On average, windows last for 20 years.
Like all things, there comes a time when they need to be replaced. DIY window replacement may seem difficult, but with enough time, preparation, and handiness, you can get the job done right.
Replacing windows is not as hard as it sounds, though it can be a labor and time-intensive process. If you are a handy person, or if you’ve had a lot of experience doing home renovations, replacing windows yourself is possible.
DIY Window Replacement
The biggest expense for a DIY window replacement project is the windows themselves. You might also find yourself spending some money on tools that you don’t have. If you need an emergency window replacement, it might be easier and cheaper to have it done by a professional.
If you’re going to replace multiple windows or all of your windows, you can save money doing it yourself. Here are all the steps you will need to complete your job.
1. Remove the Old Window
This is going to take some work, and you will need a crowbar. If you’re replacing the entire window, you will have to remove it from the wall of the house. This includes the trim, and the sill plate of the window. The window casing has to go, and the only way to get it out is with some good old elbow grease.
You may also have to open up the wall on the inside and outside of the window frame. Doing this will require a bit more work after the replacement, so be careful. Try to fit a standard window into the frame, unless you are willing to spend the money to get a custom window built.
2. The Window Frame
The first thing you have to do is make sure the frame fits the new window. The studs and header boards should be in place and flush with the window frame. If you need to adjust the frame, you may need to add boards to the wall. Most people use 2x4s here. They are durable and strong enough for the task.
It’s important that this process be done the right way. Any gaps in your frame will lead to the window failing and could allow water into your wall. This will cause your frame to rot and could result in a gaping hole if the window falls out. It will also speed up having to replace the windows again.
3. Put in the New Window Frame
The next step of the process is to put in the new window. You will need to push the window into position, and make sure that it fits flush with the wall. At this point, you will need to screw the window into a solid piece of wood, such as the studs of your wall.
This will allow the weight of the window to be supported and will prevent sagging or any opening of the frame. Make sure that the exterior of the house is also flush with the window. Once you get it screwed in, you don’t want to have to move the window frame again.
4. Apply Wrap to the Window
Window wrap is important because it creates a barrier against moisture and vapor. This has to be done all around the edges of the window to seal it. You will want to make sure that the wrap reaches and covers any other surface around the window. This overlap will help to seal the area up.
Make sure that your wrap doesn’t get kinked or crinkled. Anything other than flat and flush is going to cause problems in the future. Once you have this process done, you are ready to move on to the next step in the operation.
5. Insulate the Area
Now that you have replaced the window itself, there’s a bit more to be done. It does no good to install a window and not insulate it. Here spray foam insulation is the easiest to work with because it can expand and fill all the nooks and crannies that might be left behind.
Protect the edges of your window. Use either plastic or painters’ tape to prevent the foam from getting on the window itself. You can then use a razor or knife to trim the insulation. This will create a nice seal around the window and prevent a draft from coming in around it.
You should also be careful not to use too much insulation. If you use more than what is required, you run the risk of impeding your window from working right. If this happens, the window may bow or be very difficult to open because of the pressure.
6. Finish Up
The last step of the DIY window replacement is to replace all the window trim. Measure and replace the interior trim so that the window looks nice and fits well. If you’ve done any cutting on the outside of the house, you will now have to replace the siding you removed.
Putting down plastic is a great way to prevent a huge mess, as you will have wood shavings and insulation foam going everywhere. If you prepare for a proper cleanup the task will be much easier at the end. Repaint anything that needs it, and your task will be complete.
With all that work done, you’ve completed a DIY window replacement. The act of replacing a window takes time, and while professionals make it look easy, that’s only because they have experience. Since you’ve replaced your own window, you now know what it takes and the next window replacement you do will be easier.
Like with everything, the more experience you get at the process the smoother and easier it will go. The primary concern is to not risk exposing your house to water damage. If you think you’ve made a mistake, don’t feel bad about contacting a professional for assistance. The worst thing you can do is create a vulnerability where water can come in and destroy your walls.
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