Replacing window and door frames is an easy way to renew the aesthetic and feel of a home.
To make the process easier, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. Try to keep it standard.
Standard size windows cost much less than custom sizes and are available almost immediately. If you can find a standard size frame to fit your aperture, it will save a lot of headaches.
2. When it has to be custom.
If your frames have to be custom-made, be it wood or aluminum, make sure to order your frames well in advance. Unplanned delays due to manufacturing issues can seriously derail the progress of your renovation, and this is a very common issue which I suggest you plan for. Manufacturers commonly stipulate 8 to 10 weeks for frames to be made, but I’ve waited as long as 12 weeks at times, and don’t expect the manufacturer to tell you when the frames are ready, I’ve yet to have that happen, so my advice would be to constantly follow-up.
3. Choose colours carefully.
The right colour window and door frame round off a renovation very nicely, it creates new lines and re-frames the space very nicely, all puns intended. Choosing the wrong colour can be problematic, especially when using aluminum frames, as they are generally anodized, and the process of repainting is complicated and costly. When choosing natural aluminum, make sure that the frames are properly masked, as cement will react with aluminum resulting in unsightly stains. Wood frames, however, will have to be stained, which is also an elaborate chemical process.
4. Measure very carefully.
Ensure that all your measurements are a thousand percent accurate. If you give the sizes to the manufacturer, and the measurements are wrong, then you might end up with a frame which is much larger or smaller than your aperture. And if you have provided the wrong measurements to the manufacturer, they will not return the errant frame, so you’ll probably end up paying for another one, and will wait for it to be made again. The standard for manufacturing is millimeters, and make sure to use a decent tape measure, and definitely not the one from the sewing kit.
5. Make sure there is a lintel.
Before you start breaking out the old window frame, just make sure that there is a lintel in place. In 99.99% of cases, there will be, but I have come across cases where there was not. Once you remove the window, and there is no lintel supporting the wall or roof above, things can and do collapse, and this is unforeseen that can derail any renovation project.
6. Wood or Aluminum.
Depending on the desired aesthetic outcome, modern vs classic etc…
- Aluminum looks really modern and creates sharp clean lines, and it is almost maintenance free. But if you do have any damage down the line, the frame might have to be replaced as aluminum extrusion is pretty unforgiving and very hard to repair without looking like a dog’s breakfast.
- Wood frames have a lot of character that can’t be replicated otherwise, they do however require constant maintenance, and lax maintenance will result in warping and rotting frames, which will eventually have to be replaced as well.
- PVC frames are still a novelty in the South African market, and the cost is a factor which at writing still deters most home owners from installing PVC.