How To: Replace a Window-With Two Windows!

Disclaimer-Captain DIY and highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

Whew! It has been a busy weekend at the DIY Headquarters! Guest Expert Dan the Builder came by to help turn one old crappy window into two new less crappy windows! We weren’t able to find what we were looking for at our local ReStore, so we ended up getting a mid-level Double-Hung from Anderson Windows.

This project is moderately complicated, and requires a comprehensive knowledge of power tools and their usage. If you’re not comfortable with a sawzall this is not the project for you. Some other tools you’ll need are: hand saw or circular saw, drill, cojones, and the general hand tools listed here.

We started with planning. Always start with planning when tackling a project of this size. Bring the new windows up to the site, measure them, look at the framing, measure that, measure the windows again because you forgot the measurement already, realize you haven’t eaten enough breakfast, etc etc. Haven’t even gotten the tools out and I’m already sweating!

Obligatory flannel

Once we came up with a game plan, it was time to open things up. Dan the Builder went out on the ladder and pulled off the storm window frame by unscrewing all of the screws he could see. After that he was able to get his pry bar around the edges of the window and, with a little help from The Persuader, pry the window, frame and all, free from its place. A little bit of pulling and wiggling proved to be sufficient at that point to fully remove the window from the house, and we had a nice big open hole on the side of the house.

Ain’t no stopping now!

We were now beyond the point of no return. Under the expert guidance of Dan the Builder, I cut some 2x4s to length so the footer (not sure about terminology on this one-the big beam that goes horizontally under the windows to support their weight) had something to sit on on the ends, then ripped and cut the giant piece of 4×6 scrap lumber he brought over so it would give the windows a solid, level base.


As I was sent down to the garage to make the cuts, Dan pulled out his sawzall and started cutting the old window frame out, and then cut the exterior wall out to the rough opening size of the windows.

Dan the Builder earning his man card

I only had to pad the studs on either side by 1/2”, so a few pieces of scrap plywood from the garage worked beautifully. The 2x4s I had pulled out of the attic a little while back proved to be the perfect amount to build the new framing and header, which we made by sandwiching two 2x4s around a piece of 1/2” plywood. This way we could lay the 2x4s on their side for strength while still being wide enough to fill the depth of the wall.

“Of course it’ll fit”

After installing the new framing that I had so expertly cut (and “persuading” some of it into place) we marked out one and a half inches from the rough opening and cut the siding out to give us space for the window flange to sit against the wall sheathing. I did this with Dan’s massive circular saw, but I wouldn’t recommend it. At least I saved on lunch expenses after having all of that sawdust sprayed at high velocity into my face!

Accuracy level: Fairly

As I was scraping the sawdust out my sinuses, Dan set to work taping the framing with flashing tape to waterproof it. Once that was done all we had to do was set the windows in place, make sure they were at the same height and level, and tack them in from the outside. Windows done!

Actually, there’s more to it, if you want to be picky about it. At the DIY Headquarters, we do want to get picky about it. We need to finish up by taping over the flanges, cutting out the siding for our trim, installing the trim, installing the drywall inside, taping, mudding, etc etc. Be sure to look for Part 2 to see how the finished product comes out, and there will be an article in the near future explaining drywall finish in great detail. Until then, it’s time to unplug the saws and count our fingers and toes, and we’ll be back at it tomorrow!

8 thoughts on “How To: Replace a Window-With Two Windows!

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