Replacing Steel Casement Windows

I have been getting quite a few emails from homeowners wanting to know how to replace their old steel casement windows. Those are the type with the handle that you crank and the window opens outward. My instructional video didn’t cover these windows, so I am going to dedicate two articles to this subject. This first article will cover the removal procedure and measuring for your vinyl windows. Next week I will go over the installation procedure.

The first thing you need to do is order your vinyl replacement windows. You can’t remove the old windows until you have the new windows. So, let’s start with a single casement window, no fixed panels. Crank the window open from inside and you will see a metal lip approximately 1/2″ wide extending from your drywall on all four sides. This part of the frame stays in place, so the new window is going to fit inside those lips. So, to get your width dimension, measure left to right from lip to lip, then subtract 1/4″ to get in. Do the same for the height. Let’s say you measure 35 3/8″ width and 38 3/8″ on the height lip to lip. You would order your new window 35 1/8″ X 38 1/8″. If you live out west, where retrofit frames are available, you want to order the retrofit style frame. In parts of the country where only replacement style frames are available, you will have to add trim to the outside after you have installed the window.

After your windows arrive, it’s time to remove the old window. Single casements with no fixed panels are the easiest of the casements to remove. When you crank the window open, you will notice two pivot assemblies. There is one on top and one on bottom. Cut off the metal piece where the pivot pin is attached. Just like that, the entire window frame and glass are removed. Now, remove the crank assembly by removing the screws holding it in place inside the house. The last step is to remove the protruding metal studs that you cut at the pivot to remove the window. The easiest way to do it is to clamp a pair of channel lock pliers or vice grips as close to the frame as possible, then raise and lower the vice grips to break the metal off. That’s it.

If you have a combination of casement and fixed panels, you remove the casements as I described. Then, you have to remove the fixed glass. I used to put duct tape all over the outside of the glass. Then, I used one of those 2 dollar glass cutters that you can buy at the hardware store. Put a drop of household oil on the cutter tip before each cut. From inside, score the glass across the very top of the glass, the very bottom, and along each side. Then, using the tip of a screwdriver, tap the score all the way around the glass. Put a tarp or old sheet down outside the window, take the handle end of a hammer, and knock out the glass at the score. You will have a vertical metal bar in the center where the casement window locked. Using a reciprocating saw or a hacksaw, cut the bar where it meets the frame coming from the drywall. There will be bits of glass protruding beyond the metal lips. You need to knock those out, so they aren’t in the way when installing the new window. You can leave the glazing putty in place, since it will be hidden after you have installed the new window. PLEASE WEAR GLOVES AND SAFETY GLASSES DURING THIS ENTIRE REMOVAL PROCEDURE!!


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