Upgrading to a new version of Windows (Vinyl Edition)
May 22, 2021 12:03 PM   Subscribe

I going to get new windows on my house and have questions.

From the quote:
Furnish & install (10) white Simonton windows, all sliders come with screens. All of the original windows are steel sash windows and were installed in stucco/ plaster. To eliminate damaging the stucco / plaster the new vinyl windows will be installed on the inside of the original steel sash frames and adding trim to both the inside and the outside of each of the openings.

The windows company has proposed Simonton Madiera vinyl windows. The house is concrete block with stucco.

The thing the bothers me is that each window (the glass part) will become a little smaller because they won't be taking out the original windows but instead installing the new windows inside the original. And really it only bothers me on the big picture window (nice view of Pike's Peak, the house is in Manitou Springs, Colorado).

Can the window be taken out or will the wall fall apart?
posted by falsedmitri to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
I think this is just a budget thing you can answer with some questions to the installers. Did you only get one quote? Call someone else out and tell them you're concerned about losing window area, then you can find out how much it'd cost if you maximize area only on the picture window, or all the way around, or what.

The wall won't (shouldn't!) fall out if you remove and replace the entire old window frame, it's just cheaper to leave it in place and install replacement windows..
posted by rhizome at 12:47 PM on May 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's probably exactly what they say in the quote - the existing windows were installed in the stucco/plaster and they're installing the new ones the way they are to avoid damaging the stucco/plaster. Removing the entire old window shouldn't damage the masonry wall (hard to really know without seeing how they did it), but you'd also have to have the stucco and plaster removed, and then patched and repaired after the installation of the new windows, and the new stucco or plaster will never quite match the old stuff. There may also be flashing issues around the existing window where it'd be difficult to reflash a new window into the opening, but I'd expect that to be more of a problem in wood frame construction.
posted by LionIndex at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

There are two "inside"s to window framing - concentric inside, making the glass area smaller, or on the inside rather than the outside side, with the same glass area. Could they do the latter? Treat the original metal flashing as extra outside trim?
posted by clew at 1:08 PM on May 22, 2021

Can the window be taken out or will the wall fall apart?

I believe what they are saying is that they are leaving the steel around the window, and not replacing that. It's not really part of the window - it's structural, and called a lintel. You need lintels in concrete or brick walls to carry the load around the window, especially if there is concrete above the window. You don't necessarily need them on the sides, but they may be using the old steel window in place of a lintel, like the old windows were structural. I've actually never heard of anyone building a window inside another window, though I assume it's possible. Steel framing around a window in a CBS house is much more important than framing a wood house. Most people who install vinyl windows just rip the whole old window out, they don't install inside the frame, because the old frame is probably rotted and that's why it's being replaced in the first place.
posted by The_Vegetables at 5:44 PM on May 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

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