Guide for Installing Replacement Windows: 60-seconds to Success
December 15, 2009
If outdated windows are hurting your curb appeal and skyrocketing your energy costs, pull out your toolbox and do something about it. Here is a quick lesson on how to install replacement windows without having to call a professional in to bail you out.
- Measure for Replacements. This is the single most important step. Measure jamb to jamb and sill to jamb--top, middle and right. Always record the smallest measurement.
- Take Out the Sash. Simply press in on the jamb liners and pull the sash top forward. You may have to unscrew the interior wooden stops first.
- Pry off the Jamb Liners. Use a flat bar to pry off the vinyl or aluminum jamb liners. Leave the interior and exterior casings intact.
- Prep the Frame. Scrape off loose and blistered paint. Fill any holes or blemishes with an exterior-grade wood putty. Then sand the jambs and prime.
- Remove Old Sash Weights. Remove the original sash weights from their pockets. You'll have to unscrew the access panel to get to them.
- Prep for Insulation. Use polyurethane foam--it's better at blocking air than fiberglass insulation. Use low-pressure, minimum-expansion foam for best results.
- Spray in the Foam. Spray foam into the sash-weight pockets in the side jambs and allow it to harden for at least six hours.
- Caulk the Opening. Apply elastomeric caulk to the exposed inner face of the exterior casings.
- Install the Window. Set the bottom of the replacement window into the sill from inside the home and press tightly.
- Fasten Loosely. Work one 2-inch screw loosely into the upper side jamb and into the framing for support.
- Shim as Necessary. Install shims into the sill to reach a precise measurement.
- Caulk, Prime and Paint. Fill gaps less than 1/4 inch wide with elastomeric caulk--then prime and paint the sash and frame.
Read through these "how to install replacement windows" instructions at least twice before embarking on your project, and keep a print out of these steps handy.