Replacing Your Mobile Home Windows – Here’s What You Need to Know
The need for mobile home replacement windows is the same as any other residential dwelling, typically on behalf of broken glass, disrupted window seals, or rotting wood. On the other hand, other reasons for a replacement could be to make your windows more energy efficient or to give them an enhanced look. The good news for manufactured homeowners, you aren’t faced with an overwhelming number of options that are often found with other residential structures.
With that said, here are some ‘need-to-knows’ for replacing your windows.
How to Measure Mobile Home Windows for a Replacement
Measuring a mobile home window to be replaced requires both vertical and horizontal measurements to be taken three times. Measure the left, center and right side of the window for vertical dimensions. Measure the top, center and bottom of the window for horizontal dimensions. From the measurements taken, order your new window to fit the smallest of each measurement.
Measure the windows from side jam to side jam (not the window itself) for horizontal dimension and from the head jam (top of the window frame) to the sill of the window for vertical dimensions.
This same measurement will apply to any type of replacement window you desire. In some cases, window trim may need to be removed for best results. And always move the sash out of the way while measuring.
Window measurements are represented with width dimensions first and height dimensions second, like 14-1/4″ x 35-3/4″.
Replacement Windows Also Are Called Pocket Windows
If the existing window to be replaced is in an un-compromised window jamb that remains square, the easiest and most cost-effective solution is to buy a replacement or “pocket window”.
This allows for the window to be slipped into the existing jamb, and screwed into place. If the frame or jamb is rotting, the entire window must be stripped down to the studs and the opening prepped for a new window.
Tools Used to Replace a Mobile Home Window
Regardless of whether the work will be done by a DIY-er or a trained professional, the same list of tools will be essential:
- Safety glasses
- Small pry bar
- Tape measure
- Caulk gun
- Power drill/driver
- Putty knife
- Utility knife
- Waterproof shims
When making the decision to do the work yourself, consider that each window may take several hours to replace even if a pocket window is used. Consider the time investment versus paying a competitive professional And know that your frustration level sides with your wallet even if you’re wallet disagrees with your budget.
Vinyl Replacement Windows for Mobile Homes
Vinyl, as in most other residential settings, is the preferred choice in the U.S. market for a replacement window. More than half of the residential windows purchased are made with vinyl. Vinyl replacement windows create a more reliable seal than the aluminum counterpart. They come in a variety of styles, and often are little more expensive per unit.
Experts will tell you to look at a cross-cut section of vinyl windows you’re considering. This way you can see thickness of the vinyl, which will have an impact on performance. For a more rigid, airtight and durable window, opt for the 3 ¼” thickness.
The double-pane reduces energy loss and eliminates the need for storm windows. Single-hung windows also have much lower emissivity than double-hung, and the tilt-in sash is easy to remove from the frame for cleaning or in case of emergency.
In terms of style and look, vinyl windows require no paint and will keep a consistent look over time. The color won’t fade, because it’s solid in tone all the way through the vinyl material.
Aluminum Mobile Home Windows
Aluminum mobile home windows are less energy-efficient and won’t last as long, most likely, but they can be easier on the budget, especially if there are a large number of windows to replace. It’s not always the best option, but aluminum could be the best option for you depending on timing.
While aluminum is less energy efficient than vinyl products, it’s efficiency is much better than it was during the 1970s and ’80s, primarily because the product has become better at keeping cool air inside during warm months. However, aluminum still has difficulty doing the opposite, keeping warm air in during cold months. When cold air infiltrates the aluminum window it carries through the metal and can even frost the inside of the jamb. So, if considering aluminum windows, consider your climate.
Aluminum, alas, is quite good at sound dampening, so that’s a perk. Also, aluminum is a strong but light material, which aids in installation. And it can be bent a bit, or molded into position for older window openings that may have been compromised. If a dimension that will take a replacement mobile home window is more than ¼” out of square, aluminum could solve the problem. That is, if the dimensions aren’t so odd that re-framing becomes necessary.
Fiberglass Mobile Home Windows
Fiberglass is more durable than both vinyl and aluminum. The material retains rigidity better than other products, and can be painted. With no seam at the corners, as with vinyl windows, a painted fiberglass product is more likely to pass for the traditional wood frame window. It has a great amount of resistance to weathering, which means its energy efficiency will remain intact.
While there are some obvious perks to fiberglass mobile home windows, they do cost more than the competitors and can be more difficult to install as well.
Mobile Home Double Pane Windows
Double pane windows for a mobile or manufactured home can be a big upgrade in energy efficiency for a home, and also will eliminate the potential need for storm windows. The second pane, and the gas filled seal between the panes, can reduce emissivity by about 50 percent. The second pane also assists with sound dampening, so you’re less likely to hear street noise and your neighbors are less likely to hear you shouting at the ball game on TV. You’re welcome.
The other important aspect of double pane windows is what you don’t get. There typically is no reduction in clarity and visibility, so all the views that you enjoy today you will enjoy tomorrow, in greater comfort.
Mobile Home Storm Windows
Storm windows in, storm windows out. It’s all a matter of keeping the weather at bay, but going into deep and dark storage places to find and clean off old storm windows can become a cumbersome task. And, with time, storm windows tend to deteriorate. They become less effective, and less visually appealing.
When purchasing mobile replacement windows, ask yourself the double-pane questions. Do I want to put old storm windows on my newly installed windows. Do I want to buy new storm windows with my new replacement windows?
The obvious answer is to purchase double pane windows and make storm windows a thing of the past.
Energy-Efficient Replacement Windows
More so than double pane windows, energy efficient windows use added technologies to reduce emissivity. Some of these windows are called low-e windows, the “e” standing for emissivity. An application of invisible mineral coatings serve the purpose of hardening and reducing conductivity of the glass. The coatings reduce UV rays, so it take less energy to heat a home, and also protect fabric and color interiors from harmful rays.
How Much Does a Mobile Home Replacement Window Cost?
An individual window for a manufactured home can cost as little as $54 retail to about $300 per unit, depending on what features are of interest. Unit saving can be achieved by buying in bulk if more than one window is being replaced.
Used Mobile Home Windows
Alternatively, ebay and Craigslist can be viable options if you’re on a budget and want to buy a used replacement window. Chances are there is a good resale store in your area too. However, it’s all about the dimensions of your opening and the availability of a used replacement that will fit. But if cost is your concern, patience is a must. You have to find the right fit. And forgiveness for blemishes and stubborn operability will be important too.