Replacing Your Old Windows

If quick-fix repairs to your windows aren't doing the job, it's time to consider putting in replacements.

If the frame on one of your exterior windows is warped or severely weather damaged, replace it. Even if the frames aren't warped or damaged, windows that seem to constantly need repair or adjustment should be replaced. A new, efficient window keeps cold drafts out of your manufactured home and saves you energy dollars in the long run.

Before you buy a replacement for an old window, think about the style and size of the new window you'd like. Things to consider are the window's location, whether you want a smaller or larger replacement, and the way the original window was mounted on your home. Don't assume that you must replace your old window with an exact duplicate. Many new energy-efficient windows, in a variety of styles, are made for manufactured homes.

Before you order your new window, determine the size of your existing window and check if the window is flush-mounted or mounted for lap siding. A flush-mounted window frame screws on over the siding. If the window has a lap-siding mount, the siding covers the window frame screws. Your new window should have the same type of mount as your current window, for appearance and ease of installation.

Before you order a new window, you may want to remove your old window and check that the opening is square. To do that, remove your window, and measure the opening diagonals corner to corner or use a framing square to measure the opening.

If the window opening is slightly off-square, you can use shims to fit in a new window. If the opening is significantly off-square, you can reduce the window opening by roughing a new, square frame for a smaller window or you can enlarge the opening for a larger window. It's usually easier to reduce the opening and install a smaller window.

If you are replacing a bedroom window, and it's the only exit from the bedroom to the outside, you probably won't be able to make the opening smaller. Bedroom windows that serve as egress windows in case of fire must meet minimum code requirements.

To replace your window, you'll need screws, putty tape, silicone sealant, and a screwdriver and/or  drill with a screwhead bit. When you purchase your new window, check with the window supplier about any special tools or screwhead bits you'll need.

Step 1:  Removing Siding. You can skip this step if your frame is mounted over vertical siding. If your frame is mounted under lap siding, remove the siding around the window. Be careful - if you bend aluminum siding, you will not be able to get rid of the resulting crease.

Step 2: Remove window. Using a reversible drill and proper screwhead bit, remove the screws around the edges of the frame. Note the size and type of screw. It's best not to reuse these screws. Instead, use new screws the same diameter and slightly longer than the originals. Once all the screws are out, remove the old window and frame.

Step 3: Apply putty. Scrape off all the old putty tape from the opening and frame. Apply new putty tape around the window frame. For extra moisture protection, apply two thicknesses of putty tape at the top of the opening. Applying putty tape is very important, especially if you have vertical siding. The tape fills any gaps between the window frame and the siding.

Step 4:  Replace window. Start by inserting one screw in the middle of all four sides. Be sure the screws go in straight. Do not tighten screws. Check to make sure the window is square before inserting more screws. After you have used about half the screws, open and close the window a few times to see that it is square and does not bind. Put in the remaining screws and tighten.

Step 5: Seal. Run a bead of clear silicone sealant along the top of the window where it meets the siding. Replace any siding that was removed.