How to install or replace a window

Installing a replacement window may be one of the best energy saving decisions you can make for your home. With winter just around the corner, now is the best time to undertake these types of projects. Replacing a storm or vinyl window is a job most homeowners can do themselves with just a little knowledge and effort. You will save money during the winter months on your heating bills, and this will pay for the window or windows many times over, and make your home more attractive. Certain types of windows, such as bay windows, arched windows, and architectural windows, are best left to professional contractors and experienced handymen, as they often require 2 or more people to position correctly. New construction windows are vinyl windows with an exterior trim and these windows are installed from the exterior and are typically used in new home construction. A typical replacement window can be installed from inside the home and is used to replace inefficient and worn windows in older homes. That is the main difference between the two. Then let’s get started!

1. TOOLS YOU WILL NEED: A hammer, chisel, pry bar, utility knife, screwdrivers, scissors, caulking gun, silicone caulk, roll insulation, and a trim remover tool.

2. WINDOW REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION: First, make sure you have all the window measurements taken and have all the new windows in your house before you remove the old ones. In older homes you will usually find sash windows fitted, which can be removed with a minimum of effort. If you are removing a vinyl window that has been cracked or damaged, you can find the screws that hold the window in place on both sides. Just delete them and the window should appear. If it’s a vinyl window with a tab you’re replacing, which is often the case in new construction, you’ll need to cut the outer tab to remove the window, before removing the screws. This can be done from the inside with a saw with a fine tooth blade, however you should take your time to reduce the potential damage that can be done to the siding if you are not careful.

To get started, take your utility knife and cut out the caulking seal that surrounds the stop trim on the window frame. Using your trim removal tool, gently pry the trim away from the window frame. For a sash window, lift up then pull out the bottom window, you will see the chain links that balance the window on both sides. Take your scissors and cut them as close to the wheels as possible, and the weights will fall inside the frame. Use a flat head screwdriver to unbolt the wheels from the frame, then take your hammer and chisel and chisel away the strips of wood that separate the top window from the bottom. Repeat the steps to remove the top window. To install your new replacement window, lift it up and place it on the window sill, then place it into the frame at a slight angle, bottom first, then push the top in until it just touches the outside stop. Using a torpedo level, check that the bottom and sides are level and plumb before screwing it down.

Screw your window down securely and, using your utility knife, cut strips of insulation on a roll and place them between the window and the frame to help insulate and reduce heat loss during the winter. Pack insulation snugly; do not overpack it. I also recommend that you don’t use goop or any type of foam insulation, if you use too much it can bow and warp the window and you won’t be able to open or close it. After installing the insulation, check that the window opens and closes properly and that all screws are secure. Reinstall the stop trim around the window frame and, using silicone caulk, reseal the window on all sides and at the sill. Wait a few hours, then you can put the blinds and curtains back on.

3. REMOVING AND INSTALLING SHUTTERS – If you are not afraid of heights and are comfortable using a ladder, you can change the shutters in your home. Storm windows are the easiest windows to install or replace, however, it must be done from The outside. Just observe the basic safety rules and take your time. Install your ladder, and using a cordless drill or screwdriver, remove all screws holding the window to the frame. Sometimes the window may be sealed and if so, use your utility knife to cut through the seal. Put your new shutter in place and screw it down with the supplied screws. Apply silicone caulk around the window and you’re done.

Replacing your own windows is a great investment for your home, you can control your costs and take the time you want to do it. It has energy saving benefits, adds resale value, not to mention it will make your house look good too!