How to Install an Aluminum Window in a Steel Stud Frame

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Some contractors opt to use hollow steel framing instead of wood framing because it resists rusting, and termites. Screwing into the framing does not add to the level of difficulty when installing new or replacement windows. Once you complete the prep work by installing the flashing, which is the aluminum cover that covers the rough opening for the window, you are ready to complete the installation of the aluminum window in the steel framing.

Things You'll Need

  • Silicone caulk
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashing
  • Add a 1/2-inch wide bead of silicone caulk around the nail fin on the side of the window that will press against the steel framing. The nail fin is a thin rim of aluminum that lines the outside diameter of the window. It has many holes in it that allow you to drive nails or screws to secure the window. Leave a 2-inch wide gap on the bottom edge of the window approximately 3 inches inward from each corner to allow for water drainage.

  • Place the window against the steel framing and press on it to squeeze out the excess silicone. Do not wipe off the excess silicone. It will act as additional sealant.

  • Drive screws into the holes in the nail fin at each corner. Do not tighten the screws. Simply drive them in until the head rests just above the nail fin.

  • Place a carpenter's level on top of the window and position the window so it rests level.

  • Drive in the four screws to secure the window in place. Drive additional screws through the nail fin in evenly spaced intervals of approximately 6 inches.

  • Press the window chevrons that come with the window to plug any channels in the window framing. Chevrons are little plastic or aluminum inserts that fit into the channels in the window framing.

  • Add silicone caulk to the edges of the chevrons to help add additional water protection. In addition, add a bead of silicone caulk around the nail fin and over the fasteners. Flatten the silicone with a putty knife to level out the sealant.

  • Install the window flashing at the top and bottom of the window. This process differs depending on the type of flashing you chose to use and the type of covering on the outside of your wall. In most cases, the flashing secures to the wall with nails or screws.

  • Place a bead of silicone around the seam between the flashing and the wall.

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