Replacement window installation tips - Pro Construction Guide
Replacement window installation tips

Replacement window installation tips

Before you install a replacement window, know the local building codesReplacement window installation tips include knowing the local building codes, as well as any rules imposed by the homeowners’ association, if applicable.

If you violate codes or rules, you might have to redo the job. Following building codes and association rules will also help in the event that legal issues arise. Never do anything you can’t later defend in court.

Replacement window requirements

Requirements to achieve energy efficiency vary by location. In areas where the weather is mild year-round, windows will not need to be as energy efficient as those in climates that face extreme cold or hot seasons.

Windows you install in the north or south, where more energy is used, should be highly efficient. Windows along the Gulf Coast should be impact-resistant.

Customers’ expectations can pose a problem when it comes to window selection. They often assume their energy bills will drop drastically when, in reality, replacing windows will not impact energy costs very much. So, be sure your customers have realistic expectations before beginning a job.

Replacement window installation tips also include keeping a detailed job form from start to finish, which should include window measurements, as well as a complete checklist for every step of the job.

Replacement window measurements

To purchase replacement windows, measure the width and height of the window in three places: top, middle and bottom. To check whether the window is square, measure both of the diagonals. Anything less than a quarter-inch won’t matter. Be sure you’re using the same language as your supplier, so that 3’0” means 3 feet and 0 inches − not 30 inches.

Set a delivery date for the replacement windows with the supplier, and then communicate that information to the customers. Call the clients the day before you show up to replace the windows so they know you are coming. At that time let the clients know anything you may need, such as parking for your crew, and ask if there’s anything you should know, such as if there’s a dog on the premises.

Ask clients to clear the area you will be work of any knickknacks, pictures or other items that could break during the job. If possible, also ask the homeowners to remove window treatments.

Installation of a window replacement

Factoring in the cladding, window heights and interior moldings will help you determine whether it’s preferable to take the old windows out from the inside or outside of the house.

Remove the windows carefully and be sure to dispose of them properly, which often means recycling. Before placing the new windows, look for any damage on the house, including water damage and hazardous materials like asbestos. Take care of any problems before you proceed, and advise your clients of the situation.

Use caulk and flashing tape to deflect water around the windows to the outside of the house. Then set the replacement window in the opening, and seal and flash it.

Once the windows are installed, replace any stops, strips, casings or cladding removed during the process. Review your jobsite checklist and make sure the job is complete. Then conduct a final visual inspection.

–By Bill Robinson with Rebecca Torchia

Bill Robinson provided these tips during a recent Pro Construction Guide PROcast podcast. He is a former general contractor and the owner of Train2Build, which provides jobsite training to contractors. Robinson can be reached at

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