5 Helpful Tips for Removing Old Windows

Taking out your old windows and putting in new ones might seem like an intimidating project. However, if you’ve got the right tools for the job and a bit of spare time, there’s no reason this chore has to take a lot of time out of your day. Getting your old window out of its frame means stripping down any caulking or weatherstripping and getting set up to prepare windows for placement. You’ll also need to remove your old windows in a way that doesn’t leave you with a huge mess to clean up or a compromised entryway. That’s why it’s so important to do it the right way, especially if you’re replacing an older, inefficient window with a new energy-conserving model. Installing your new windows incorrectly or taking out your old windows in a haphazard way isn’t just dangerous, it could end up costing you a lot of money down the line, especially if you’re trying to heat and cool a larger house. If you’re looking for ways to remove your old windows quickly and safely, here are some tips to try.

1. Get the Right Measurements

Before you even think about removing your current window, you should have your replacement standing by. To get the perfect replacement, you’ll need to measure your current window’s height, width, and depth to make sure you order the right version. There’s no point in doing all the work of removing your old window only to find that you’ve ordered a poorly-sized replacement. To get the right measurements, start measuring in between the jambs, which hold your window in place on either side. Ignoring all extraneous parts like sashes and borders, get your window’s height and width, as well as its depth.

2. Have the Right Tools on Hand

While taking your window out of commission might seem like an easy job, you’ll need a good amount of hardware to get the job done properly. Before you start, make sure you have a small utility knife, a pry bar, a pair of pliers, a hammer, and some caulking, as well as some nails and paint. If you want to remove your old window and install the new one all in one sitting, you’ll want to have your paint primer nearby as well, along with your new jamb, head and side stops, and sashes. First, use your pry bar to get rid of your side stops and any trim that’s on the sides. Don’t worry about doing a clean job, you can level it out later. For now, you want to create the largest possible opening you can to make the job of installing your new window easier.

3. Remove Caulking

If you’ve been weatherstripping your windows for a while, you’ll probably be looking at a fair amount of caulking built up from many seasons ago. Even if you’re really good about stripping down your caulking after the winter is over, you’re still probably looking at a messy interior. This is the time to take your utility knife and pry bar and get all the gunk off to make space for your new window. If you haven’t removed your side stops or casing, now is the time to do so. Once everything is clear, you might want to sand down the sides a little bit, especially if some of the caulking is too stubborn to come off on its own. However, don’t get too overzealous with your sanding. The goal is to make your window fit perfectly with no gaps. If you shave too much off, you could create space for a persistent draft.

4. Take Jamb Out

Windows with sashes will have a long jamb liner included that looks a bit like a flimsy plastic frame. However, this component is sturdier and harder to remove than it looks. Using your pry bar and pliers, edge out the jamb lining with your old window halfway open, propping it up with something sturdy.

5. Remove Your Window

Now that everything else is out of the way, it’s time to remove your window. After your jamb lining and jamb are taken off, your sashes should come off easy in one go. Remember to take a firm hold of the window in both hands, and make sure you can handle the weight by yourself. Don’t make the mistake of hurting your back due to a too-heavy lift. Ask for help if you need it. Hoisting your window up and out, remove it with the help of your pliers and pry bar. Once it’s out, you can start installing the components for your new window.