FAQ’s about painting wood windows

I started my career with an Indianapolis home builder as a service manager. As a division leader, I was responsible for managing “out of warranty” issues in my territory. The builder at the time was an originator of the “track built” concept in central Indiana but favored the more upscale style of construction. They were still using wood windows well into the late ’90s before vinyl took over. With a one year warranty at the time, that meant I fielded my fair share of rotten window complaints.

What’s great about a new home is everything is new! What builders fail to do is instill the notion that a new home still requires maintenance. I was put in some tough situations at points. What do you say to a homeowner in an eight-year-old house with rotted windows without a lick of paint or caulk on them? Should they have lasted longer? Maybe. Did you take care of them? No.

I will always be a fan of wood windows. Sorry vinyl guys, but your stuff is junk. You know what the best thing about vinyl is: they’re cheap! Buy 1, get 20 free! Wow, that screams quality. Wood windows add value, warmth, beauty and design functionality to a home but admittedly come with a price. Wood windows require significant maintenance for long-lasting life. What was once a common sense, Saturday afternoon project for our grandparents has become an oversight in our modern-day lives. Whether you’re a DIY’er or hiring it out, here are some tips to keeping your wood windows looking great for years.

  1. Wood windows need to be painted every five years. I recommend a high-quality acrylic latex paint in a satin finish. Even if your trim is a flat sheen, the satin adds an enamel finish that holds up better under UV rays and weather than flat paint does.
  2. Paint and caulking should be inspected and touched up every year.
  3. Cleaning your wood windows is just as important as painting them to keep them looking beautiful. Wash sills and trim just as you would the glass.
  4. Wood windows are very component-based. Several parts make up the frame. Check for gaps or separations between frame components and seal with exterior grade acrylic latex caulking. Tip: Don’t use silicone caulking on wood windows: The paint will not stick to it.
  5. Check the perimeter of the frame and trim where it meets the siding, brick, etc. for gaps as well. Not only is this a good entry point for water, but for air leaks as well.
  6. Check the corner joints of the sash, specifically at the bottom where the glass meets the wood frame. A gap or separation at this location is the beginning of a sash failure resulting in rotten sash frames or failed glass seals. Caulk any separations at wood joints. A dab of caulking can also be added to the corner joint of the glass and wood to help wick water away from the corner joint.
  7. On an all wood, painted window, I recommend removing the bottom weatherstrip seal from the sash. This is specifically for a casement window. Here’s the thought behind this: A casement window has no slope to the sill by design. The seal around the sash is not a thermal barrier. It is a storm shield meant to reduce the amount of wind-driven rain and debris from getting in around the sash. But, it is not weather tight. Water can still get trapped between the sill and the bottom of the sash causing the sill or sash to rot. By removing the bottom seal, this allows water to run out and air to circulate under the sash.
  8. Do not caulk a sash shut. This can actually do more damage by blocking moisture in around the sash and can be very dangerous in case of an emergency.
  9. Do not paint the vinyl tracks or the edges of the sashes on double-hung windows. The vinyl track creates a natural friction against the wood surface of the sash to provide a seal while allowing the sash to slide freely. Painting either the sash edge or the track will prevent the sashes from sliding.
  10. I recommend removing screens on double-hung windows annually to clean debris away from the sill that may have built up or become trapped. Debris in the corners of the sill can lead to moisture build-up and eventually wood rot.

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more information on replacing and repairing wood windows. Or click here to learn hints and tips, as well as contact us for more information.

Repair vs. Replace: Chicago Suburb Wood Windows

Since the early 90s, the Chicago suburbs have exploded with the expansion of new upscale neighborhoods, and aluminum-clad casement windows were the standard for this new construction. During this period, there were a plethora of mid-scale wood window companies supplying Chicago homebuilders with a continuous supply of moderately priced window products to keep up with demand.

The Problem

Fast forward 25 years and the Chicago suburbs now face two big problems.

  1. Poor Quality: To keep up with demand and keep prices low (oh, but they still have to make money, right?), corners were cut. Poor design, faulty components and sloppy construction added up to failing windows. I’ve commented many times — and it’s my personal opinion — that some windows were almost designed to fail on purpose. In the 90s, a wood window had a 1-year warranty. The glass may have been covered for up to 10 years. I’ve actually sat through service training of a major manufacturer and their training literature really said, ‘The window should only last 10 years. ‘ 10 years? Who can replace windows every 10 years?
  2. Housing Crash: The ultimate downfall to the boom of the wood window industry came in 2008 with the housing market crash. Most of these mid-level, regional manufacturers had all their eggs in the new construction basket. Unlike Pella and Andersen that had a stronghold on the remodeling market, most of these mid-level brands folded between 2008 and 2010 because their new construction customers went under too. Manufacturers like Caradco, Pozzi, Norco and Rockwell are no longer around to service or warrant their aging windows.

The Solution

So you live in the Chicago suburbs, you own a $300,000-700,000 home and your aluminum clad windows are fogged up, rotten and falling apart. What do you do? Replace them right? What other option do you have?

How about saving 60% or more? Fenster replacement sashes are the answer to your problem.

For this size of home, the average count is about 40 windows. A whole-house replacement will run $80,000-$90,000 for a comparable clad wood window from the only guys that are left: Pella, Marvin, Renewal by Andersen, a private contactor using Jeld-wen or Weathershield.

Fenster can replace just the sashes in the same size house for $25,000-$30,000!

Breaking It Down

Let’s break it down. What does sash replacement look like in Chicago area homes:

Why sash replacement works for a long term solution:

In most cases, the frame of the window and sash are made very differently. The frames are built of a heavy gauge aluminum that most likely will never go bad. Worst case, they fade in the sun a bit. Otherwise, what could go wrong with the frame? The sash is very different. The sash is a wood frame with a thinner metal skin over it. The design flaws I eluded to earlier lead to water leaking into the frame between the glass and the metal skin causing the wood frame to rot out. With the sash being separate from the frame, the sash can be removed leaving the frame intact without a full tear-out.

