Should You Replace Windows Or Siding First?

When you’re renovating your home, you might reach a crossroad sooner than expected. More specifically, the problem is regarding windows and siding. Which one should receive a touch-up first? After all, doing one over the other might be a costly mistake. Let’s find out what others had to say!

If you have to choose between the two, professionals recommend replacing your windows first. However, it also depends on the conditions. Should the siding have more damage, prioritize replacing it over the windows. Ideally, it’s better to replace both at the same time.

Now that you know windows take priority, you might be curious why! Additionally, if you chose to install siding first, is there any way to replace windows without removing siding? We’ll also give you an idea of what it may cost with either option. If you’d like to learn this and more, keep reading ahead.

A worker inserts glass into the window frame, Should You Replace Windows Or Siding First?

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Windows Or Siding?

As mentioned, before deciding which one you want to replace, you’ll have to inspect both for the extent of damages. If there’s significant damage to the siding, it should take priority. Should they both be in decent shape – but you want to replace one of them – the windows should go first.

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The wall of a private house with a window covered with yellow siding

Let’s go over why windows take priority. 

Windows First

The main reason professionals and homeowners alike recommend windows first is because of capping. What is capping anyway? It’s material that covers the wood frame of the window. Windows have capping to protect the wood trim from exposure to the elements.

Window capping is usually in the form of vinyl or aluminum. If your windows are in decent condition now, they might give you trouble later if you install siding first. 

The Problems That Could Arise

To give you a better picture, let’s consider your situation. How long will you wait to replace the windows if you install siding first? If you’re thinking long-term, siding installation can potentially damage the capping. 

So, to fix the problem, you’ll need to recap the windows – even though you decided to work on the siding first. If you don’t have enough in your budget, you might have to make do with dented capping. In the future, when you want to replace the windows, you’ll have to recap them again. In the long run, you’re adding more to the cost. 

However, there’s still a solution for this. What if you can do the window capping yourself? It will be lighter on your wallet – and it’s a new way to learn parts of the trade by yourself. 

The success of the project will depend on a lot of know-how. If you’re a novice without knowing what to do, some users warn that you could direct water INTO the wall. Thus, there’s a level of risk you take when thinking of DIY. 

Siding First

In some situations, it might make sense to install siding first. It depends on the extent of the damage you find. It also matters if the windows can hold up for a few years more. If you’re itching to go with siding, do an inspection first. 

You can fix minor cracks and damage with a quick visit from a local contractor. In this case, replacing windows take priority because the siding should hold up well for the following months or years. The tricky part is deciding when to replace the siding entirely. Let’s take a look at some of the signs. 

How Do You Know When Siding Needs To Be Replaced?

The first sign will depend on how vigilant you were with your siding. If you’ve kept up with repairs, damages aren’t necessarily an indicator that you need a replacement. The problem lies when you haven’t kept up with maintenance. 

If it’s been some time since you’ve checked the siding for damage, there’s likely widespread damage that you didn’t know was happening! High energy bills in recent months could indicate the extent of the damage. There might be gaps, moisture damage, and mold growth underneath the siding. 

Age is another sign. Is your siding older than 10-15 years old? Is it having trouble holding on to paint no matter how many times you’ve painted over it? In this case, replacing the siding ahead of the windows would make sense. 

Is It Cheaper To Replace Windows With Siding?

Worker removing break down windows

Now that we’ve weighed all the pros and cons of both choices – let’s explore the ideal option mentioned above. Ideally, replacing the windows and siding at the same time is the best choice. So, if you can afford to wait, you should save up until you can do both. 

This way, installers won’t have to cut into new siding or damage existing capping for installation. Instead, they’ll replace your windows first. The windows will need a moisture barrier – that extends below the siding – to ensure water can’t find its way into your home. They’ll finish it off by installing the siding. 

All in all, it will be a cheaper option that won’t require more visits than necessary. You won’t need to cap and recap the windows like you would if you go with siding first. To give you a figure on how much that would cost, it will range around $50-$250 per window. 

Can You Replace Windows Without Removing Siding?

If you must go with one option, it’s understandable to find ways to reduce costs. Trying to replace windows without removing the siding is one way. Is it possible? That depends on the type of windows you want to install.

New-Construction Windows

New constructions windows are designed to be installed in new homes or as an addition. With this choice, installers will remove the old window entirely. They will use a nailing fin to attach the new one. 

It will require removing the siding for installation. 

Replacement Windows

Replacement windows – also known as retrofit windows – are less intrusive. They will be made to fit the exact measurements of the space your old window occupies. That is, of course, if the frame and sill show no signs of damage. If they’re in good condition, no exterior remodeling will be necessary. 

What Is the Average Cost of Replacing Siding?

New beige vinyl siding being installed over an osb (oriented strand board) substrate on a residential house

The average cost of replacing siding will depend on the type of material you choose. Removal of existing siding, the size, and the shape of the home will also add to the price tag.

Removing your current siding will cost around $1,000-$3,000

As some suggest, installing new siding will cost around $12 per square foot. If you’d like to reduce costs, that figure can go as low as $2 per square foot. Of course, this doesn’t give us a good idea of how much it will cost. So, let’s go over some examples. 

If your home is around 2,000 square feet in size, here are some figures of the popular options to give you an idea of how much it would cost: 

  • Aluminum: $3,000-$14,000 (around $1.50-$7 per sq ft)
  • Vinyl: $2,000-$16,000 (around $1-$8 per sq ft)
  • Wood: $16,000-$24,000 (around $16,000-$24,000 per sq ft)

Should I Replace All Windows at Once?

Of course, if you’re dealing with a budget, sometimes you might have to decide to replace only a few windows at a time. But, are you making a mistake? Professionals would suggest not.

Ideally, it is recommended to replace all of them at once. Since budget is usually the limiting factor, it’s understandable if you can only replace a few at a time. Still, that doesn’t mean you should only replace two or three.

Contractors suggest replacing 5-10 windows if you’re not replacing the whole thing yet. The reasoning behind this decision is that it allows for better deals regarding labor costs. Additionally, this will essentially employ the installation team for a full day.

How Long Do Windows Last?

When you’re in the market for windows, durability is one factor that comes into consideration. How long will the new windows last? It all depends on the materials, the quality of installation, and weather conditions.

Windows should last you anywhere around 15-30 years. Routine maintenance will determine if it lasts for more than two decades.

Final Takeaway

Making decisions when you’re renovating a home is never an easy task. If you choose one, you might regret it later. So, it’s crucial that you plan ahead. This way, you can save more to improve other areas of your home! We hope you found the information above helpful.

Before you go, do you have other renovation concerns? If you’ve decided to install vinyl siding, caulking might be an extra step to consider! To learn more, check out our post, “Should You Caulk Vinyl Siding?”

Are you wondering how far siding should overlap foundation? If you’d like to learn more, check out our post, “How Far Should Siding Overlap Foundation?”

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One comment

  1. Last week, my window was broken badly while neighborhood children were playing cricket. The glasses were shattered and the siding is also damaged. And I was thinking about which one to repair first and got the solution in your article. Thanks for sharing such useful content.

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