Replacement Windows

Installing Replacement Windows for Your Home

When the Windows Need to be Updated

Installing replacement windows in your home may improve its appearance, raise your home’s value, and save on energy.  It is a somewhat difficult process and takes about four hours per window, depending on whether or not you are changing sizes, but can be completed by any homeowner.

There aren’t many tools required but you need at least two people to complete the job with any ease.

The benefits are numerous and the appearance and weatherization should make installing replacement windows very worth your time and money.

Measuring Your Windows

If your replacement windows are the same size as your older windows then you won’t have to alter any framing.  They windows will fit right into the existing frame.

This will be the case if you have measured your existing window openings and ordered custom-sized replacement windows – or if you are lucky enough to have existing windows the same size as standard replacements!

If your new windows are different sized, though, you will have to buy lumber and reframe your window in order for the replacement window to fit. This could make your kitchen remodeling project a lot more expensive and it’ll take longer. This is where you might want a professional to come in.

This requires measuring the new window and altering the standing frame to a size that will hold the new replacement windows.  This is called re-framing, and you will need to remove the existing window to do it. Be careful and know if you will also need to work with concrete blocks, or if your home is completely wood.

While installing replacement windows you need certain tools.

A measuring tape, a chalk line, a jigsaw, 2 1/4 inch screws, holding tape (some people use it, it holds the framing together so drilling can take place), a shim or a flat pry bar, a caulking gun, paint scraper, utility knife, putty knife, drill, and a  hammer.

The process takes about two or three hours per window.  Of course, if you are on the second story you need a scaffold or several sturdy ladders.

Types of Replacement Windows

There are three different varieties of replacement windows.

Sash-replacement kits give old frames more modern features.  You can use these if the existing window frame is level and square. As the name implies, the existing sash is replaced by a new one and the structural framing and the window jambs don’t need to be altered.

This is by far the easiest method, but because the new sash will very likely have thicker frames than the existing sash, you will lose a small amount of glass area.

On the other hand, the new sash can can include modern glass features like double or triple glazing or low-e coatings.

The next kind is an insert replacement window.  An insert replacement window comes with a ready to install secondary frame.  These fasten to the old jambs and easily slip in.

The third kind of replacement window is a full frame, possibly the best replacement windows, and is like the insert replacement window except it comes with its’ own jambs.


Installing replacement windows requires good measurements, most importantly.  How to measure for replacement windows is a science.  You measure the width and then you measure the height.

Miscalculating these numbers can cost you valuable time and energy so measure very carefully.  You measure from the inside and measure the bottom, middle, and top.

Next, remove the old window and begin the replacement window installation process.  First remove the stops with the tool of your choice.  Some people keep them so they can use them for the replacement windows. Then remove the parting beads (if any) and the sash.

Finally, it is time to begin installing the replacement windows.  Use the detailed installation instructions that came with your windows! Clean the frame, caulk the frame, and install your window.  Make sure it is flush and tap in the shims.

Most people don’t tap them in all the way because they may need to be removed later.  Screw in the mounting screws at the bottom and top, close any gaps by moving the header up, test the window, and apply the final caulking.

Your installed replacement windows will be beautiful and energy efficient.  Taking only a few hours, it produces long lasting results.

Just replace the blinds or curtains and you’re ready to go.

A relatively easy job, installing replacement windows is a great way to improve a room and add value to your home.


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    • Sarah Packer
    • July 24, 2019

    My husband and I need some windows replaced in our house, so I wanted tips and advice on doing so! I didn’t know a sash-replacement could be used if the window frame is square and level, so you can give your frame more modern features. That’s something I would really like since I like the frames in our house, so I’ll ask about sash-replacements when we hire!

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