10 Steps to Replace a Window

Everything you renovate at your home has value. Not just for you, but for the future too. In case you decide to sell your home at some point, every improvement you have made on it will count. Windows are the eyes of every home. Hence, it is really important for them to be functional. And if they look nice too, that’s a win-win situation! Follow these 10 steps to replace a window like a pro.

Step 1-When planning a renovation, make space

Whatever you plan on renovating around the house, keep in mind that you will need space. Space for a new window, tools and most importantly- maneuver. For this reason, clear the space or entire room where the window is. If your home is already full, consider renting self-storage units in North Versailles. This way, you will get a lot of free space. And if you like it, you just may decide to keep it and make a minimalist home for yourself.

Replace a window, and paint it white, decorate with flowers
First, make sure you get the right kind of window

Step 2- Get the right kind of window

Chances are that affordable windows you see available on the shelves of Home Depot, Lowe’s, and builder’s supply houses are likely the wrong type of window for you. Usually, these are new-construction windows, made for new homes or extensive remodels that require radical exterior changes. If they have nailing fins attached to the window perimeter that means the window should be nailed flat against the outside of the house.

And the type of window you want is typically called replacement window, insert window or pocket window. Furthermore, it has no nailing fins and it is able to fit into an existing frame. If you need to ship it from another location, make sure you get moving insurance with proper coverage.

Step 3- Measure window space properly 

You should begin your project from inside the house. To replace the window with ease and understand our guide, you should know certain terms. For instance, the sash is the part of the window that moves. And the stops are the thin, vertical pieces of vinyl or wood that prevent the sashes from falling into the house.

  • Width measuring starts with running tape from one side of the window jamb to the other side. But concentrate on the inside of the window. Hence, measure from the inside of one jamb to the inside of the opposite jamb. Windows can warp and skew over the years, so make sure to measure at the top, bottom, and the middle. Most likely, all measurements will be the same or at least within 1/8. If that’s not the case, choose the smallest measurement you get.
  • Height measuring includes the same process, but you do it vertically this time. Once again, you measure from the inside of the sill to the inside of the top window jamb. Measure the right, middle, and left, and then choose the smallest measurement.
Books, plant and a cup on a window
Measure your window and use the smallest dimensions

Step 4- Remove the old window

If you simply need a new windowpane, you can always contact a general contractor to come and replace the pane. But in case the whole window should be replaced, you should consider using a stock replacement window. Although you may have to make some adjustments to the frame, it will cost much less than a custom window. You can use a crowbar, to remove the entire window casing, including the sill and trim plate.

Step 5- Adjust the frame to replace a window

After you have removed the window casing, you need to make sure the studs and headers are plumb and square. Also, check if the frame matches the dimension of the new window. This could also require adding new boards to the frame (for example 2 x 4s) and removing part of the siding on the exterior. You can allow about 1/4 inch gap on each side for any adjustments and insulation. Make sure you are very careful when you replace a window, and try to avoid common renovation injuries.

Step 6-Time to install new window

Since the exterior siding had to be removed, make sure to put felt wrap back up to keep moisture out, when you replace a window. Afterward, apply window wrap on the exterior framing of the window. You should start the window wrap installation at the bottom of the window and then work your way up. Install it from the exterior by pushing the window up, until it fits the frame. Then, screw the window into place and make sure you can anchor it to a solid piece of wood. Adjust the window until it is set by maneuvering the screws and adding shims to areas that need some adjustment. Once the window is in the right position, from the exterior, use nails or screws to secure it into place.

Step 6-Wrap the window

Once your window is nailed to place, plumb, and square, add another layer of window wrap around the fins of the window. And try to overlap the wrap and completely cover the surfaces. Remember not to let the wrap fold back or crinkle on itself. This step is a key way for keeping moisture out, so it must remain flush to the window frame and straight.

Woman with open arms in front of an open window
You have made it! Now just pack your tools and relax

Step 6-Insulate it 

Now is the time to insulate the window by putting expanding-foam sealant in the gap between the window and the casing. Make sure to cover the edges of the window with painter’s tape in order to protect the surface. And once the foam dries, scrape it off with a knife. Don’t put too much foam, it might bow the window and disable it from working.

Step 6-Replace casing and trim 

Once the foam is dry, cut away the excess and install a new interior casing. If needed, replace exterior trim. When you are done, it’s time to pack your tools and machines and just relax. Well done, you have managed to replace a window!

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