From Dan on May 8th, 2008 in Window Replacement
Custom windows are an appealing option for homeowners who are looking to maintain the historical look of their home or simply desire a unique aesthetic for a new or remodeled home. If you are updating an older house you probably have old, wood windows which may have been custom built in the first place. Unfortunately, it will probably be difficult to find a matching window. Your slim chance will be to find one in an architectural salvage yard. Otherwise you may have to hire a millwright to custom make a new window to replace the old. This will be expensive, so cost is a definite consideration. However, if the frame of the window, both inside and out, is still in good condition, then you may be able to remove one or both sashes and have the shop recreate these only. This will save you a good deal of money.
The new sashes will likely be single glazed so, to improve energy efficiency, you can have the millwright also make storm windows to fit the openings. For most projects, be it a new home, remodel, or addition, it is not so much the material but the size or shape that make the window custom. Although the type of material will be a factor in the window’s price. Certain materials such as vinyl are easier to extrude into shapes such as arches and therefore will cost less than a wood window of the same shape.
Cost is definitely the most important consideration when deciding on custom windows. A variation of just an inch or two from the standard, commonly stocked size can greatly increase the cost of the window. If you are replacing existing windows that are oddly sized you don’t have to order a new window of the same size or even shape. It is often easier, and cheaper, to modify the rough opening than to custom order a window. Yet if a custom window is what you want and you’re willing to pay the extra cost, then make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
Shop around. Choosing an energy efficient window may help to offset those extra costs over time through savings on the energy bill. You only want to buy these windows once, so choose a quality, durable window. Be sure to seek out and hire a qualified contractor to install your windows. Installation of custom windows often costs a bit more also. So you want it done right the first time. Your contractor may also be able to help you locate a window manufacturer that can custom build your windows in a timely manner and minimize costs as much as possible.
One more consideration. If you’re remodeling, don’t decide you want a custom window after you’ve ripped a hole in your wall. Custom windows can take weeks to be built and delivered, so have the new window onsite before you tear the old one out.