You loved the place and could afford it. You bought the home of your dreams and moved in. Then came the first winter and the windows leak, air, water, heat and anything else that can pass through the cracks. What are you going to do? You live in a condominium, which belongs to a homeowner’s association (HOA), so your first instinct is to contact them.
Know the process
Your window replacement options will vary depending on the number of units (condos), the age of the buildings, the number of stories and/or the unique bi-laws of your association. Generally speaking, homeowners, that would be you, are responsible for replacing your unit’s windows within guidelines that pertain to matching the existing windows and maybe newer energy regulations. It is common however for an HOA to organize an association-wide replacement project charging each unit their portion of the total cost.
Let’s assume you’re handed a HOA window replacement guide, including requirements, and told that it’s up to you to replace your old leaky windows.
Typically, there are two key requirements to keep clear about. The first is you’ll need to use a professional installer who will need to provide proof of licensing and insurance. Almost all associations require the work to be done by a professional installer due to potential liability that the association would have to assume if something goes wrong.
The second key requirement is architectural compliance. The HOA board is compelled to enforce architectural compliance, so clearly understand your options for selecting replacement windows before you buy them. Remember, the building exterior is the domain of the HOA board and you will have to remove replacement windows that are not in architectural compliance.
There are lots of options so don’t get locked into the wrong one
Sometimes your HOA will give you a list of windows and contractors, but you’re usually not required to select your replacement windows and installation from that list. Replacement window choices are changing every year as new styles and technologies are introduced. That list might be old. Shop around for what you want as long as it’s within the guidelines for replacement that closely matches the existing windows, such as size, profile, color, or glass options.
Whether to buy an entirely new window frame and sash – full replacement or just replace the sash – partial replacement is a critical choice for you to make. A partial replacement will save you money, but it is likely to reduce the glass size and thereby alter the window such that it no longer matches other windows in the complex. A thicker sash profile than your current windows could likewise alter the look, so be sure what you select closely matches the original.For more information about key decisions you need to make when replacing your windows go to our previous blogs about failing windows and key replacement selection criteria.There is one last thing you need to know.
You won’t regret your decision to replace old leaky windows and create a beautiful comfortable space.