How to Replace a Window
How Do You Replace A Window?
How to replace a window? For many homeowners, maintenance projects such as painting a room or fixing a faucet can be done independently and with ease. However, not every home maintenance job is easy—some, such as a window replacement, require a lot of time, tools, and patience. Before you decide to take on the challenge of replacing your windows, here’s what you need to know.
Will You Need Full Frame or Insert Windows?
First thing’s first is determining what kind of window you need. There are two kinds of replacement windows: full-frame windows and insert windows. Insert windows replace the sash (the part of the window that moves) while still keeping the entirety of the window frame in place.
Full frame windows replace the entire window, including the house frame, and typically require more time for completion than insert windows. More than likely, you need an insert window replacement, as the full-frame windows are for new-construction. If you need assistance with your window replacements, call an expert today. We service Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas. 281-645-5035
While replacing a window may be tricky, it can also be dangerous if you are unprepared. Although it can be done alone, it’s highly recommended to have a buddy help you during the project if you need it. Replacing a window requires the use of sharp, motorized tools and creates flying debris, so protective gloves and eyewear are highly recommended.
Be aware that window sashes in older homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint, a highly toxic material used in many houses in the 20th century. It is hard to identify lead paint without a home testing kit, so if your home was built prior to 1978, contact a professional for assistance with removal. Fortunately, window installation services such as Avana Windows & Doors offers free in-home consultations as well as free estimates and quotes.
What You Will Need
Window replacement is an expert-level task, requiring a whole list of tools, materials, and a lot of patience.
1. Tools needed:
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Pry bar
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill and bits
- Ladder (either a two-foot or six-foot ladder work; depends on where your window is located)
- Caulk gun
2. Materials needed:
- Replacement window material
- Wood filler
- Silicone caulk
- Window/door spray insulation
- 16d galvanized nails, 3 (½ inch)
Steps for Replacing a Window in Your Home
1. Window measurements
Needed: tape measure
Before purchasing a replacement window and beginning the window replacement process, the width and height of the old window need to be measured with a tape measure. This is to ensure the replacement window will fit in the frame correctly. You will need to measure the top, middle, and bottom parts of the window for its width and height while inside the house.
- For the width: grabbing the measuring tape, the width of the window from the left jamb (the window’s side post) to the right jamb at the top, middle, and bottom. You want to open the window and measure the stashes that hold the window in place, not the stops (thin strips on the interior window that are parallel with the stashes) that hold the stash in place. Your smallest measurement is your truest measurement.
- For the height: using the measuring tape, measure the height of the window from the windowsill to the head jamb. You’ll want to measure the windowsill to the head jamb on the left, center, and right sides. Your smallest measurement is your truest measurement.
Be sure your window is completely measured before purchasing the replacement window. There are many different types of replacement windows such as wood clad, vinyl, fiberglass, composite, and aluminum windows. If you are unsure which window to purchase, seek a professional or visit a windows installation service, such as Avana Windows & Doors, for advice.
2. Out with the old
Needed: utility knife, pry bar
Using the utility knife, score (cut) along with the stops and trim on the window to remove any paint between the frame and stops and trim. Once the trim is removed and the gaps are visible between the stops and the window frame, switch over the pry bar to carefully remove the interior stops. Do not destroy the interior stops—put them aside as they can be used for later.
3. Remove the inside & outside sash
Needed: utility knife, saw
If your home is newer, the inside sash should slide out easily. If your home is older and the window is old, there may be a chain or cord connecting the sash to a weight. If there is a weight: cut the cords of the weight with the utility knife and let the weight fall into the well. Then slide out the inside sash.
After removing the inside sash, locate the parting stops and remove them. Then, remove the outside sash by sliding it down to the bottom part of the window frame. Do not remove the exterior stops. If you can’t remove the stops, a saw will be needed to remove them from the frame.
4. Cleaning up the window frame
Needed: wood filler, utility knife
After removing the interior and parting stops and the inside and outside sash, clean up the remaining window frame with wood filler. Scrape away any remaining paint and allow the wood filler to dry for at least 15 minutes.
- If your window had a weight in it, fill with spray foam insulation to cover it up.
- Keep an eye out for rotting wood. If there is rotting or crumbling wood, a professional will be needed to create a new window frame.
5. Does the replacement window fit?
Needed: a buddy, shims
After allowing the wood filler and insulation to dry, it’s time to see if the replacement window will fit. If you are unable to lift the window on your own, have a buddy help you. The window should fit in the frame, with a ½ to a ¾ inch gap. If the window is too small or too big, return it if possible and purchase another. Make sure the sill is level; if it’s not, use shims to help level the sill.
6. Caulk it up
Needed: caulk gun, caulk, shims
After determining that the window will fit, apply 3/8 inch thick caulk around the top of the frame, on the exterior stops, and as well along the sill. Then, place the window in the window frame against the interior and firmly on the caulk. Use shims if the window doesn’t feel secure.
7. Replace the interior window stops
Needed: interior stops and finished nails
Put one of the interior stops in its place and use finished nails on the top, bottom, and middle of the stop to prevent it from moving. Repeat the process for the other side of the window and the other interior stop.
8. Finishing touches
Needed: foam insulation
Head back outside after installing the screws and apply foam insulation to cover any gaps between the window and the window frame. Be sure to not caulk the gap between the jambs and the sashes, or the window won’t open. Now your window is ready!
Do You Need Replacement Window Services?
If you have any questions about window installation and its pricing, Avana Windows & Doors is ready to help. Family owned and operated since 2005, Avana Windows & Doors prides itself with a selection of reputable window brands, excellent customer care, and careful and reliable installation done by industry-leading professionals.