Stucco, while it is beautiful, classic, and low-maintenance, can be difficult to work with for window replacements. If you work with the wrong contractor, it could leave your home with more damage and problems you’ll have to deal with.
As you’re searching for the right company to replace your windows, it’s important to have the right information on installation techniques, specifically when it comes to replacing windows in stucco.
When you know how a contractor should care for your stucco during a window replacement, you can avoid working with an inexperienced company that may not know what they are doing.
Southwest Exteriors has offered high-quality San Antonio window replacements since 1989. Because stucco is very popular in South Texas, about 50% of window replacement projects we install are in stucco homes.
We admit stucco is tricky to work with. If you don’t take the proper precautions and time when replacing windows, you can damage the stucco and make the project more costly.
So, what are some of the best practices for stucco window replacements?
How To Properly Replace Windows In Stucco Siding: 5 Key Components
Before choosing the right window replacement contractor, here are five things you need to know about window replacements and stucco siding.
The window must first be measured and fit properly before removing the existing window
Precautions must be taken to ensure the least amount of stucco damage possible
The stucco must be properly cut around the window
The right tools must be used to cut the stucco and remove the window
Dust will occur, but the right precautions should be taken to minimize dust as much as possible
1. The window must first be measured and fit properly before removing the existing window
With any proper window replacement, the first step to ensuring a successful project is measuring and fitting the replacement window before removing the existing window.
If a window is not fit to down to ⅛ of an inch of the opening, it will not fit or function properly. Furthermore, if the window does not fit and the existing window is taken out first, you’re stuck with a window out of your home with no replacement window.
What makes this crucial for stucco homes especially is that your siding must be cut into to remove your windows.
This means if the replacement window does not fit, not only do you not have a window, but your siding and home will be open and exposed to the elements until the correct window is installed. Exposed siding can lead to water infiltration, rotting, and insects and critters getting into your walls.
Pro Tip: Ask any potential contractor about their step-by-step process for replacing windows (if they don’t already tell you). If they don’t confirm they always double-check their measurements before removing any window, ask.
If their answer seems fake or like they just made something up to make you happy, listen to your gut. Choose a contractor that ensures your windows will be properly fit and can prove their previous work to back up what they say.
2. Precautions must be taken to ensure the least amount of stucco damage possible
Perhaps one of the most crucial parts of removing windows with stucco is that a contractor takes all necessary precautions to ensure there is as little damage as possible to your stucco.
Because stucco is a fragile material to work with, it can be damaged easily, especially if someone doesn’t know what they are doing. The last thing you want is to see chunks of your wall removed along with your old windows.
The more damage that occurs to your stucco, the more it will cost to repair it. With this, it’s important you know whether a contractor will cover stucco repair or not.
A high-quality contractor will take care of your stucco to produce as little damage as possible and also will provide the proper solution for stucco repairs and stucco work on your home. If not, you may be stuck with an inexperienced contractor that either leaves you with damaged siding or botched stucco work.
Pro Tip: Ask a potential contractor how they handle stucco repair. Do they do it themselves? Do they work with a stucco specialist? Will they pay for it, or will you have to pay for it?
The bottom line is that you want a contractor that will take care of your home, not leave you with a bigger problem you have to fix. You also want to know the certain steps they follow to remove your windows and what tools they use, which we will get into next.
3. The stucco must be properly cut around the window
The foundational step to removing a window with minimal stucco damage is making the proper cut in the stucco around the window.
When removing a window in stucco, a contractor should cut as closely around the window as possible. Now, depending on whether you choose stucco banding, stucco flange, or neither around your windows, the cut size and depth can vary.
With stucco banding and flange, a contractor can cut slightly farther out from the window than if there was no banding or flange. This is because stucco banding and flange will border the window and requires stucco work on top, which would cover wider cuts around the window.
If you choose to have no stucco banding or flange around your new windows, a larger cut would require more stucco repair work to be done, which lengthens the timeline of your project and adds to the cost.
