which can look different over time.
  3. There are usually two caulking beads on the outside and they can become more noticeable over time as the caulking weathers.
  4. There is no way to insulate the cavity between the rough stud opening and the old window frame because the frame and interior casing are not removed to gain access to the critical area.
  5. The existing wood frame is still susceptible to wood rot, termites, carpenter ants etc. Yes it is covered which will prevent further weathering but it is not removed.

“Brick to Brick” or “Full Rip Out”

This window and door replacement method involves the removal of the entire window including the frame back to the original opening that was created when the home was built. The new window is installed into the opening shimmed plumb and level and then low expansion foam is installed to seal between the new window frame and the existing stud or masonry opening. New interior casings and sills are installed and the exterior is caulked from the new window to the existing exterior finish.

Pro’s of this method

  1. The entire old window is removed allowing the installer to inspect for structural wood rot, damage from ants, termites etc. before a new window or door are installed.
  2. The new window or door is sized to the exact opening and there is new window from brick to brick.
  3. There is a single caulking bead on the outside.
  4. Glass area will be similar to the existing based on the style and function of the new window.
  5. A far better seal is achieved around the window frame as there is access to the wall cavity allowing the installer to foam around to create a superior air seal.
  6. There is no mix of materials. The outside is all vinyl or all aluminum.

Con’s of this method.

  1. There is added cost for the exterior brick mould, interior trim and low expansion foam used.
  2. Interior trim is discarded for new trim and some details can’t be matched to existing.
  3. It takes a more skilled installer to complete this type of installation with usually means they are paid a higher amount for their work.

Should my front door and garage door be colour matched?

There is no straight forward answer to this question. It depends on the style of home, front elevation layout and clients personal tastes. What most designers say is that the front door should be where the eye is drawn to and is welcoming. If the garage door is the same colour and, since it is so much larger than the front door, the eye will compete for what to look at. The colours should be complimentary but not the same. Many of the homes built since the attached two car garage out front became popular, have a front elevation with an over prominent garage door. The door should blend more with the house, window colour and other elements. Whereas the front door should stand alone so the viewer looks to it as the point of entry or focus in the front elevation. Today’s doors offer any colour and 1000’s of glass and door styles that there is one just right for your home. Come by our Oakville showroom to check out the latest.


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