Q: I have odd shaped windows that need to be replaced in my home.  My windows are leaking and my winter energy bills were very high.  I would like to put a stop to this as it will soon be time to turn on the A/C and don’t want my cooling bills to skyrocket again!   Can I get these custom windows replaced with something that is more energy efficient?

A: It’s no secret that New England is filled to the brim with unique architecture—after all, this is what makes our area so beautiful. Many homeowners around Massachusetts have unique style homes with many odd or custom shaped windows. These custom window shapes require special attention when it comes to replacement. Otherwise, you can downgrade the performance of your window or even compromise the structural integrity of your home. Most installation jobs are subjective to the project itself and the manufactured specifications of the product but there are general rules of how you can go about upgrading your home with unique window shapes and lower your utility bills at the same time.

What are Odd Shaped Windows?

Odd shaped windows are windows that aren’t typically available from a home improvement store. While standard size windows are theoretically easier to come by, the process for unique window shapes is a bit different.

Odd shaped windows include shapes such as circles, diamonds, hexagons, triangles, or other custom window sizes that you don’t typically see. These windows are quite beautiful and make a big statement in terms of aesthetics and curb appeal, but you’ll need to be careful regarding the replacement process.

One of the biggest problems with old odd shaped windows is that they allow a lot of passive solar heat to enter through your home. They will also cost your home a lot of energy during the winter and summer—and this is especially the case if your windows are original to your home. With some New England homes dating back as far as the 1700s, you can only imagine what kind of energy is lost through these windows.

Measuring Custom Shaped Windows for Replacement: Hire a Professional

Odd window shapes require special consideration and planning before they are engineered. First, the windows must be measured by a professional. Accurate measurements are critically important to making sure the window fits within the existing space and creates an airtight seal. It can be difficult to measure windows when they contain curves and unique lines, but rest assured that a reputable professional window replacement company can get the precise measurements needed- down to the 1/8 of an inch.

In order to get the most accurate measurement possible, your window contractor will need to get the measurements for the rough opening of the window. Be prepared for the possibility that the trim or casing around the window will be removed. It’s also important to be forewarned that removing trim for an old, odd shaped window is tricky and extreme care needs to be applied.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to ask about maximum dimensions for your new replacement windows. Many homeowners are unaware that there are restrictions for custom shaped windows, and the frame needs to properly support the glass. If the boundaries of the window restrictions are pushed too far, this will cause damage to the window. Custom window shapes also have restrictions for safety and operations.

Adding a Custom Window to an Empty Wall

If you’re adding odd shaped windows to a wall where no window currently exists, there are additional considerations. Unfortunately, it’s not just as easy as carving a hole in your wall and popping the window in place. Your window installer needs to ensure that there is adequate support for the structure of your home around the new window such as jack studs, king studs and/or headers.  There is also a possibility that wires and plumbing may need to be rerouted.    

Although the process may sound a little daunting, rest assured that you can absolutely have beautiful custom shape windows that maintain energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills.  If you have odd shaped windows that are leaking energy (or rotting) and costing you excess money month after month, learn how Coastal Windows & Exteriors can help by contacting Stephanie at svanderbilt@mycoastalwindows.com  or by calling 978-304-0495.

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