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Which Should You Install First: Replacement Windows or Siding?

Milwaukee Home Improvement Specialists On Best Sequence For A Multi-Phase Home Improvement Project.

If you’re thinking about replacing worn out windows and siding, but can’t afford to have everything done at once, you may be wondering if it’s better to get your windows replaced first or your siding. The short answer: Go for replacing the windows first.

Why windows first?

In a word: Capping. In case you’re wondering, capping is the protective covering (usually aluminum or sheet vinyl) that is put over exposed exterior wood trim. It usually damages fairly easily, so if you have siding installed first the process of removing the old siding is likely to damage your existing capping. Which means you’ll either have to live with the incongruity of beautiful new siding and dinged up old capping, or you’ll have to invest in new capping for old windows.

Trouble is, when you get around to replacing those windows, you’ll have to pay again for having them capped. Typically, all this capping and re-capping works out to about $500 to $700, depending on the number and size of windows.

Obviously, the best solution is to have your new windows and siding installed at the same time. It makes for a much simplified and cost-effective installation.

Besides the issues with the capping, there’s the moisture barrier that surrounds the window to consider. To install it properly, we have to remove part of the adjacent siding. Usually, this isn’t a problem. However, in some instances the old siding can be so old it breaks apart when we remove it (think 1960s Masonite!) Even in the best-case scenarios, having to remove surrounding siding and then replace it in order to properly mount a moisture barrier around new windows adds an extra step to the job.

Our recommendation: Save up until you can get both the windows and siding done at the same time. While it will obviously cost more to get them both done at the same time, it will end up costing you less than having them done a year or two apart. If that’s just not possible, or if your siding isn’t so bad that it needs to be replaced, then, by all means, have new windows installed.

While you’re mulling it over, check out our Replacement Siding Installation gallery for some inspiration.

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