should windows be flush with siding

Should Windows Be Flush With Siding?

I hadn’t really thought about it much until I bought my own home and had to take responsibility for my own window repairs, and I realised I couldn’t answer the question ‘ should windows be flush with siding?’ Since then I’ve learned that flush windows are the most common type of installation in America, and since our house is timber framed, our choices are windows that fit flush, or protrude slightly. I’ve also picked up some useful information about what types of flush fitting replacements will be available.


Should Windows Be Flush With Siding?

In North American architecture, it is usual for windows to sit flush with siding. Siding is the very outermost ‘skin’ of a house, be it wood cladding, stucco, or some other material. But, windows can also protrude from the siding. And in some other countries, it is more usual for windows to be recessed into the wall (usually where the walls are built from brick, stone, or concrete).

If you’re installing new windows or replacing existing ones, whether or not they sit flush with the siding will be partly dictated by the construction of your house. Your contractor will probably assume that they should be installed flush with the siding, unless you specifically tell them otherwise. So if it’s something you want to consider, be sure to raise it with them at the very beginning of the process.

Non-flush windows particularly complement some older styles of architecture such as gothic revival and Queen Anne. In most modern construction though, the flush window type is a popular choice. Still, a lot of people who are replacing or installing new windows ask whether windows should be flush with the siding. The short answer is it depends, and we’ll try and help you decide.

Which Windows Sit Flush with Siding?

The type of window you get partly determines whether they sit flush with the siding or not. Casement, sliding, hung sash, hopper and awning windows can all be fitted flush with the siding. Bay windows, obviously, do not sit flush!

If you replace windows like-for-like, and you had flush windows before, then you will get flush windows again. But it is also possible to retrofit windows that stick out from the siding, especially if you install windows made of wood. Whether or not you can install replacement windows that are recessed depends on the construction of your walls, and you’ll need to ask your contractor about the possibilities.

should windows be flush with siding

On the other hand, when you build from scratch you have full control over how your window will look. What looks pleasing to you will be a matter of your own personal taste, and also what you’re used to seeing. You can talk to your installer for any adjustments or if you want a specific type of installation done.

The History of Flush Windows

Flush windows appear to be mostly or entirely level with the wall. Not all parts of the window have to appear as flat as the wall or siding though. Some designs have the casing, the sill, or the capping slightly sticking out. (Take a look at the video at the top of this article if you need a bit of help with window anatomy!)

Flush windows have been around for more than 200 years. They have been associated with a wide variety of architectural styles since then, but they are definitely the most popular choice for modern builds. The reason seems to be purely aesthetic – the streamlined result is considered more desirable.

Types of Flush Window Installation

Flush window installation is not the same every time. Some processes demand intensive labor. Other situations are quick fixes and won’t eat up an entire day. In general, though, you can install flush windows and other types of windows in two ways.

  • Full frame installation
  • Pocket installation

Full-Frame Window Installation

Full-frame window installation means building a new window from scratch, either because there wasn’t a window in that location before, or because no parts of the old window can be reused. Full frame window replacement involves constructing a sill, jamb, and interior and exterior trims. To complete a full frame window installation, the siding needs to be removed and reinstalled after.

Pros and Cons of Full Frame Window Installation

Installing a new flush window from scratch involves a lot of advanced work to prepare the wall. It is labor-intensive which means you might need to get the professionals in to help. If it’s a new external window in a previously blank wall, you might need a building permit. Aside from being expensive, new window construction also takes longer to finish.

Full-frame installation is the best choice if you have severely deteriorating windows or insulation problems. It might also be your only option if you want to dramatically change the look, size, and even functionality of the windows.

Pocket Window Installation

Pocket installation only replaces is a lot easier than new window construction. You only need a retrofit or a replacement window and then to slide it into the existing frame.The original casing and frames are retained, and the siding doesn’t have to be removed and reinstalled either.

Pocket window installation looks best when you choose replacements of a type and design to your old windows. They restore your house’s kerb appeal, whilst improving insulation inside your home.

Pros and Cons of Pocket Window Installation

Pocket window construction is a more economical way to update an old window, improve energy efficiency, and upgrade aesthetic value. This type of insert also allows you to switch from a window flush with the siding to a bay or bow style window, and vice versa.

Window replacements are inexpensive but beware of low-quality products. Furthermore, as they are generally easy to work with, some homeowners choose to go the DIY route. Only do this if you’re very confident, since it may void their warranty.

Should Windows Be Installed Before or After Siding?

When doing new construction, experts recommend installing the window before the siding. This allows easy access as you insert the window on top of or into the frame. Installing the siding before the window may only damage it.

When installing a full frame replacement window, the same recommendation applies. You need to uninstall the siding before you can install the replacement. But for a pocket window replacement, you can leave the siding intact and untouched.

Should Windows Be Flush With Siding – Summary

Whether the window should be flush with the siding depends on the construction and architectural style of your house, as well as your own personal taste. In modern American homes it is most usual for windows to sit flush with siding. But when going for a replacement window, you may choose to retrofit windows that protrude from the siding instead. Whichever you go for, proper installation is the key to getting the best out of any type of window.

Are Your Windows Flush With The Siding?

Are you happy with them that way, or would you like to change them? Let us know in the comments down below!

More About Window Construction


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.