Window in the process of being replaced.
27 August 2020

What to Expect During Your Window and Door Replacement Project

Find out what you need to do, how long it will take, and what the window and door replacement process will look like.


You’re replacing your windows and doors – now what?
Congratulations! You’ve decided to improve your home with new windows and doors. A Marvin expert has carefully measured all the openings, and your new windows and doors have been ordered. If you’re asking yourself what happens next, here is a helpful guide that will walk you through every step of the process, from preparing your home for the arrival of the installers to what needs to be done before they leave.


Prepare for window and door delivery
The installation crew may show up with your new windows and doors in their trailer, or they may have them delivered to your house a day or two before they start the job. If they do get delivered beforehand, it would be best if the new windows and doors could be stored in a secure garage. If you can make room for them, ask the project manager how much space they’ll take up, and then arrange a time for delivery so you can be home to let the delivery workers inside. If you don’t have the space, the installation crew will have to coordinate the delivery date with their arrival. What you don’t want is to leave your new windows and doors outside exposed to the elements and dishonest people.


If you have a large house or are having additional renovations completed at the same time as your windows and doors are being replaced, you can expect the arrival of a dumpster before the replacement process begins. You may not want a garage stall or a specific parking spot blocked off, so talk with the job supervisor about where you want the dumpster dropped. Ask for boards to be placed under the contact points of the dumpster to prevent damaging the surface of your driveway.


Clear the way for installers
The installation technicians will need space to work. Clear away any furniture (or pets) located directly in front of, or close to, the windows and doors being replaced. The installers will most likely need ladders to reach the outside of the windows as well, so provide access to the areas where ladders will need to be set up. This may include moving boats, patio furniture, lawn ornaments, etc. If large windows or doors need to be hauled through the house to their destination, clear an open path near tight corners or along narrow hallways for them to make it through.


Protect your property
A professional and experienced crew will do their best not to damage your property, but accidents do happen. To reduce the chance of an accident, relocate tippy items like floor lamps away from the work area. The process of installing a window or door could rattle the walls, so remove fragile items off nearby shelving. The installers should bring along their own drop cloths and plastic to protect the floor in the work area, but let them know if there are any other delicate surfaces you would like them to be particularly gentle on or around. If you’re the handy type, remove any shades, blinds, and curtains you plan on reusing.


Not so handy? Ask the installer to carefully remove them for you. If shades, blinds and curtains don’t need to be removed to replace the window, ask that the installers wrap them up in plastic.


The window and door installation process
A smaller crew of just a couple installers will likely work on one window or door at a time, while a larger crew may tackle several openings at once. If your windows are being replaced with inserts, most of the work will be done from the inside and there should be no alterations to the trim around the windows either inside or out. If you opted for full window replacements, the window trim both inside the house and outside will have to be replaced or dismantled and reassembled. Click here if you want to know more about the difference between inserts and full window replacement.


How long will window and door replacement take?
After the windows and doors have been ordered, they should be ready for delivery in a few weeks. Custom products like historic replications or specialty shaped windows will take longer. The installation time depends on the size of the crew and the difficulty of the job. A two-person crew can replace a small to average size window with a new insert replacement window in about an hour, so figure about eight windows a day. Large windows take longer. One full window replacement could take several hours to install, depending on how complicated the interior and exterior trim is to remove and replace or reinstall. Installing one patio door could take a half day or more because there is often wood rot that requires repairing and special flashing that needs to be custom made.


Every job is different and there are many factors that can prolong the process, including the weather. Rainy or extremely cold weather will cause delays. And extended periods of inclement weather will likely postpone the jobs the installers need to finish before they can start on your home. Patience is a virtue. A conscientious crew should give you regular updates about changes in start and completion times.


How to inspect new windows and doors
Inspect every window and door before the installation crew moves on to their next job. Look for dents or scratches on the glass, trim, window frames, and sashes. If possible, inspect the outside sealant for gaps. Open and close every window at least a couple times to check for smooth, bind-free operation. Make sure you’re 100% satisfied before the installation crew leaves your home.


Communication is key
As with most relationships, it's important to communicate; in fact, there’s no such thing as too much communication. Before the job starts, talk about the where’s, when’s, and how’s regarding material and dumpster delivery. Let them know which start dates work for you, and which do not (following a general rule never to share specifics about vacation plans where your home might be unattended).


Are weekends okay? Talk about preferred stop and start times. Can they get started at 8 a.m. or would you prefer they wait until 9 a.m.? The more you communicate, the fewer misunderstandings there will be. Your satisfaction is the highest priority of every seasoned installation crew, partially because you’re a terrific person, and also because callbacks are a profit killer.