Why sash replacement solves all of your problems:

Well, your window problems at least. First, ask yourself: why are you considering window replacement? Foggy glass? Rotted wood? Poor seal? Broken hardware? Sash replacement is a direct solution to each of these issues without the need of full replacement. There’s nothing wrong with the frame right? Why tear all of that out and pay for new when you don’t need it!

Why sash replacement is a better idea:

Wood window replacement is a major remodeling project. The vinyl guys just stick a smaller plastic window inside your existing window, fill the gaps and call that done! That doesn’t work in your style and price range of home in the Chicago suburbs. Wood windows need a full tear-out to replace them. That spells a major mess! The project could take days, even weeks if there are problems and cause a major disruption in your family’s home.

Fenster crews can replace 40 sashes in 2 days or less with no mess, no inconvenience to your daily life, but with all of the same benefits of a new window for 30%  the cost and none of the hassle.

Click here to learn more about Fenster’s products. Or click here to read more about when to repair and when to replace your windows.

Understanding Wood Window Parts

One of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome in our sales process is getting on the same page with customers when it comes to terminology. We certainly don’t expect any retail customer to be a window expert. That’s our job!

Unfortunately, there’s just no way around the technical side of what we do. Hey, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it! We admit the process can be tedious. Finding equal ground between what the customer can understand and what we need to know has, at times, been frustrating on both ends. We sweat the details, so the customer doesn’t have to.

We have no return policy for replacement sashes because our sales approach is simple: We won’t sell you a window unless we know its exactly what you need. We always have – and continue to – improve the buying experience for our customers. The incredible lack of talent for window repair has forced us to remain an online retailer. As our notoriety and reputation grow across the country, we continue to provide our customers with more useful and user-friendly content to make their buying experience as pleasant as possible.

Understanding the terms we use is no exception.

It’s fundamentally important to understand wood window parts and the terminology we use in sales conversations to build buyer’s confidence in not only our products but the people you are buying them from. We have put together a glossary of terms, along with some commentary, to help you better understand wood window parts and how we talk about them.

Sash

A sash is the glass and the frame holding the glass. The frame is not the sash by itself, nor is the glass. The “complete” sash is both the glass and the frame around it together. The sash is the operational panel. For example, on a casement window, the sash is what you crank out. On a double-hung window, the sash is what you slide up and down to open it.

Stile and Rail

These are parts of the sash. The stiles are the sides of the sash, and the rails are the top and bottom of the sash. Sashes can be constructed different ways. Most of the time, the stiles are shaped differently than the rails. We call the shape of a stile or rail: the “profile.” On casement windows, the stiles typically have a square or rounded edge, while the rails have a groove cut into the edge where the hinge is mounted. We call this the hinge pocket.

Some casement windows are built with the same profile all the way around. Some models will have matching stiles and rails where the profile is the same on all four sides. Double-hung sashes are built in much the same way with one exception: Double-hung sashes have a different rail called a meeting rail. Also referred to as a parting rail or check rail, these are the rails that “meet” in the middle when the window is closed.

Casement

A casement style window is on a hinge like a door and opens and closes by a crank handle. In terms of construction, other windows such as awning, hopper and transom windows are also considered “casement style” since they are made the same way. Casement windows can also be operable (also called “vented”) or stationary. Whether an operable or stationary model, a casement window is still built in the same manner. The exception is a direct set picture window or transom where there is no removable sash, but the glass panel is glued directly into the frame.

Double-Hung

A double-hung window is a matched set of upper and lower sashes that slide up and down on a track with the help of spring balances. Wood windows are typically “double-hung” meaning both upper and lower sashes are operable. Vinyl windows are usually “single-hung,” meaning the upper sash is fixed, and only the lower sash is operable.

Slider/Glider

A slider window is similar in operation to a double-hung, but slides from side to side rather than up and down.

Double Pane Glass

Double pane glass is an encapsulated unit where two panes of glass are glued together, separated by a spacer bar. The spacer bar creates the overall thickness of the unit and forms the insulating air space. Double pane glass does not contain any gas and does not create a vacuum. The air space is merely dead air. One pane of glass can not be separated from the other to repair internal fog. Most of the time, the entire glass unit can be removed from the sash frame and replaced.

LowE Glass

LowE glass is the standard for modern times. LowE, or low emissivity, is a coating applied to the surface of the glass. It protects against UV rays and provides better insulating properties over just clear glass.

Argon Gas

Argon can be added to double pane glass units to replace the dead air inside the unit. While Argon does increase performance slightly, Argon is often added to help control sound.

High-Performance LowE Glass

High-performance lowE is a Fenster term to identify our better quality lowE product. Our standard lowE is a hard-coat, lowE product that is very typical of the window industry as a whole. Our HP-LowE is a soft-coat, lowE that is supplied in higher-end windows and commercial applications. Our HP-LowE is not recommended for small quantity orders.

Customers will not see the added benefits for a handful of windows. Fenster offers the HP product for customers upgrading their entire home, or at least the south or west, sunny sides of the house to get the most benefit of the upgrade.

Tempered Glass

Tempered safety glass is a building code requirement, not an upgrade, as many folks would think. Per universal building code standards, there are three common situations where tempered glass is required.

1.  Over or behind a tub or shower enclosure.

2.  In a stairwell.

3.  When windows are less than 18″ from the floor.

In some cases, the actual size of window will require tempered glass, but for our purposes, Fenster does not make a window large enough to meet this requirement. Check your local building codes for specific requirements in your area. Tempered glass is always labeled in one corner of the glass unit with an etched marking.

Grills/Grids

There are three types of grills that Fenster offers.

