Working with vinyl windows is relatively straightforward. You only need basic tools and limited experience to do it yourself. In this article, let’s go through some of the things you need to know about how to trim vinyl windows.
Often, you only need a utility razor knife to cut off vinyl windows. Then apply pressure gently, similar to mounting flanges, only thicker.
Read on to learn more about vinyl windows—whether you can cut them down, how to do it yourself, and other considerations before taking on this project.
About Vinyl Windows
Initially introduced in Germany in the early ’50s, vinyl windows have become one of today’s most popular windows. Although they’re also known as PVC windows, the majority of vinyl windows are made from UPVC (“U” stands for “unplasticized”).
This material has impressive durability, adequate insulation, fantastic soundproofing, and trouble-free maintenance.
Why Do Homeowners Prefer Vinyl Windows?
1. Exceptional Durability
Vinyl Windows don’t easily discolor, fade, warp, or deteriorate due to sunlight exposure if you buy the higher-end vinyl windows.
2. Simple to Maintain
You don’t need to worry about pest control, repainting, or staining to keep them looking and working great through the years. All they need is a simple cleaning with soapy water.
If affordability is important to you, windows made from vinyl will save you money. And since installing them is relatively easy, labor costs tend to be significantly lower.
4. Energy Efficient
Most vinyl windows on the market have excellent insulating properties. To prevent heat transfer, they can be double-pane or triple-pane filled with either argon or krypton gas. They could also have a reflective coating to reflect heat on the outside like a mirror.
Considering all of these and the disadvantages, homeowners who plan to replace their windows can’t go wrong with vinyl windows.
Can You Cut Down a Vinyl Window?
With the correct tools and knowledge, anything’s possible. However, many do-it-yourselfers and professionals agree that it’s better to get a new window due to several reasons:
1. Vinyl Window Joints Are Welded
The joints of a vinyl window are welded, and if you recut them, moisture and water can get inside and cause damage.
2. Weakened Joints
Cutting down a vinyl window can weaken the joints because it won’t have specially designed L brackets.
3. Required to Buy New Glass Panes
You have to get new glass panes that perfectly fit your resized vinyl window.
Again, trimming vinyl windows – how to do this? Trimming vinyl windows will require a utility razor knife, heavy shears, or a hand saw. If you have an angled window frame or glazing, you have to cut the grid strips at a specific angle.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Replacement Vinyl Window
If all things are equal, most homeowners would prefer buying replacement windows over resizing their windows themselves. But before purchasing a replacement vinyl window, take time to consider the following:
1. DIY or Professional Installation
Can you do it yourself, or do you need a professional contractor to do the installation for you? Anyone planning to replace their windows should ask this common but essential question. If your vinyl windows are incorrectly installed, they’ll fail over time.
But is installing a window that difficult to do? Well, it depends on different factors:
- Home repair experience
- Carpentry skills
- Number of resized vinyl windows you need to install
- Types of tools you have available at home
- Whether your budget is going to be worth your effort and time
Doing it yourself could be a costly mistake, especially if you have no extensive experience with home repairs and vinyl windows. Consider hiring a qualified professional if:
- You don’t have the time and skills to do it yourself.
- You don’t want to worry about whether you correctly installed the replacement vinyl windows or not.
- If you work with a trustworthy contractor, there’s a warranty that you could depend on if the work is faulty or doesn’t live up to their promise.
The cost will naturally vary in every state. For instance, in Southern California, a new window replacement could cost anywhere from $650 to $1,500.
A few factors that affect the cost include the following:
- Window Brand,
- Local Average Labor Rates.
For instance, the average installation cost for replacement vinyl windows is $300 to $850.
Note: Make sure the quote includes the project’s total cost for your vinyl window size. Some companies deceptively claim to have the most affordable prices in the market, but they may charge you for things like manufacturing.
3. Energy Efficiency
I can’t stress enough the importance of having energy-efficient windows in new and existing homes. It’s an essential factor for lowering your heating and cooling bills. According to experts’ estimates, 25% to 30% of heat is gained or lost through the windows.
Vinyl windows are excellent thermal insulators. Meaning they significantly restrict heat loss or gain.
Not all vinyl windows are created equal, though. One way of knowing if a vinyl window is energy efficient is by measuring the thickness of the vinyl and checking the insulation material used for the hollow area of its frame. The thicker and heavier it is, the better.
4. Correct Measurement
You don’t want to risk buying vinyl windows with the incorrect size again. So, as much as possible, use the services of a licensed and bonded window replacement expert. He can do more than get accurate measurements. He could also help you find the best prices, special offers, and options.
Or, if you’re confident, you can do it yourself. Just make sure you follow the measuring instructions that the manufacturer provided to avoid costly mistakes.
5. Legal Permissions
Every state could have different rules on planning permissions for windows. Consult your supplier, manufacturer, legal advisors, and other relevant sources to ensure you’re not violating any laws. In some instances, if you’re installing a vinyl window that’s similar to your old one in terms of style and size, you don’t need to apply for planning permission.
How to Measure Replacement Vinyl Windows
Below are the general steps for measuring replacement vinyl windows—where the jambs are already in place:
1. Lift Your Current Window’s Bottom Sash
Lift the bottom sash or the frame that holds the glass in your current window. Look for the opening height in the middle and on both sides of the window. Measure the height from the highest point of the sill located outdoors against the stool (the part of the window where you might put your plants on) towards the top of the window opening.
2. Measure the Width in Three Places
Measure the width in three places (left, middle, and right), from jamb to jamb. Use the smallest of these measurements for ordering your replacement vinyl windows.
Don’t just measure the width of the window panes. Measure the entire opening of the window. Depending on the manufacturer’s specifications, the jamb-to-jamb measurement should be nearest 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch.
3. Consider the Window Clearance
You also need to consider the window clearance to insert shims in any gaps. Take away 1/4 inch from the height and width measurements to know the exact size of the replacement vinyl window.
Don’t lose the original measurements. You might need it in case the manufacturer suggests changing the clearance measurement.
Repeat all of these steps for every vinyl window you plan to replace. Make sure to note which set of measurements belong to which window.
Conclusion – Trimming Vinyl Windows – How To?
How do you trim vinyl windows? Sometimes, a simple utility knife is all you need to cut off a section of a vinyl window, like its mounting flange, then snap it off.
However, this isn’t always a practical solution to reducing the size of vinyl windows. You could compromise your existing vinyl window’s energy efficiency and structural integrity, causing you to spend more money fixing it. Consider buying a replacement vinyl window and hiring a professional to do the installation.