DIY Windown installation fail

24 Replies

So.....

I do everything myself at my primary residence, and I am about to rent the upstairs bonus room (house hacking!) It needs a new window, and so of course I was going to put it in myself. After watching a few youtube videos I embarked on what actually seemed like a very easy task. In all of the videos I watched the windows were installed from inside the property. They all had to remove a wooden strip on the side of the window in order to get to the window track.

Well, I went upstairs and it looked just like in the videos. Got my hammer and pry bar and started attempting to remove this wooden strip. 

What the videos failed to tell me was that some windows are installed from the outside of the house. Of course this was the case with mine. I chipped away at what was actually the wood trim.

My wife was out playing in a soccer league. When she came home I had prepared a presentation to remind her why she married me, and to look past my flaws before she went upstairs into the bonus room :-D

Replacement windows can be installed from the inside and new construction are nailed up from the outside. Should be able to use a sharp knife, multi-tool or reciprocating saw to cut the fin around the new construction window and then install your replacement window so that you don't have to mess with the siding.  If it's an aluminum window then it might be a little more difficult.

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@Luka Milicevic I would encourage you to keep trying.  Can learn if you don't try.

If the window is vinyl or aluminum, chances are its got a nail in flange like the others have stated.  What kind of exterior siding do you have? Is there a trim piece around the window? If so, see if you can remove it to expose the nailing flange. 

You will definitely need to remove any interior trim/casing around the window opening.  This should expose the window and the wall framing (or close to it, exposing the edge of the drywall). This should give you a better picture of what you need to do.

Do some additional investigating.  You can always call someone in after you try some more.

@Jassem A. I scheduled an appointment with both. I'll let you know how much it comes out to. The only time I've ever used an installation service from theme was for carpet. Lowes charged $35 for the whole project because I bought it from them.

@Mike Wood I hear ya, but I need this done kind of soon and I really don't want to do anymore damage than I already have.

Originally posted by @Luka Milicevic :

So.....

My wife was out playing in a soccer league. When she came home I had prepared a presentation to remind her why she married me, and to look past my flaws before she went upstairs into the bonus room :-D

 Luka, Your last sentence brought a smile to my face.  I don't mean to laugh at your expense but I found that hilarious.   And that because I have needed that presentation myself and maybe many others on this site as well.

When replacing window and not the siding you have to know how they are dealing with the flashing.  Some big names don't sell a window (this from about five years ago) that is replaced from the outside because of this.  Be sure the rep explains how they are dealing with the flashing.  Both Lowe's and Home Depot sell both.  I have had windows replaced and the trim inside and out at the same time to go to maintenance free from wood requiring painting.   Don't let them cut and caulk.  The caulk will dry, shrink and leak over time.
I have used window replacement companies with long track records and supplier warranties not the big box stores because the do it every day.  Most publish their call back rates, expect high 90's for no call back.

Originally posted by @Luka Milicevic :

@Jassem A. I scheduled an appointment with both. I'll let you know how much it comes out to. The only time I've ever used an installation service from theme was for carpet. Lowes charged $35 for the whole project because I bought it from them.

@Mike Wood I hear ya, but I need this done kind of soon and I really don't want to do anymore damage than I already have.

 So Luka, what did you end up doing?

Absolutely loved the last sentence you have there as well!  A for effort!  I agree with Mike.  You can't learn if you don't try.  I definitely understand the time crunch though, but personally I would've gone with someone who does windows.  Granted Lowe's and Home Depot are different in every region, but we have had nothing but inexperienced people when we have tried to use them (other than carpeting which is pretty simple to lay).  Our experience has taught us that it's better to hire someone who specializes in what needs to be done vs. using the big box store... even if it costs a little bit more, it's definitely worth it in time, stress and many other things saved!  Good luck to you!  I hope things turned out well.

Originally posted by @Jassem A. :

@Luka Milicevic

I've never hired Lowes or Home Depot to do anything and would be curious what they charge. Do they have a price sheet for the services they offer?

