How to Replace Old Windows



With Spring around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what home improvement projects your house needs the most. Perhaps you want to redo your kitchen or bathroom’s flooring, maybe you need to patch your roofing or siding, or even just fix that old screen door. However, one of the most important projects you should tackle are those old windows.

Replacing average-sized windows on the ground floor takes between four to five hours, and depending on your building materials, could cost between $100 to $600 dollars, making it an incredibly high-value, worthwhile project in comparison to others that yield a lower ROI. Here’s how!

Remove the Old Windows.

If you have to replace the whole thing, then you should consider using a stock replacement window. You might have to make a few adjustments to the frame, but it’ll cost less than an entirely custom new window. Use a crowbar to remove the entire window casing, including its trim and sill plate.

Adjust the Windows’ Frames.

Once you remove the casing, make sure that the headers and the studs are plum and square, and that the frame matches the new window’s dimensions. This might require you to add new boards to the frame, as well as removing part of exterior’s siding. You want to allow about 1/4 inch gaps on every side for further adjustments and insulation.

Time to Install Those New Windows.

If you had to remove a part of the exterior siding, make sure to put felt wrap back up so you can keep moisture out. Then, apply windows wrap to the exterior framing of the window. Start the wrap installation at window’s bottom and then work your way up.

Now, install the window from the exterior by pushing it up until its flush with the frame. Then, screw it into place, making sure that you’re able to anchor it to a piece of solid wood. Then, adjust the window so it’s plumb and square by maneuvering the screws and adding shims to what areas need adjustment. Then, once you’ve got the window in the correct position, use screws or nails to secure it into place from the exterior.

Wrap the Windows.

Now, add another layer of windows wrap around its fins. Make sure to overlap the wrap to completely cover the surfaces, without letting the wrap crinkle or fold back on itself. This is a key to keeping moisture out, so it’s got to remain flush to the window frame.

Insulate the Windows.

You can insulate the window with expanding-foam sealant into the gaps between the casing and the window. You want to cover the window’s edges with painter’s tape. Once your foam dries, scrape it off with a knife. You don’t want to use too much foam, or else it’ll bow the window and disable it.

Replace the Trim and Casing.

Now, all you’ve got to do is install a new interior casing and replace any exterior trim if need be!

That’s it! If you have any questions about replacing old windows, feel free to ask in the comments. Good references here.

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