How to replace aluminum windows with "fin" ??

Hello,
I want to replace my 30+ year old aluminum widows. I pulled the inside molding off, and then pryed the inside stops off, thus revealing the rough frame opening (37x60).
But I notice that the aluminum window has a "fin" that almost looks like it slides between the wood frame and the outside sheathing.
Do I cut the fin, or do I have to take the siding off? Please don't tell me I have to take the siding off, there has got to me a way of doing this without a bunch of siding working!
Thanks for any and all help! Keith
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Keith wrote: I want to replace my 30+ year old aluminum widows. I pulled the inside molding off, and then pryed the inside stops off, thus revealing the rough frame opening (37x60). But I notice that the aluminum window has a "fin" that almost looks like it slides between the wood frame and the outside sheathing. Do I cut the fin, or do I have to take the siding off? Please don't tell me I have to take the siding off, there has got to me a way of doing this without a bunch of siding working!
Won't your new windows need to go behind the siding, also? Tom
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It depends...
If you want to leave the siding strictly alone you can remove the sashes or the glass or both and then collapse the window frame with a big pry bar tearing the nails out of the fin. The fin will come out with the window and the nails will remain in place. You can use a wood block as a fulcrum to protect the siding. It might be helpful to hacksaw the frame at the top or bottom to help it collapse. You then replace it with a "box window" that screws into the framing from the sides. Many replacement windows use a frangible fin so that you can use it or snap it off.
The alternative is to locate the edge of the fin and then zip an inch or so of siding off with a circular saw set to cut shallow. You can then remove the old window by pulling the nails, nail the new window in with the fin and add wood trim to make up the difference.
I just did a house with aluminum siding and 1X4 trim around the windows and the alternative system worked great. A lot depends on the design of your house. Don't forget to plan for insulation and a watertight seal around your new windows. It ain't rocket science but it requires a little thought to do it right.
Good luck.
John
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Thank YOU very much,
That helps alot..... just one more question.... Do replacement windows come with the outside "trim kits", or do you have to make the trim yourself?
Keith
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Since there are 327,000 trim options, no; there is no such thing as a "trim kit". I had to rip some trim for the windows I just installed but once again, it ain't rocket science. With a straightedge and some clamps you can rip any kind to trim with just a circular saw; no table saw or special tools required.
Pick the smallest window and use it as a trial run. Make sure you have a piece of plywood handy to cover it overnight if things get complicated. What's the worst that could happen? I don't care what your wife says, you can do it. <g> If it goes sour, hire the rest of them out and chalk it up as a lesson learned.
John
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Keith wrote:

The standard way is to grab 2 sides and pull them together with a comealong and then pull the other two sides together. You probably want to drill holes in the frame and attach a bolt or hook. People that do this all the time use vise grips with a hook welded on the end for attachment to the comealong.
Ok, that gets rid of the old aluminum frame. The new frame, assume you are going to use vinyl, will need the fin cut off and then you attach the frame to the house using screws through the frame. There are a lot of consideration that vary with the type of siding, window set back, and how the new frame compares with the old frame. You really need to watch somebody do it
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Remove all the sash With a sawzall cut frame in the middle of the longest section. Cut as far down the fin as you can without damage to your siding. Put a large pry bar under the cut and pry up. Cut the rest of the fin. You now can work your way around the frame with the pry bar and pull the fin out from behind the siding. Nail up new stop on sides and top. Bend aluminum to go over the existing Jchannel (on the bottom) and on top of the rough framing. This will be your new Sill. Bend aluminum to go over the new stop and behind the siding on the top and sides. Now just install a replacement window as you normally would.
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When you go trim shopping look at what others in your area used. I ended up using 'brick molding'. It stands about !.5" out and just a little wider with a decorative groving on the face.

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