Removing Windows

This story shows you how to remove a window.


If your window frame (the jambs and sill) is in bad condition or if you want to change the size of your window, you will need to remove the old window. Chances are you will also end up modifying the siding and changing the wall framing.

Unless you don't mind being windowless for a long period, plan the job so you can start framing and installing the new window right away. You can measure for the new window while the old one is in place. Order and inspect the new window before you remove the old.

You can remove the sashes first, then dismantle the frame; this is the best solution for a second- or third-story window. These pages show how to remove the window with the sashes in place.

Prestart Checklist

About 2 hours to remove a window

Hammer, flat pry bar, drill with screwdriver bit, utility knife, slip-joint pliers, reciprocating saw, handsaw

Basic carpentry skills

Place drop cloths on the floor and seal off the room's doors with plastic. Place a tarp or sheets of plywood outside the window to protect the lawn and plants.

Protection for interior floors and outside lawn or plants

Step 1

Use a utility knife to slice through any paint or caulk between the interior casing and the wall. Use a flat pry bar and a scrap piece of wood to remove the casing. If you will reuse the casing, use slip-joint pliers to remove the screws.

Step 2

If you have an older wood window with sash weights, pull back the cords or chains and cut the ones that attach to the weights for the lower sash. Pull down the upper sash and do the same. Remove the sash weights.

Step 3

On the exterior cut through any caulk and pry out the molding all around the window. See the illustration on the opposite page for the type of situation you'll encounter. If your window has a flange that is covered by siding.

Step 4

Inside the house pry out the stool (inside sill). It may be easiest to cut through the nails first (see next step). Also remove the apron, which is attached to the wall directly below the stool.

Step 5

Cut through the nails that attach the jamb to the house's framing. A reciprocating saw works best for this, but you can also use a hacksaw. Or slip the notch of a flat pry bar onto the nail's shank and bang hard with a hammer to break the nail.

Step 6

Pull out any insulation and other obstructions, and check that all the nails have been removed. Remove one or both sashes.

Step 7

With a helper standing outside to catch the window, start prying outward. You may need to tap the jambs with a hammer. Once the window is loose and ready to fall, go outside to help pull it out.

Comments (5)
hughmattox1 wrote:

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1/3/2010 04:58:11 PM Report Abuse
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