How Hard Is Replacing windows?

I have a lot of old, wooden fram windows. they are starting to leak cold air…and painting them is a pain. I have begun to consider replacing them with plastic fram windows. people tell me that repalcing them is pretty easy:
-remove interior moldings
-reove nails holding window fram to window framing
-take old window out
-fit new windo, shim sides to plumb
-insulate around framin
replace molding
Sounds simple, but is it? How long can i expect to spend per window?

figure on 4 hours for the first one, 2 hours for the next one, then an hour each from there on out.
it is pretty easy, but it depends on experience and confidence. Having someone to help is a good thing. Letting the windows fall out or in is an easy mistake.

Spray foam insulation is best for between the window frame and the wall.

Hey, nifty! I work for a window manufacturer and finally get to use that here!

Replacing windows yourself *is * fairly easy, if you have the right size windows – window openings you can easily buy stock sizes for. Measure them first and see what Home Depot has. If it’s a small difference, <0.5", then you can probably still square the windows up with shims. If not, I’d recommend going the custom-sizing route. In old houses especially, the windows sometimes leak air because the openings around them have settled and start to sag, or the wooden frames are rotting, or whatever, and that can alter the size of the opening. Talk to the guys at the store to make sure you’re measuring the openings correctly, too – measurements for windows are generally based on tip-to-tip window size, but if you’re talking opening size to someone and they’re thinking tip-to-tip then you’ll have problems.

A pair of professional installers will take around three hours to do 12 windows, so estimate based on that. And definitely get help – double-pane windows are surprisingly heavy, even vinyl.

Sorry, I thought you were looking to install UNIX.

What a great post FAT, BALD and UNIX come together. LOL. Literally.

In my case, replacing windows is going to be an absolute pain. The drywall wraps around. There is no window jamb. These are non operating, big, big aluminum frame windows. 4x7 feet.

We had 13 of these on the south side of the house. 4 of which where windows in closest. Yep. The ‘closest’ were intended as heat sinks for solar radiation. The previous owners plans were to put a couple of 55 gallon drums of water in the closest to store heat for the evening. Interesting idea. Didn’t work.

Instead, I ripped two of the bigger ‘solar’ closets out to let the sun heat a concrete floor. Two small closets are now just that. Another huge ‘solar closet’ is now two regular small closets (without windows) and an open large glass area that also warms up the concrete floor. More storage, more light, better heat sink.

On the windows that I have removed, I have had to rip siding off the house to do it. And re-drywall inside. I tried to do it in one piece, but when the first one shattered on me and my wife, I decided to shoot the others out first with a pellet gun, and clean the mess later.

Anyway, I hope things go much easier for you. Take a close look at things first. You may not be able to re-use your molding. You can be very gentle taking it off, but eventually, one will probably break. I would plan on replacing all molding. A power miter box is a life saver if you do replace the molding.

The outside trim is what keeps me from doing it myself. How does one trim it out from the outside? Right now I have vinyl siding coming right up to the window casing. And I think I have to peel the siding back to get to the nailing fins from the old window.

Your windows are probably a standard size, so they should be easy to fit but *don’t * take any chances on this. Have the dealer come out and measure your windows and order the correct size. They should be happy to do this free. Then if they don’t fit, it is their liability, not yours.

Do this.

Now once you remove the old sashes, you will insert your new windows from inside. You have to slide them in from the top. To get them to go all the way down, you have to notch out the exterior moulding so that the window can make the turn and the top can slide in. Use a board the same width as the new window as a template to get the angle right so that you can notch out the moulding with a wood chisel. Now when you slide the window down, it will enter the notches in the moulding in the bottom untill the top clears. When the top clears, push it all the way against the outside moulding, and the bottom will swing back towards you. I hope this is clear.

The alternative is to cut away about a quarter inch of the window sill, which you will later have to fill. No a good way.

Once you have notched the moulding out, dry fit it. Then lay a bead of the appropriate sealant onto the outer moluling and drop the window in. The fit should be so good that you don’t have to worry much about it being plumb. Shim it up.

Poke in some insulation or spray foam. Get advice on the foam. You do not want any product which will expand so agressively that it will warp the frame of your new window.

Now reinstall the inside mouldings using the same sealant.

Also, when you initially remove your inside mouldings, score the paint line with a utility knife so the paint doesn’t chip out and make a ragged line. Typically, an old house will have many layers of paint.

That’s the problem I have. My siding if old rough sawn cedar.

I opted for removing and replacing the siding. As these windows where pretty close to corners or the edge of the building and as I was removing and NOT replacing the window, it wasn’t too bad. Had no choice. Had to re-side that part of the house anyway.

The other option I see is to use a circular saw (set at the correct depth) to cut back the siding an inch so that you can get at the flange that is nailed into the studs/window header and sill. You should now be able to pull the nails out of the nailing fins with a cats paw. Then when you replace the window, you will need to trim around the new window on the outside.

Another posible option is to cut the nailing fins off with a recipricating saw (sawz-all).