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Replace a House Window: Finding, Prepping, Installing

July 19, 2010

No matter how high you turn your thermometer, you have to sleep in wool socks to prevent frostbite. That is no way to live! If this sounds familiar, it may be time to replace house windows. Fortunately, these tips can help you find the right replacement and install your upgrade.

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Finding the Right Replacement Window:

  • Before determining how to replace house windows, find the replacements. The two words that may be the most important on this shopping trip are accurate measurements. The trick is that you need to know the "rough opening," or size of the opening necessary to install the window. This typically measures 1 to 2 inches larger in height and width than the window itself. Check your old window, as the rough measurement should be indicated.
  • Once you have the size determined, look for low-emission, glass windows to help decrease your energy bill. Windows range in price, anywhere from $99 to $500 for standard single and double hung models, and the cost is often determined by the frame material. Vinyl typically requires less upkeep and is less expensive than a wood-trim window.

When One Window Closes:

Safety first! Remember to wear gloves and goggles when removing the old window. First, extract the exterior trim and nails using a hammer and claw. Once you remove these nails, you should be able to pull the window from the frame. It is a good idea to employ a friend's help during this process.

How to Replace House Windows:

  1. With the opening clear of any debris, place the new window into the hole, centered within the frame. A level should help you center the window within the opening.
  2. Fasten the window by nailing the window frame into place. The manufacturer should provide instructions for how far apart the nails should be. You may also be provided with a molding to insert around the nails.
  3. While nailing, continue to check that the window is level. Likewise, as nails are inserted, confirm that the window opens properly. If so, add more nails to secure the window to the frame.
  4. Finally, apply silicone caulk to seal any openings around the unit.
  5. When this dries, you may paint as desired!

To ensure that the draftiness has been expelled from your home, take your installation seriously! Don't rush and be thorough.


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