How to Install Retrofit Windows

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Upgrading your old aluminum windows because they are not up to code, they do not meet new energy calls, or for aesthetic purposes are all great reasons. Replacing your old single pane windows with newer retrofit ones is a great idea. Retrofit windows are one of the easiest to install and following a few simple steps can be installed by just about anyone.

Things You'll Need

  • Retrofit Window
  • Caulking
  • Deck Screws
  • Insulation
  • Trim

Install Retrofit Windows

  • Drill 3 holes, 3/8 in., across the top of the window and 3 holes on each side. Do not drill holes on the bottom.

  • Remove the old window panels and run a thick bead of caulking on the face of the aluminum frame still in place. Using a helper lift the new vinyl retrofit window and place it into the frame.

  • Center the retrofit window in the opening from the inside. Make sure it is plumb and level. You can slide the vent panel open and closed to check for proper leveling. If your window is out of plumb you can place shims in a corner between the sill and the bottom of the window frame. Put in enough shims to level the window.

  • Drill deck screws through the 3/8 in. holes already pre-drilled in the window frame. These deck screws will go all the way into the wood studs. Don't over tighten the screws. After the screws are in place, remove the sliding panel. Lift out the bottom track.

  • Using a thin screwdriver lift up any drainage holes in the track. Insert a screw in the center bottom and apply caulking around the screw head. Replace the track and reinstall the sliding panel.

  • Go back outside and add caulking to the gap where the lip meets the exterior surface of the house. This adds more water protection to avoid future leaking.

  • Fill the gap on the inside of your retrofit window frame with R-13 insulation. Make sure the insulation is packed tight. To finish off the job a wood trim is installed around the window frame, hiding the insulation and the old metal frame. Place a bead of caulking where the trim meets the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Retrofit windows come with a flush fin or lip which acts as a stop to hold the retrofit window in place before it is secured.
  • Don't forget to add the caulking when the instructions specify doing so. The caulking is an aide against leaking. You don't need to overkill on caulking but never forget to apply it where it is needed.

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