Overall, a contractor should take all necessary steps to cut properly around your windows with care and accuracy to ensure the least amount of stucco damage happens.
Pro Tip: Know whether or not you want stucco banding or flange around your new windows. Once you’ve determined this, make sure the contractor explains how they will remove your current windows with your stucco.
If they make the process sound quick and easy or they fail to discuss stucco solution or acknowledge something different and additional needs to be done, this is not a good sign. You want a contractor to explain the details of how precise they are when removing your windows so you have the confidence to trust them with your home.
4. The right tools must be used to cut the stucco and remove the window
While cutting stucco around a window with the right technique is the first component to properly removing a window, using the right tools is next.
Think about removing a window in stucco similar to a dentist removing a cavity in your teeth. A dentist must carefully remove the cavity from your tooth without damaging it. They must be meticulous, strategic, and use the right tools.
Would you want a dentist that pulls out a shop hammer to gnaw at your teeth or uses the proper tools to ensure your safety and provide you with the best outcome possible? Chances are you’d prefer the latter.
A high-quality contractor will use a grinder with a diamond blade to create a straight, even cut around your windows or carefully and precisely chisel out surrounding stucco to eliminate excess dust caused by cutting or grinding. Once the stucco is cut, the window can then be carefully and properly removed without damaging the stucco or your wall’s frame.
What you don’t want is a company that pulls out a sledgehammer, bangs and breaks your stucco messily, and yanks out your window with a crowbar.
The bottom line is that you want a company that will take their time, make methodical decisions with every move they make, and uses the proper tools to replace your windows and care for your home.
Pro Tip: Be sure to ask what specific tools and processes a contractor uses to remove your windows. Knowing the proper steps and tools that are used ensures you can ask the right questions and know when a contractor is being shady.
The less you know, the easier it is for you to be taken advantage of. Education is your biggest defense mechanism against a faulty contractor.
5. Dust will occur, but the right precautions should be taken to minimize dust as much as possible
Stucco is a cementious material. When it is cut, ground, or chipped in any way, there will be a certain amount of debris following it.
Even with a high-quality contractor that takes their time with stucco, dust is expected. But, the difference between a quality and faulty contractor is the time and effort put into minimizing the dust and debris during your project.
Before any construction starts on your home, tarps should be placed indoors around any windows to be replaced. Interior walls, hanging interior items, exterior landscaping, and other decorative items should be covered prior to construction to ensure a clean workspace.
A quality contractor will also clean up as they go along, vacuuming excess dust and completing a full, thorough cleanup in your home daily.
Pro Tip: Ask any potential contractor what their entire cleanup process is during and after your windows are replaced.
Is cleanup done daily? Where will a dumpster be placed? How is trash dumping handled?
You want to know the contractor you work with will care for your home and leave it better than they found it. The last thing you want is for your home to be left trashed after a full window replacement.
Choosing The Right Contractor To Ensure A Successful Window Replacement
Now you know five key components of a high-quality, successful window replacement for homes with stucco siding. With this information, you can find the best contractor for your project to ensure your windows are replaced properly.
Stucco can be a beast to work with. This is why it is crucial you understand what is most important in a window replacement with stucco. If not, you risk being taken advantage of by a contractor that doesn’t know what they are doing.
To find the right contractor that knows how to replace windows in stucco homes
Ask about their installation process and how they remove the windows
Ask to see proof of their work in stucco homes to verify their credibility
Ask what tools they use to remove your stucco and windows
Know if they repair stucco themselves, work with a stucco specialist, or do not provide stucco repair at all
Ask what their cleanup process is and how dumping will be handled
Having the right information, knowing what questions to ask, and knowing what red flags to spot in a potential contractor will ensure you choose the right company for your window replacement.
Southwest Exteriors has provided high-quality window replacements on stucco homes since 1989.
Our installation crews are expertly trained to remove your windows with as little damage to your stucco as possible. Once your project is complete, your new windows and stucco will look better than before.