1.  GBGs (grills between the glass). Just as the name implies, GBGs are metal grills in between the panes of glass.

2.  SDLs (simulated divided lite) are surface applied grills glued to both the interior and exterior to mimic the look of traditional true divided lite panes of glass.

3.  Wood grill inserts are a wood-framed grill attached to the interior of the window by clips or pins.

Weatherstrip

Weatherstripping is the perimeter seal of a sash, also called the storm shield. The storm shield can be in fin or bulb form to reduce the amount of wind-driven rain, air and debris from around the sash.  The storm shield is not designed to be a thermal seal. The weatherstripping around the jamb of the window is typically in bulb form. This seal is the thermal seal blocking air from entering around the sash.

Cladding

Cladding is the metal or vinyl skin on the exterior side of any sash that is not painted on the exterior.

Jambliners

Jambliners or balance kits are a very common repair item for double-hung windows. Jambliners consist of the vinyl tracks the sashes slide up and down on and the balances or springs that provide tension on the sashes to hold them in an open position. The biggest thing to know about jambliners is they are not brand specific; instead, they are very universal across the window industry.

The industry as a whole adopted set standards for jambliners throughout the ’80s and ’90s to simplify the supply chain. Regardless of the brand (generally speaking, of course), if you have a wood window with compression fit jambliners that allow the sashes to tilt in by simply applying pressure to the tracks and pulling the sash in toward you, then the following is true:

1. White and beige were the only standard colors.

2.  There are two track shapes to fit the edge shape of the sash, square plough or “Vee” plough.

3.  A universal sizing chart was established for new construction windows where nearly every manufacturer made their windows to fit this sizing chart.

Hardware

By definition, hardware should be self-explanatory.  Basically, hardware would refer to any window component that is not wood, glass, cladding or weatherstripping. We included this on the list to make an important point. Much like jambliners, hardware is not brand specific unless you have Pella, Andersen or Marvin, which are brands we don’t represent. For everyone else, the industry-standard was TRUTH brand hardware.

Caradco is our biggest selling brand, so we get a ton of requests for “Caradco” hardware. There’s no such thing. Caradco used TRUTH, just like 99% of all other window manufacturers. When shopping for replacement hardware, your search should be based on matching the part and identifying that part by its function, and not searching for your specific brand of window. The reverse of this is also true.  We, nor anyone else for that matter, can tell you what part you need based on your brand of window.

 

We hope this glossary is helpful to you as you decide to repair or replace your wood windows. If you have any questions, please click here to contact us.

How to Repair Hail Damaged Windows

I want to start this post on my soapbox for a minute. I am celebrating 20 years in the window and home improvement business this year: This isn’t my first rodeo. I think after 20 years we might have something figured out. To this day, I can’t help but get a little offended when someone says what I’ve given 20 years of my life to doesn’t work. Who says such things, you ask? A contractor manipulating the system; that’s who!

It’s funny, after all these years, how the same dilemma is seen entirely different depending on who’s writing the check. The bulk of our sales are direct-to-consumer retail. To a homeowner that has rotted wood sashes or fogged glass, we’re the greatest idea ever!

We save folks thousands of dollars by replacing just their failed sash instead of tearing out the whole window. Now take that same solution and apply it to hail damage when the insurance company is expected to provide all new windows. “It doesn’t work! Fake news! Oh, you can’t do that. Nope. You need $100,000 of all new windows”, says the contractor.

But they are wrong; it can be done.

After all, what’s the difference between rotted wood and dents in the metal? Nothing. A new sash solves either problem.

Hail damaged windows are repaired easily by removing and replacing the damaged sash by a Fenster factory-trained technician. See, most of the time, clad windows are built with a wood frame sash covered in a thin metal skin. Casement windows are most susceptible to hail damage because the sash sits out even with the frame and makes up most of the surface you see from the outside. The frames, however, are usually built of a much heavier gauge metal to retain their shape and strength. Typically, the frame is designed with minimal surface, or edge, exposed to the elements. I won’t say never but rarely do I see any significant hail damage to the frame edge. It’s the sash with the thinner skin and more surface area that gets the brunt of the hail damage.

Before I go further, I want to dispel a common myth we hear. We get folks looking for “cladding” all the time. The thought here is ‘since just the cladding is damaged, we’ll just replace the cladding.’ Gee, I can’t imagine where homeowners get the impression that their insurance company is trying to shortchange them.

I’ll make it simple: This can’t be done.

Yes, someone is going to read this that was a Pella service tech once upon a time and say Pella sold them replacement cladding. However, Pella did that for like 30 seconds and regretted it 29 seconds later!  They never did it again, and no other company, to my knowledge, has ever sold JUST replacement cladding. Here’s why;

  1. Supply chain. If the brand is still in business and the model of window is still in production, then, maybe. But in most cases, the biggest hurdle to this idea of just replacing cladding is getting the cladding in the first place.
  2. Sash construction. Depending on how the sash is constructed, the cladding may not even come off. You have two scenarios here.  One: you’re going to have so much labor in dismantling the sash and replacing the cladding that you’ll exceed the price of a whole new sash. Or two: you’ll damage or destroy the sash trying to get the cladding off. (And then have to replace the sash anyway.)
  3. Experience. I’ve built and repaired windows for 20 years, and I’m telling you this doesn’t work. I’ve also spent the last several years looking for window repair professionals across the country. The talent isn’t out there to pull this off.

Ah, but there’s got to be a better way, you say?! Yes, replace the whole sash!

We at Fenster Components design and build after-market replacement sashes for hail-damaged windows. Our sashes are your best solution for hail damage. I know you’re going to ask, “Why won’t you sell just the cladding?” Great question. Now you’re digging into why Fenster is so special.

What makes us the true innovator is in engineering.

