Installing a window in your home can seem like a daunting task. With all of the different window replacement options on the market, it can be easy to become overwhelmed when shopping for the right replacement, let alone finishing the project. Fortunately, replacing a window is a relatively simple task that requires few tools to complete.
Learning how to install a PVC window is something most DIYers can do, and it can save them a lot of money. For starters, they’ll save money by not having to hire a pvc window installer. But on top of the installation savings, they’ll benefit from better energy efficiency, possibly saving a bit when the utility bill hits the mailbox.
Replacing a window in your home can seem like a daunting task. With all of the different window replacement options on the market, it can be easy to become overwhelmed when shopping for the right replacement, let alone finishing the project. Fortunately, replacing a window is a relatively simple task that requires few tools to complete.
Before you begin to install PVC windows
There are two key considerations that are critical to a successful pvc window installation. The first is to plan the project for warmer weather. If the project ends up taking a little longer than expected, cold weather is far more of an issue than warm weather. Second, be sure to take accurate measurements and order windows that are as close to those measurements as possible. Beyond those important points, it’s a good idea to unbox and inspect each new pvc window before beginning the project. Ensure that the windows are in good working order and free from shipping damage or imperfections. This is also a good time to remove the pvc covers that snap into the new windows’ jamb tracks, as this is where the screws to secure each new window will go.
STEP 1: Remove the old window.
The first step in pvc window installation is to remove the old window. Slide both sashes to their lowest positions for safety’s sake.
From the inside of the window, use the prybar and hammer to pry the window stops (the thin strips of wood that hold the window sashes in place) from the sides and top of the window. Leave the outermost stops and windowsill in place. With the stops removed, pull the window sashes from the window.
If the stops aren’t easy to remove, consider using an oscillating multi-tool to cut them off, taking care not to damage the jamb.
STEP 2: Prepare the window frame for pvc window installation.
With the old window sashes removed, inspect the existing frame for serious imperfections like rot, mold, splitting, or another issue that might require an in-depth solution. For mildew and other dirt and grime, a mildew remover will often be all it takes to clean the frame.
It is important that the frame be level and plumb, but this is not nearly as critical as its being square. Use a tape measure to measure from diagonally opposing corners to ensure they’re within ¼ inch of each other. If not, it might be necessary to remove the window trim and adjust the actual frame with shims.
STEP 3: Center the replacement pvc window in the opening.
First, test fit the window to ensure that it fits in the opening. After confirming the fit, remove the window before squeezing a bead of caulk along the inside of the outer window stops.
Place the new pvc replacement window in the opening and center it, leaving some space on either side of the window for shims and insulation. Use a tape measure to check that the reveal is uniform on each side to ensure that the window is centered.
STEP 4: Use shims to position the window properly.
With the window sashes in the closed and locked position, place shims under the window to lift and level it in the window opening. If the window frame is quite out of level (particularly in older homes), follow the window’s slope to ensure the window doesn’t appear crooked when finished.
Shim along the sides of the window at the top, bottom, and middle of the window. The shims should hold the window in place but not be so snug that they’ll interfere with the window’s operation.
STEP 5: Drive a 2 ¼-inch screw into each corner of the window frame.
Open the window and locate the screw hole in each corner. They’re typically at the bottom and top of the window, within the tracks.
It’s important to screw from inside the window, through the shims, and into the frame, so be sure that the shims are behind these holes. Drill a pilot hole through the shims to keep them from splitting, and then drive a 2¼-inch screw through the inside of the replacement window and into the frame.
Pro Tip: Don’t over-tighten or the screw could pull the frame out of alignment. The window should be snug to the shims, and the shims to the frame, but not so much that the screw pulls through the frame or shifts its positioning.
STEP 6: Insulate around the window.
The gaps on all sides of the window exist for a reason: insulation. Fiberglass insulation is not a good candidate for this project, as stuffing the batting into the cracks compresses the fibers and prevents them from working. Foam, on the other hand, works well.
Cover the inside perimeter of the window frame with painter’s tape. Use minimal expanding foam to squeeze a barrier of foam between the replacement window’s frame and the existing window frame. Allow it to dry, then cut the excess foam off and remove the tape.
STEP 7: Install new window stops and caulk.
Finally, finish the look of the window by installing new window stops on the inside of the window. Make sure these stops are thick enough to cover the gap between the replacement window and the existing frame for a finished look.
For painted applications, latex caulk will fill any gaps or seams. Use the caulking gun to squeeze the caulk into each seam and then smooth the caulk out with a fingertip dampened on a wet paper towel.
Learning how to install replacement windows is fairly straightforward. As long as the measurements for the replacement window are a match, the job typically goes well.