If you want to increase energy efficiency in your old stucco home, replace the windows. Vinyl windows make good replacements, since they are inexpensive and insulate better than aluminum. It is possible for a beginning DIY person to replace them, but you must be comfortable working with power tools. Here are some tips for installing replacement windows in stucco.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- work gloves
- safety glasses
- flat pry bar
- utility knife
- wood shims
- finishing nailer
- finishing nails
- exterior caulk and caulk gun
- foam insulation
- power drill and long screw bit, plus a 3/8 inch masonry drill bit
- replacement window
Measure the height of the old window from the highest point of the sill to the top in the middle, left, and right. Note the smallest measurement when you order. Measure the width at the right, left, and center from the interior of the frame jamb to jamb. Use the smallest measurement to order for width.
Remove the Old Window
Insert the utility knife in the paint where the window stop and window frame join, and cut a line. Slide the flat point of the pry bar in the middle of the stop and frame to remove the two stops. Set the stops aside. Repeat the process to remove the exterior stops, removing jamb liners or springs.
Gently remove the bottom window sash, and set it in a safe place. Use the flat pry bar to detach the parting beads on each side. The parting beads will not be reused, so don't be concerned about damaging them. Take the old window out of the opening, using an assistant, if needed.
Install the New Window
Attach the 3/8-inch drill bit to the drill. Drill three holes holes on both sides of the frame where you removed the parting bead at the top, bottom, and middle. Drill holes in the same manner in the window header and seal..
Fill each hole with expandable spray foam insulation, and around the pockets. Let the foam set about six hours, then cut extra foam.
Set the window in the opening, tilting it against the outer window casing. Loosely drive a wood screw on the top edge of the left side and right side of the jamb with the drill and screw attachment.
Test the window for evenness on each side with a level. Slide wood shims under the corners to make the window even, if needed.
Attach the remaining screws, and insert wood shims as needed. Tighten the screws and trim protruding shims with the utility knife. Reinstall the sashes, and reattach the stops with the finishing nailer. Apply a bead of caulk on the interior and exterior of the window frame.
Test the new window for operation. If you don't trust your skill, or you need to replace windows on upper stories, contact a window installation service like Fischer Window and Door Store.