In 2009, after earning their Harvard MBAs, two women named Jennifer founded a company called Rent the Runway, a company that allows women to rent designer clothing & accessories. One of reasons it now has over 4 million members is because they include a free backup size with their orders. That way, members aren’t stuck with renter’s remorse because each manufacturer of clothing differs slightly on which dimensions match which clothing sizes. This concern translates across several industries, as standard sizes can apply to manufacturer, not necessary a universal norm. In home improvement, this is especially for windows. Here’s what you need to know about the difference in stock and custom window sizes.
The Difference: By definition, stock windows are those created in common window sizes and are mass produced. Custom windows are made for the specific space they are installed in. A prevalent myth is that stock windows will fit into a stock sized opening. Depending on your home, this may or may not be true. That’s because there are significant fluctuations in the way walls are built. Some contractors follow house plans to a tee, while others use them as a general guideline and make adjustments during new construction to make the windows fit as they should. Additionally, as a house progresses in age, its foundation can shift slightly. This, in turn, can alter a window’s opening so that a stock size is no longer a perfect fit.
It’s important to note that installation techniques vary between when the home is initially built and when the original windows are being replaced. During new construction, they are put in before the siding is. New windows needed after your home is built that are not custom fit can require some siding to be torn off. Depending on the type of siding you have, it can be difficult to match the siding repair to the current siding, which has been weathered by Mother Nature and is oftentimes not exactly the same hue it was when it was installed. There’s also the likelihood that installation of a stock window will mean that the immediate interior wall surrounding the window will need to be repaired to accommodate adjustments made to it in order for it to fit.
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Stock windows aren’t all bad. If you’re in a situation where time is of the essence, they can be the way to go, as they can be acquired much quicker than a custom built window. Just bear in mind that the installation costs may be higher than custom made windows since modifications are likely needed in order for the window to accommodate the opening properly.