See, when a brand goes out of business or discontinues a model, all of those components disappear with it. While there are very few patents on window design, the supply chain is controlled by the manufacturers. I’ve mentioned in other posts about how all windows are kinda built all the same, which is true to a point. Where you really get into the technical details is where one brand’s component is not interchangeable with another’s, although they look very similar. This is the genius of Fenster Components.

While we can’t get the original brand’s parts, we can get parts that look very similar and adapt the design to fit those components we now call our own. In summary, what I’m saying is, we can’t sell just cladding because the original cladding doesn’t exist. We can, however, build a new sash that looks just like the old one with our parts!

Back on my soapbox real quick to wrap this up: This movement of change in the industry has to start with the insurance companies. Right now, we’re an afterthought: A second opinion after some storm chaser has turned in a six-figure window bid. Once we bid, we’re a great idea to the insurance carrier, but the contractor has convinced the homeowner we’re a sham and that the insurance company is screwing them, and for no other purpose than not to lose his over-inflated replacement bid.

Trust the experts. Trust the experience of 20 years of innovation and ingenuity. After all, 20 years and 50,000+ sashes built and sold says we must be working for someone!

10 Reasons Why Casement Windows Are Better

Styles of windows are really about personal preference…if you even get the opportunity to make a choice. What I mean is, the windows in an existing house were probably selected based on the architecture or building trends in the region. For instance, a double-hung window is traditionally seen in colonial style homes, turn of the century construction and prairie style farmhouses. Awning or hopper windows are seen more in contemporary homes. Sliders or gliders (same difference) are seen almost exclusively in the western half of the country. My personal favorite, casements, are typically reserved for higher-end, luxury homes.

Yes, I think casement windows are the best choice for all homes, but probably not for the reasons you think. This reasons talked about below explain why I don’t like making double-hung windows and why I’d rather be making casement windows. Casement windows are definitely our biggest sellers, and here are a few reasons why.

1. Ease of Design

Casement sashes, for the most part, are all built the same way. Regardless of the brand, the design principles are generic. The reason why Fenster sashes are the same but, at the same time, different from the original is because of the available components.

In all of our re-designs, I started with the original template for the sash frame and adapted the original design to our proprietary cladding shapes. This results in an after-market casement sash that retains the same fit and function of the original but built using our own components.

2. Ease of Assembly

Double-hung windows are a pain to build; they have too many different parts. Casement windows have at most 2 different parts: the sides are the same and the top and bottom are the same. And some models are even easier because they have the same part all the way around.

I have re-designed the joinery in most of the models we produce to be stronger, seal better and make assembly more efficient.

3. Ease of Identification

Double-hung windows are tough because they all look similar. Double-hung windows typically don’t have the labels or badging you would find on casement windows. However, that’s not to say casement windows are always labeled. The difference is casement windows typically have specific design elements that we use to identify them.

It’s very common for a customer to give us numbers they see printed on or between the panes of glass as a model number. Rarely do these mean anything but glass production tags. 42095 is not a model number: It means that glass was made on April 20, 1995. We identify windows by appearance.  Exterior views, along with edge profiles, typically will show us everything we need to identify the model. That’s assuming, of course, it’s a model we’ve seen before!

4. Ease of Repair

I’m being a little selective here, but I want to make this point. I’m not saying double-hung windows can’t be repaired, but if I had to pick best selling products and their specific application, I would say an aluminum clad casement window is our biggest seller.

Most aluminum clad casement windows from the ’80s and ’90s were built using a wood sash with metal cladding over it and a solid metal frame unit in the wall. Well, conceivably the metal frame will never go bad. The sash, however, could have any number of failure issues. It makes far more sense to just replace the sash than tear out the whole frame that won’t ever go bad.

5. Daylight

Casement windows offer a larger daylight opening than double-hung windows. By their design, casement windows offer larger openings unobstructed by sash dividers that break up your view.

6. Efficiency

Casement windows, again, by their design, seal better than double-hung windows. Now I’m speaking from our perspective of the wood window industry of the last 40 years. The vinyl guys may want to argue this point, but I’m comparing wood casement windows to wood double-hung windows with compression jambliners.

Casement windows have a smoother operation and better locking mechanisms to draw the sash in tight for a better seal. Compression, tilt-in double-hung windows, by their design, can only seal so tight. Otherwise, they would be relatively in-operable and wouldn’t slide well.

7. Design

Casement windows offer a wider variety of size and configuration choices than double-hung windows. To recap the daylight point, double-hung windows are typically used for smaller openings.

To make matters worse, when a vinyl guy wants to stick a smaller window in an already small opening and call that “replaced,” well, now your window just got 30% even smaller. Casement windows are built for larger openings and can be configured with transoms, radius tops and special shapes for infinite design capabilities.

8. Style

This is really in that realm of personal preference, but I think casement windows just look better on a house for most of the previous reasons.

9. Failure Rate

Oaky, let’s take this thing is a different direction. I like casement windows because they fall apart more often. A casement sash sits proud of the frame subjecting it to a higher rate of failure due to weather or hail damage. Additionally, I see countless design flaws that actually contribute to the failure of the sash over time.

It’s almost like the window companies wanted the window to fail. Hum? The good news is, we fixed a lot of the issues that made the originals fail! I’ve built in countless design and joinery improvements to Fenster sashes to make them better than the original.

10. Price Point

It’s no secret casement windows are more expensive. It’s no secret casement windows are on fancy custom homes. It’s no secret casement windows are my favorite to sell! Let me make this point: This whole idea, this movement if you will, to promote sash replacement is a win-win for everyone…well almost everyone.

I don’t spend a second arguing with the guy that says he can get a window for a $100 bucks at Lowes. He sure can! Not the window that fits the house he’s working on, however. I am working to position Fenster Components to compete directly with “wood window” replacement companies to offer homeowners a different option. I bid on whole house projects regularly, whether it be for hail damage claims or efficiency upgrades.

