Should I Replace My Windows or Siding First?

Published on: May 20, 2020

Our Seattle Window and Siding Company Is Here to Help

Homeowners who want to replace windows and siding on their properties sometimes struggle with where to start first. Should they replace windows first or should the siding be done first? How upgrades on a property are carried out can adversely affect the cost and quality of the work.

Some aspects of a building must naturally precede others if the work is to be done efficiently and cost-effectively. When the steps are not done in the right order, an otherwise straightforward job can become very frustrating. So, which should come first, siding or windows?

The best answer is that both should be done at the same time. This is the ideal situation and the reasons for it are listed below:

  • It is cheaper for homeowners in the long run, even if they do need to write a bigger check at once. The savings can be found in the lower cost of materials and labor.
  • Simultaneously replacing windows and siding saves owners the back and forth of taking down the siding to install windows and then replacing them afterward.
  • This option gives owners the most control over how the final product turns out. They can choose style, color, and trim to match or complement one another.
  • Completing renovations of window and siding together allows homeowners to use a single contractor. This helps them avoid possible conflicts over who is responsible for what in the event of future problems.

However, given that in life things rarely happen in an ideal way, owners may not always be able to complete renovations concurrently. When it is not possible to replace windows and siding together, which should come first?

Windows should be done first. This is the most efficient and cost-effective path. Why is that?

1. Damage to existing capping

Capping is the protective aluminum or sheet vinyl covering which is laid over exposed exterior wood trim on some homes. This material is fairly fragile and damages easily. And it is likely to get damaged in the process of removing the old siding.

This means that installing new siding will end up damaging the existing capping. This will leave owners with two undesirable outcomes; a brand new siding sitting next to the unsightly old capping or spending more money to buy new capping.

Furthermore, when they eventually decide to replace windows, the homeowner must buy new capping all over again.

2. More work and additional costs

Changing the siding first will result in homeowners spending more money than is necessary when they eventually want to replace windows. This is because to mount new windows, part of the siding must be removed to install the moisture barrier for the windows.

The step is necessary because the moisture barrier has to go behind the siding. But removing the siding during window installation may cause other problems:

If the siding is really old, it could break apart during the attempt to remove it. Replacing it will add unexpected costs to the project.

Removing siding adds an extra step to the window installation process. Each added step increases the overall cost of the project.

With more steps in the process, there is an increased chance that mistakes will occur during installation and impair the final finish.

3. Offers a better finish

Replacing windows first will allow contractors to do a better job since they have more room to set the capping exactly as it should be. Capping around a window helps to direct water away from the frame of the window and the interior walls of the property.

Properly installed window capping protects a building and impacts the structure‘s insulation and energy-management capabilities. A better result is obtained when the window is installed before siding; a move that could save owners a lot of money in the long run.

4. Fewer surprises

In the course of replacing windows, homeowners can never tell what they will discover which might impact the building’s siding. Windows affects siding more than siding affects windows.

Since the quantity of work that goes into siding depends on what is discovered during windows replacement, windows should come first in the process. If this sequence is not followed and siding is installed before windows, it may be necessary to remove or cut through the siding later.

If possible, property owners should hold off replacing windows and siding separately and save up until they can replace both at once. It is only when this option is out of reach that renovations can be done separately. And even then, windows should always come first.

Finally, as previously stated, it is best to install both siding and windows at once. Although this option places a bigger financial burden on owners, it actually costs less in the long run. The saving in cost is not just monetary but also in time, effort, and job quality.

Further Reading:


  1. […] Homeowners looking to transform the exterior of their home and their energy efficiency often ask us: should I replace windows or siding first?  […]

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