Install & Repair Windows

install andersen windows

So you want to install replacement windows on your own?  That is certainly an option.  The process is relatively straightforward, but there are several factors you should consider when deciding to install replacement windows.

We’ll discuss several factors including:

  • Evaluating the project before you commit
  • How to measure replacement windows
  • How to measure sliding patio doors
  • How to order replacement windows
  • Selecting replacement window options
  • Typical cost of replacement windows
  • Removing old wood windows
  • Removing old metal windows
  • Removing old vinyl windows
  • Removing sliding patio doors
  • Using foam insulation around the new windows
  • Installing windows into a wood frame
  • Installing windows into a drywall pocket
  • Installing sliding patio doors
  • Will your old blinds fit with your new windows?
  • Capping or exterior trim
  • Finishing details & adjustments
  • Replacement window warranty and manufacturer service

Some people think they’re going to save a fortune when they install replacement windows on their own.  The amount of money you may save on your project very much depends on how you value your time.  There is also a certain personal satisfaction that comes from completing a home improvement project and that has value as well.

It is not uncommon to find a solid company that will install efficient vinyl windows for around $300-$400 per window.  On your own you can probably purchase custom made energy efficient vinyl windows at a cost of $200-$300 so there certainly are savings to be had.  Replacement window prices can vary quite a bit, but you’ll find prices are often not directly related to quality.

When considering the options remember that a professional installation team can install 10-20 windows in a day complete with caulking and exterior trim or capping.  A typical do it yourself project will be much slower.

If your expected cost savings is about $100 per window, you can only install 2 windows per day and you only have time for the project on the weekends, you would take 5 weeks and 5 consecutive weekends to install 20 windows.  In addition you probably don’t have the equipment to install the exterior trim or capping.  WIth some bad weather or other delays the project could easily take 2 months.  A professional team could knock that project out in a day or two and you can spend your weekends on something else.

Should you install replacement windows on your own?  That’s completely up to you.  If you decide to go for it, we’ll be glad to help out.  Keep an eye on the posts linked above.  We’ll continue to add more information along with pictures and descriptions.  If you have any questions or if you’d like any more info just let us know.

I love spending my weekends taking things apart and figuring out how to put them back together.   If you decide to go for it we’ll do everything we can to help.

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76 thoughts on “Install & Repair Windows”

  1. Informative post with good information on window replacement. Wood windows can sometimes be refurbished, but it’s a tough job to tackle and do correctly – new windows may be the best choice in most cases.

  2. I had no idea that it would take so long to do the window replacements yourself. I guess it would be the way to go if you’re looking for cost savings, but it sure would be hassle to do it. It makes sense to have an installation company come in to put the windows in so that it can be done quickly and correctly.

  3. Window replacement sounds like quite a long and detailed process. I’m looking to replace the old windows in my home and I’m a little nervous about doing it by myself. I’ll be sure to follow your instructions that you provided. If I feel like I’m not up to the task, I’ll hire a professional.

    1. Unless your trim is rotted on the outside it’s actually not hard at ALL. They like to tell you that it’s super complex but it is not. Lots of videos online showing you how to do it. My husband and I replaced six windows in a day and spent the second day redoing the exterior trim because it was not to our liking and it went so well I ended up DIY’ing the interior trim to match the character of our home more with a tutorial I found on Pinterest. Again, NOT hard to do this…spend your hard-earned money on other things (I’ve paid the thousands in the past, now I cannot imagine paying someone else to replace a window!).

      1. I have bin trying for last 3 years to get my windows . I have windows i need changed 1 awning and 7 double hung the trouble is my windows are small and if I put a replacement windows in my air conditioner with not fit and number 2 my windows need to be brown on the outside please help me

        1. Hi Joseph, I’m not sure what sort of help you have in mind. Are you installing the new windows yourself? Whoever is selling them to you should be able to give you the opening size that you’ll see from the window frame size so you can be sure what size air conditioner will fit.

          There are pretty small window ac units out there now. You may need a new one but I bet you can get one to fit.

