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How to Replace Old Wood Windows

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How to Replace Old Wood Windows

By: New Jersey Home Inspector Michael Del Greco
How to Replace Old Wood Windows

Submitted by: Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic GI 0121, President of Accurate Inspections, Inc, a New Jersey home inspection company

Wood windows can maintain charm in many homes, but more often than not, they will be replaced by a considerable number of homeowners with vinyl windows, which generally offer better operability and insulation capability.


Like many home repairs or replacements, replacing wood windows with vinyl replacement windows is something handy homeowners can do with basic instructions.


Here is a step-by-step plan to help you remove the old sash (the part of the window that moves up and down) and install a vinyl replacement window.


1) Measure the opening between the two side jambs and top and bottom of the sash. Generally, the top sash and bottom sash are the same size. Once you get these measurements, take off about 1/4\" from the sides and top and bottom because you will need room to install the windows. If a window is severely out of square, or racked, you many want to order new windows 1/2\" smaller on each of the sides, top and bottom, instead of 1/4\". Example: If the window is 30\" x 50\", you are going to make the window 29 3/4\" x 49 3/4\" tall, if 1/4\" is all you need.


2) Order the windows and wait until they come in before you take out the old sash. Carefully remove the window stop beads, which are the pieces of trim that are nailed to the jambs that hold the sash in place. Once you remove the stop bead, take out the bottom sash. It is not uncommon to break some of the stop beads when taking them out, so be careful. You may want to buy extras if you are replacing a number of windows.


3) There will be another wood bead, often called the parting bead, which is between the two window sashes and keeps them apart. This will have to be chiseled off. You will then be able to take the top sash out. The opening will be ready to receive the replacement window, and the interior and exterior trims are left in place.


4) Install the replacement window into the opening as explained in the manufacturer\'s suggestions. Make sure they are plumb and level and secured with screws. Replace the window sash stop beads and paint or refinish any marred trim.


The cost of the window is generally between $100-$150 for a vinyl replacement window with insulated glass. Variables are size, quality and features. For professional installation, anticipate an additional $75 to $150 per window. These are general rules of thumb.



Information provided by Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic. GI 0121, American Society of Home Inspectors Member 102273, Pesident of Accurate Inspections, Inc. A West Paterson New Jersey Home Inspection firm.

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