It first dawned on me that replacing an old window at home wasn’t going to be a simple task when I asked the glazier about matching its dimensions. She told that what I had wasn’t a commonly made size. I’d probably have to custom fit it.
I went back to the drawing board, researching my options for the right frame and glass. Then I trawled all the DIY videos I could find. They only confused me more. What had begun as a seemingly easy job I could complete over my Christmas holidays quickly expanded into a complex chore for which I was ill-equipped, to say the least.
To help you learn from my mistakes (and make sure that all my research wasn’t for nothing), I’ve put together a list of reasons why you might not want to attempt a DIY window installation. Seriously, if you’re considering it, read this now, then call in some professional help!
Why you shouldn’t attempt a DIY window installation:
- Not all windows are created equal. As I discovered via a brief chat with my local glazier, windows don’t always come in standard sizes. Each manufacturer may have additional options, sizes, weights and materials that come nowhere close to what you need to fill the space in your wall. You’ve got even more problems if you’re trying to replace a window in an older home – like me, you might find it impossible to find anything that matches, which means your window will need to be custom designed and made. And if you want security features or energy efficiency, you may need to rethink the design entirely – most windows built before 1970 don’t come with these extras.
- It’s a simple handyman’s job – not!
Experts don’t recommend trying to install a new window yourself unless you have professional experience. It turns out it’s a skilled and complex job that needs significant on-the-job training to do well. That’s because windows require quite precise installing, without which you’ll create a host of other problems in your home, such as leaking, easy access for pests and energy-sapping, electricity-bill sky-rocketing drafts. My advice? Don’t take the chance – get a professional in to do the work from the start. They’ll make it look easy because they’ve had years of experience.
- Doing it yourself will likely cost you more.
Yes, you could save lots of money doing the work yourself if you’re skilled at DIY and specifically window installations. But, if that’s not your primary skillset, you could be in for a world of pain, moneywise. Take a moment to think about the quality and performance you expect from your window. You need it to be air, critter and watertight, perfectly level and easy to open (what good’s a window that won’t let a fresh breeze in when you want it?). If you get any of these elements badly wrong, you’ve not only wasted a whole lot of your precious time. The mistakes you’ve made could be very costly to fix indeed.