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Replacing wood sash windows with vinyl windows

When we left off last week, we had removed the old wood sash windows and prepared the opening for the vinyl replacement windows. Now it's time to install your new windows. You should have someone there to help you when doing the installation. First, Remove all shipping materials from the window. Now, if you are installing several different sizes, make sure you are putting the correct window in the correct opening. You need to put the window into the opening to make sure it's going to fit, then remove it and run a bead of caulk on the face of the outside blind stop where the window will rest. You don't want to caulk, only to discover the windows are too big. It's worth the extra few minutes to make sure it's going to fit. Lift the window and set the bottom in first. Then raise the top until it rests against the outside blind stops. Sometimes, when raising the top into position, the window frame will hit the top of the wood frame. You need to tap down on the top of the vinyl frame while keeping pressure towards the outside.

Once you determine that it's going to fit, remove the new window and set it aside. Run a bead of caulk on the face of the outside blind stops. White latex painters caulk works fine. Raise the window into position again. Now have your helper hold the window in position while you raise and lower the sashes, making certain that the window is square in the opening. Remember how you ordered the windows 3/16"- 1/4" shorter than the tightest measurement? This is where you use this space to adjust the frame to be the most plumb and level. Get a box of popsicle sticks and wood coffee stirrers at the grocery store. The coffee stirrers are about 1/16" thick, and the popsicle sticks are approximately twice as thick. You want to put the shims in the four corners. Then caulk the gap on both sides and along the top before installing the inside stops. I don't recommend putting any screws in the sides, but you can put one screw in the top center and one in the bottom center. You really dont have to use any screws in this kind of installation, since the shims will eliminate any side play, and the caulk on the blind stops will hold the frame in place as well. Remember, we still need to re-install the inside stops.

Before installing the inside stops, remove all the old nails and replace them with new nails. A 1"- 1 1/4" finish nail is fine. Before installing the inside stops, scrape all old caulk off the stops. Then, while your helper holds the window in place, nail your stops back on. If the window has 4 stops, install the shortest ones first. That way you can bend the longer stops into place between the two short ones. Use a nail punch to sink the head past the surface of the stop. If you have several windows to do, i suggest doing the first window to this point before going to the next. How frustrating would it be to have a helper removing the old sashes, only to discover that the windows aren't going to fit!? If the first one goes in fine, then you can send your helper ahead of you to start removing old sashes. The best way to avoid the nightmare of having a bunch of new windows that won't fit is to make sure you measure CORRECTLY. Remember, tight minus 1/4" on the width and height should be fine.

Finish the inside by caulking the area of the inside stop where it meets the casing, and the point where the stop meets the new frame. Fill the nail holes in the inside stops with caulk to hide the nail heads. Now it's time to finish the outside. A quality replacement window will either have a sloped frame to match the slope sill, or it will come with an insert that fits under the new frame to fill the gap created by the sloping wood sill. If you buy a lower grade window that doesn't come with anything to fill the gap underneath, you can buy some wood trim to fill the space, or you can get a flat vinyl trim that attaches to the face of the bottom of the new frame. The flat trim is available on my website under the "shop" tab. Once you cover the bottom gap, it's time to caulk where the outside blind stops meet the vinyl frame, and where the bottom gap filler meets the wood sill.

That's it! You're done! You can buy accessories to cover your old wood sills with a vinyl wrap extrusion. That can also be found on the website under the "purchase trim" tab. Next week we are going to start on replacing old aluminum windows.

About the Author

John Rocco has been installing replacement windows since 1978 To learn more, visit


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Wood Or Vinyl Blinds

The market for blinds have expanded past those traditional aluminum mini blinds the bend, break, and warp. Many homeowners are electing to install a 2 inch blind made of either wood or vinyl to add a more sophisticated touch to a room. Much cheaper than wooden shutters and able to allow in more light, these blinds combine function and design to produce a look that is sure to suit everyone's needs. In years past, the purchase of these two inch blinds would literally break the bank, but fortunately, there are a great many options available for those on all sizes of budgets.

There are pros and cons for choosing either wood or vinyl. The main difference in the material of the blinds is the color and the price. Typically, wooden two inch blinds are a great deal more expensive than vinyl blinds, but are available in more colors. If you have stained wood trim and molding around your windows, consider continuing that color to your window treatments. A rich dark wooden blind or a refreshing honey hue wooden blind can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the look of your home. For a price, you can create a fantastic look that makes the difference between a ho-hum room and a spectacular room.

Keep in mind that wooden blinds tend to be lighter than the vinyl variety, so they may be the best choice for double or even triple windows to prevent bowing in the middle of the blind. Also, wood blinds--just like vinyl--can be custom cut to fit the exact specifications of your window. Vinyl blinds; however, are a great deal less expensive and easily be mistaken for the wooden variety. Especially if you choose a bright white or soft ivory for your shades, vinyl shades are probably your best bet if you are on a budget. Additionally, vinyl blinds tend to be easier to clean, since water can warp wood or cause the finish to bubble or crack.

If you are in the market for wood of vinyl blinds, consider visiting your local home supply warehouse. Quite often, the selection at these stores is surprising and the cost may be a great deal less than those purchased from special blind stores. Another alternative are catalogs and websites that sell blinds direct. Wholesale options are excellent for keeping your price at a minimum, but you must do the measuring and installation once the blinds have been shipped to your home. If budget is not a problem, then look to a special window treatment shop in your area, where professionals will come to your home and will complete the measuring process and the installation.

About the Author

John Marcus specializes in Shades and Curtains.
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