Tips & Advice When Planning to Install Replacement Windows on Your Own

In case you own a home built in this era, it most likely has glass pane windows. While staying in your home, you may see the need to replace some windows from time to time.

Maybe a cricket ball or kids broke a pane while playing, or you’ve started noticing that your windows are becoming less energy efficient. Such cases may make it necessary to replace your windows.

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You might be thinking to do the replacement work yourself. However, DIY is now a good idea when it comes to window replacement. Read on through this article to understand why it’s a bad idea.


The Three Main Types of Windows for Replacement

  • Sash Replacement Windows

Sash replacement kits come with new movable components that can be fit into an existing window frame such that you will not replace the existing frame.

For instance, you won’t have to install a brand new sash. A sash is a framed type of glass pane that can be slide up or down when opening the window.

  • Insert Replacement Windows

Insert replacement windows are fully assembled windows with a frame that is slipped into an existing frame. The result is a relatively smaller window.

  • Full-Frame Windows

Full-frame windows designed for replacement have assembled components that replace an entire window, with the frame included in the replacement. This makes them similar to inserts, but you have to remove an existing frame before installation.

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Challenges that Come With Replacement Windows

These replacement windows come with their own challenges during installation. One of the key challenges is reshaping an existing frame to be perfectly square or into a size that will fit the be sash.

Another challenge is stripping down the opening of the window when installing full-frame windows.

It tends to be quite tempting for most homeowners to do some home improvement tasks themselves. This is because the results are satisfying and DIY is a fun activity. However, some projects require professional expertise to carried out the right way.

The process of replacing a window requires many tasks done properly, and these tasks are only suitable for professionals with fitness, training, and expertise.

A good example that can demonstrate the challenges of replacing windows is an insert replacement window. If your existing window frames are decent, or you like the aesthetic appeal they add to your home, then you may opt for an insert window to replace the existing window. An insert window will leave the current frames intact.

One key reason why many homeowners see the need for replacing their windows is to upgrade energy efficiency in their home or upgrading an older window with a new unit.

If you’re replacing a window based on either of these reasons, then you will have to remove the entire frame. Removing window frames is an extremely complex task.

By the time you go through the whole of this article, you’ll understand why replacing windows is not all about fixing a new window into that space. There are more peripheral tasks involved including painting and insulating.

Moreover, the window opening may not have precise measurements and not perfectly square, yet the replacement should be fit accurately and properly.

Otherwise, improper installations may result in poor insulation, structural damage, or even demand a fresh installation.

Here are details on why installing a replacement set of a window can be challenging.

  1. Measuring

Replacement should start with taking precise measurements. You have to take measurements of the frame width from one jamb to the other, at the bottom, top, and middle.

After measuring the width, you will need to measure the height from the middle, left, and right. For the height and width, you will keep the smallest figure when ordering a new window.

Once done with the height and width, you should check whether the frame has a perfect square shape by measuring the two diagonals.

If they match in length, then you have a square. However, if they are off by at least a quarter inch, you will be unable to fit in an insert window.

The frame would be out of shape. Moreover, houses tend to settle with time. When a house settles, shapes and dimensions of window and door openings may change slightly. Even new constructions may settle within a short time.

Finally, you will also measure the sill angle, and this requires a special tool. The sill angle is an important dimension when buying a replacement set of windows.

Once you have all the necessary measurements, you can go ahead and look for a replacement. However, you may be shocked to realize that local stores do not have a window matching the dimensions you want.

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  1. Removing the Jamb and Sash

Next, you should remove the window sash. Start with removing the sash stops. This can be done through prying or unscrewing them off. However, if you have plans of re-using the stops, be careful when removing them as they may break easily.

You’ll also have to remove parting beads. These are grooved wood strips holding the sash onto the frame. Also, remove all jamb liners.

Use a flat a level bar to pry off the liners. Although this might sound easy, removing these fixtures without causing any damages on the frame tends to be very difficult.


  1. Preparing the Window Frame

You need to fill any cracks and holes with exterior wood putty. Also, you need to sand the window frame smooth. Once done, the frame surface will need a new coat of paint.

The sash pulley system (sash weights) that move the sash window, should also be removed. They can be removed by unscrewing access panels on the jambs.


  1. Insulating Process

Removing the panel housing the window’s sash weights, and removing the weights themselves, will necessitate you to re-insulate the interior frame section.

You will have to remove any fiberglass insulation before re-insulating. Once done, you should drill 3/8 inches holes near the middle and the ends of the window sill and head jamb.

This should be followed up with a polyurethane foam spray into the frame. Allow for six hours for the spray to dry. Failure to insulate the frame properly might make the frame buckle beyond repair, requiring extra work and time to replace it.


  1. Installing the Brand New Window

You will need to go to the interior side of your house. Then stand and start with putting the bottom part of the replacement window into the window opening.

Push it in slowly and carefully. Once done, drill a two-inches screw at the upper section of the jamb and right into the frame such that it will be held in place.

You will have to slip in some shims below the frame to have it centered. Also, ensure the window is squarely positioned.

You can do this by measuring the lengths from one corner to the other. You will then install the window by putting the screws into the already drilled holes.

You can prevent the frame from bowing by putting a shim behind it at the screws, and then screwing through the shim. Once installed, you can trim these shims using a knife.

Once you’re done doing that, you can finish up the work by checking whether there any gaps measuring at most ¼ inches wide and use caulk to fill them.

Gaps larger than ¼ inches should be insulated using foam rubber. Any interiors gaps may be insulated using minimally expanding rubber foam. Once done, apply prime first and then a coat of paint on the interior. You can also do the same on the exterior.


Installing Replacement Windows Should be Left to Professionals

Upon going through the installation process, you will see that it’s a very complex process. Even without replacing the frame, there are lots of peripheral tasks required. Also, each component requires exactitude and precision to install.

If you do anything the wrong way, there may be long-lasting repercussions that may result in structural damage, poor aesthetics that will degrade the appearance of your house and poor insulation that will reduce energy efficiency.

Even if you can find a replacement window that has the exact measurements you want, any improper installation will have negative repercussions. Hence, the best way is seeking window replacement services from an experienced and profession window installer.


Majestic Glass Glaziers Will Give You Peace of Mind

In case you’re planning to install replacement glass windows yourself, think again. Majestic Glass has certified window installers with a lifetime warranty to give you peace of mind. Contact us today for a free estimate.


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