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Vinyl Replacement Window Installation Tricks

Looking to save money on your heating and air conditioning bills?

Vinyl replacement windows are your answer. With some help from an experienced professional 

window replacement company, you can manage the job yourself and save a lot of money. You’ll save money by installing them yourself and you’ll save money on your energy bills.


Modern vinyl replacement windows can offer homeowners of aged homes many advantages. One example; it is very improbable that you will find “stock” windows at your neighborhood home center that will fit into the openings left when you remove your old windows. Being that modern vinyl replacement windows are made-to-fit, You’ll get the exact size you need and they’ll fit perfectly.

A second reason to consider buying vinyl replacement windows is, there is no carpentry work involved in modifying the existing openings because your new replacement windows will be made to order. There’s no drywall or plasterboard patching required on the inside and no siding repairs required on the outside of your home. When you are done, a little touch-up paint and some caulking is all you need for a professional installation. Nice!

A third reason to think about installing new vinyl replacement windows is another benefit. You can save on your heating and air conditioning energy bills. Modern insulated glass panes not only help keep your heat in but panes can be tinted with UV blocking coatings to filter damaging UV rays.

A fourth reason to install new window units is EZ maintenance and cleaning. Tilt-forward sashes allow you to clean the outside glass from “inside” your home, where its safe. No more climbing dangerous ladders.


You are going to need to take exact measurements of the width and height of each existing window opening you are replacing. Stick a piece of masking tape on every window you plan on replacing and write a number on it for identification. Make a written list that includes the location of each window and the corresponding number you wrote on the masking tape. Ask your window manufacturer to put your number on each new unit for identification. When your new window units arrive, you won’t have to figure our where each new unit goes.

While measuring, take a framing square to see how square each opening is. If a window appears to be 1/8th inch out-of-square, you will want to deduct that 1/8th inch from the corresponding measurement. Next, take a short level to check for level and plumb of the existing opening. If the tops or bottoms of any window opening are level, and the opening is still out of square, your side jambs are most likely out-of-plumb. When the side frame is 1/8th inch out-of-plumb, you’ll want to deduct that 1/8th inch from the width measurement you took. Most of the time, your window manufacturer will supply you a with pre-printed sheet that includes their measurement and product ordering guidelines. Don't sweat; mostly all windows are built with movable top and side moldings to accommodate out of square openings.

Installing Your  New Units

Wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling paint dust or chips. Older homes can have lead paint. You should consider getting a helper, someone to help hold the window units in place so you can install the mounting screws accurately.

Standing inside your house, pry off the stop moldings with a flat prying bar. Pull out the bottom sash and lay it down inside where it won’t be damaged. You don’t want broken glass to deal with. Next, cut the ropes that are holding the windows in. Have your helper hold the ropes so the heavy iron counter weights don’t drop down inside the wall. Pull them out and discard them. Remove the top sash unit using the same technique. After your old units are out, vacuum up the loose dust and paint chips from your opening.

Set your new window in place to see how it fits. If it looks okay, pull out the window and get the opening ready to accept it. Squeeze a thick bead of caulk on the sill and sides of the opening for your new unit to “set into”. Carefully place your new unit into the opening and into the caulking. Push the unit forward towards the outside stop moldings.

Use your level to see if it is plumb. Use wood or vinyl shims to adjust your unit as is needed to assure they are plumb.  Modern vinyl replacement windows will already have holes drilled in the side jambs for mounting.  Once your unit is square and plumb, install the mounting screws. You should have accurate shimming everywhere a screw is used to avoid forcing the unit out of square or plumb.

Check to see how your window operates. Slide the sashes up and down. Adjust your shims and mounting screws as needed until the windows slide freely. Also check the tilt-in feature for proper operation.

When all units are working properly, caulk around any open air spaces and re-nail your moldings back into the wet caulking. Reapply caulking inside and outside to seal any remaining gaps. Wait several weeks for your caulking to totally cure before touching up the paint. 

In Closing 

Installing brand new vinyl replacement windows is an easy do-it-yourself project. Your rewards will be many. Your home will look better and increase in value. If you are still a little weary about handling the project on your own, hire a pro.

Reprinting this article

Feel free to reprint this story as long as my complete article, byline, bio and hyperlinks are left intact. I reserve all copyright privileges and protection as is offered by law. Copyright 2008

Author Information

Robert Clarke is the owner and operator of various home repair companies spanning more than 3 decades. Find more info about Replacement Windows


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