DIY Window Installation Guide

New windows can help your home's aesthetic appeal, and they let in welcome air and light.

But if you don't know how to install house windows, learn from a proper teacher before you attempt to do the job yourself.

If windows are not correctly installed, they can let in water, and that can lead to rot.

The housewrap and trim alone will not usually stop water from gaining entry to your home through ill-fitted windows.

When you begin a DIY window installation, seal the window opening perimeter with a waterproof membrane, preferably of a type that is self-adhesive, and that comes in sheets, for easy installation. Add metal flashing strips and plenty of caulk. This will give your new windows extra layers of protection from water, since rain that makes it past one layer will then be stopped by the next. Do-it-yourself window installation should also include foam insulation between the framing and the window, once you have the window set square and plumb.

DIY window installation guideWhen you are pricing and purchasing windows, be sure you don't buy full-frame windows, unless you are working on new construction. If you are planning a DIY window installation in your existing house, replacement windows will fit properly into your existing openings. You can get many sizes, from narrow to wide, and you can find replacement windows in many materials, including aluminum-clad wood, vinyl-clad wood, fiberglass, vinyl and wood.

You will need to choose from the three main kinds of replacement windows, which include full-frame, insert replacements and sash kits. Sash kits will give your old frame windows new parts, including the sash and jamb liners. As you are more comfortable with how to install house windows, you'll find that the jamb liners will be fastened to the window opening side jambs, and then the sashes can be slipped between them. If you want to use this type of window for your do-it-yourself window installation, you must have an existing frame that is square and level.

Insert replacement windows consist of a window that is pre-assembled, in a secondary frame that is ready to be installed.

These are also called pocket windows, since they slip into your existing window openings and are then fastened to the existing side jambs.

When you are comfortable with how to install house windows, you'll see that these are not difficult to install, since you are adding new liners and jambs, but the size of the area that is glass will be a bit smaller than it used to be.

A full-frame replacement window is similar to an insert, but they have a whole frame, with a sill, side jambs and a head jamb. In your do-it-yourself window installation project, these windows will be your only option if your old jambs, sill or frame are rotted. For these to be installed, you must first strip out the window opening, all the way down to the rough framing, from the inside and the outside. This sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but the end result of this DIY window installation will be a more beautiful home.

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