Fenster is consistently a 50%-60% savings on a whole house sash replacement vs. a whole house tear out. It’s a no brainer.

Fenster replacement casement windows can save you tens of thousands of dollars, weeks of dirt and destruction, a general upheaval of your daily life and still solve practically any reason you have to tear out all of your windows.

If you want to talk about repairing or replacing your original wood windows, we want to help. Click here to read about all of our different product offerings or click here for hints & tips, as well as to contact us.

Top 5 Best Brands by Fenster

New for 2020, Fenster Components is consolidating our online retail catalog to bring a more interactive and user-friendly buying experience. Our newly updated website is due to roll out for the start of spring with easier-to-navigate pages,  info tabs, an FAQ chat option and how-to videos. In addition to these new website innovations, we are reducing our online catalog to our top 5 best selling brands to streamline our production, shorten lead times and remove the controversial three sash minimum order requirement.

Let’s take a minute to highlight the brands and models we will have available for 2020.

Caradco

Our best selling models to date, thank you, Jeld-Wen! As of 2018, JELD-WEN has ceased all production and supply of any Caradco branded windows, making Fenster Components your sole manufacturer of an after-market replacement sash. We are incredibly grateful for their customer referrals.

The original carclad/heritage I model, which we label as a CC-101, remains our top-selling casement model. Produced from roughly 1980-2000, both the painted wood and metal clad versions are available as a fully assembled replacement sash.

The carclad/heritage II model, which we call a CC-102, was a short run with a bit of overlap to the heritage I running roughly 1999-2005. The CC-102 is extremely similar to the CC-101 in sizing and appearance except for the frame thickness which is thinner. We are starting to see more requests for the latest model of Caradco produced by JELD-WEN: the traditional casement. This was produced from 2005-2011 until JELD-WEN officially retired the Caradco brand. Other Caradco models we have replicated are the older C-200 series casement and the Vista slider.

Norco

We have replicated three of the most popular casement models known to exist. A very popular model was the primed Siteline casement from the ’80s and early ’90s. Signature to the Norco Siteline was differently sized sides from the top and bottom with a plastic bead trim around the glass on the outside.

Overlapping the Siteline was the very popular cladded Norco Teton model. The Teton also had the exterior side plastic bead that directly contributed to the failure of the unit. The Fenster model, NC-200, has deleted the plastic bead and replaced it with a flat-faced 2″ wide cladding.

Similar to the Teton, but manufactured later, is the D-series, which was produced late into the 2000s before the brand was officially retired. Fenster supplies a replacement for either model with the same model NC-200. The only difference between the two Norco models is the original Teton had mitered corner joints while the D-series had square corner joints.

Pozzi

Fenster offers three popular Pozzi casement models from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. There are several versions sold at different price points that were produced by Pozzi over the years, which makes the identification process very difficult, along with some vagueness of model names. We’ve found the best way to simplify this is not be all things Pozzi. We stick to the three models we are confident in and identify them based on what we know.

Malta

Malta is another challenging brand to identify. Luckily, they’re easier to make than they are to identify.

Malta changed ownership several times throughout the ’90s and early 2000s until they finally closed in 2012. Several casement versions are known to exist, with the possibility of others yet to be identified. While it seems with every change of ownership came a redesign, what we have found is that many of the later models were manufactured similarly.

Fenster makes one model of cladded replacement sash that is known to fit two aluminum clad and two vinyl clad casement models from Malta. Of course, you can expect some differences in appearance across the four models when they are compared to Fenster’s single replacement model.

MW

Fenster addresses the MW complexity much like the Pozzi. There are several models, known and unknown, to exist over the four decades of window manufacturing that Fenster covers. And again, there is some confusion of how and what MW labeled their models.

We know about the existence of the Freedom clad 400, 600 and 800, but no one can seem to tell us the difference between each model. So again, we stick to what we know.

Our model MW-100 is a painted wood casement from the ’80s and ’90s, often referred to as the MW “dual”. It was a painted wood casement with a flat vinyl bead on the exterior around the glass, and it is very easy to identify by appearance. We’ve had good success with these working properly.

Our clad casement model MW-200 is an aluminum-clad model made to replace the very popular vinyl clad casement also from the ’80s and ’90s. This model also had an exterior side glass bead and is easy to identify using the specs and example photos in our catalog.

For more details on all of these models, click here to visit our website catalog.

When to Repair vs. When to Replace Windows

If you pay attention, your house can give you many signs when something’s not right. And a home’s windows are especially communicative when they need to be repaired or replaced. 

There are two major factors that drive this decision: age of the home and severity of the failure. Let’s look at the big picture of repairing versus replacing.

Big Picture: Repairing vs. Replacing Windows

Windows in older homes are the windows that should be replaced, NOT a 10-year-old house. 

The claims made by window replacement companies about energy efficiency and saving money on energy bills are based on turn-of-century homes with single pane glass and no weatherstripping. These promises of improved efficiently are over-exaggerated for what the industry would consider “modern-day” window technology, such as those in homes built after around 1980.

When it comes to the construction of the window, little has changed in 40 years. While glass technology has certainly come a long way, the general construction of the typical wood window hasn’t improved much at all. This means for homes built in the last 30-40 years, you should consider sash replacement and/or repair as the glass itself can still be brought up to current technology standards while tearing out and replacing the entire frame doesn’t gain much at all. A whole brand new window won’t provide more benefits than you already have, except for the feeling of “getting new stuff.”

However, besides enjoying the feeling of buying new windows, there are other, legitimate reasons to replace your windows entirely. One reason is building codes. Especially in places such as coastal areas, if you update your exterior, you are required to bring your windows up to the newest code as well, which may necessitate replacing your windows. 

Another is frame rot. Sometimes the frame has been so damaged that even the interior structure of the wall has been compromised. At that point, replacement is your only option.

