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7 Considerations for Exterior Upgrades When Replacing Windows


on August 16, 2018


Replacing your windows is an important and sometimes necessary project, but there’s more to it than just swapping a new window in place of an old one.

You also have to keep in mind the exterior of your home, and if the window replacement will impact your siding, brick, stone, or stucco. To help you through the window replacement and installation process, here are some things to keep in mind for your home’s exterior.

1. Full frame or pocket replacement

Are you going to do a full frame or pocket window replacement? Full frame window installation replaces the existing window frame and sashes. It’s a common option for homeowners that want to change the size or shape of their window or want a different type of window. Pocket replacements allow you to keep the original frame, trim, siding, and casing intact. They are commonly used when homeowners want to replace a worn window with a new window that’s the same size, and the current window frame is still square, level, and in good condition. Both types of installation are effective, but your choice depends on your overall need. Pocket replacements may also be advantageous when the exterior material of the home would be more impacted.

Window replacement in brick walls

2. Window replacement in brick walls

Window installation in brick or stucco homes can sometimes be more complicated than replacement in vinyl siding. If measurements aren’t precise, you may need thicker surrounding capping or casing on your window. Capping, casing, or brick moulding is aluminum or vinyl sheeting that is measured and cut to fit around your window and on the exterior of your home. That’s why it’s important to get the measurement right. You don’t want overly thick capping. Find a company that does precise measurements beforehand and creates custom, made-to-order windows that will fit your exact need.

3. Window replacement in stucco

Although it does typically need to be cut back several inches from the edge of a new window when performing a full frame replacement, stucco can be patched and repaired. If not done correctly, patched stucco can expand and contract at a different rate than existing stucco, potentially causing cracks over time. A pocket install may be the preferred installation method for your stucco home. A window professional should be able to provide guidance on the type of installation that is recommended for your home.

The owners of this 25-year-old home in Albuquerque wanted to replace their old windows to improve their energy efficiency. They replaced the windows with new casement windows throughout their stucco home.

Window replacement in stucco

BONUS TIP: How to measure accurately

The goal is to get accurate measurements of the width and height of the window, from jamb to jamb and head to sill. Make sure you measure the window from inside your home. That means measuring past the sash stops and past the interior trim — the small pieces of wood along the inner edge of the window.


Keep in mind: you want to measure the size of the hole which would be left if you removed the window, not just the size of the current opening. Your replacement window may include its own sash stops and trim. If you measure to those points instead of past them, you’ll end up with a replacement window too small for your home. If you aren’t confident in your window measuring abilities, that’s okay! You can schedule an in-home consultation with a window professional to ensure accurate measurement and ordering to give you peace of mind.

4. New brick work

If you have a brick home, some additional brick work may be needed when you replace your windows, especially if you’re considering a full frame installation. You want your brick to look seamless, even if you add or replace windows. Updating the brick façade to fit the new windows can make it seamless. Window installation in a brick home is typically not a DIY job.

In this Philadelphia home, a masonry contractor provided new brick façade to fit the new fiberglass entry door and transom.

New entry door in brick

5. Matching paint colors

Many times, when people replace their windows, they also choose a different window color. Depending on what color you choose, you may need to paint your exterior a complementary or matching color to fit the new window.

SEE ALSO: How to Pick a Paint Color Combination for Your Home's Exterior

New fiberglass door in brick exterior

6. Updating your doors

New windows can sometimes lead to new doors. Once one part of the house gets updated, it can become more apparent that other areas need to be updated as well.

If your door is still in good shape and matches the style of your home, you can still improve the aesthetic by giving your door a fresh look, too. This may mean a fresh coat of paint, painting it a different color, or replacing the door entirely and choosing a new style to match.

7. Changing your siding

Replacing your windows also gives you an opportunity to think about your current siding. It may be a good time to add some character to your exterior by adding stone or brick accents. If you want to update the look of your home, replacing your siding at the time of replacing your windows may make sense and can give your home additional curb appeal and variety.

SEE ALSO: Exterior Upgrade: 5 Ideas to Make Over Your Curb Appeal

New windows in a brick house

It comes down to what you want

In the end, it’s all about what you want. As you replace your windows, it’s helpful to keep the exterior of your home in mind and consider anything else that needs updating. Window replacements can be done without majorly impacting the exterior of a home while preserving the original look and feel of the windows. The owners of this brick home in Ohio wanted to replace their windows but keep the original aesthetic of their home. Their replacement was customized to keep the original look of the double-hung windows with traditional grilles while updating them with modern features.

If you’re looking to update to a more modern and fresh aesthetic, then updating your exterior at the same time could boost your curb appeal.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.