  4. My wife and I are looking to replace 8 windows in our recently bought home. 6 out of the 8 windows are 49″ x 49″ (+/- 1/8″). Problem is the previous owner just installed steel siding prior to selling. I am a carpenter by trade so I have the tools and some of the know-how to do these windows myself, but I fear the steel siding could give my wife and I some trouble. Any advice is very much appreciated. Sincerely, Soldierb

  5. I just bought a house with vinyl Windows (brand unknown). The upper sash of one of the Windows will not stay locked in the pocket header. I can’t seem to find any info on how to repair that on the web. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

  6. Thank you for the info. Maybe I missed it, but with my window it’s the top sash that won’t stay in place when pushed up into the pocket header. There is a lock on one side of the stile on the upper sash that seems to hold it in place, but the lock won’t stay locked. I wonder if the whole upper sash needs replacing.

      1. I am trying to find replacement coil spring window balancers for my Anderson series 0301 Double Hung Window. I have a warranty number 054-131247. Window size 35 and a half x 71 and a half.

  7. I am confused, at the top of this page, you say you will discuss 18 different technical aspects of window replacement, but the article only talks about why to hire someone than do it yourself (time-savings). I was really needing the info that was supposed to be discussed that’s hard to find elsewhere.

    1. Hi Chris, we just haven’t been able to complete all of the content yet. It’s been pretty busy around here and sometimes the site gets put on the back burner while we take care of our customers. If you have any specific questions I’ll be happy to help out.

  8. I live in zipcode 28081 and some of my Excalibur windows need to be replaced…..who do I call?

    1. I don’t know of a good place to buy the glass units online. If you find one let me know as I’m sure you’re not the only person looking. I bought it from a local glass supplier. If you can’t find one try looking for a place that does custom shower doors and mirrors. They can often supply glass units as well.

  9. Live in S. Suburbs of Chicago. Was looking for cheaper replacement vinyl dbl hung to start refitting my house. Thought it would be easy, went to Menards and had some Jen Welds on a cart. Then pulled up reviews for da heck of it and WOW. real bad reviews. I had put several in at some rehabs I did and seemed good, but I was not around long to get real test.
    I am able to do quality installation, actually prefer it that way.
    Thing is I started looking around (much time) to local building supply and Home Depot
    etc and so far I got Jen Weld; Anderson SilverLine (Supply house)) and Anderson American Craftsman (h.D.) and they All have bad reviews. Then I am lost online (including here) seeking reviews etc till my brain can stand it no more.
    Getting only 3 windows now, do it area at a time. But may want to stick to same window throughout process once I start. Probably move in 2 years or less.
    Can someone wade thru all the noise and suggest 2-3 better econo windows that are better than above?

  10. Some if not most of my latches (the ones that you have to slide in to get the window to tilt) are broken. I have some new latches but I can’t get them to ‘snap’ in like I thought they would. Any suggestions as to how to get them to ‘snap’ in.?

    1. If you’re sure they’re the right latches, look for the little plastic clip on them and bend it out a little. Sometimes if that clip is pushed in it won’t catch on the sash. If you pull it out a little it will catch. Just be careful not to pull it out too far or it might snap. Luckily, they’re pretty inexpensive.

    I have a broken vent window clip. I had the window installed aprx 4 yrs. back. I have made 4 phone calls over a three week period. I was NEVER had a return call. I was transferred to corporate office. I was told there was a $99.00 service call they were not going to waive that fee. There warranty IS CRAP!!! I am not going to put another penny towards future windows. I am going to choose there direct competitor.

    1. What brand of windows are you talking about? If it’s a tilt latch that needs to be replaced you can pop it in in about 3 seconds. No need to pay someone to do it for you. Just have them mail you one and replace it. Not much harder than changing a light bulb.

  12. Hi,

    I’m looking to install vinyl replacement windows myself and would like your recommendation for a local source. I’m in the MA suburbs between Boston and Providence.

  13. Are the american craftsman 70 series impact window a decent economy impact window? They are $356 at home depot. Planning to install myself. Got a qoute to install american craftsman impact window from HD install program and was quoted $3300 to install two american craftsman impact windows.

    1. $356 for an impact window does sound like a bargain. You’ll find the American Craftsman windows don’t always have the best reputation, but for the right project that price might make sense.

      $3300 for labor on 2 windows does feel a little speedy, but if you’re in FL the permit and inspection process can be a little onerous so that’s probably contributing to the labor cost.

