Every window project is different, but often, a single window can be installed within an hour or two. If there are no repair issues to be taken care of, or odd window shape considerations, the project time can be reliably predicted, especially if your window installation team is experienced and skilled.
Keep each stage of the window installation project discrete and short
My brother, a home owner of many years, did almost all of the home projects that needed to be done. He rarely hired external contractors, but that was easy for him because he was naturally skilled in everything from carpentry to electrical wiring. What he did learn after some years was the wisdom of not starting a new project until all others were completed. This took a bit of discipline to adhere to, as he loved the excitement of a new project, as most of us do. The problem with having multiple projects on the go is that one’s house can be messy, and for a lot longer. Second, you have to return eventually to finish each, as well as scattering your focus on multiple projects. Doing one project at a time makes complete sense. Well, when it comes to installing new windows in inclement weather, it is very wise to adopt the same philosophy. So what are the discrete stages of a window installation project?
1. Preparation of the existing home (or business)
Preparation is the basis of work quality. It often feels like, every hour spent on preparation saves two hours of actual project work and cleanup. Preparation means that the window replacement can go without a hitch – or at least, with fewer surprises – which in itself, reduces the time consumed.
Replacing a window can be a bit messy. Wrapping will be removed from product, dust will be created, and like any home project, the place can get dirty. To ensure nothing is permanently soiled, it’s often wise to cover the carpet and floor areas with some type of covering.
All the tools should be in place, ready for use during the removal of the old frames and the installation of the new. If an old window is removed, but the team doesn’t have everything they need to complete the rest of the job quickly from that point, that huge hole where the window was is now letting the cool Beacon Hill winter air into your house.
Perhaps the most important stage of the preparation is the examination of the home to see if any damage will need to be repaired mid-way through the project. In some cases, where there is for example water damage, a licensed contractor may have to do repair work after the old window has been removed. For all this time, there is a ‘big hole’ in the side of the house, so it is best that everyone knows when this repair work will be done and that the appropriate contractor is ready to go the moment the work needs to be done.
2. Removing and disposing of the old window and components
The old gear can be, for example, placed in the yard for the moment. That’s because, once you have removed it from the house structure, the proverbial clock is ticking. It is best to continue the project, limiting the amount of time the house is exposed to the elements as much as possible.
3. Complete one window at a time
In most cases, at least.
If you have a large work team, it might make more sense for more than one window to be done at a time, because twelve workers, for example, cannot work on a single window at the same time. Normally, only one – perhaps two – pairs of hands can logically work on a single window at the same time. There are parts of the work that require more hands to get a stage completed. Two people should work together, for example to lift a new window into place. In some cases, it may take four pairs of hands – if the window frame is big enough – and even a crane operator in extreme cases, to get a task completed. As my father often said, if you’re breaking a sweat lifting something, you’re doing it wrong.
The reason it’s a good idea to complete one window at a time is it minimizes the amount of time a given hole in the wall is exposing the interior of your home to the elements. Seems pretty obvious, but sometimes it is tempting to do, for example, all of the removal at once, before moving on to the next stage.
Don’t worry so much about the cleanup at this stage. Once all the windows are secured and in place, sealed and airtight, you can return later to do the cleaning. The main thing is, the new windows already off security from the elements as well as bad actors in the neighborhood, if there are any.
4. Choose your timing. Ideally the house would be empty while the project is in progress
I pay a cleaner to come to my home once a week. I know she needs to make noise, create some smells (from the cleaning agents she uses) and generally doesn’t have to worry about anyone’s feelings as long as the home is empty. So, she comes on my ‘meeting day’ – the same day of the week that I plan all my meetings, as far as possible, anyway. Window installation is a skill that needs to be learned and experienced to do well, but it doesn’t take that long. The ideal circumstances are that no one – including off-leash pets – should be present while the work is being done. Schedule the work for a time that you are away for the day. In most cases, all of the windows in a home can be done in a day or two. If the team is big enough, the project can be completed within a single day.
Before you leave the house, turn off the heating so you’re not wasting energy while the house is wide open. Then when you arrive home, you’ll be delighted with the new look ad feel of your house!
More next week!