Replacing your home’s old windows and doors with new, energy-efficient models is one of the best renovation decisions you can make. Planning a new kitchen or bathroom is fun, but those remodeling projects can’t compare to windows and doors when return on investment comes into play.
After all, a prospective buyer might not like your choice of material for kitchen countertops, but who’s going to argue with a sturdy entry door and double-pane windows?
New doors and windows come with a long list of benefits—and a significant financial investment. If you’re like many homeowners today, you might be wondering if you could keep costs down by turning your home exterior upgrade into a DIY project.
In theory, you could possibly save a little money. In practice, however, you’d likely dig even deeper into your bank account than you would if you’d hired a pro in the beginning.
How is that possible? Let’s take a look.
What Window and Door Installation Companies Actually Do
If you’re a committed DIYer, you probably enjoy a good challenge. What’s important to remember is that replacing doors and windows goes beyond just a challenge, especially if you’re working alone and with homeowner-grade tools.
When you hire a professional to install your new doors and windows, here’s a basic outline of what you can expect the process to look like:
- A couple of crew members will arrive at your home to take specific, careful measurements of the doors and windows.
- The products you select will be ordered, manufactured, and delivered to your home or the retailer’s warehouse.
- An installation crew will arrive at your home to prep the site and start the job.
- The installers will work as a team to replace as many windows and doors as your contract stipulates. For large or especially complex jobs, this process can take a couple of days; for smaller jobs, the crew will likely finish in one day.
- After the job is finished, the install crew will clean up the jobsite, ensuring that they remove all debris from in and around your house.
The pros have the door and window replacement process down to a science, and they have the manpower, the knowledge, and the equipment necessary to do the job quickly and correctly.
Here’s what the process could look like for a DIYer:
- You take measurements of the doors and windows you’re planning to replace.
- You place an order online or at your local home improvement store for the products you’ve chosen, and the new doors and windows arrive a few weeks later.
- After opening the package, you realize that your measurements must have been incorrect—none of the windows you ordered are the right size. You’re back at step 1.
- After a few more weeks of waiting, you finally receive the shipment of replacement doors and windows in the right size.
- On a sunny weekend morning, you decide to begin by installing a patio door. You and the friend you recruited remove the existing sliding door unit, but once you start inspecting the gaping hole in your house, you notice dry rot along the bottom edge. This must be fixed before you can install the new patio door, so you head to the hardware store for supplies.
- By the time you return from the store and figure out how to fix the dry rot, the sun has started to set and your friend has returned home. You won’t be able to install the new patio door alone, so you cover the hole with a tarp and hope the forecast doesn’t change to rain.
- You realize that you haven’t even started on the windows and decide to hire a professional to finish the job.
Every home and every jobsite is different, of course, and what’s described above is a worst-case scenario. That being said, DIY home improvement adventures can easily go off track, increasing your costs and the time required to finish the job. Save time, money, and your sanity by hiring a pro from the beginning.
What Makes Replacing a Door (or a Window) So Difficult?
1. They’re easy to measure incorrectly.
Getting the correct measurements for your new doors and windows is important for beginning the project on the right foot. For a layperson, however, those measurements can be difficult to get exactly right. The pros know which measurements matter and how to get them accurately.
2. Doors and windows are heavy.
While you might be able to fix a leaky faucet on your own, replacing doors and windows isn’t a one-person job. Doors and windows—especially prehung doors and replacement window units—are heavy and unwieldy, which is why the pros, with their multiperson crews, have the advantage.
If you take on the job yourself, you’ll only be able to work on one window or door at a time, even if you have another person helping you. A professional installation crew can be large enough to work in teams to tackle several parts of the job at one time.
3. Plenty of problems can hide behind existing doors and windows.
Finding rotted wood in either the framing or the subfloor (or both) when you remove a door or window is not uncommon, and these spots must be repaired before the installation can move forward. In most cases, wood rot is caused by incorrect installation, lack of flashing and other protective materials, or lack of maintenance.
Luckily, a professional installation crew has the knowledge and materials to fix the problems and ensure they won’t reoccur with your new windows and doors.
The Bottom Line: Opt for Professional Door and Window Installation
Even if you’re usually comfortable taking on home improvement tasks yourself, let the professionals install your new doors and windows. Here’s why:
When doors and windows aren’t installed correctly, your home is less secure. Improperly installed doors often don’t lock fully, or their lock strike plates may not be anchored well enough in the door frame. Both of these errors mean that intruders wouldn’t have much difficulty entering your home.
Choose professional window and door installation to ensure that your home is secure and your family stays safe.
One of the most significant benefits of replacing old doors and windows is the savings you’ll see on your energy bills. But in order to reap that benefit, your new windows and doors must be installed—and insulated—correctly.
Professional installation means that your new doors and windows will perform the way they’re advertised.
If you do the installation yourself, anything that breaks or goes wrong is your responsibility. When you work with a professional door and window company, the installation work and the products will probably be covered by a warranty.
Your new doors and windows are an investment in the value of your home, so make sure you’re protected in case anything goes wrong. A reputable, professional company will make sure that you’re happy before the job is finished.
Julia Clem is part of the marketing team at Best Pick Reports. Best Pick Reports utilizes consumer satisfaction research to evaluate the performance of home service providers, such as plumbers, roofers, and painters, in metro areas across the US. After compiling surveys from thousands of homeowners who have had direct experience with local service companies, Best Pick Reports connects top-rated companies with their ideal customers by promoting them in its annual publication, website, and mobile app. Brennan Enterprises has been a Best Pick company since 2011.