  14. I bought a condo that has Vetter Windows. The egress window in the basement has a rotten bottom & one bedroom window that is a double casement has a rotten sill. I’m sick over this and not a clue what to do!! Is there any way to fix a Vetter window? I’ve had several companies come in and estimates from $2800 to over $7000 to replace one 60x 30 and one 60 x 60. I was a very dumb woman to buy this ?

    1. Hi Karen, I’m sorry to hear about your trouble. What’s your zip code? I may know someone who could help out.

  15. I had new windows installed and would like to use the old blinds that were bracketed on the inside of the wood siding at the end and and top of wood siding. There is about a 1/4 inch of room on each end. My question is should I move the bracket in somewhat and only affix to the upper wood.

  16. I’m in the research phase. I’m researching vinyl window manufacturers/brands, warranties and installation contractors/companies.
    Scope of project –> 2 double hung, 1 picture and 1 circle top (4 vinyl windows) all on the same wall. I’ll be removing/replacing all the siding on that wall and will have full access to the OSB sheathing on the outside of the house during window installation. I have a few questions having to do with nailing fin/flange.
    Question-1: Am I correct in assuming that if given the option, installing a window that has a nailing fin/flange can be beneficial vs. a window without a fin/flange and only being able to secure the window by screwing through the window sides? It seems to me that all other things equal, given the choice, installing a replacement window with a fin/flange would make for a better job ( but admittedly, I’m not a window installer)
    Question-2: When replacing vinyl replacement windows, do all manufacturers offer their windows either with or without a window fin/flange? Or are there only certain manufacturers/brands that offer them?
    Question-3: What else do I need to know/understand regarding windows with/without a window fin/flange?

  17. While there is some good food-for-thought in here, “you probably don’t have the equipment to install the exterior trim” is not only condescending, it’s total garbage. I replaced our rotted out trim with preprimed wood from the lumber yard, window flashing tape, a nail gun and caulking. NOT a big deal. We were initially nervous about it but our retired window guy next door told us it was super easy to do it ourselves, showed us the ropes and sure enough, not a big deal to replace windows. Tools can be bought or borrowed. Lumber yards can cut the wood. And there are a lot of great videos out there. It’s really about your time frame, and while some folks are conned by salespeople into thinking they have to replace them all at once, why? Unless they are leaking, do them as you can afford it! And considering we replaced all of our upstairs windows for a FRACTION of what we were quoted, and did it as time and weather permitted? Totally worth it.

    I respect a good window installer (I paid someone to replace my attic windows a few years back because I hate crawling around up there) but I do have to call it out when I’m seeing you talking down to readers as if it’s just soooo terrible to DIY these. I have way more respect for those who say hey, here’s what’s awesome about DIY and here’s what’s awesome about having someone else do it…without that tone that it is just so awful if a project takes a while to do yourself (and I also will give them my business and/or recommend them to others because I know I trust them and they have no ulterior motive to get business).

    1. Ha, don’t be offended. I mean that mot companies cap the exterior and to do that you’d need a brake that costs something like $1200 new. Of course there are other types of trim or you can rent one for something like $30 / day, but the odds are good you don’t own a 10-12′ brake.

      You definitely can DIY windows and my company offers windows without installation for DIY customers all the time.

      Glad to hear your project went well.

  18. It’s important to know that hiring a window installation service would be much cheaper in the long run since they know what they’re doing along with the quality of products that they would be using. Since they’re the experts when it comes to installing windows, it’s important to make sure that you choose the right window installation contractor team to get the job done right. If I had a chance to get some windows replaced I would rather hire out professionals to remove and reinstall it rather than doing it myself!

  19. When you are thinking about getting a commercial glass installation, it makes sense to get help. A professional service will better understand how to solve the issue. Making sure that you are able to give your building the right treatment will help my sister a lot.

  20. My brother noticed that the windows in my parents’ home look worn out and he wants to replace them for their safety. It was explained here that when installing replacement windows he needs to consider a lot of factors like measuring the windows and removing old windows. Having said that, it will be to his advantage to hire professionals when in need of impact window replacements.

  21. I had a salesman out, and he was hyping that “unlike the other guys”, for replacement windows they do a nailfin install instead of block frame. After asking other installers about it, it seems they all offer it for an upcharge. I need my exterior trim replaced on my windows, but other than that don’t have any problems my current window fit / seal. Is it worth the extra money to go with a nail fin install?

