If you have basic tools and skills you can install your own vinyl replacement windows and save hundreds of dollars in installation charges—for each window.
Vinyl replacement windows come mounted in a new jamb, and are simply tilted into the old frame and fastened in place.
Top frame cutaway. The inside stop molding helps hold the new window in place.
Vinyl trim and caulk seal the gap at the bottom of the new window. The window fits against the existing stool on the inside.
Installing replacement windows looks complicated, but actually requires only basic tools and skill—despite the high prices charged by some window replacement companies.
However, before deciding to tackle the job yourself, check the condition of your existing window frames. If they’re rotten or badly out of square, the whole unit, including the frame, may need replacing. This is a much bigger and more complicated job than installing a vinyl window insert and may require a pro.
If the frames are sound, the next step is to measure the interior width and height of each window frame side to side and top to sill. Double-check these measurements to ensure their accuracy so you don't end up with a window that doesn't fit. In most cases, the old frame dimensions will match a standard- size vinyl window.
Use these measurements to order the windows from a lumberyard or home center. The price will vary depending on the manufacturer and the features you request. Order windows with insulated glass (two layers). Then consider whether to copy the style (single or multiple glass panes) of the old windows or to change it.
The windows install from the inside. Give yourself at least half a day to install the first unit. Once you've learned the steps, the second installation will go much faster.
Here's a summary of the steps:
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.