Replacing Windows in a Fire-Damaged House

Discover What You Really Need to Know to Pick the Perfect Replacement Windows for Your Burned Home!

A home’s windows are frequently damaged in a house fire. Whether touched by the fire itself or warped from the heat the fire produces, windows can easily sustain damage and require replacement.

Unfortunately, replacing windows can be an expensive and time-consuming operation. Here is what you need to know to replace the windows in your fire-damaged house.

Importance of Replacement Windows

Actually, replacing the windows in a fire-damaged house is one of the most important renovations you can make.

It’s true … in fact, Remodeling Magazine says installing replacement windows can have a more dramatic effect on your home value than such traditionally perceived high value home improvement projects as bathroom remodeling, deck additions and even kitchen remodeling.

Unfortunately, determining the real quality of replacement windows is not as simple as looking at their price, which is what a lot of homeowners end up doing.

The truth is while buying the absolute cheapest windows is never, ever a good idea, buying the most expensive can also be a terrible decision that you end up regretting for years as well.

Tips for Selecting the Right Windows for Your Burned House

Here are some things to keep in mind when weighing what type of window to get for your fire-damaged house:

Vinyl Windows

The least expensive windows on the market are made of vinyl, which is one of the worst window materials available. Look what has been said about vinyl windows in the past:

The US Department of Energy has issued four warnings since 1994 that vinyl windows warp, twist, bow and crack.

Consumer Reports warns that vinyl scored low in areas of temperature resistance, rain resistance, and durability.

Bob Vila advises not to buy cheaper windows, calling them “unsuitable for your home.” Whatever money you save initially will be lost later on down the road.

Lowe’s Complete Home Improvement guide cautions buyers of vinyl’s tendency to “distort when exposed to extremes of heat and cold, making them harder to operate and allowing air leakage.”

Reader’s Digest’s “Do It Yourself Manual” says, “All vinyl becomes brittle in extreme cold. It expands and softens in heat.”

Please note, there are now more expensive vinyl windows that have resolved some of the weaknesses of original vinyl windows.

These new windows feature steel rods and metal support frames so the windows hold up longer. However, all those rods fatten up the vinyl frame, covering up the glass and ruining your view. Not to mention what that thick window frame looks like on your home.

Ultimately, don’t forget this – no matter what price you pay for vinyl windows, you are still going to end up with shiny plastic windows on your home.

Wood Windows

You can find wood windows at a range of prices, too, from cheap to expensive. However, wood is not a trouble-free investment. By itself, wood is under a constant threat from water damage or rot. If you’ve ever seen an old log in the woods, you know what this looks like.

Water gets in the wood. This encourages the growth of fungi. The fungi break down the wood. And the wood rots, creating a perfect haven for termites and mold.

Today’s wood windows usually have some type of coating on them to delay rotting. The coating won’t keep the rot away forever, though. You’ll have to perform regular maintenance to protect them and keep them from looking shoddy.

Vinyl-Clad Wood Windows

More expensive wood windows are made from a combination of wood and vinyl. Many companies sell wood windows wrapped in vinyl or aluminum – vinyl-clad or aluminum-clad wood.

Eventually, though, the vinyl or aluminum warps from changing temperatures and peels away from the wood just enough so that water can seep inside. Once water gets beneath the vinyl, it soaks into the wood, and can’t evaporate. The wood begins to rot and you’re faced with mold and rotted wood. Only now you can’t even see it.

In fact, the largest aluminum-clad and vinyl-clad wood manufacturer has been slapped with several class action lawsuits because their windows have rotted from the inside out.

Composite Windows

Wood/vinyl composites are made when vinyl and wood are blended together under extreme heat and pressure.

Unlike vinyl- or aluminum-clad wood windows, the vinyl is combined with wood’s tough structure in a solid composite. The vinyl can’t warp and peel away from the wood, so no water gets to the wood, and the wood can’t rot. The maintenance free quality of vinyl protects the wood and provides a worry free window material.

You’ll want to further study each of the above types of windows and then make the decision that is best for you. Something else to consider when making your decision:

Window Manufacturing is Important, Too

It’s not just what window frames are made of but how they are made that affects quality. Here are three things to look for when it comes to the manufacturing of your windows:

Custom Manufactured Windows ensure your windows open and close smoothly and fit airtight.

Most window makers have assembly plants that churn out their windows. All the windows are made in standard sizes.

The problem is that every house is a different size. And window openings are different sizes. Even when they look like the same size, they often aren’t. Whoever installed them had to put extra siding, caulking, or insulation to make up for the fact that the window didn’t exactly fit the opening.

For a window to open and close easily and have an airtight seal, it needs to fit your home perfectly. If a window is too small for the opening, the installer will have to try to pad the extra area with insulation and caulk, then cover it up with trim (vinyl you put around the windows).

This may leave an ugly gap under there that you’ll never suspect, until a few years later … when your home becomes drafty and the window fogs up. It’s nearly impossible to properly seal and insulate that big of a gap—so your home is left open to drafts and leaks!

And if the window is too big for the opening, the installer will have to try to force it in the opening. Often the window won’t work right, because no room is left for important things like leveling and squaring.

The better windows are custom measured, then custom manufactured to fit your home.

One More Thing, Plan on Leaving Window Installation to the Pros!

To get the best performance from a window, you need professional installation.

The most expensive window in the world won’t give you good energy efficiency if it isn’t installed right.

Energy Star certification and the National Fenestration Rating Council performance ratings like U-Factor and SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) don’t take into account installation.

So if you want your windows to keep out leaks, drafts, and keep your home comfortable, you need to know that professional installers are working on your windows.

Skip the Hassle of Replacing Windows in a Fire-Damaged House

If you want to skip the expensive and often frustrating process of replacing windows in a fire-damaged house, you can sell your house as-is to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses.

Just fill out the short form below to see if your home qualifies for a free, no obligation quote. We Buy Fire Damaged Houses pays quickly and in all cash so that you can move on with your life.

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