I was chatting with a buddy of mine about replacing my windows and I
mentioned that I was planning on removing the siding to get to the window.
He basically shook his head and mentioned that typically what is done is a
circular saw is run around the perimeter of the window and that is what is
used to remove the window. Basically he described it as cutting out the
siding that hides the window frame and attachpoints then installing the new
window, then using 1x2's or whatever to frame the window and cover up the
cut the circular saw made.
Is he basically correct here. For some reason I just can't see myself
taking a circular saw to the siding as proper window replacement.
Visit www.pella.com or the Andersen window site and download instructions on
installing their windows. Read warranties. Without proper flashing, you
might as well keep your old windows. The flashing should go beyond the
window frame width so I don't see how you can do it right without removing
the siding unless you use very wide trim. The flashing is also supposed to
be attached to the paper underneath the siding (assuming you have tyvek or
Without seeing a picture of the house, I have to ask why you can't pop
in some replacement windows and not do any cutting.
If you are cutting out the frames to put in bigger windows or
something, the siding will be the least of your worries.
Take your pictures down to your building supply store and talk to them
about vinyl replacement windows and how to install them. It is very
likely that you can put some in without touching the outside. If
you're feeling industrious, you might carefully take out a window and
remove the sill and sides to see what's there and take pics of that
I would guess that if you raise the window, you can take out the glass.
Do so. Then gently pry up the inside sill and remove it. Then figure
out how to remove the bottom plate of the window. Likely it's just a
couple of screws. Take that out. Then, basically the window comes
into piece in front of you when you take out the side screws. No
reason to cut the siding. I'm no expert on windows, but almost
everyone one I've seen come out (and goes in) from the inside.
Once you've measured them up, they just order them in whatever size you
If you want to start hacking around because you want bigger windows,
get ready for a major project because you have serious structural
issues to deal with then (replacing the header, etc.).
I don't know how common my windows are. They are sliding windows with
4 grooves, 2 for windows and 2 for storm windows, so since they don't
use thermopane, I guess that means they're cheap.**
When the guy in the next townhouse had his windows replaced, the
workman took the panes out of the frames*** and used a sawsall to make
one or two cuts in the alumininum window frame, but in the frame only
and not in any of the wood. ***Maybe he had removed screws through
the frame into the wood, but if so I missed that part. I guess there
must be screws or the windows would fall out.
Then they slid out the rest of the frame, or it just folded in on
itself. Then he just slid the new frame in, screwed it in, I guess,
and put the panes in. He didn't touch the siding. He finished up by
making a little rectangular tube from plain white aluminum that he
atttached above the window, and a smaller one for below, on top of the
t1-11 siding. It makes his window look bigger than mine, and the extra
white frame might have a nice appearance, but I'm still pleased with
mine, which goes from brown wall to glass window, with only an inch of
aluminmum in between.
I'm also a little disgusted to realize that the decoration around at
least some of the windows I see is hollow. I know there has always
been imitation stuff like this, but it's better for me when I don't
He also applied thin lines of white caulk outside between the frame
and the wood and between the tubes and the t1-11. He made the edges
of the caulk straight. If you can't caulk well practice somewhere
else. The look of the caulk will be more important I think than the
look of the windows.
(The guy I bought my house from was cold all the time and caulked
everywhere, and never did learn how. You want to push the nozzle of
the tube away from you as you put down the caulk and use the size of
the opening and the nozzle to delimit the width of caulk lines. He
seemed to have been pulling it back, and had no control over
thickness. And if he then used his finger to push down the thick
parts, he made them too wide. Push, don't pull.
ALL of this was done from the inside of the house. It took him iirc 2
or 3 hours to do 3 windows, and the biggest single chunk of time,
maybe a fourth or third of the total, was making those rectangular
**I suppose after a while the fuzzy strip between the storm windows
and the windows falls off, so that would be bad, but I'm careful to
glue that stuff back when it starts to get loose. I guess eventually
the fuzzy strip won't be fuzzy anymore, will be bald, so that will
leak air for sure.
But the only really bad part now is that while I'm lying in bed, I can
reach up and open or close the window, but not the storm window. So
if it is closed, I have to sit up, get on my knees and turn around to
open or close the storm window Also I have to stick my fingers
almost between the windows to open the storm windows. These are not
big problems. I also get condensation on the aluminum frames inside,
but it hasn't damaged the window sill after 27 years, hasn't even hurt
the paint. I don't know how much heat loss this represents. But
while neighbors are replacing their windows, I still don't think it is
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.