Replacing our home’s windows was a top priority when we bought our house – almost 3 years ago (yes, we are still at it).
We decided to install all new construction windows but, save some greens by installing them ourselves. Well, where does one start with installing new windows? By removing the old ones first. This is how to do it!
This tutorial is for single or double sash windows that come out as one piece. With new construction windows, the whole window is delivered in one piece (sasses, frame and “stops”) and you don’t need to keep anything from the old window (usually the “stops” are kept to be re-used).
The same process applies well with fixed windows (that don’t open). In this tutorial I used photos from both styles of windows.
How to remove old windows
Pry bar or chisel
Hammer (the hammer is for stubborn old trim that refuses to let go)
1. With a utility knife, score well around the interior trim of the window (where the casing meets the wall). You want to cut through any caulk that keeps the trim in place (so your trim doesn’t come off pulling your wall paint and drywall).
2. Using a pry bar (or a strong flat screwdriver) remove the interior trim. Go gently and take your time, to avoid braking the drywall. Remove any protruding nails that remain attached to the wall.
(Removing the old trim was by far, the most tedious and troublesome part. Which goes to say, that removing windows is pretty easy.)
3. Go outside and score around the exterior trim.
4. Remove all caulk and pry the exterior trim off. Remove any left over screws.
Caution: some older windows were help in place just by the trim. Be careful that the window doesn’t fall on you, once you remove everything that was keeping it in place.
Extra Caution: With older windows (usually single pane ones) the glass is quite inelastic and may brake. Prevent that by using masking tape to make a big X across the glass.
5. Remove the window sill – if there was one – and the drip cap (if there was one).
Sometimes you have to remove the window before you can remove those two parts. The level of resistance will let you know which goes first. In our case, the sill stood its ground, while the window started falling apart – and therefore we removed the window, before the sill.
6. This is a very good time to get a helper – windows can be heavy. Pry away any nails (if any) holding the window in place and carefully pull the window out.
~~> Some windows are installed (placed in…place) from the outside and some from the inside of the house. That side is where you need to be at (you can tell by whether you can see the nailing flange), to remove the window safely and easily, as windows do like to come out the way they went in. 🙂
That’s it, we successfully uninstalled and removed the sad looking old window and we are ready to install a shiny new window.
And I have juuuust the right tutorial for installing new construction windows!
And the q-test tip (<- pun, pun!) for tackling silicone out of really tight spots. 😉