When replacing windows, many homeowners would like to avoid the extra cost of hiring a contractor. The good news is that window replacement can be done by the homeowner. You will need a level, a crowbar, a hammer and a screw gun. You will also need galvanized screws, foam insulation, felt paper, shims, window wrap, and nails. Let’s get started!
Remove The Old Window
The first step in your window replacement is to remove the old window. Use the crowbar to remove the entire window casing, including the trim and sill plate. If you just need to replace the window pane, you will have to contact a glazing contractor for the job. Unfortunately, replacing glazing is a little complicated for the DIYer.
Adjust The Frame
Once the old window is out, it is time to adjust the frame. To do this, you have to ensure that the studs and the headers are square. It may also be necessary to adjust the frame to the dimensions of your new window. You can add extra boards to the frame and remove parts of the siding on the exterior if necessary. The frame should allow a ¼ inch gap on all sides for insulation and future adjustments.
Install The New Window
If you’ve had to remove siding when adjusting the frame, make sure to put the felt wrap back up to protect against moisture. You then want to apply window wrapping to the exterior of the window frame. Start at the bottom of the window, working your way up as you go.
The new window is best installed from the outside of the home. Simply push it in until it’s inside the frame, and then screw it into place. To make sure that the window is plumb (vertically aligned) and square (corners are 90 degrees), you can add shims and maneuver the screws until it is in the correct position. Be sure to use solid wood when you anchor the window.
Wrap The Window
With the window in position, it’s time to add a second layer of window wrap. The wrap should be placed around the fins of the window. The fin is the strip around the window frame with pre-drilled holes in it. Make sure you overlap and completely cover the surface. Be careful that it does not fold back on itself or crinkle, otherwise, it will not be able to keep moisture out.
Insulate The Window
The final step is the insulation. Expanding foam sealant is the best option here, and it needs to be applied in the gap between the window and the casing. Protect the window frame by using painter’s tape. Once the foam is dry, the tape can be removed with a knife. Be careful not to apply too much foam, because it can expand to the point where it bows the window. After the foam is applied and dried, cut away the excess foam, and install a new interior casing and exterior siding if needed.
Is DIY Window Replacement the Right Choice?
If you have the skill level and the time, replacing the windows yourself will save you about $300 to $700 per window. That’s a considerable investment, especially when you consider that your average three-bedroom single-story home has about 10 windows.