Energy-efficient upgrades to your house can save you money in utility expenses and help attract prospective buyers, too. Our century-old house has a laundry list of items that require attention. However, for all the things that need to get updated, we lucked out in the window department; we’ve got only four single-paned windows to substitute. The four older windows were a rest from the new, builder-grade vinyl windows that had been updated by the previous owners, and they’d become a drain on our pocketbook as the months grew colder.
A few energy-effiicent updates are rather simple — replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs, for example. Others, for example replacing windows, require a bit more know-how. We use nice weather forecast and eventually replaced the past of our chimney — just in time for our winter rains to return.
To do prior to installation:
Check your regional building codes for specific requirements.
Check with the regional utility companies and the federal tax code for rebates or tax write-offs for almost any energy-efficient upgrades.
Review your own window manufacturer’s installation manual.
Materials and tools that we employed:
Jeld-Wen Flanged WindowJeld-Wen Vinyl Window Installation Kit (includes sill drain mat, self-adhesive flashing tape, backer rod, galvanized stainless screws, sealant and instructions)Polyurethane low-expansion window and door foamThree-hour rain-ready paintable silicone caulk
two- by 4-foot framing timber
Caulking gunUtility knifeConstruction stapler
Drill with drill bitHammerTape measureLevelPutty knife (you can also utilize a J-Roller)Tip: Always inspect your window for any cosmetic damage prior to buying it.
Gently remove the trim from the existing window, indoors and outside. Set it you can use it afterwards if you’re installing the same size window or you may cut it to match if the new window is smaller.
Our older windows were wood-framed built-ins. We used a reciprocating saw to cut through the nails that held it to the opening. We were able to remove the window entirely intact in the hopes of recycling it in our regional salvaged-goods store.
Tip: Get a helper to hold the window and keep it from falling out of the opening because you eliminate the fasteners that hold it in position.
Our older windows had odd dimensions, so we had to framework in a rough opening. This was really a blessing in disguise, because although it was extra work, we were able to frame an opening that was square and exactly the right measurements for the new window. We also added sheathingand tar paper to match the existing moisture obstacles under the first siding. Sheathing is the layer of wood between the framework of a building and its outside skin. The tar paper attaches directly to the sheathing.
Because our house is old, a number of our exterior walls aren’t insulated. With this particular wall open, we took the opportunity to insulate and shore up any weak and damaged beams.
After much research about retrofitting flanged windows, we chose to cut the present siding back to make room for new outside window trim. We included new sheathing and slipped just as a lot of this moisture barrier supporting the present barrier as we can. You must understand what size your window trimming will probably be before cutting back the siding.
Tip: Use a chute board (also known as a shooting board) to make a level surface for guiding the round saw when you’re making vertical cuts on uneven siding.
Once dry fitting the window and making sure that the tough opening was right, we installed the Sheetrock on the inside wall. The tough opening made cutting and installing the window hole a lot simpler, since there was no window to get in the way of our drywall knife.
Once the new drywall was set up, we attached the self-adhesive flashing tape to the outside of the opening, then folding above the flashing material onto the bottom of the rough opening and on the face of this tar-papered exterior wall. Following the flashing was set up, we attached the sill drain mat to the bottom of the rough opening, per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Next we centered the window in the rough opening and employed a level to check the top, sides and bottom. We also used a tape measure to guarantee the diagonals were of equal length. Stainless steel screws supplied in the installation kit secured the window through the flanged nailing fin (as shown in the photo). We made certain that the window remained flat and centered as we secured it to the framework, starting from the bottom and working around the rest of the window.
Before we installed the inside trim, we implemented the window and door foam sealant to the gap between the window and the window frame — producing additional insulation from the elements and removing any loopholes.
Before adding the outside trim, we sealed the window with all the self-adhesive flashing. Place the flashing on the window nailing fin and completely cover the exposed wall under. Use a J-Roller or putty knife to fully seal the flashing and eliminate any air bubbles.
We completed the window by simply trimming out both the interior and exterior. We attached primed and painted exterior trim boards to the outside.
Tip: Constantly add primer to some cut ends to protect against corrosion damage.
To secure the window and trim, caulk the gap between both the window and the trimming, and the trimming along with the siding. We ditched the supplied sealant and used three-hour rain-ready silicone caulk, because here in Washington, you will never know when the clouds will soon roll.
For tips about how to add inside window trim, check out this how-to manual.