How to Replace Windows at Home

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Know Your Home

When considering replacement windows, it’s a good idea to research the specific needs of a home. There are many factors that can come into play:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Climate
  • Safety Codes
  • Building Codes
  • Materials

Types of Windows

There are multiple types of replacement windows varying in style, shape and efficiency. Researching a home’s needs will decide which window is the perfect fit for the home.


A Window’s efficiency is rated by three factors, each of which will be listed on a window’s efficiency label.

  • U-factor measures a window’s ability to hold in heat, or in other words a window’s ability to conserve energy. The lower the number the better the window is at reducing energy loss. The normal recorded ranges are between 0.2 and 1.2
  • Solar heat gain coefficient, otherwise referred to as SHGC, measures heat reflection. Sun light not only illuminates things it touches it heats them. This is particularly important to factor in when looking at the location of a home. Colder areas will want more heat passing through the glass while warmer areas will want as much heat reflected away from the home as possible. The values range from 0 to 1 with 0 blocking the most heat and 1 letting the most heat through.
  • Visible transmittance is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s the term for light seen by the naked eye. Ratings range between 0 and 1 with 0 being the least amount of light a person will see passing through a window and 1 being the most.

The Install

Once the research is done and a window has been chosen the process of replacing the old windows begins.

Tools and materials needed:

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Utility Knife
  • Measuring Tape
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pry Bar
  • Caulk Gun with caulk
  • Window Shims
  • Replacement Window

Removing the Old Window

  1. Using a utility knife, score around the inside of the window following the caulk sealing.
  2. Any surrounding siding that may hinder removing the old window smoothly should be pried up for access.
  3. Remove the nails holding the old window in place. Once nails are removed the window should be easily removed.
  4. Clean the window frame of any rough edges and debris remaining from the old window.

Installing the New Window

  1. Measure the window frame for accurate sizing of the new window. It is a good idea to measure twice so no errors are made in installation.
  2. Place the new window into the window frame. Shim as needed to make square.
  3. Install the mounting screws into the frame, making sure not to over tighten. It can damage the window and seal.
  4. Seal any gaps using caulk and header as needed.
  5. Reattach any siding that was removed.
  6. Verify the window opens and closes smoothly. Adjust the adjustment screws as needed.


Don’t forget to ask for help. Replacing windows is not a job for a novice. Having someone perform the repair that specializes in replacement windows is always a good idea. If doing the job yourself, don’t forget to ask for help from a friend or neighbor. Safety should always be a priority when working with tools.

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