Caulk & Walk Installations – How Not to Install Your Windows

Feb 16, 2017


You see a company that’s advertising ridiculously low rates for replacement windows and it’s almost too good to be true.

Only $189-$349 per window plus the installation? Yeah, that sounds like an amazing deal. But what you’re really getting for that price is a very basic installation and an inferior window. Even if you buy the most expensive replacement window out on the market, it’s not going to matter if it’s not installed properly.

A caulk and walk installation according to The Men With Tools Owner John Kolbaska, is getting a window set within the existing opening with four screws and caulk on the interior and exterior. All of the extras like molding, insulation, flashing and capping, hauling away the old windows and cleaning up afterwards — that all comes at an additional cost. So that $189-$349 magically shoots up to a ridiculous price for an inferior window and installation experience to boot.

“Most of these guys aren’t squaring and leveling off to make sure that the window operates properly,” John said. “And they’re literally just closing up the opening on the exterior with silicone and in most cases prime painters caulk on the interior.”

There are more steps needed during your window installation in order to prevent future problems to your home. Exterior flashing is one of them. It’s a thin continuous piece of material that creates a seal around the exterior of your window to avert leaks from water and drafts.

Another important component to the flashing is the drip cap, which deflects rain and allows it to drain downwards. Without it, water will seep into the wall cavity and form mold and wood rot behind your siding that you won’t be able to see with the naked eye. By the time it’s discovered, it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to fix running into thousands of dollars.

Want to assure there’ll be zero chances for drafts in your home? That spray foam will cost you extra. If your windows need stop molding, which helps holds the window in place, that’s also an additional cost at most of these contractors.

Here are the devastating and damaging results of an improperly installed window.
Here are the devastating and damaging results of an improperly installed window.

“That’s basically the caulk and walk installation,” John said. “That’s what a lot of our competitors are doing to advertise extremely low prices. We don’t do that. We’re going to give you a great price for a high-quality window and the necessary installation method.”

When you replace your windows, it should be the last time you replace them. A typical vinyl window with a proper installation should last 30 years or more. There shouldn’t be problems 3 to 7 years down the road, but that’s what you’ll run into with these other companies. Trust us, we see it all the time.

“Next month we’re doing an install for a customer who replaced his windows 7 years ago,” John said. “It was a $250 package, cheap window with a caulk and walk installation method from another local company, and we’re replacing them. His windows are leaking, they’re drafty, none of the hardware is working and he’s got seal failure in the glass.”

Here’s a breakdown of how to properly install a window:

  • Remove existing window
  • Install new window in opening
  • Use right amount of screws depending on size of window
  • Square and level it off to make sure window operates properly
  • Install flashing properly on exterior
  • Install drip cap on top of flashing
  • Insert spray foam insulation
  • Use high-quality caulk for interior and silicone for exterior
  • Install finish moldings
  • Clean up properly
  • Haul away all debris

Questions to ask your replacement window installer:

When shopping around for replacement window installers in your area, we recommend you ask these following questions:

  • Is molding included with the price?
  • Do you charge separate for installation?
  • What kind of insulation do you use?
  • What kind of caulk/silicone do you use?
  • Do you install exterior flashing/capping?
  • Do you install drip caps above all your windows?
  • Do you use shims?
  • Do you square and level off the window so it functions properly?
  • Will you take the old windows away?
  • Does your crew clean up afterwards?

According to, they recommend asking a window installer the following questions:

1. How long does the typical installation take? Typically an experienced crew can professionally install ten average sized replacement windows in a day.

2. What's included in your service? old windows and other debris should be removed and disposed of, and is it included in your price, or is it going to cost more?

3. Are your installers certified or factory trained? Some companies may employ mechanics certified by InstallationMasters, which is good. But factory-trained mechanics are better because they are trained to install the window manufacturers specific product.

4. Who do I contact if something goes wrong? Who do you call if the new window develops a defect? Does the company subcontract the installation to another company or do they have in house installers?

5. What's in the warranty? All manufacturers are different. Some guarantee their products for 10, 20 years and even for a lifetime, assuming "proper installation." You will most likely get a better warranty with factory-authorized installers.

If they’re telling you that these services come at an additional charge or they don’t do them at all, you may want to thank them for their time, while showing them the door. It's important to remember that not all window companies operate the same way, and we suggest you do you're homework in order to get the most value out of your upcoming window installation project.

Are you in the market for replacement windows? Check out The Men With Tools on Staten Island, NY who won’t caulk and walk and will give you a fair price. Call us today at 347-815-4151 for a free estimate.

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