    PS Love the site, SO much great info…

  22. I appreciate that you said that doing it yourself will probably be a lot slower than hiring a team to do it. Without the know-how that they have, you have to spend time figuring out the best way to do your project. You also don’t have any help or professional tools like they do.

  23. Some windows in my home are a bit drafty. I’ll be needing to have someone come do it since I don’t know how to do this myself. I can remove all the windows but a professional will need to come for the install.

  24. I currently have Alside Excalibur windows that were installed about 14 years ago. I have had no issues with the windows, but the vinyl weather stripping that is on the bottom of the windows needs to be replaced because they have come unglued and are somewhat brittle and discolored. From where can I order this.

    1. You may be able to get it for free through their warranty department. Do you know who installed them? It’s sometimes easier if you contact the dealer for warranty claims. I think it’ll need to be processed through their corporate office. Or you could probably just buy some from them, can’t be too expensive.

  25. My husband has been wanting to install a vinyl window in our living room. Although what you’ve mentioned is correct, we don’t have the equipment to install an exterior trim. I guess it’s best if we’ll just hire a window installation service that can help us with this matter.

  26. Thank you so much for explaining that prices aren’t directly related to quality because that means you can save money and still get good windows. I think it’s really important to look at testimonials so you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. All windows have their own pros and cons, so you need to find the ones that work best for you.

  27. I like what you said about being able to get 10-20 window installed in a day when you use a professional service. My brother has been telling me about how he wants to install some new doors and windows for his business. I’ll share this information with him so that he can look into his options for professionals who can help him with this.

  28. I appreciate what you said about how professional team installation is with 10-20 windows. I may need that to retrofit my small business windows when we open back up again. I’ll have to consider getting a sliding door replacement for the one that got destroyed by my kid running through it.

    1. No, we just haven’t completed that section yet. There are several ways to measure the windows as it would depend on the construction of the house and how the old windows were installed.

  29. thewindowdog,
    I was so excited when I came across your You Tube. I started listening to what you had to say and then you said the magic words, Excalibur, I almost screamed, wow, I finally found something, someone that could maybe help. See, some years ago the company that we purchased our windows from went out of business. I looked at all my paperwork and read every single word to try and pick up something, another name, I found Alside. That took me to you.

    You know that we have Excalibur windows, one of the windows Pivot boot broke half off. Well during all my searches I don’t remember how, but I found someone and they sent me a boot, but now I don’t remember how to replace it? On the same window, I don’t know what it’s called, at the top where you slide (whatever) in, it pulls open the window, has broken. Can you help me find one of those?

    Forgive me for such a long note. I am so happy to have found a connection to our windows.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Flo, the pivot bar is just held in with 2 screws on the bottom of the sash so that should be pretty easy to change out. Alside has a pretty easy warranty process to get new parts. I’d check their website to get started.

  30. I have 14 Stanek windows with failed thermopains that were purchased prior to the bankruptcy. They have mold growing between the glass. Stanek or Great Day won’t replace, I can buy new ones:/. Does anyone know if I can just replace the glass in their windows?

    1. You typically can buy new glass for the windows. Unfortunately new glass will often cost about as much as a new window. I’d compare the cost of replacing the glass with the cost of new windows from a different company so you know what the difference is. If the difference isn’t huge you’ll probably be better off with new windows because at least they’ll come with a new warranty and all new parts. Stick with a larger manufacturer and you’ll be less likely to run into that same issue again.

  31. I actually have an installation question since getting some window quotes. I live in the desert and have cheap aluminum windows and frames and a stucco house. Some of the companies have pushed full frame installs (the cut back the stucco, remove the aluminum frames) while others have pushed an insert or jump frame install (basically leaving the aluminum frame and covering it with the vinyl). The reason stated for the full frame install is since the aluminum conducts more heat, leaving it will reduce the life of the window as it will heat up and break down the seal quicker. Being new to the desert, I have no idea which installation technique is best. One is definitely more expensive than the other!

    1. We usually suggest the jump frame method as it’s much less intrusive and doesn’t require stucco repairs and painting. Either way can work fine and there is absolutely no difference in quality or longevity. Anyone telling you that is just trying to sell you the more expensive option. Most of those guys get paid 10-15% of the contract in commission so if they can add $1000 to the order it puts $150 in their pocket. They don’t always have your best interests at heart.

      Good luck with the project.

