Preparing For Window Replacement

If you are replacing windows in your home, several factors can affect the project’s cost. In addition to frame material and window type, the price can vary based on your location and whether you choose energy-efficient upgrades.

Window Replacement

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When you have a new window installation project planned, the preparation process begins before the installers arrive. This will help ensure that the project runs as smoothly as possible. This is also an opportunity to touch base with the contractor and reconfirm all the details of the project. It’s a good idea to ask any questions at this time, so that when the crew arrives on installation day everything is clear.

The first thing that you need to do is remove any items located in the work area of your windows. This includes furniture, plants and other decorations, as well as anything else that’s in the way of working around the windows themselves. The same goes for any hanging items like canvas art, wreaths and other sculptures on the exterior of your home. This will give the window replacement professionals a clear path of access to the windows, and it will prevent them from inadvertently hitting any of these items with tools or dropping them on them during the installation process.

This is especially important if you have a full frame window replacement, as this requires stripping the interior and exterior of the frames to rough framing. It’s also a good idea to clean up the area surrounding your windows, including any patio furniture, kids’ toys or garden decorations that are nearby.

You should also prepare the window opening by removing any sash or blind stops that are holding in the existing window. Next, pry the jamb liners from the window frame with a flat bar to prep the opening for the new window. Then, sand the frames and apply primer and paint to the outside and inside of the frame.

If you’re replacing a single window, then you may be able to skip this step. However, if you have more than one window that needs to be replaced or you are replacing all of your windows with inserts, then it’s a good idea to pre-sand the frames and apply primer and paint before starting. This will help ensure that the frames are ready for the new window, and it’ll make the job go much faster.


Just like countertops, cabinets, decks and flooring projects, a good window replacement requires accurate measurements in order to ensure a perfect fit. This will make installation easier and prevent gaps and overlaps that can compromise performance.

Measurements must be taken from the inside of your home to correctly assess the dimensions of your existing window frames and ensure an accurate fit for replacement windows. This includes both the width and height of the window opening. During your consultation, a Pella professional will review these measurements with you to ensure a great fit for your new windows.

To determine the width of your window opening, start by positioning your tape measure against the bottom inside edge of the frame and stretching it to the opposite side. Write down this measurement. Repeat this process in the middle of the frame and again at the top. Choose the shortest of these three numbers as your rough width measurement.

When it comes to measuring the height of your existing window opening, you’ll want to measure the length between the top horizontal board above the head jamb (sometimes called the sill) and the bottom vertical trim piece that extends out from the wall at the bottom of the frame, sometimes called the stool. This is the measurement that you will use to determine your new window height.

You may also need to measure the depth of your existing window. This is rarely required, but can be necessary if your window frames are out of square, which can affect how well the sash can open and close. To find this measurement, open your window and measure the space from the lip of the frame’s screen channel to the sash. Subtract 1/8 inch from this number to obtain your window depth measurement.

Once you have your width and height measurements, it’s time to compare and select the smallest measurement for each to use as your final numbers when ordering your new replacement windows. Remember to circle or otherwise highlight the smallest measurement so it’s easy to reference when ordering your windows.


The most important step in the window replacement process is choosing windows that fit your needs and lifestyle. There are many different styles, materials and features available in replacement windows and the decision-making can be overwhelming for some homeowners. However, making well-informed choices at this stage will ensure that the replacement windows you select are tailored to your specific preferences, budget and home.

The first thing to consider is the purpose of the windows you need. For example, are you looking for ventilation or do you want your windows to flood interior spaces with natural light? The answer to this question will help you narrow down your choices of window type and style.

Next, consider your budget. Window replacement can be expensive, especially if you’re replacing several windows in your home. Make sure to factor in labor costs, window sizes and styles, and the energy efficiency of your chosen windows. It’s also important to choose a window installer with an established track record of providing quality service and products at a fair price.

It’s a good idea to talk with friends and family members about their experiences with local window installers. Their recommendations can help you find a company that has the right experience, knowledge and choice of windows for your home.

Once you’ve selected a potential vendor, take the time to review their portfolio of products and services. They should be able to provide detailed information about the pros and cons of each window option, as well as an estimate of how much each will cost. It’s also a good idea to ask about the warranty and service policies of each vendor.

Once you’ve gathered quotes from several vendors, it’s time to start the selection process. Begin by comparing the different options for window frames, glass, finishes and accessories. You should also consider the window installation method, and your location. For instance, if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, it may be best to choose windows that offer improved durability. Also, if you live in an area with high air pollution levels, you should choose windows that are more energy efficient.


Before beginning the project, the crew should cover anything that needs protection such as rugs or wall decorations. They should also tarp the area around your window and any surrounding areas they will be working on to minimize debris, dirt and dust. They should also constantly clean the work area.

The crew will carefully remove the existing windows, unless you have chosen to go with full-frame replacement, in which case they will create a new opening and install a frame with insulation and trim. This method is more expensive but can be a good option for older homes, especially those with significant damage to the framing or wood rot.

After removing the old window, the installer will check the rough opening for alignment and shimming. It’s important for the frame to be square and plumb so that the new window fits properly. To do this, the crew will measure the inside jamb surfaces of the frame (not including exterior trim) diagonally and make sure they are equal.

Next, the installer will stuff foam backer rod between the new window and frame and apply exterior caulk over it. This helps prevent water leaks and air infiltration. They will then reinstall the exterior casings and any other trim components, such as sash stops. The installer may also insulate the new window with an expanding-foam sealant between the frame and casing to improve energy efficiency.

Once the new window is installed, the installer will trim away any excess material and make sure it’s flush with the frame and wall. The installer will also paint or stain the trim molding to provide a finished appearance. If there are nail holes left from the removal of the old window, they can be filled with stainable wood putty or re-caulked.

A high-quality contractor will ensure that all gaps are sealed and painted to prevent drafts and water infiltration. They will also make sure you understand your warranty and the operation of your new windows. They should also leave a detailed, clean work area at the end of the day and take away all trash.