Windows need love and care. Nothing’s less appealing than dirty, grimy windows that obstruct your view, and on top of that dirty windows frequently aren’t safe. Unfortunately, windows can’t last forever, which means once in a blue moon you might find yourself in the position of having to replace an old one with a fresh, clean, new one.
Professional help is always your best bet in these situations, but once in a while you just have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. Here’s a quick guide to installing your own windows in your home.
As with all carpentry, your first job is to measure exhaustively. Get the width and height of your opening and make sure your measurements are as accurate as humanly possible. You’ll be left with a big empty hole in your wall if you’re even a centimeter off.
Next you’ll need to cut some self-adhering waterproof membrane for the inside of the window. This membrane is available at any hardware store. It comes with one side coated in adhesive. You need to make sure it’s firmly attached to the inside of the window. Try to get the adhesive to overlap somewhat so the entire inside of the opening is covered.
The next part might require a second set of eyes. You need to install the window frame into the opening, firmly but carefully. Start by resting the sill at the bottom into the opening on the membrane and slide the rest of the window into place. You’ll need to hammer some nails into the nailing fin on the window to hold it in place, but don’t drive the nails all the way in. They’re just a temporary measure.
This is a good time to check your work with a level. If the window is crooked, the temporary nails can be removed and the entire frame can be readjusted. Also, measure the width of the window at the middle to make sure it isn’t bowing inward. Once again, be very precise. Everything up until now is adjustable but going forward mistakes will be much harder to erase.
Next you’ll need more strips of membrane to cover the nailing fins of the window on the outside. Once again, make sure they overlap. To apply insulation, you’ll need to be on the inside of the house. If there’s a wide gap between the window and the framing, stuff some fiberglass insulation in there and seal the top with aluminum tape or caulk. If the gap is narrow, apply a thin bead of caulk and let it dry for over an hour so it bonds to both the window and frame.
Replacing a window on your own isn’t always cheap. The window itself should be custom ordered to fit whatever size hole you’ve currently got in the wall, and the insulation, caulk, and tools can cost you hundreds of dollars. But it’s still often cheaper than hiring an expert to come and do it for you, and nothing beats the sense of achievement that comes from building something on your own.
Give these steps a try and soon you’ll have a fresh new window in your home in no time at all.