How Do You Install a Wooden Window?

Wooden WindowsUnless you’ve lived in your home for several years, you’ve probably never had to install wooden windows. Replacing a worn window isn’t usually a top priority of most homeowners, until the damage is already done. But, once rainwater starts seeping through the panes and the drapes are blowing in the wind, they generally start to take notice.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to install wooden windows, specifically ones with no nailing flange. However, if your window does have a flange, it’s likely made of wood since most unflanged windows are constructed this way.

Getting Started

Make sure you specify the correct width when ordering your new window. If your walls have 1/2-inch external sheathing and 2×4 studs, the jambs will be 3 5/8 inches wide, which allows 1/8 inch for any imperfections. A 5 5/8 inches jamb width should work for a wall that contains 2×6 studs.

After unpacking your new window, thoroughly inspect it prior to installing it. Be sure the sashes and mechanisms work smoothly and properly and that the weatherstripping is in very good shape.

Checklist For Installing Wooden Windows

  • Estimated Project Time
    Once you frame your opening, you’ll probably spend approximately 3 hours to close the opening and install both the window and all the exterior trim. You’ll also need to time for installing the interior trim as well as finishing the interior wall.
  • Materials
    2-inch wood or deck screws or 10d nails, 6d finish nails, 8d casing nails, wood putty, staples, building wrap or roofing felt, exterior caulk, insulation, and shims.
  • Tools
    Hammer, level, nail set, tape measure, drill and screwdriver bit, caulk gun, stapler, tin snips, reciprocating saw, handsaw, and flat pry bar.
  • Required Skills
    Careful precision in fitting, checking for plumb and level, and driving screws or nails.
  • Preparation
    First, frame your window’s opening and then check for square.

15 Easy Steps On How To Install Wooden Windows

  1. Cut enough strips of building wrap or roofing felt to cover the entire bottom of your rough opening. Later on you’ll add more flashing and/or wrapping.
  2. Temporarily put the window in place in order to check for level and then shim the bottom as necessary. If your particular window requires installing thick flashing along with a piece of plywood along the bottom, put it in first or else raise the window according to the same thickness.
  3. Checking for plumb while you work, tap in the shims at either side. Be careful not to wedge them too tight or the jambs may warp. Check to confirm that the jamb isn’t warped using the straightedge of your level.
  4. With the shims now securely in place, ensure that the window works smoothly. Watch the sash alignment against your jambs while moving it. If necessary, adjust the shims.
  5. Partially drive (tack) screws or nails close to the shims in order to temporarily hold the window in place.
  6. Outside, carefully trace around your home’s brick molding to accurately mark the siding to cut. Proceed to cut the siding in a careful and precise manner.
  7. Once the siding is cut, pry it back and install the self-adhesive flashing, building wrap, or felt. Cut pieces of self-stick flashing or felt to fit snugly along each side. Place them behind the siding and fold them over your studs and staple. Next, cut a piece that’s six inches longer than the entire width of your opening and repeat the installation process. Cut in slits at each corner.
  8. Each slit on every corner produces a V-shaped opening in the flashing or felt. Cover them with small pieces of self-adhesive flashing or felt.
  9. If necessary, your particular window may require you to use tin snips in order to cut a special piece of metal flashing (drip cap) and place it beneath the felt at your header.
  10. Put the window back in its place. The front of the jambs must be flush with your interior wall.
  11. Shim the sides and bottom once more, checking for square and level and that the window works smoothly and properly, according to This Old House. Following the directions of the manufacturer, tack 6d finishing nails into the jambs in order to attach the wooden window.
  12. On the outside, drive casing nails (galvanized) in order to attach your brick molding. Next, caulk between the window and the trim as well as between the siding and the trim.
  13. Use your nail set in order to drive in the finishing nails just below the wood’s surface. Apply wood putty to the visible holes.
  14. Cut off the shims so they’re flush with your studs using your handsaw.
  15. Carefully install fiberglass insulation around the jambs into the gaps. Do not use expanding foam since it can potentially warp the frame of the window.

A new window will make your house look and feel better overall. Now that you know how to install wooden windows, you can move on to your next home improvement project.

Related Resource: Installing Impact Resistant Windows