  32. I’d like to get some custom made efficient vinyl windows. I’d save some money too. So it sounds like a win-win situation.

  33. I just had a Sunrise Vanguard sliding window installed in my bedroom. It was so hard to open till they sprayed a silicone material onto the bottom of the window. Is that normal for a new window to be so hard to open?

    1. Hi Larry, it could be a sign of a problem, but it might not be an issue at all. The worst case scenario would be that the sash is a little too big for the frame or that the window was measured a little big and forced into the opening. Those could present longer term problems. So, I’d keep an eye on it over the next month or two. If the windows work fine 90 days from now I’d say there’s probably no issue. If they become harder to open over time I’d touch base with Sunrise and with the dealer to make sure there’s documentation of the issue. Don’t want 3 or 4 years to think about it again because by that point they probably won’t want to deal with it at all.

  34. I have many windows that are failing with seals and other issues. The house is 2006 and has new construction windows with flanges installed. How would you use replacement windows to ensure there is a watertight seal or would you need to use new construction windows again? The house is vinyl siding. Some companies have said they would remove the frame but cutting the flanges and leaving them in place and then flashing to the old flanges. Curious for your input.

    1. There are two ways to replace windows like that. You can cut the flanges, remove the old frame and install a replacement window. Or, you can remove the exterior trim, remove the flanges and install a new construction window with new flanges. It’s more common to use a replacement window. Doing it that way doesn’t require new exterior and interior trim and many thousands of windows are installed that way every single day. Typically I’d recommend a replacement window. If you happen to also be replacing the siding and you want to replace interior trim and sills as well you could use a new construction window with a nail flange.

      In my experience the end result is basically about the same either way so no need to incur all of the additional costs of trying to use a new construction window in a replacement project.

  35. I have to replace an Andersen hopper type window (model 2817?). This will be a job I do myself having replaced several windows throughout my home. The sill is rotted as concrete for a walk was poured up to and covering the face of the sill. A vinyl replacement is the way to go.
    I’ve read the reviews on your site for the vinyl windows at HD and Lowes and am not overly impressed. Our local lumberyard stocks Duo-Corp Aristoclass hopper windows. I didn’t see them on your list of companies and wondered if you had any experience with these windows. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Tom, I haven’t dealt with Duo-Corp windows so I’m not much help there. Where are you located? I might be able to make a recommendation.

  36. Thank you for the quick reply. I’m located in Bergen County, NJ.
    It seems that hopper windows are all designed to latch at the top, not reversible as the older Andersen windows were. Can these be installed reversed or would you advise against that?

    1. An awning window might be a solution for you. That style will be hinged at the top and will open outward. If there’s a window well that can be a tricky style for a basement window but if there’s enough opening area that style might work. Another common option is a sliding window that opens by sliding side to side.

  37. Do not do business with renewal by Anderson-
    I had to have my door and storm door replaced three times the warranty only exists on the original door that I purchased two years ago so last month the door they installed is not under warranty. I would never do business with them again their technicians first gave me a door that was defective. Second door they installed was crooked was not squared up. The third door they got it right but then they didn’t line up the storm door so it does not lock, I will never do business with these people again.

  38. Not sure where to ask this question. Have a bid for Sunrise Vanguard windows to replace crappy vinyl windows. He says because the window has the integrated handle on the bottom of the sash (double hung) he would install the windows on top of the interior sill rather than cutting the sill back with the drywall and installing it on the framing at the bottom. The idea is that if he installs it behind the sill (3/4″ I think), the still would get in the way of the handle. He says the gap underneath would either be foam filled or filled with a piece of wood, then covered with trim. Not loving this idea. Any thoughts?

    1. That’s a pretty common way to install a replacement window so I don’t think it would be a huge cause for concern. You could replace all of the interior trim and sill to accommodate the new window, and people do that sometimes, but there are a few drawbacks. It adds a lot to the cost, the new trim might not match other trim in your house, new trim will need to be painted, etc.

      Imagine if you were new to this house, maybe you were looking to buy it, and the windows had been installed the way you described. You wouldn’t have any idea, you’d probably never think twice about it and you’d be happy that the house you were considering had nice new windows that looked great.

      I suppose it could be an issue if the windows are very small, but in most cases that’s a pretty normal way to do it and I think it’ll probably turn out just fine.

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