replace a storm window

Most homes now have what we call combination storm and screen windows. These windows are very nice because you do not need to remove them when the seasons change. Although at some point in time, you will need to remove them to clean and maintain the casement windows.

Now let us first begin with how to repair or fix a storm window. We will begin with a list of materials:

  • A comfortable working surface
  • An ice pick or scratch awl, utility knife, screwdrivers and hammer.
  • Cloths for cleaning
  • A hand held vacuum or shop vacuum
  • A very fine grade of sandpaper, steel wool, and a small bristle paintbrush
  • A silicone spray, replacement screen molding, screen, screws, glass or plexi-glass, and silicone caulking and window glaze
  • Soap and water, and glass cleaner

Most importantly make sure your work area is one that you will be comfortable at and not in the way of household or outside foot traffic. Remove the combination window carefully. If the glass is broken, remove as much broken glass first before taking the window out. Check from sealants around the outside edges and use your utility knife to break that seal so the combination will come out once you have the broken glass removed and screws removed.

If just a screen is damaged you can probably replace without removing the combination. Just find the end of the rubber molding, gently remove it, then take the screen out, and cut new screen using that for a pattern. Replace and push back in the molding (use new molding if old is worn or brittle). When replacing glass myself I like to use plexi-glass. Remove the glass holders and make sure all glass is out and use the steel wool or sandpaper to clean the area where the glass will go back in.

Reinstall the new glass and check the casement windows to see if they need cleaning or repairing before putting the combination back on. Clean the area where the combination will go back, apply caulk at the facing of the casement window and reinstall. Lubricate any areas of the window track needed. Clean the window again on the outside once installed.

Now if you want to replace the storm windows what you will need is the following:

  • Replacement storms, caulking, glazing (in case the casement windows need repair)
  • Screwdriver, screws, tape measure, ladder, hammer, and cleaning supplies

Always remember to clean and repair any damage to the casement windows before reinstalling your combination storms.

Now you must measure your windows. Measure the old combination for exact size or measure the existing window opening. Once you have the measurements and number of windows needed head to your local hardware or lumber store, give them your measurements, and pick out your windows. Saving money is always nice but in the end, it is better to buy a little more expensive window and have fewer headaches down the road.

Once you have your windows make sure they fit before you apply caulking or any type of adhesive or make any trimming marks on them. If they do not fit and you have marked them or cut them, you cannot bring them back.

If your windows came with pre-drilled holes great, otherwise you will have to pre-drill holes in the windows. Make your holes anywhere from 10 to 16 inches apart. Try to make sure you have screws at the top and bottom corners and each side center. Depending on your window size, you may not need more than six screws per window. Make sure to center the storm from side to side, bottom to top and then begin applying the caulk and screws to secure the window.

Now finish off the installation by running a small bead of caulk around the edge of the window side to side and top to bottom. Do not caulk over the weep holes at the bottom of the window. Those spaces are there purposely to vent the air.

Replacing or repairing your storms is not a fun job but it is not a difficult job especially if you prepare your self and get a friend or spouse to help you.

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