There’s no big reason to do both your doors and windows at the same time, but there are several small reasons that might make it worth your while in your case. First, you might get a bit of a discount for giving a bigger piece of business to a windows and doors installation company, and second, doing such projects in stages often makes the yet-to-be-done stage looking a little shabby. Finally, any such project in your house comes with it at least some disruption of your family’s day-to-day activities. You might as well get it all done at once, if you can. And if you are having those contractors in your house while you are on vacation – or the rest of your family is on vacation – getting it all done while you are away makes it more enjoyable to return to. Still, replacing an entire front door to your house is often a considerable expense, and many of us prefer to do something every year, rather than be hit with the cost of several projects in one go.
Maintaining the same look-and-feel to all your windows and doors
Even if you don’t plan to do everything in the same few days, it’s often a good idea to at least make out the plan for the entire job while you’re at it in the first place. You might come to an agreement, for example, with your windows and doors professional to engage with them for the windows this year, but agree on a price and details of the door project to be done next year. If money is an issue, at least have the plan in place. If you have to delay a year or two, so be it. At least you have maintained the continuity.
A contractor will often want to do a thorough examination of everything relating to the project before he or she delivers to you a complete estimate or quote for the project. That means, in some cases, doing a house inspection, at least in part. Windows and doors are unusual in that they server several functions at once, and they also have significant moving parts. A window must add to the structural strength of the wall, and well as bend a flex a little with the house in a storm, temperature spikes or even day-to-day use. Add to that, it needs to provide UV light protection, privacy, security, and must be able to be opened and closed perhaps thousands of times in its lifetime. And it must do all that with a rather narrow tolerance. It’s no good if your window changes shape by say 5% after it’s a year old. For all those reasons – and they apply too to exterior door installations – the contractor will want to know exactly what kind of shape your house is in. If there are issues with the surrounding structure where the windows are to be installed, that may have to be addressed before the new windows and/or doors are installed. Sharing the cost of an inspection between windows and doors might, therefore, offer some savings.
Security issues while your house is getting its windows and/or doors replaced
Today’s windows are nothing like what they were a generation or two ago. Today, windows are more and more like a high tech product, designed and manufactured to exacting specifications, with lots of features never dreamed of years ago. There are vinyl frames and wood frames. There are hybrids of vinyl and wood frames, where you can have a rustic wood look from the outside, but behind that external wood, there is a vinyl window frame for strength, security and function. The interesting development in all of this is, windows are actually easier to install now than ever. They are modular, and they are installed in one piece. Years ago, window frames were installed first, then the glass was installed, and putty was used along the edges to seal in the pane of glass. It was – if you’ll excuse the pun – a real pain to install. It also took far more time, and you had to do it in stages. Today, standard size windows, if you have them, can be ordered ahead of time, delivered, and the installation process is a matter of hours.
Talk to your windows and doors installation people about how long the project will take. Ground floor windows, in particular, in a lived-in home will need to be wrapped up within a relatively short period of time. Would-be burglars might target a home that is obviously getting its windows done, when any windows-bound security system might be temporarily deactivated. I can’t say for sure, though. I’m just telling you what I would look for if I were looking for houses to break into. Which I’m not.
On the subject of security with windows and doors there are essentially two types: Preventative and Curative. Preventative security aims to stop a burglar gaining access to your home. That is in the form of physically stopping them from getting through a window or door by making that respective window or door very difficult to break. Unbreakable glass and thick, sturdy materials help, but so too does design. A well designed window will make it difficult for a would-be burglar to, for instance, use a crow-bar to lever the window open. Curative methods focus more on setting off an alarm when entry is gained. That alarm might call a security service, the police, or simply the owners of the house.
When deciding which windows to choose, ask your windows installation people about what types of security the window and/or door offer. All you need is enough to deter the would be criminal, and send him on his way to find a softer target.
Cleaning up after the work is done
You might want to install the windows and door(s) at the same time because you feel one might make the other shabby looking if you didn’t, but realistically, any improvement to your home has the potential to make other parts of it shabby. You know how it goes. You paint one room in your home, and you have to paint all of it. Same goes with windows and doors, but a continuous improvement plan can minimize that ‘shabby’ effect if you do at least some of it every year.
More next week!