This article is about how to install a PVC window, as to improve the appearance of your house and to increase its insulation. PVC windows are very efficient due to the smart design and durable, as if you install them properly you will enjoy using them for a long period of time. Installing a PVC window is not the hardest job in the world, but it requires attention and hard-work from the diy-er, as well as moderate knowledge about this task. By reading our step by step article, you will get the necessary information about the installation project, so pay attention to our guidelines, if you want to do a proper job.
1. Remember that the most important step is the preparation, so be highly attentive when taking the measurements and when preparing the surface for installing the PVC window. Generally speaking, a diy-er can be never too cautious, so make sure you measure at least twice the window opening before placing the order to your local store. We recommend you to start with a smaller project (bathroom window for example) as to get accustomed with the techniques, and afterwards you can install bigger and more complex PVC frames. By installing the vinyl windows by yourself, you will both improve your skills and save a great amount of money.
2. This article is mainly about installing a PVC window in a new construction, but you can use these techniques for replacing an old window. In the latter case, you have to remove first the openers (the components of the window which open), then the glass and last the window frame. Removing the frame might be a little difficult, but you have to proceed in such a manner as to minimize damage to walls.
In order to install a PVC window, you need the following:
- PVC window
- window sealant
- long screws (6-8” / 15-20 cm)
- polyurethane foam
- safety gloves, glasses
- measuring tape, carpentry pencil, l-square
- stud finder (if your house has wooden walls)
- drill machinery and drill bits
- spirit level
- vacuum cleaner
- use a vacuum to remove the residues after drilling the holes in the wall
- don’t tight the screws too much, as you risk damaging the window or bend the frame
- a few hours, one person
Installing the PVC window frame
The first step when installing a PVC window is to take accurate measurement. Consequently, use a tape measurement and take the dimensions in width (both at the bottom and the top) and height (both left and right). Remember than when ordering the window, always use the smaller dimension (the walls might be curved and the top might not match the bottom).
Smart tip: In the case of a new construction (as in the image), you should subtract 1/2” for each side of the window. On the other hand, when replacing an old window 1/4” should be enough.
After you receive the pvc window frame, openers and the glass, you have to install them. Consequently, move them inside the door opening, by making sure you don’t scratch them.
Use safety gloves and work attentively and with patience, as to get the job done properly.
In most of the cases, you will find useful to use shims under the PVC window, as well as around it, as to make sure you will set an even space from top to bottom. In the image you can see a large gap, as it is a new construction, but if you replace an old window the space should be much smaller, around 1/4”.
Next, you have to use a spirit level as to make sure the PVC window is plumb. In addition you have to make sure the window is placed symmetrically in the opening, otherwise it won’t be aligned with walls. After you have aligned the PVC window inside the opening, you have to secure it to the walls with at least 2 screws on each side. Consequently, use a drill machinery and a long drill bit, as to make several holes in the wall. If you install the window around wood studs, you have to proceed in the same manner, but to use drill bits for wood.
Continue drilling holes in the window frame and use the spirit level, in order to make sure the window is plumb and aligned with the wall. When fastening the PVC window frame, make sure you don’t over tighten the screws, otherwise you risk damaging it or bend it from the right position.
Work with patience as a beginner could compromise very easily the whole project. The essential aspect is to align the frame properly and insert the screws in a right manner.
Next, you have to insert screws on the other sides of PVC window frame, in the same manner as we have described above. Remember that these screws will secure the PVC window frame and lock it to the walls.
Smart tip: the screws should be at least 6-8” / 15-20 cm long, as to protrude in the brick layers or in the wooden studs. If you use smaller screws, the window won’t be secured properly into position and could represent a potential danger.
Next, after you have inserted the screws in the PVC window frame, you have to install the openers (the parts that open) to it.
This process is straightforward, you should connect it to the hinges and in some cases drive in several screws (you should find more details by reading the manufacturer’s instructions).
If you have reached this stage of the project, it means that you are almost done the hard work and very soon you will enjoy the comfort of a PVC window.
Next, you have to use a good sealant to fill the gap between the window frame and the brick opening. Consequently, you should use a sealant for windows or polyurethane foam, as you see in the image.
Smart tip: you should apply the sealant around the whole frame of the PVC window, as to make sure you won’t let moisture and cold get in the house. It is important to do the job with responsibility, otherwise the thermal insulation will be poor.
Usually, when installing a PVC window, the glass comes separately from the frame, so that it doesn’t brake or scratch during the transportation or during the installation process.
Smart tip: don’t rest the glass on concrete, otherwise you risk scratching the edges. Therefore, we recommend you to deposit the glasses on a soft material. Before fitting the glasses in the PVC window frame, you should wait for a couple of minutes, as to let the sealant to dry out a little.
In addition, we recommend you to countersink the heads of the screws that you have inserted in the frame, otherwise the glasses might not fit into place. You should also measure the diagonals of the windows, and use a spirit level as to make sure the frame is plumb and well aligned with the walls.
Afterwards, you should install the glasses inside the PVC frame and secure them by installing the plastic rod.
In order to install the interior rod which secures the glass, you should press it with your fingers, to the PVC frame. This procedure is quite simple, you just have to make sure they attach to the channels properly, otherwise they won’t lock the glass into position.
Next, after the foam dries out, you have to use a cutter to remove the excess. If you have used sealant, then you have to make sure it doesn’t go over the PVC frame, as it can obstruct the drain channels inside the window.
Last but not least, you should caulk the space between the window and the sill (both inside and outside your home), by using silicone.
Smart tip: for a nice appearance, you should remove the protective tape from the frame and clean it with a special solution and a soft material.
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