If you are looking for new windows and doors, chances are you will see plenty of companies offering “custom” windows. When it comes to window replacement, “custom” not only means the options and functions you choose to put in your window, it also means that that window is specifically manufactured for you, based on the measurements taken from your rough opening. Custom windows are great because they are supposed to fit perfectly in your home for maximum efficiency, and have exactly the look and colour you imagined.
But one disadvantage of custom windows and doors is that they have to be manufactured specifically for your order. This usually means your window replacement will take about 4-6 weeks from the time the contract is signed. People often contact us to find out whether we stock any pre-made units. And although we always talk about how great custom windows are, that doesn’t mean a mass produced one won’t work for your particular replacement.
Custom windows are an ideal replacement solution. Part of the reason they achieve the highest energy-efficiency is because they fit perfectly into the existing opening. This leaves minimal space for insulation foam and seal. The smaller the gap between the unit and the wall, the less opportunity there is for air to come through the opening.
Custom windows are also ideal if you are looking to make functional changes. You may want to allow some air flow through your house, make a fixed sash operable, or simply make a window easier to maintain. A custom replacement for your house can address one or all of those needs.
While custom windows are an ideal replacement solution, there are instances when a stock window may work just as well.
An obvious advantage of these units is their price. A stock window can cost up to 70% less than a brand new custom unit. Be aware, however, as sometimes the price difference is a result of a lower quality in the product. Another factor to consider is that a stock unit, no matter how close to the opening size, may require additional structural work. In order to complete the installation to CSA standards, these jobs often require the building of extra studs and headers. The costs for doing this structural work may very well negate any savings in comparison to a custom window replacement.
Another major advantage of stock windows is their immediate availability. Not having to wait 6-8 weeks to get a new replacement is ideal if your panes were severely damaged or vandalized and you need a replacement today.
The best way to save by using stock windows is in the “new opening” installation or when building a new house. Because an opening doesn’t physically exist yet, it is much easier to engineer it to fit an existing unit, and make sure that the panes will be flush once the construction work is done.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to deciding on custom or mass-produced windows, as long as you take quality into consideration.
If you assess your needs properly and ask the right questions you should have an easy time figuring out exactly what kind of replacement will be ideal for you.