While most windows will usually have a lifespan of about 20 to 40 years, the amount of time can vary according to a range of factors like the level of quality and craftsmanship of the window, maintenance routines, and weather conditions throughout the year.
If your existing frame—the jamb, casing, sill, and exterior trim—is still in good shape, you might be tempted to try and replace your windows by yourself. While we highly recommend hiring a professional to help you install new windows for the best possible results, doing it yourself is certainly possible.
If you’re interested in learning how to install a replacement window, our window installation experts will walk you through the process, step-by-step. But first, let’s begin by looking at some of the risks of DIY window installation and whether it’s the right choice for you.
Replacement Window Installation: Should You Do It Yourself?
Window replacement is a complicated process, even for seasoned professionals. Unless you’re well-trained in window replacement, doing it yourself might be more trouble than it’s worth. If you do decide to go this route, it’s a good idea to be aware of some of the issues you can face during the process, and what’s generally the most problematic for first-timers replacing their own windows themselves.
Choosing Poor Materials: High-quality windows can be expensive, but poorly made windows can be even more so, even if you’re saving money upfront. and will protect your home, and last for as long as possible. If you install cheap and inefficient materials for your window installation, you’ll probably end up having to replace the windows again much sooner than you’d think, which will drive up the total cost of your investment and waste your time in the process.
Making Mistakes: In the process of replacing your windows, you run the risk of damaging the wider frame as well as the materials that you purchased. Unexpected mistakes can make window replacement much more expensive than you’d planned, and fixing the problem might require the help of a professional Massachusetts window installation company anyway.
Getting Started: How to Source the Best Materials for Your Window Replacement
Choosing the best materials is essential to the success and duration of your window replacement. Make sure to select the most energy-efficient products you can find. Windows built with multiple panes of glass and engineered with low-E coatings will work effectively to keep out solar radiation and better regulate the temperature in your home. There is also a clear financial benefit to investing in the best materials: the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that effective sealing on your home can reduce your energy bills by as much as 30%.
Because there are so many available products on the market, be sure to shop around and do plenty of research on your options before taking the plunge and investing in your new windows.
Completing the Work
If you decide to replace your own windows rather than working with Springfield MA window installers, you need to be prepared for the process and what to expect. Here is a step-by-step guide for general instances where you are replacing your windows, however, your specific instructions will depend on your home’s existing structure and the products you choose. In general, know that full-frame window replacements are very complex and should generally be completed by a team of trained professionals.
Step 1: Measure the Old Window
Carefully measure the dimensions of your existing window. You need to be as accurate as possible because your measurements will have the potential to make or break the entire process. You should measure the width, height, and squareness of the window.
Get the height by measuring at three vertical points across the window, each time from the top of the sill to the bottom of the head jamb. You might find there are slight differences, so go with the smallest measurement that you read.
Measuring the width is done by going from the jamb on the left side to the jamb on the right side. Again you should take three measurements at the top, middle, and bottom while taking the smallest reading.
The squareness of the window is determined by measuring diagonally from the corners of the frame. This reading must be incredibly accurate: if there is a difference of more than a ¼ inch between the diagonal lengths of the frame, you will need to contact a Massachusetts window installation company to replace the window frame.
Step 2: Get Your Materials and Prepare the Space
To begin, you will want to clean the window and the immediate working area. Be sure to have the necessary eye and ear protection and to protect the area around the window from dirt.
You will be able to use the measurements you made to purchase your new windows too.
Step 3: Remove the Existing Window
This is done by first removing the inside stop pieces from the right and left sides of the window. It’s important that you do not damage these pieces as they will need to be reattached later once your new window is inserted.
With these pieces removed you will be able to remove the sash itself. Be sure to look out for any weights that are connected by a chain or chord.
With the sash gone, it’s time to remove the outside sash. Do this by sliding it to the bottom part of the frame, removing the parting bead and throwing it away. Now it’s just a matter of removing the sash while once again looking out for weights.
Be careful not to remove exterior stops from the window frame as your new window is going to need these.
Step 4: Clean the Window
While you have open access to the window frame take the opportunity to clean it up and prepare it for the new window. This is done by removing old caulking with an appropriate tool (there are many options), cover any nails or screws, and remove any weights from their wells.
This is also the perfect chance to check the condition of your frame in general. If you have a wooden window frame, you should look out for signs of rot or water damage. If you do detect some issues, you should contact your local Massachusetts window installation company for assistance.
Step 5: Install the New Window
Place caulk along the inner length of the outside stops on the jambs. This will ensure the best fit and help to secure the new sashes. You should place both of these vertically inside the window frame. This is done by finding the bumper stops and sliding them to the middle of the frame. You will eventually see the four mounting holes in the side jambs.
If you have chosen to work with an expander for the top of your window, it’s time to place it. Once you have done that, it’s time for the window itself. Be sure to check the level of the window constantly, to make sure it’s properly balanced.
With the window in place, it’s time to secure the jambs using mounting screws. You should install these with care because you want to avoid deforming any of the paneling. Once this step is completed, you’re ready to expand the header to create a seal between the top of your new window and the existing frame.
Step 6: Refining the Fit
Now that your windows are securely in place, you should check that they function properly and that there are no gaps between it and the frame. If you do notice poor motion or gaps, be sure to check the adjustment screws in the side jambs. Tightening and loosening them can correct the window frame.
Caulk the window to properly seal it to prevent air from escaping or water leakage. While the caulk can develop a rigid, exterior shell quite quickly, it will take longer for it to harden properly. This is why it’s important to choose a dry day to replace your windows, as wet conditions will complicate the process.
Once you’ve reattached the inside stops, your window will be installed.
Getting Support for Your Project
Replacing a window can be a challenge, but if you’re equipped with the right information, good-quality products, and a little bit of know-how, doing it yourself can lead to a successful outcome. Knowing when to call for professional assistance is always a good idea when planning a renovation project, and Vista Home Improvement is here for you should you ever need help at any stage during the process.
As a leading Massachusetts window installation company, Vista Home Improvement is dedicated to helping homeowners make the most out of their renovation projects, with top-quality window installation services and premium window products at affordable prices. Our company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and a multiple-time winner of the “Super Service Award” given by Angie’s List.
If you need help installing your new windows or window frame, our team of window installation experts is just a phone call away. You can call one of our helpful representatives today or fill out our simple online form. It will be our pleasure to provide you with a free quote.