However, repair is a far more reasonable and cost-effective option for most homeowners when professionals and superior products are utilized. There are few window failures that a repair method can not correct, such as foggy glass, rotten sashes, broken hardware, worn weatherstrips, minor frame rot, hail damage, better glass technology and more.

All of the most common window issues just listed can be corrected using quality repair kits from a quality company. Plus, sash replacement takes about 20 minutes apiece. Whole houses can typically be switched out in 2 days or less for a 70-80% savings, and you don’t have to worry about holes in the side of your house for several days when your replacement windows get delayed.

Here is a list of different conditions in which you may find your windows, and advice on how to know when you should repair or replace your windows: 

1. REPAIR or REPLACE: If your windows are damaged, warped, or broken

repair vs replacing windows

If your windows only have some superficial damage, you may be able to get away with adding new weather-stripping or hardware. If this is the case, then repair is your best option. If the window sash or frame is damaged, warped, or broken, then replacement is often preferred to repair.

If your windows show other symptoms, such as fogging up, feeling drafty, sticking when you try to open or close them or refusing to stay open, then it is time to replace your windows.

2. REPLACE: If your windows are costing you too much on your energy bill 

According to the Department of Energy, “Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.” If you want to reduce unnecessary energy costs, replace your drafty windows with energy-efficient ones. 

Plus, if you’re considering putting your home up for sale in the future, those new windows, and the resulting energy cost savings, can be a big selling point.

To find the windows that are right for your home, keep your specific needs in mind as you explore all your options:

Casement Windows

If you want to keep true to the original design of your home, you’ll need to find the right casement window. This could prove difficult as many older model windows are no longer created. Instead, try a replica casement, such as Fenster’s QuickSash Replica Casement.

The Fenster Quiksash is a complete, assembled replacement sash with new lowE glass, cladding, and weather-strip for a painted or clad-wood casement or awning style window.

Double Hung Replacement Windows

If you have a double hung window in an older style, you may run into the same issue as casement windows. Older style windows are no longer made and replacements are hard to come by. 

However, Fenster has a QuickSash for double hung windows as well. Also known as a “sash-pack,” it is designed to fit nearly any brand of painted or clad-wood tilt-in window with existing vinyl compression jamb liners. The kit comes with everything you need for a complete assembled double hung sash, with an upper/lower sash set and new balance kit measured for your opening.

3. REPLACE: If your home needs a makeover

If your windows are aging with your home, or you are already renovating or upgrading the appearance of your home, then chances are, your windows need replacing. 

Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb more than mismatched windows on a renovated home. Upgrading your windows along with your other renovations enhances the overall appearance of your whole home, increasing property values and completing appealing aesthetics. 

If the color is fading or window material is warping, then it’s time to replace your windows. If you are replacing your windows, take advantage of changing the type of window you have, from a fixed sash to a window that opens, to improve airflow through your home. 

For a more modern look, you may consider installing larger windows to brighten your home with natural light.

4. REPLACE: You just survived a severe storm

If you live in a hurricane zone or area prone to severe weather events, you are likely prepared for the possibility of damaged windows. In fact, just living near a coast can do a number on your windows, even without the help of a major weather event. 

If you worry about the effects of sea salt, humidity or coastal winds, consider getting higher quality window casements.

Fenster’s Quiksash Clad/Wood Casement Sashes are guaranteed to work and perform at a much higher level than the original window by deleting engineering flaws like boot glazing and exterior glazing stops. 

These windows are made with a material that expands at the same rate as glass. They are engineered with this material to resist corrosion and withstand extreme temperatures. Quiksash is an after-market sash replication of many older major brands that are no longer available and is guaranteed to exceed like, kind and quality requirements of the insurance industry.

If your older windows have been damaged due to hail, request a quote for Quiksash.

5. REPAIR: If you’re renovating a historic home

The wrong window can dramatically change the overall look of a historic home and can even interfere with its integrity. Homeowners often worry that the sash will look too modern. However, there are options to repair your windows while protecting the charm of a historic home. 

Windows help define your home’s look and can be an important architectural detail. Replacing windows, especially ones with stained or leaded glass or decorative wood grilles, can actually lower the house’s value. 

If you need stained glass or other historic components not offered by companies such as Fenster, talk to your local preservation commission. They may provide guidelines and suggest skilled craftsmen and contractors who can do repairs.

5. REPAIR: If you have rot and jammed sashes

You should inspect your windows for signs of decay or water damage after every major storm, especially if you have older windows. If you see signs of water penetration, then repair your windows to prevent rot. 

Or if you notice your sashes starting to stick, you’ll need to repair them as well. A pro will be able to repair rot, jammed sashes and broken parts. But sometimes you can do the work yourself. Check out a reputable company for advice on how to do repairs yourself and get the parts you need.

Looking to repair or replace your windows?

If you want to get the best repair and replacement kits for your windows, make sure to pick a company that has extensive knowledge of the industry and products. Experts like Fenster Components understand window construction, manufacturing techniques, brand history and industry terms to build and install a custom-designed window sash. 

Check out our product lines to find the right parts for your home’s window. Or for more information or help, contact us by email at sales@fensterUSA.com.

6 Reasons Why Casement Windows Are Better for Your Home

casement windows are better

Part of owning a home is staying on top of the maintenance that comes with it. While they won’t require frequent upkeep, windows are a big consideration. The style of window that you include in your design might vary, from sliding to double hung to sash, but many homeowners have found that casement windows are better in their home design.

Casement windows are windows that are attached to their frame by one or more hinges at the side and open at a 90-degree angle. If the hinges are placed at the top of the window, they are referred to as awning casement windows, and if the hinges are at the bottom, they are referred to as hopper casement windows.

Because they play such an important role in your home’s exterior, windows are manufactured to last for decades. If your home is older, it’s likely the windows were there before you even moved in. 

