How to Replace a Window Frame and Screen


If you're looking to cut down on heating and cooling bills, one way to do it is by replacing your old windows and screens with new, energy-efficient types. Most older window frames, such as those made out of aluminum, are poor insulators and can let warm air during the winter and cool air during the summer escape from your dwelling.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Power drill with screwdriver attachment
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Pry bar/crowbar
  • Sandpaper
  • Carpenter's level
  • Caulk gun
  • Caulk
  • Remove the screen from the exterior of the window. Some screens, such as solar screens, are held in place by clips or screws. Loosen these if so equipped.

  • Move to the inside of the house or dwelling. Open up the window. Lift up on the screen tabs to loosen the window screen. Pull the screen inside through the window frame.

  • Place tape across the outside of the glass panes in the window in an X-shaped pattern. This will help hold the glass in place if the window is accidentally dropped or otherwise jostled while you are replacing it.

  • Look on the inside of the window frame for the screws that hold it in place in the window opening. There are typically screws on every side of the window frame for greater stability. These may go deep into the window opening and may require the use of a power drill with screwdriver attachment to remove them.

  • Run a sharp utility or putty knife around the edges of the window frame, between the frame and the side of the window opening.

  • Pull the window frame out of the window opening. Use a pry bar or claw hammer to wedge the frame out of position. Have an assistant stand on the outside of the window and gently push it inward while you pull toward the inside of the house. Run the knife or putty blade around the outside of the window, if needed, to cut away any caulk or glue.

  • Clean out the inside of the window opening. Scrape off any old remnants of caulk or glue with the putty knife. Sand down the rough edges on the inside.

  • Fit the new window into the frame. Have your assistant help you if this is a heavy window. Loosely install a screw into the right and left side of the frame.

  • Place a carpenter's level on the window and adjust it, as needed, by inserting shims underneath the sides or bottom of the window.

  • Tighten the screws into the top, bottom and sides of the window opening. Trim off any parts of the shims that stick out from beneath the window frame.

  • Insert a tube of caulk into a caulk gun. Use indoor caulk for the inside of the window and waterproof outdoor caulk for the outside portion of the window frame. Apply caulk around the edges of the window frame and the window opening.

  • Position the screen on the outside of the window. Secure it in place with any clips or retainers if present.

Tips & Warnings

  • With some windows, it may be possible to remove the screen from the outside.
  • Wear work gloves, when removing the old window frame, in case the glass accidentally breaks.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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