Replacement Risk

Jim Snyder
May 13, 2014
THE TALK... | Methods & Techniques

Full-frame replacement represented nearly half of my replacement business, and I replaced many windows without the help of manufacturer’s instructions for a variety of reasons: replacement instructions didn’t exist, the brick façade prevented access, there was no membrane behind the façade or I encountered a combination of these circumstances. I developed techniques to counter these obstacles and had very few issues. Yet, I was taking a risk. 

My primary concern was not failure of the fenestration itself, but the integration into the existing wall system, which could lead to “apparent” failure at the window. Secondly, I didn’t want to inherit the liability of the entire preexisting wall condition beyond the window.
My options to eliminate that risk were to: 1) not do the replacement at all, or 2) remove and replace the exterior veneer for access, and add a membrane to the wall system. Usually, neither of these options was practical for the client even in desperate need of new windows.
Another approach is to minimize the risk. Consider risk factors. Recognize that the home will always be brick, will never have a membrane and you are to do no harm to the existing condition in the replacement process. Finally, you have the option to disclose to the homeowner what you can and cannot do based on the existing condition before contracting to do the job. Clarify who (you or the homeowner) will be taking the risk. 
I go into more detail in my column, “Guidelines to Full-Frame Replacement,” and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please take a moment to take our survey, post a comment or contact me directly. 
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, Window & Door editors, or other Talk contributors.

Survey Results for 05/14/2014 :

If replacement conditions are less than ideal, do you:

Fully disclose to the client and discuss the "what if's"





Decline the job





Say nothing, move forward and warranty the job regardless





Say nothing, move forward and see what happens




Jim Snyder is an AAMA-certified FenestrationMaster and InstallationMaster who shares his years of installation field experience as an industry writer, speaker, trainer and project/product consultant for dealers and manufacturers. A member of various industry organizations, Snyder also is involved in instructional document creation and revision. Contact him at

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