There are a several benefits that casement windows provide, especially if you’re committed to your home’s performance.

1. Optimal Ventilation

If you’re planning on staying in your home for the long term, the design of the home should support your family’s comfort and health. 

Windows play a large role in your home’s ventilation, which is crucial for indoor air quality. 

“Air indoors can build up high levels of moisture, odors, gases, dust and other air pollutants. To keep the air safe indoors, fresh outdoor air is needed to dilute these indoor pollutants,” according to the American Lung Association

Casement or crank windows are an ideal solution for home ventilation. These windows are often used in more narrow openings and are operated with a lever or crank to swing open or closed. Most casement window models operate so that they open completely, making it possible for more air to pass through the home.

2. Convenience + Accessibility

Because of how casement windows open, homeowners are able to reach through the opening and clean or inspect them a bit more easily than they would other types of windows. 

The crank used to operate a casement window also makes it a great solution for people with disabilities or older homeowners, who might otherwise struggle with pushing open a heavy or stuck window.

3. Energy-Efficiency and Performance

Casement windows provide the best possible seal against outside elements: The window’s locking mechanism secures it in three places to the frame. If you’re looking for ways to save energy in your home, a casement window might be your best and highest-performing solution. 

In a research article for Building and Construction Technology at UMass, Paul Fisette writes about what to look for to ensure your window design supports energy-efficiency

  • Frame: “About 25% of a window’s area is represented by its frame,” he says, “so the frame material should be thermally non-conductive.” 
  • Hardware: He also suggests inspecting the casement window’s hardware and connections where the frame is held together. “Top quality hardware and weatherstripping should be thoughtfully fastened around the sash opening to limit air leakage,” suggests Paul.
  • Weatherstripping: “Weatherstripping needs to seal tightly after many hundreds of window closings, rain wettings, sun-dryings and winter-freezings.” 

When you’re considering the energy-efficient qualities of casement windows, look for the labels and ratings: The two most common energy ratings on an NFRC label are U-factor and Solar Heat Gain. The ENERGY STAR® label, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, will also tell homeowners how well their windows perform. Click here to learn more about how to tell if your window has a good energy rating.

4. Cost-Effective Solutions

Some contractors might tell you that your entire window needs to be replaced, especially if the units are older and replacement parts are obsolete. But repairing a casement window may be easier than you think. 

If your window frame is in good condition, you might only need to replace the casement window parts, the window sash or the casing around the window’s glass panels. Older and wooden windows often cost more to replace, but a replacement wood window sash is a cost-effective solution.The QuikSash Clad/Wood Casement Sashes available from Fenster are manufactured to perform at higher standards than your original windows by correcting engineering flaws (like boot glazing or exterior glazing stops). All Fenster sashes come with low-E glass and durable weatherstripping, which saves you additional money on energy bills.

5. Home Protection

Some window styles stop intruders better than others might. “With other windows, breaking the glass makes it easy to fully open the window,” writes Lee Hollander for The Spruce

But casement windows are only operable by turning the lever or crank on the window. “Breaking the glass gives access to the crank,” explains Lee, “but it is difficult to turn the crank through broken glass. Some homeowners make their casement windows even more secure by removing the crank from the window and keeping it nearby but out of reach.”

6. Traditional (But Innovative) Design Detail

Are casement windows better when it comes to your home’s style? Many homeowners prefer the modern look of casement windows, along with the fuller opening that it provides. 

And this type of window has been in style for centuries. Casement windows were the norm in homes in the United Kingdom, allowing homeowners to properly control ventilation in their spaces before the sash style was eventually introduced in the late 1600s. Casement windows are a traditional design that’s just as beautiful today as they were centuries ago, and they will still be beautiful in the centuries to come.

Working With Reliable Window Solutions

Whether you’re looking at a home window replacement or just keeping up with maintenance, you might find that casement windows are better solutions for energy-efficiency and home design than you thought. 

When you work with trusted brands like Fenster, you know you’ll be able to find quality solutions needed for your casement windows, even when you’re looking for obsolete parts. 

Find additional solutions for your window replacement project by following a few of our tips here.

How to Remove a Sash Window

Wooden sash windows bring a classic appeal to your home. With regular cleaning and painting or staining, they can stay looking great for decades. But, inevitably, time and weather will take their toll, and you’ll need to look at repairing or replacing your sash windows.

If you’re considering home window replacement, but want to keep your wooden window aesthetic, there are a number of wood window sash replacement kits available that will help maintain your home’s design. They make a cost-effective solution to replacing your windows, without needing to go to more modern choices like vinyl or aluminum windows.

With after-market options for classic windows from manufacturers like Sealrite and Caradco, all you need is a few details about your window to find a replacement kit that is right for you. If you’re not sure what kind of windows you have, you can simply measure the size of your frame and sashes and order replacements.

The good news is that wooden window sash replacement is actually a pretty straightforward process and something that can be easily managed by a handy DIY-er on a weekend. With a little patience and organization, you can have the old sashes taken out and the new ones put in before you have to go back to work on Monday.

Let’s walk through the basics of removing the sashes from your windows.

Step 1. Remove the Stops 

The stop is a thin piece of wood that usually looks like it’s part of the molding. It runs vertically on both sides and along the top, and it holds the sash in place within the frame. Sashes are often nailed or screwed in, or else they are set in place with adhesive or caulk. If you can’t see the sash seam, it has probably been painted over; often, it’s been painted more than once over the frame’s lifetime.

To remove the stop, pry out any nails or unscrew the screws. You’ll need to cut through the painted seam with a small utility knife. Be careful not to tear or crack the stop as you remove it since you’ll need to reinstall it when you’re done as it will be a perfect match for the rest of the trim.

If the stops are very tight, use a small pry-bar or flat head screwdriver to pull them away from the trim. You can brace either of these against a small shim to protect the wood and limit the number of repairs you might need after installation.

