Building Tips

How to Measure Windows

If you’ve ever found yourself standing in front of a window, tape measure in hand, baffled by where to start—this guide’s for you. Whether you’re updating windows in a remodel, or eyeballing the specs for a new build, getting the measurements spot on is crucial. It’s the difference between a well-proportioned window and one that just doesn’t look right. Measuring for replacement and new windows isn’t just about numbers; it’s about the art of precision. So, let’s break it down together and walk through the steps to ensure your windows are measured to perfection.

Envision Your Space

Always begin with the end in mind. For new windows, think about how they’ll enhance both the interior and exterior of your home. Keep in mind the functionality and the aesthetic you’re aiming for, as it will inform the details of your measuring process.

Gather Your Tools

You’ll need:

  • A sturdy metal tape measure for accuracy
  • A notepad and pencil, or a digital device, to jot down numbers
  • A stepladder for those just-out-of-reach corners
  • A level, especially if you’re prepping for new windows

Measure for Width

When you’re preparing for new windows or a replacement, the key dimension is the rough opening width. You’ll want to take this measurement from the inside of one side jamb to the other. However, if you’re tackling a remodel and plan to keep the opening size the same, simply measure the existing frame. This will ensure that your new windows fit seamlessly into the established space, maintaining the integrity of your design while upgrading the look or functionality.

Measure for Length

When it’s time to measure for new windows or replacements, begin by measuring the height of the rough opening from the top jamb straight down to the windowsill. This will give you the height dimension needed for a snug and correct fit. If you’re working on a remodel where the size of the opening will remain as is, simply measure the height of the existing window. This approach ensures that your new windows will match the proportions of the old ones, making for a straightforward replacement without the need for additional construction or adjustments to the opening.

Account for Obstructions and Trim

Check for anything that might impede the function or installation of your curtains or windows—like protruding handles, built-in bookcases, or existing trim—and adjust your measurements accordingly.

Record Your Measurements

Document all your measurements clearly. Label them as ‘Width’ and ‘Length’ or ‘Height,’ and note which room or window they correspond to. Precision now pays off later!

Double Check Your Work

The golden rule of measuring: always measure twice. This is particularly crucial when ordering custom windows, where half an inch can make a world of difference.

More Information on How to Measure Windows

  • Use inches for all measurements—the industry standard.
  • If ordering blinds or shades, provide exact measurements and let the supplier make any necessary deductions.
  • For non-standard windows, consider professional help for measuring and installation.
  • Round up to the nearest quarter of an inch for precision.
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