How involved is enlarging a window?

My house has a somewhat recent addition (built in approx 1980) that’s set up as the master bedroom. It has 2 big exterior walls (aluminum siding) with 1 window on each: a pseudo bay window that I’d like to eventually replace with faux french doors leading onto a patio, and a strange little gunslit window set about 5 feet up from the floor (and probably less than 2 feet high).

I’m going curtain shopping right now, which is what prompted this question. How much would I expect to spend to knock a bigger hole in the wall and put in a more normal sized window? And how invasive is it? We just painted the room, and in my mind it seems like it would be possible to do the whole thing without messing up the interior walls, but I’m not sure what the standard procedure is.

My current plan is just to replace both windows at the same time, but if this is something I can have done in the $5 to $700 range, I may take care of the silly gunslit window now. Also, is there any chance an ambitious DIYer could tackle this?

It’s easy to keep the same width and just make the window taller. I had windows that were 30 inches high. I made the opening 48 inches high by cutting out the sheetrock between the studs. Very easy.

Changing the windows width means reframing. You have to redo the header, put in a new jack and king stud. Fix the sheetrock and trim out the window. Not too difficult. But it takes a weekend.

This is a door frame, but a window is framed the same. Note the header,jack and king studs. The header is supported by the jack. The king locks it in place.

Also, plan on buying or renting a Reciprocating saw. You’ll need it to cut through the outside sheathing of the house.

It is amazing, though, what one can do with a carefully held chain-saw.

That’s what my dad usually used for renovation work of this type – he would “rough out” the opening with a chain-saw and then fine-tune it later. I’m not suggesting it to the uninitiated, just mentioning it.

It’s possible for this to be in the price range you quoted. Don’t even expect the ridiculous low end you quoted. It all comes down to circumstances and your expectations as if it will be in that range. Get a quote from somebody to do it. Don’t do it yourself and screw it up. There are so many unemployed carpenters right now you can definitely get a good price. Around here most building contractors are now bankrupt and gone.

In case it’s not obvious, make sure there are no wires or anything in the opening you’re cutting.

I think most DIY’s could handle making the window taller. There’s no framing other than closing off the bottom. But, it’s not something you want to attempt unless you’re familiar with saws and other tools. The diy network web site has a lot of videos and tips.

Widening a window and reframing takes a lot more experience. It’s definitely not something a beginner should attempt. I worked summers roofing and framing to pay for college. Still, it’s not something I’d attempt without carefully planning and making sure I had enough time to finish.

Of course, the price you’re quoting is for a “typical” installation without any problems. However, it always seems that you run into something you hadn’t planned on once you open up the wall.

If you do open up the wall and everything’s the way it’s supposed to be, good.

Always allow for the fact that the previous carpenter didn’t know what he was doing, though, and did a half-assed job that you’ll have to correct.

I guess it can all be summed up with an “expect the worst and anything less than that is gravy.”

Don’t forget you may be required to obtain a building permit before you do any of the work.

Here’s a good video that shows how a window is removed and replaced.

That’ll give you an idea of what’s involved.

… and meet local building and egress codes, and in some jusrisdictions energy efficiency requirements as well.

And in some jurisdictions, you may need to have your work inspected for compliance to those codes, and (sigh) that may open up a whole can of worms in terms of other things that need to be “updated” to pass that inspection.

Get a local professional to estimate doing the job first to see if there are other obvious pieces of work or red tape that you’ll need to take care of before you open that can of worms.

Just click the little icon in the upper right corner.

See “bearing wall”/“load-bearing wall”.
(If ya needed to click the link to know what that phrase means, step away from the Sawzall … you’re not even a beginner!)
:rolleyes: what’s that creaking sound, :confused: it couldn’t be the… :smack: oh shit it is, :eek: oh fuck!

CMC fnord!
… And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these - :cool: - safety glasses.

steronz, I’m going to suggest that you also post your question in the special forum called Side Conversations: The Barn House, which deals specificially with home renovation. We do have a number of handy-persons and similar do-it-yourselfers who read and post there, who might have some suggestions.

(I’m giving you specific permission to double-post this one, because I think there are posters who only read the one forum and not the other. Normally, we don’t allow double-posting.)

And remember that you may run into things inside the wall that you are removing that need to be dealt with – like electrical wires, plumbing, heat/AC vents, etc. And not just ones to this room, but the rooms above this one. Suddenly you need an electrician and a HVAC person, too – your cost will go way up from your estimate!