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Before you Start: Window Installation Do-It-Yourself Tips

Devin Smith
window installation tips

Window Screen Pros offers some simple, but critical, tips in what to do before installing a new or used window in your home. Establishing a clear plan will certainly help your installation go a lot smoother and is a confidence builder before your start. The last thing you want is to be half-way involved with the window installation and an unexpected hurdle arises.

Below are some helpful tips before installing your window in your home:

  1. Although a nuisance to many, it is a good idea to check with your local city government to see if you need to purchase a building permit. In most cases it is cheap and will prevent a nosy neighbor turning you in. Some areas, sub-divisions, and city ordinances have window and door size restrictions (large & small) along with potential preservation guidelines if you live in an historic district.
  2. If your home has an alarm, it is critical to locate the existing alarm contacts within the window seal and wiring around the existing window frame. You want to preserve the contacts and not cut the wiring to make the new installation go as smooth as possible. If you are unsure, you may need to have them disconnected and removed by your alarm company prior to starting the installation.
  3. It might sound funny but securing the area around the window you will be replacing is important. I have seen old window frames fall out of both one and two story buildings and it's not a pretty sight. It's a good idea to rope off the area you will be working in while making sure children, pets, and anyone not involved with the installation to stay away. Splintered wood, broken glass, and flying debris are all a possibility!
  4. Know what tools it is going to take to get the window installation done correctly. The window manufacturer usually will list the tools and materials needed - just know the list is usually the bare minimum you will need. Make sure you have some extra tools, pry bars, and even leather gloves just in case. Also, a dropcloth outside below the window and a piece of cardboard underneath the window inside will help protect both sides from broken glass or accidental damage to your furniture.
  5. Make sure you understand what it takes to remove your old windows without causing injury, damages to your home and furniture, or cause more work for yourself than necessary.
  6. Get someone to help you handle both the old and new window. Because most windows are rather heavy and awkward to handle, it's a great idea to ask for help BEFORE you start. Having someone on both the inside and outside of the home where the window installation is going on is the best practice.
  7. Closely review the step-by-step installation instructions provided by the window manufacturer. Get together all of the tools, materials, and your safety glasses before you start.
  8. Having a package of various pre-cut tapered shims for the window installation is super helpful. In over 50% of the window installation, shims are needed. You can pick up a pack at either Lowe's or Home Depot in the Window & Doors Department.
  9. Purchase a can of the expanding foam for touch-up insulation that will go around the new window once installed. It is so much easier working with vs. the traditional fiberglass insulation.
  10. If the window you are installing has a window screen already on the window, remove it prior to installing the window. All it takes is one screwdriver or other tool slipping and you'll have a slit window screen to replace or repair right out of the gate. A lot of new windows come with factory installed window screens. If the color of the screen does not match your home, go to Window Screen Pros window screen page to order one that matches the rest of your home.

We hope these "pre-installation" tips along with the window manufacturers instructions help you achieve a successful window installation. When installing a new or used window, take your time and be cautious. A lot of accidents occur to both installers and homes during incorrect window installations.