Four Pillars: Window Installation, Part IV

Four Pillars of a Great Replacement Window Experience: Window Installation (Part 4 of 4)

4PillarsInstallThe four pillars that guarantee a perfect great replacement window experience are, in no particular order, the Window Frame, Window Glass, Window Installation and Window Design.

We’ve already covered the Window Glass and Window Frame in prior posts. This is the fourth and final article on window installation. In future posts, we’ll discuss the important aspects of Window Design with which you should concern yourself.

This post will be concerned with the actual installation of your new replacement windows and the important issues that need to be addressed to make sure you have long-lasting window performance.

Preparing the Window Opening

In our last post we concluded with the removal of the old window sashes. Now your installer must take a good, hard look at what remains of the opening. He or she is going to be installing a perfect replacement window in this opening and if it’s not properly prepared, that new window is not going to fit perfectly nor perform its best.

Your installer must clean and inspect the existing opening, looking for any signs of rot or other damage. It is not uncommon for this inspection to discover issues that could not be seen when the window was in place. All damage or rotten wood remaining in the opening must be replaced or repaired before the new window can be installed.

In addition to damage and rot, your installer will check the window opening for “square”. “Square” is a condition in which the sides jambs are parallel to each other and at right angles to the header and sill. Your installer will likely check the sill for horizontal level first and then check the side jambs for “plumb”, or vertical alignment. He or she will then likely hold a framing square from the sill to the side jambs and the side jambs to the head jamb. Finally, he or she will likely check to ensure the diagonal measurements from opposing corners match. If any of these tests fail, your installer will take remedial steps to make the opening level, plumb and square before installing your new window.

Your New Window Installation

Now you’ll finally get a chance to see what all this preparation was about. With the opening prepared, your installer can now insert the replacement window into its opening and secure it to the existing window framing. This is your first chance to get an idea of what your new windows will look like installed.

Standard Replacement or “Insert” Windows use a different installation method than New Construction Windows. While New Construction Windows are nailed to the exterior sheathing of your home before the siding is installed, Insert Replacement Windows are installed in the existing window openings without disturbing the siding on the outside of your home.

If practical, your installers may elect to cover the existing window frames with color-matched or contrasting low maintenance flashing and install your new windows from the inside of your house. Your windows will then be attached to your home with strong screws driven through the window frame and into the structural framing of the house. These screws are then covered with color-matched or decorative cover panels.

Square, Level and Plumb

Ensuring the squareness of the window framing is only the first part of ensuring a proper installation. When securing the window to the framing, your installer must take great pains to ensure that the window is installed in the opening square, level and plumb. These three measurements must be perfect to maintain proper efficiency and operation of your window over time. When attaching the window to the framing with the installation screws, your installer must take great care to maintain the proper tension of the screws. Over-tightening can bow the window frames or pull it out of square. These two conditions will interfere with the proper operation and energy efficiency of the window. Just as important, the window installation screws must not be too loose as this will allow the window “play” in the opening, which will also affect the operation and security of your new window.

Window Insulation and Sealing

With your window securely fastened to the house framing, your installation crew will insulate any small gaps between the frame and opening. Finally, your installers must properly seal around the window to prevent any air or water infiltration into the home.

Checking Window Operation

Throughout the installation process, your installers may have opened and closed the window to ensure its proper operation. As a final check before any sealants dry, your installer should check every operation of the window and make any final adjustments that may be necessary.

Installing the Trim and Cleaning

Now secure in the knowledge that your window operates properly your installer can add any appropriate window trim. Finally, they should give the window glass and frame a thorough cleaning and install the appropriate window insect screens.

Proper Window Installation Requires Skill & Experience

As a key component of your replacement window satisfaction, a proper installation by skilled and experienced installers is critical to your window performance today, and for years to come. Look for an installer who only installs windows and who does it every day. There are literally dozens of specific tasks that must be completed accurately to install a window perfectly so it lasts for many years to come. Remember, the most perfect window in the world will not keep you warm and dry in a winter storm, or cool and comfortable in a heat wave, if it is not installed correctly to keep out the drafts and other inclement weather.

Improper Installation Can Void Your Warranty

You should be aware that most window manufacturers specify that their windows are installed in a certain way and that not following their specifications can void your window warranty.

Your Start to Finish Replacement Window Solution

Renewal by Andersen of New Jersey is your complete start-to-finish replacement window solution. Our crews install Renewal by Andersen windows to the same specifications every day of the year. We understand that the key to your satisfaction is to use the same proven installation system on every window they install.


For more information or to schedule a free, no obligation replacement window consultation, give us a call at 1-888-826-2451 or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you.

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