Choosing New Replacement Windows for Our Home
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Universal Windows Direct.
Our home turns 100 years old this year! Yep, it was built in 1921. Over the past two years, we’ve slowly been fixing up this entire property. From new floors, to new electrical, an updated kitchen, new doors, and more, our home has undergone many changes. Our plan is to go room-by-room until it feels like a brand new home from top to bottom.
Our Old Windows
Replacement windows have been on our list from the very start. While our windows aren’t 100 years old, most are probably about twenty to thirty years old. When we bought the house, we had all of the interior windows painted white to match our trim, so while they may look fresh in photos, functionally they’re very old and outdated.
This past winter was a really cold one here in Chicago, with lots of snow and frigid temps. None of our windows are energy-efficient, so they’re incredibly drafty and lots of cold air seeps through the sides. We made do with space heaters this past winter and vowed that we would get new windows before next winter.
Getting an Estimate from Universal Windows Direct
It was around this same time that Universal Windows Direct reached out about working together. I had seen their commercials on TV but had never bought windows before so I wasn’t super familiar with their process. After reading more about their company, I thought it would be the perfect fit for our home’s needs. They specialize in replacement windows where they can measure your current windows and make new custom windows to replace them. They also have a wide variety of colors, styles, and grid patterns to choose from so I knew that the replacement windows could work seamlessly in our house.
I had someone from Universal Windows Direct come out to our house to take a look at our windows. Our plan was to look at every single one and determine how bad each was. We went around the entire house inspecting them all and made a big to-do list. You can sign up for a free estimate right here.
Our New Window To-Do List
In the end, we decided to replace eleven windows around here…
First, our bedroom. We have five windows and it can get so chilly in here at night. Our current double-hung windows were in rough shape with some of the seals coming out and lots of air seepage on the sides. New windows up here would definitely help with our utility bill for our second-floor furnace.
Next, the kitchen. Obviously, the rest of the kitchen is completely done and looking good! We even put a new sliding door in during our big renovation. But the big windows by the dining room table and the stairs are all about 30 years old and they were in bad shape. Sitting in the dining nook wasn’t very comfortable on chilly days because of the cold coming through.
Finally, and this one might be my favorite, our first-floor bathroom window. You already know the saga of a wood window with wood trim in this shower. Say what?! It’s wild to me that someone made that decision when designing this bathroom. Wood and water are not a great combo! When we re-did the shower last fall, we replaced the wood trim with tile so it was at least protected to the edge of the window. But the window itself was still wood, which was problematic since we’ve actually started to use and love this shower.
I placed my order for the new eleven windows and I got a call that they had arrived about six weeks later!
The Install Process
The two-man crew from Universal Windows Direct came out to install the new windows in one day. They were super friendly and respectful (masked up and wearing shoe covers) and didn’t mind that I acted as paparazzi getting photos and video for the blog. Thanks, guys!
Getting rid of the old and putting in the replacement windows was a lot of work, but they were super efficient and fast. They started inside, getting the new windows in place and then finished off each one outside, making sure that the siding wasn’t damaged and everything was caulked and sealed nicely.
I was worried that they might have to remove our window trim to get the new windows in place, but they didn’t. It stayed on and they even caulked it all at the end so it looked nice and fresh.
Our Replacement Windows
Okay, so let’s take a look at the new windows in each space.
For all of the replacement windows, I chose white vinyl on the inside and white paint on the exterior. I also chose white hardware so it would look seamless against the windows and wouldn’t stand out.
I decided on double-hung windows in our bedroom. I like double-hung on a second floor because you can easily clean the outside of the window from the inside of the house. (They tilt so you can access from the bedroom, which means no getting on a ladder to clean the windows!) The new windows slide up and down so easily. Before, it was a bear to try to crack a window in here. It felt like lifting the heaviest thing ever!
You’ll notice another big difference in here – my bamboo shades are gone on the windows near the dresser. The depth and width of the new windows didn’t fit my shades, so they won’t be going back up in here. Luckily, I still have my blackout curtains to block out the light at night. I was able to keep the shades over the bed though, which is good since we don’t have any curtains over there.
So, if you’re considering replacement windows, keep in mind that your current window treatments might not work with the new windows. I’d recommend getting the new windows in place before ordering any window shades.
In the kitchen, I chose a big picture window in the middle, flanked by two casement windows that crank out. That’s similar to what we had here before and it worked well for us. I also like the fact that you can fold away the handle. It was always a pain sitting here at the table and having a big handle sticking out into your back!
The small window up top is an awning window that also cranks out.
These have been so nice to have since we are in the kitchen constantly and we’re always sitting near this big stretch of windows. Now it’s going to be so much more comfortable sitting down to eat as a family. No more chills!
Finally, the wood window is out of the shower! In here, I chose a white double-hung window with an obscure glass frost for privacy. It’s rated for a shower, so it’s totally okay if it gets wet.
I can’t get over how much better it looks in here. Not to mention, that we feel so much more at ease using this shower and getting the window wet! With that replacement window, this bathroom is officially done, done, done!
View from the Outside
Here’s a look at the back of our house right after we bought it…
I didn’t really even think about how much better the outside of the house would look with new windows, so it was a pleasant surprise when I looked at the back of our house for the first time! The trim and siding surrounding the replacement windows are all new and fresh. So, it just looks really clean and crisp, which I love. It’s a good way to start our backyard renovation, which kicks off next month.
As someone who has never bought windows before, I really had no clue what the cost would be. When they came out to measure, they gave a full estimate for the entire project and we were able to break it down from there. I would say, on average, it usually costs anywhere from $800-$1,200 per window. That’s a rough estimate, of course, but it’s a way to figure out the potential budget for new windows for your home. We have over thirty windows in our house, so that’s a big project to replace them all!
They also offer a price lock guarantee per window for up to two years. So if you need to do your entire home in phases (as we are), they’ll honor that original estimate that they gave you for the window.
I know Universal Windows Direct does have a buy one window, get one window free promotion right now, along with zero interest and zero payments for 24 months. So there are always financing options if you need them!
I’m excited to see how these new windows affect our utility bill all year long. In the summer, the inner pane of the glass is supposed to stay a lot cooler. Vice versa in the winter. Not to mention, we won’t have drafts near those spots anymore, so we won’t have to rely on our space heaters all the time.
The windows also come with a true lifetime warranty, which means it’s 100% transferrable to the next homeowner for thirty years. We know we won’t be in this home forever, so knowing that the next homeowners will be set with a window warranty is a big selling point for a potential buyer.
Universal Windows Direct Experience – Video
I also put together a little behind-the-scenes video of the entire process if you want to give it a watch above (or here on YouTube). It’s fun to see how they take out those old windows and get the new windows in. It was a cold day, so it did get a bit chilly in here!
We still have about twenty more windows left on our to-do list that we eventually want to replace. It’s nice knowing that the really problematic windows are gone and replaced with new ones and that we’ll be more comfortable in our favorite spots in the house. I’ll keep you updated on our gameplan for replacing the rest. Perhaps we’ll tackle those in the fall or early next year.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.