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Some Basics of Window Installation

March 26, 2013

There are some key factors that need to be considered when installing windows into the home, regardless of the complexity of the job. Some of these basics may not apply in all instances; however, the first task is very important, and should never be skipped.


1. Although it sounds obvious, read the instructions before any DIY project.
2. If using full-frame windows, once the window rough opening is determined, it should be
measured for correct size, and the opening should be checked to verify that it is level and
square.
3. Check for insulation within the interior cavity between the window frame and the window
rough opening. There should be a sufficient amount, but not so much as to interfere with the
window installation.
4. All unfinished wooden surfaces need to be protected by applying stain or some type of
sealant. This is necessary to prevent moisture from attacking the bare wood.
5. Ensure that flashing is in place around the window opening. Verify that the existing flashing
is in good condition, and if you are in doubt, then replace it.
6. Window alignment should be verified before the window is fastened into position.
7. Make sure the weather stripping and the window's interior hardware is free of paint.

Windows are available in three basic forms; insert replacements, sash kits, and full-frame units. Full frame units are typically used for new construction because they provide the installer with the entire window and frame, including the sill, side jambs, and head jamb. Full-frame windows are used where the installer finds rotted window frame wood. This type of job becomes complex because all the rotted wood must be removed, leaving the window opening striped down to the rough framing.

Sash kits incorporate the use of the existing window frame, but it provides some new movable parts such as sash and jamb liners. Sash kits maintain the dimensions of the original window's glass area, so the aesthetics of the home is not changed. Sash kits are a good choice if restoring a home back to its original design.

The simplest type of window installation comes from the use of the insert replacement. Since most window replacement applications are based on upgrades of style or energy efficiency, most window installations will involve the use of insert replacement windows. Insert replacements, or pocket windows, are available in many standard window sizes. Furthermore, this type of window is encased within a secondary frame that is offered in vinyl, wood, fiberglass, aluminum-clad wood, and vinyl-clad wood.

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