 No, they give the buyer a list of installers which can be consulted. HD/Lowes installs NOTHING due to the liability :)

@William Morrison   'Retro Fit' windows are installed from the outside, have a 'Z bar' frame to overlap the exterior siding.  Sealing them is then easy.  The install leaves the existing windows frames in-place and the interior trim completes the install.

Actually, Lowes does provide a wide variety of installation service said. It is true that "vendors" (sub contractors) perform the installing, but Lowe's vets the installers, provides financing, and provides warranty on the vendors work. In addition to being a real estate investor, I also am a Project Specialist - Exteriors for Lowe's. I do in home sales of installed exterior projects. Our categories include Windows, siding, roofing, gutters, decks, fences, blown in attic insulation, HVAC, and whole house generators.

Originally posted by @Jeff B. :

@William Morrison  'Retro Fit' windows are installed from the outside, have a 'Z bar' frame to overlap the exterior siding.  Sealing them is then easy.  The install leaves the existing windows frames in-place and the interior trim completes the install.

 I'm with you.  I have seen both big box stores sell new non replacement windows as if there is no difference.  All depends on who your salesman is.  That's why I mentioned it.

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Haha, totally been there with the remember why you married me speech..

From my experience bidding jobs (at least in HVAC) the contractors recommend by Home Depot/Lowe's tend to be the bigger companies which tend to be more expensive. While it's true they are vetted by HD, there are plenty of high-quality companies that are smaller and more affordable.

Good luck, hope you got it all fixed in time for Mothers Day :)

@William Morrison @Jassem A.

I got a quote from Lowes, HD, and Window world. 

This was for one replacement window in the upstairs bonus room. The size was 36x48. 

Lowes: $464

HD: $570 or $771 for the better window.

Window world required a minimum of 3. Their quote was $1125 for 3. $375/each.

The HD rep that came to give me a quote was awesome. He was very honest with me and pretty much told me not to go with a big box retailer for my small job. He said HD will probably be the most expensive option and it was. He is a retired home builder and said he couldn't build homes anymore because he hated the amount of corner cutting contracts did in order to save money. He said it was weighing on him knowing he was building houses that wouldn't last. He was also very upset at how my current window was installed and ended up failing (seam failure). According to him, the current one I had was the cheapest possible material out there and it made him upset as it reminded him why he hated building homes!

I thought it was quite an interesting discussion.

In the end I put an ad out on craigslist and got over 40 responses for my job. I paid a contractor $100 to get it done. The window I purchased was in stock at HD and it was ever so slightly short on the sides. by about 1/4 inch too short. They made it fit with an added piece of wood on each side to shorten the opening. The window was $156 including tax and it was pretty solid. Energy start with the Argon gas or what not.

So overall cost me $256 and took them about 3 hours to get it done.

@William Morrison HAHA! She is most definitely okay with the damage I did to the outside window trim after I showed her our "wedding box" where I kept all our pictures and what not :-). The contractors cleaned up my damage a little and it actually looks better. 

I have done everything else in our house (floor, paint, cabinets, etc). Her only response was that I met my match with this project!

8 windows and 4 sliders in Clearwater, FL. HD rep came out and quoted me $16,200? Local window guy quoted me $10,800. Cost of windows ( all in stock at HD) was $5600 + $100 misc. materials. Doing it myself!

@Steve Kordish be sure to carefully check out how to connect to the structure, which may or may not be what you think is the frame.  If not, the Hurricane Impact Windows are just projectiles in a storm.  Yes it happens.
Not to keep you from doing it yourself, just be familiar with how to connect to the structure.

@Luka Milicevic , thanks for sharing, it's great to read these kind of posts where people are not afraid to share their mishaps.  Good call on trying to craigslist route - many people think that you need to pay a lot of money to have good quality work, which is not the case, quality and price don't always correlate.  

Were you able to rent the room?

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