How to install bay windows

Before installing your new Bay Window, you will need the following tools and equipment:

1) Power drill and saw, preferably battery operated – less chance of tripping over cords. A good rule of thumb is to have battery chargers in case your battery starts to run low.
Also check your saw blade, it will need to be one that will handle the job and recommended for the material you will be cutting through. If cutting through stucco or cement block, you will need a cement saw. You can rent these saws at your local equipment rental stores. Cement saws are not battery operated, these are run by gasoline. Be careful of any sparks, they can cause fire if too close to combustible material.

2) Wood shims – these are individual pieces of wood that can be purchased at a home improvement center in a package.
3) A level – make sure the level is accurate before starting this project. Hold the level Sideways and check for any warping. If it is warped, chances are your measurements are going to be off also.
4) Manufacturer’s directions and the hardware that comes with the window.
5) Screw caps or plugs if not supplied with manufacturer hardware.
6) Eye protection – goggles, especially if cutting through cement walls.
7) Retractable tape measure for measuring if no opening exists.

First, read all the manufacturer’s directions. This is very important since every manufacturer has guidelines for installation. Failure to follow the directions can cause damage to the window and void the warranty that comes with the window.

Now you will have to determine the size of the Bay Window or the size of the opening for which the Bay Window will be installed. If the opening is not there, you will need to cut one, allowing ½ inch to ¾ inch space extra around the whole window for shimming. Figure in the extra inches when measuring. This is to guarantee that your window will be plumb and level horizontally and vertically and to allow for expansion and contraction. Before installing the Bay Window into place, pre-drill and counter sinkholes at the top, bottom, and sides of the frame of the window where the screws will go.

Now that you have determined the opening and pre-drilled your holes, have someone help lift the Bay Window into the opening, holding the Bay Window straight and level, being very careful not to twist the frame. Twisting the frame can cause damage to the window and possibly break the glass. After placing the Bay Window in place, insert the screws in the header first (top of the window) and then in the bottom and sides, making sure the window looks plumb, Using your level as you go to check to see if the window is sitting straight in the opening.

Continue inserting screws around the window until the screws are all screwed into place and the window is tightened down. Use your level again to check and make sure the window is still plumb. Now use the screw caps or plugs to cover the screw heads. Insert the wood shims between the window and opening to cover up any air pockets or small openings that exist around the window. You might also want to use some pieces of insulation with the shims. Never use canned foam as it goes on lightly and expands too rapidly, leaving you without control when it comes to removing the excess.

Depending on the size of the Bay Window, you might want to install Corbels under the front of the Bay Window. This adds style to the window. Now you will want to cap off the roof structure of the window. The caps may be copper, fiberglass, or wood. All caps need to be flashed. (Weather flashing to prevent water from entering into the house). Your siding should overlap your flashing. Apply to flash according to the manufacturer’s directions.

To finish the inside, you will need to insulate around the space between the Bay Window and the stud wall. Good high rating insulation is sufficient. You can finish off your Bay Window by wrapping drywall around it or window casing. Then paint or stain it. If your Bay Window takes in direct sunlight, you might want to apply a window film on the glass to prevent sun damage to the interior of your house or furniture.

To finish the inside

Sit back and enjoy the beautiful view!

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