My house in El Paso, TExas is a brick veneer with casement windows,
built in 1959. I'd love to replace those drafty single-pane windows
with good energy-efficient double panes. I could probably do the job
myself "IF" I knew how the present windows were installed. And "IF" I
don't have to take bricks loose on the outside of the house
In that era, were the windows usually installed from the inside, with
large screws going through the sides and into the framing of the window
opening, which was then hidden by the drywall in the window opening?
Or were they installed from the outside and secured with a nailing
flange on the outside of the framing, which was then covered with one
row of bricks?
They probably have a nailing fin, but with a pry bar and some elbow
grease you can remove them without taking out bricks. First remove the
slider and tape the glass in the fixed side. Take out the fixed panes if
you can by removing any glazing of flanges. Remove all of the inside
moldings and brickmould. Working from the middle, collapse the aluminum
frame inward and just pull the flanges loose. It will be messy and there
will be sharp metal and broken glass so wear gloves, goggles and a heavy
The openings need to be framed (sill, drip edge, etc.) and flashed
properly, so if you've never done this, hire a carpenter to install the
bigger ones and do the rest yourself after you see what's involved.
This just a guess based on how it was done in the early 50's.
Mostly the windows are held in place by nails through the brick mold into
the jack studs. I doubt there are any nails through the side jambs. The
era of aluminum and vinyl was the start of the nailing flange which is then
covered by siding or brick.
BTW, most replacement windows are mounted inside the existing side jambs for
DH windows. Never done it with casements.
I just removed to double hung windows from my 1957 vintage house in NY. The
"brick" molding were nailed into the jack studs. That and a couple of nails
through the sill where what was holding them in place. These were on a part
of the house that had siding, so your mileage may vary. Pick one where you
don't mind replacing the interior molding and do some measuring. Take off
the interior molding so you can see where are the studs. Then do some
carefull measuring to see if the brick moldings on the outside are covering
the studs. If they are, then it's likely they are held in by the brick
Just be aware that they new window won't be the same size as the current
brick molding. Have a plan for how to fill that space with new moldings to
keep the exterior water tight.
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 02 Dec 2005:
The good news is that you don't have to take bricks loose. The bad
news is that removing the old windows is the worst part of the
As Tim said, those (steel) casements likely had fins. The fins
were nailed or screwed to the studs from the exterior. Then the
brick veneer went up.
If you have nails holding the casement in, you may be able to pry
it out easily. If you have screws (as we do here) you'll need to
cut the window apart before prying.
You start by removing the moveable panes from the windows at the
hinges. Then you take a sawzall and start cutting up the frame,
removing any bars dividing the window. They need to go so you'll
have some flex in the frame. Once you have only the frame and the
steel pan (sill) left, you can start cutting this into pieces and
prying them out individually. A good window guy can do a large
window in about an hour.
It's worth noting that many vinyl window installers will leave the
outer frame and pan in place, setting the new window on top of
them--because it's such a difficult job to take them out. Big
mistake. Uninsulated pan and frame will sweat and be very cold!
For replacement windows, you'll want to use windows without fins.
Depending how the window will sit, you may use clips provided by
the manufacturer to hold the new windows in, or you may nail
through with window frame. Outside trim may be brickmold, or the
manufacturer may provide matching aluminum or vinyl trim (depending
on how the exterior wood of the window is covered).
As one of the other posters suggested, it's a lot easier to do if
you can watch it done a few times first.
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