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How to Correctly Measure Window Sizes

By Edited Aug 23, 2015 1 0

In whatever capacity that dictates your needing to acquire accurate window size measurements, whether you are a home owner, store owner, or a general contractor, you will find that measuring standard window sizes isn't an overly difficult task. With the plethora of worldwide variances in window sizes, styles, and shapes, however, this skill can also become a bit intimidating and daunting for some when window presentations diverge from standard sizings. Fortunately enough, the fundamental rules that apply to measuring standard window sizes will also apply to measuring "specialty" window sizes.

For simplicity sake, this InfoBarrel article references "standard" window sizes as those that employ a more common square or rectangular shape like the single-hung (or double-hung), sliding (or glider), and casement or basement window styles. Irregular, non-standard, "specialty" window styles would naturally involve a slightly different measuring technique because of the oval like shapes that they can present with. If you know your house to be "older", it will be more inclined to have more standard window styles applied, rather than "specialty" styles.

Step #1

Determine Why You Are Measuring

From seeking out a viable replacement, to inserting a first window or measuring for curtains, there are quite a few reasons why you would want to measure. More than likely, since you have arrived on this InfoBarrel article, you quite possibly know exactly why you are seeking these measurements. As mentioned above, you will also want to be attuned to whether or not you have a "standard" or more "specialty" style window that you will be measuring.

Step #2

Understand the Fundamentals

Before beginning to measure for a new window, it is important that you understand a few fundamental principles prior to beginning. In order to gain the most accurate measurement possible, not only will you need to measure from your finished house opening, but you will also want to take a series of measurements for width, height, and depth. It does not matter whether you decide to measure from the inside or the outside of your house. It is, however, important that you achieve at least three measurements for each dimension listed. Because windows naturally vary in size, very large windows may have actually gained minor (or pronounced) differences in their dimensions when one side's measurements are compared to another side's measurements. Because materials used to build houses vary, you will also find that the finished opening you measure from may be brick, drywall, or other material.

Step #3

Obtain Necessary Supplies

Effectively measuring window sizes doesn't require much more than the following items:

  • a Tape Measurer
  • a Pen or Pencil
  • a Writing Surface

With these supplies readily available, you can proceed to measuring your window size.

Step #4

Ensure Accurate Window Measurements

Before you purchase a replacement window at a home center like Home Depot or Lowe's, you will need to obtain accurate measurements of your window's width, height, and depth dimensions. Window sizes are measured and expressed in that order, which is why it is of upmost importance that you document your width reading first, your height reading second, and your depth reading third (Example: 32" x 60" x 1"). You will find that a careless mistake of simply inverting one of the numbers could lend to serious confusion when you actually go to purchase.

In order to measure for width, you will want measure your window in three locations: across the top, across the middle, and at the bottom. Because of the possible variance in these measurements, you will use the lowest number of these measurements.

In order to measure for height, you will measure your standard window from top to bottom (or bottom to top) on the left, middle, and right side. You will want to use the largest of these measurements.

In order to measure for depth, you will measure from the front to the back of the window on the left, the top, the right, and the bottom. Typically, of all the dimensions needed, the depth of the window is the least likely to be subject to variance amongst all the sides. If they are different, however, it will be important for you to use the smallest of your depth measurements achieved.

Step #5

Document Your Measurements

Logically, one would want to keep running account of each measurement as they are taken. After each reading is taken, I would encourage you to write them down so that you do not forget. Unless you are very good at remembering, you may want to consider taking the piece of paper, with your measurements on it, to your home center so that you can reference it while looking for your new or replacement window.

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