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Window Replacement in 13 Steps



Window Replacement

Window replacements are a great way to beautify your home and improve its energy efficiency. Choosing the right replacement window with great R-value can also help you save some money on energy bills. A better way to save money is by doing the DIY installation. However, this means forfeiting the professionalism and experience of hiring a window replacement service contractor.

Naturally, it is recommended that you contact a window replacement contractor to handle this project. However, this article walks you through the professional steps, especially if you’ve decided to DIY the installation/replacement.

Find below the 13 window replacement steps broken down into simple, bite-sized chunks to guide you through it.

Start With The Window Replacement Parts

As with any DIY project, you need to know all of the different parts of your window so you can refer to the right parts during the installation process. To simplify this preliminary stage, pull up and print a copy of window replacement parts from the internet. You can always refer to the printed or visually displayed diagram when you read instructions and need to confirm which part of your window to work on.

Other than knowing the window replacement parts, it is also essential that you know the types of replacement windows available. Although there are different window frame materials, including wood, vinyl, fiberglass, vinyl-clad wood, aluminum, etc., there are only three basic replacement windows.

The three replacement windows are;

  • Sash kits
  • Insert replacements
  • Full-frame units.

The sash kits can be used to convert old window frames to movable parts. The insert replacements come with a fully assembled, ready-to-install window in a secondary frame. The full-frame replacements are similar to the inserts as they come in a complete frame with sills, side jambs, and head jambs. They are perfect for when older windows are badly damaged and need to be completely replaced.

Measure The Replacement Window

The key to a perfect replacement window is getting the measurement right. For an accurate measurement, do these;

  • Measure the inside width of the old window frame from one jamb to another. Ensure to take three readings, one from across the top, one from the middle, and another from the bottom of the frame. Record these three measurements.
  • Measure the frame’s height from top to bottom in three places, one from the left, another from the right, and the third from the center. Record these measurements.
  • Check the accuracy and squareness of the window frame by measuring diagonally from two places, top right to bottom left and top left to bottom right.
  • Use an angle measuring tool to check all four window frame angles and record measurements.

Remove The Sash

Removing the sash can be done in simple steps while protecting yourself from accidents.

  • Remove the old sash from the window frame.
  • Take out the parting beads to free up the upper sash.
  • Pivot one side of the sash to remove the jamb liners.

Remove The Jamb Liners

Remove the jamb liners using a flat bar. It should be fairly easy to do, especially if it is aluminum or vinyl jamb liners. Remember to leave the interior and exterior casting in place.

Prepare The Frame

Preparing the frame is similar to preparing a painting surface. Scrape off all loose and blistered paint. You should also patch holes using caulk.

Sand the surface to ensure it is smooth and ready for use. You can also prime it and add a fresh coat of paint to the prepared surfaces.

Remove Old Sash Weights

Remove the old sash weight if they are still in place. You should also unscrew the access panel on either side jamb to remove the weights.

Prepare For Insulation

Insulation is a factor you cannot afford to skip. Start by using only-low pressure and minimally expanding insulation foam for this side. Specifically look for insulation foams meant for windows.

For the perfect result, remove any existing fiberglass near the weight pockets and drill 3/8-inch diameter holes near the ends at the center and through the sill to the head jamb.

Spray Your Insulation Foam

Pump the expanding insulation foam into the holes created until they begin to seep out. You can also add spray foam into the sash weight bucket in the side jambs. Leave the application in place for at least 6 hours and cut off the excesses.

Caulk The Opening 

Get an elastomeric caulk and apply it to the exposed inner face of the exterior casting. You can also apply the caulking to the top and sides of the frame.

Install Your Replacement Window

Install the replacement window from the inside. Ensure that the bottom part is inserted first, and press the top part into the opening until it is in place.

Fasten The Replacement Window

With the replacement window in place, fasten the window loosely and try opening and closing the window.

Adjust The Window As Necessary

You may need to adjust the window to get the perfect fit. One way to do this is by shimming it under the sills, just behind the side jambs. Ensure that it is properly shimmed until it is centered and the window opens and closes seamlessly.

Caulk, Prime, and Paint

Now that your window has been installed properly, caulk it from the outside to fill the shimmed area and hold the window in place. You can proceed to prime and paint the window as you deem fit.

Following the steps above will guide you through your replacement window installation process. However, you should contact a professional if you run into trouble during the process.