Clean off any accumulated caulk from the jamb and stops once they’re removed. If you’re replacing more than one window, either do them one at a time or number or label your stops and frames, so you know what goes where during the replacement.

Step 2. Remove the Bottom Sash

With the stops out, you should be able to easily remove the bottom sash. If your window has been painted shut, you may need to use the utility knife to scrape the seam loose. Some windows may also have been screwed shut, so check for screws along the bottom of the sash.

Pull the sash free by lifting the top and tilting it toward you, then bring the whole sash out of the frame. Lift the bottom portion of the sash above the stool, also called the windowsill. If the sash is hung with ropes, remove it and leave the ropes in place for now.

If you are repairing the sash rather than replacing it, make sure you have a clean, level surface ready to store it safely, and label it clearly so you know which frame it will fit into after the repair. 

Step 3. Remove the Parting Bead and Top Sash

While technically two steps, these are usually done at the same time. The parting bead is a thin strip of wood, similar to the stops, but it runs along the middle interior of the frame and is pressed against the top sash. Parting beads are often painted into the frame, so it may take some work to pry them loose.

Removing the top sash follows essentially the same process as the bottom. Score the seams if the window has been painted shut, and look for any screws that might have been used to hold it in place. It make take a few passes with a utility knife to get the sash free. Pull it below the pulley in the frame, remove the ropes and bring the sash free by tilting it toward you.

Once the sash is clear, clean the frame of any built-up caulk or paint.

Step 4. Repair and Replace as Needed

Before you actually remove your sashes, you should have a repair kit on hand to repair the frame, sashes, pulleys or any other sash window parts that need repairing. If you need to replace, consider Fenster’s complete line of replacement sashes. They have 24 sash models designed to fit a number of classic windows and casements.

For more information, visit the Fenster website.

How to Measure for Window Replacement

Measure twice, buy once. Realizing you’ve improperly measured the dimensions for a window replacement can be a huge problem in a renovation project. 

If the dimensions you’ve given are too small, you’ll need shims and extra insulation to keep your window in place; plus, you risk creating air leaks that will pump up your energy bills. 

And if you’ve ordered a window that’s too big, you’ll either delay work while waiting for one in the correct size, or you’ll need to significantly rebuild your wall to create an opening that fits, which can also involve removing portions of or patching your exterior siding.

Measuring for window replacement can seem overwhelming. For something that can feel as simple as a single pane of glass, a window actually has a lot of different parts. Should you measure the trim? The frame? What about the jamb or the sash? Add in wooden windows from manufacturers that don’t exist anymore, and the process can get tricky.

We’re going to take some of the mystery out of how to measure for window replacement. While every home and window is different, if you use these window measuring tips, you’ll be able to select the windows for your next project with confidence.

What Part of the Window Are You Replacing?

Not all window replacements are created equal. In some cases, you’ll only need to replace some or all of the sash. In others, you’ll need to replace everything including the frame. Inspect both the sash and frame closely for water damage. Sometimes you can remove the damaged part or patch it. Other times the damage is too extensive and a complete replacement is required.

If you’re replacing the frame, you’ll need to measure the wall width. This is most easily done once the frame has been removed. Otherwise, you can measure through an open window from the back interior edge of the frame to where it meets your exterior siding. Double-check your measurements once you’ve removed the window to make sure it doesn’t include any plywood paneling inside the wall against the facade. 

Measuring to Replace a Window Sash

If your frame is still in good condition, then you may only need to replace your window sash. The sash is the wooden casing around the pane of glass. While wooden windows have a reputation for being more expensive than their vinyl and aluminum counterparts, a replacement wood window sash is actually a cost-effective solution

To measure the casement sash, you’ll want to remove it from the frame so you know your measurements are accurate. Do not only measure the dimensions of exposed glass.

For a simple casement window, measure the width and height of the sash, as shown above, both on the exterior side. Wood can warp when exposed to the elements, and you’ll want to provide the smaller dimensions to your new window sash suppliers. 

If you’re replacing a hung-sash window or double-hung window, you’ll also want to measure the dimensions inside your frame, to make sure your new sash will fit. 

If you’re replacing sashes in a double-hung window, you also want to make sure you remove the jambs and stops so you’re measuring the full width and height inside the pockets. For double-hung windows, be sure to measure both the upper and lower sashes and provide the dimensions separately.

When you’re measuring the pocket grooves, take measurements in at least three places, usually the top, middle and bottom for measuring the width, and at the left, center and right for measuring the height. Write all of the measurements down, and choose the smallest dimensions to provide to your contractor or supplier, so that you know the ordered model will fit all sides.

Contractors and suppliers will also often recommend that you remove a small fraction from your measured dimensions. This fraction is typically ⅛” or ¼”. For example, if your sash is 24” across, you would order a replacement sash that is 23 ⅞”. However, some suppliers will remove this fraction as part of their process. Make sure you know if this will happen, as you don’t want to order something that is too small by removing the fraction twice. 

More Tips for Home Window Replacement

If you’re replacing more than one window, make sure you carefully document which window you’re measuring. Number them with painter’s tape, or label them with something easy to remember like “living room, south wall.” There may be small variations from one window frame to the next, and you want to know which replacement window sash fits in which frame when they arrive.

If you’re really not sure you’ve measured the right parts of the assembly—whether it’s the frame, the sash or the pocket—it also never hurts to draw a picture and mark the dimensions directly on it. That way, a contractor can easily pull the window measurements they need, with no confusion.

If you’re very unsure, have the contractor come to your house and measure themselves. Although they may charge a small fee for this, the cost far outweighs the penalty of needing to re-order windows when the first ones don’t fit, not to mention the inconvenience.

For more hints and tips on how to properly measure for your replacement window sash, visit the Fenster website