REPLACEMENT OR RETROFIT STYLE FRAME? WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Written by John Rocco
Last week i told you how to measure for your vinyl replacement windows when replacing aluminum windows. Now that you're ready to order your new vinyl replacement windows, we need to talk about different frame style options available. In most of country your choices are limited to either new construction or replacement frames. New construction frames come with a nailing fin to attach frame to studs during construction of new home. The replacement frame is basically new construction frame minus nailing fin.
But in west, where stucco homes are common, manufacturers came up with a third type of frame called a retrofit frame. The retrofit frame has a fin about 2 inches wide, located flush with outside face of window. This is best choice when replacing old windows, but not all jobs will accomodate a retrofit frame application. So let's discuss how to determine which frame is going to work for you.
If you have a stucco exterior, retrofit is way to go. You install new window from outside, and flush fin covers old aluminum frame that you are going to leave in place. Then you screw new window in using deck screws through side channels as well as top header. We will get into more detail on actual installation in a future article. If you have a stucco exterior, but there is a wood trim around opening of window where flush fin would normally go, you can still use retrofit style frame. You would need to remove wood surrounding opening, install retrofit window, then purchase and install new wood trim. The old trim will no longer fit since replacement window frame dimensions will be several inches
REMOVING OLD ALUMINUM WINDOWS Written by John Rocco
This week we are going to talk about process of actually removing your aluminum windows in preparation for installing vinyl replacement windows. Let's start with a horizontal sliding window, which is pretty common nationwide. There is going to be a sliding panel and a stationary panel. You want to remove slider first. All you do is slide panel open, grab sides of panel with your hands,lift up and swing out. Under ideal circumstances, it would be that easy. However, there are small obstacles that can prevent you from lifting out panel.
Many sliding windows have rollers on top as well as bottom. The top rollers don't actually do anything, they are there more as spares to replace bottom rollers when they wear out. But many times window installer will adjust these top rollers to prevent anyone from lifting out panel. If this is case with your windows, there will be a screw at top of each side rail. If you loosen these screws, then lift up on panel, it should come out. Another obstacle involves a little piece of rubber that manufacturer places in top track. This rubber piece has same effect as adjusting top rollers. It prevents you from lifting out panel because it's wedged between top of window panel and top of upper track. If you can see that window panel isn't lifting all way up in top track, and top rollers are not reason, then you have to dig out that rubber piece. It's usually at point in center, where sliding panel and fixed panel overlap when window is closed. Reach in there with a long, thin screwdriver, and try to pry it out.
Once you have slider out, take out screen. You can just pull it out. No need to be gentle since you're throwing it away anyway. The last step is fixed panel removal. There are a few different applications here. All of them will have a center vertical bar. It's usually there to accept locking mechanism on slider, but not always. Look for screws holding this center bar in place. They will either be on outside top and bottom, or you might find them on side channel where screen would go. Check top and bottom corners.
Assuming you found screws and removed them, you now need to take center bar off. Take a screw driver and a hammer and tap center bar at very bottom. Tap it off fixed panel frame. Now, pull fixed panel away from side where it rests in side channel. What you are trying to do is slide fixed panel open same way that you did sliding panel. Then, you can lift fixed panel up and out. Sometimes, fixed panel won't want to slide open because it has gotten stuck in side track. You can put a screw driver into side channel and pry fixed panel away from side. It doesn't matter if you bend frame that's still attached to house, because we are going to hide all of that anyway.