How to Measure for Window Replacement

December 12, 2023

When it comes to home improvement projects, replacing your windows can be one of the transformative and exciting interior changes. However, the success of a window replacement depends on making accurate measurements. After all, you want your new windows to fit perfectly into their frame to ensure energy efficiency and home comfort.

In this comprehensive guide, follow along we share some of the best practices when measuring for your windows, including interior and exterior measurements, rough openings, and other special considerations. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or considering professional help, understanding the nuances of window measurements can ensure your replacement project is a success.

Interior Window Measurement Best Practices

First and foremost, measure the inside of the window frame height and width. To do this correctly, use a metal tape measure to calculate the width between the side jambs and the height between the top jamb and sill. Make sure to measure as accurately as possible and record the smallest total measurement in both inches and millimeters.

For standard single- and double-hung windows, check that the depth of your jambs measures between 3 ½ and 4 inches. Also, check that the depth of the sash (the sliding part of the window) is at least ¾ of an inch. If your sash measurements come out a little shallower, then you'll need to buy a jamb depth extension.

Another important consideration when measuring your windows from the inside is your drywall returns, or, of the window frame where the drywall overlaps the window, forming a seal and hiding the innermost edges of the window frame. The return can vary in width, so remember to measure the depth of the return, which will add to the width measurement. If you need to trim your window coverings in the ends, you will need to subtract the width of the drywall return from your measurements.

Remember: The key here is precision - using the smallest dimensions guarantees a snug fit for the new window. 

Exterior Window Measurement Best Practices

For brick homes, exterior measurements are typically taken from the outside opening. Subtracting a quarter-inch from the shortest measurement is crucial to allow for a proper fit without disturbing the brickwork. 

For all other wall types, exterior measurements are taken from the outside edge of the window. Subtracting three-eighths of an inch from the shortest measurement allows for the window trim, providing a precise fit. 

Rough Opening Measurement Tips

To obtain the most accurate measurement, consider exposing the rough opening by removing interior trim. The rough opening is the framed space in the wall where the window will be installed. This step becomes particularly critical if you're not using insert replacement windows, as it ensures that the new window will fit seamlessly into the designated space.

Special Considerations: 

Certain situations, such as basement windows or unique installations, may require removing the existing frame to measure the rough opening accurately. Moreover, when dealing with older homes or non-standard window sizes, consulting with your window manufacturers for specific measuring can be a huge help.

Professional Installation: A Worthwhile Investment

While DIY is a viable option for window replacement, professional installation offers several advantages, especially for peculiar or complex setups. Seeking quotes from professional window installers in your area will allow you to compare prices, as well as gain access to valuable advice and warranties. 

Professional window installers possess the expertise and the right tools, and can usually complete a window replacement project in a significantly shorter time than if you tried to do it yourself. Plus, you can avoid potential mishaps or costly repairs. 

Elevate Your El Paso Home with Southwestern Home Products!

In conclusion, the key to a successful window replacement project lies in meticulous measurement. Whether you decide to embark on a DIY journey or opt for professional assistance, accuracy is a non-negotiable. 

Live in El Paso Texas? Want to replace your windows? We can help! 

At Southwestern Home Products, we proudly offer a plethora of replacement windows, all made using the highest quality materials. Our products come in a range of styles and sizes, so no matter if your home is traditional or modern, we have the perfect fit for you. Plus, all our windows come with an energy-efficient rating, so you can save money on heating and cooling costs. 

Contact us today to find out how our professional window installers can not only measure your windows, but install them perfectly!

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