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Does Replacing Windows Damage Walls

Does Replacing Windows Damage Walls

Does replacing windows damage walls? Let’s find out!

We can answer the all-important question does replacing windows damage walls?

First thing’s first, to prevent damaging your walls when you replace your windows, you’re going to measure from the outside of the jamb – left to right and then top to bottom. Then, you’re going to take that number and – hopefully – you’re smart enough to give it to an expert like Boyland Windows. Our team will order it based on the width and then height, and we’ll ask you how YOU want it to open.

  • Double-hung means that both frames or panes will move
  • The slider means it’ll slide left to right – or right to left
  • If it has a crank on it, it’s like a casement

Okay, let’s say you have a crank, and it opens up; our team will want to know if you want it hinged on this side or the opposite side. The best way to order is by going outside your building and looking back at your window. If it’s hinged on the left, it’ll open to the left. For this reason, when you’re ordering, measure left to right, top to bottom. Just imagine yourself standing outside looking in.


Replacing your window? The hinge side is worth specifying in your order.

Get this wrong and you’ll order a window that opens in the wrong direction.

This is a secret that wholesalers are not going to tell you. They’re going to let you order what you order. They’ll give you what you ordered, and then you’re going to be in trouble if YOU get it wrong. Yet, when you’re changing out your windows, the first thing you want to do is get rid of the darn reason you need it in the first place. What we’re saying is this – you don’t need glass in the mix. Well, not just yet, anyway. Now, most of these double-hung pieces work on a little spring-loaded system. You tilt it with some mechanisms (which you twist left to right, and they pop out of the hinge pinhole) – it’s a piece of cake.

Now you’re left with a window screen and a frame.


Two-stage weatherproofing is vital for not damaging walls when replacing windows

We still have the tie-back sheet that we’ve yet to cut and wrap it around our framing.

This part is crucial for replacing your windows WITHOUT damaging your walls. After all, it’s not a case of just ripping your window out and sticking a new one in – there’s a high likelihood that you’re replacing an older model. So just know that if you have a window that’s 30-40 years old, you can expect to see rot, decay and damage.

We’re here to show you how to put windows in, so you avoid encountering problems.

At this point, you’re going to want a reciprocator saw. If you don’t have one – and you don’t want us to do it for you – then you’re going to have to buy one. A corded saw is £75-80, so don’t waste your money on something that needs a battery – it’s unnecessary, and the devices are not as effective. Alright, so we cut it right in half down the middle here. The reason we want to do that is once you’ve cut one jam you can start peeling it open like an onion. In situations like this, it makes sense to put safety glasses on.


Once you’ve cut through all that mess, you’ve still got your expansion foam to deal with

Now, generally speaking, expansion foam bonds pretty well.

However, if you get your hammer in there and turn it, it’ll just let go. It’s not going to be able to hold on too tight. Typically, we want to replace our unit with a modern window. Yet, in older houses like the one we’re in now, the walls are all out of whack. There’s an assortment of layers to consider, you see.

With this in mind, you want to order your windows at a decent time as this can take 3-6 weeks. Fortunately, this gives you the ability to customise the interior jam later.

When ordering windows, you can order almost any aesthetic enhancements. For example, if you want to get the vinyl extrusion out, all you need is the actual dimension of the inside finish – and voila! So, you’ll find that most windows – old and new – come installed with mounting screws in the corners. Aside from the expansion foam, these screws are the only things holding windows onto the wall! Once we get rid of the dirt, we might find another screw. We don’t know why people put screws in the middle of the jam; or on the top or bottom. Generally, it’s not necessary, but it doesn’t mean that general suppliers won’t do it.

So, from us to you – if you see a screw, get rid of it. Make your life easier (and ours)!

Generally, these jam extensions have a couple of finishing nails in them. Yet, the window we’re trying to replace without damaging the walls might feature some of the first vinyl that came out on the market in the early 80s. Therefore, the only thing left to do is get us back to this piece of wood here – the original sill or frame. So we’ll clean all this out with a cutter blade before inserting our expansion foam to work. We highly recommend a cutter blade as they are good for all forms of carpentry, construction and even self-defence – you know, in the case of an attempted mugging (no, we’re not suggesting you actually use it!) Alright, so we get rid of that junk in an orderly fashion. It won’t make such a huge mess to get rid of the insulation first, and then you can address the shims.

Cleaning doesn’t take long when replacing your windows and can the difference between damaging your walls and not.


QUICK TIP: When ordering a window, bear in mind . . .

As a consumer, you hold more power than you might know.

A salesman can come out and measure any replacement windows. However, they’ll charge you a LOT more for what’s known as an installed price. Alternatively, you can get the supply only price. If you want the supply only price, you need to be willing to do things yourself. You need to clean this out and do the demolition, clean this up, know how to order a window and then install the thing yourself.

For a lot of people, that might seem like a daunting task. They might think, “Well, I’ve never installed the window before, so I wouldn’t know where to begin.” Well, you begin from the beginning. You peel everything right back until it’s one big open rectangle. That’s all it is. If you’re home on the day that they install your windows, you’re going to watch them do it, and you’re going to go, “Wow, I really could have done that myself”.

Now when doing installed VS supply, the price many are quoted is usually 50% off, so keep that in mind. A handyman can install six or seven windows in a day with a helper, whereas professional window installers will probably do 10. Yet, the reality for homeowners is this, even if they can install two or three windows a day, can they afford the £3-5,000 charged for a window installation? It all adds up. However, if you’re wondering whether replacing windows will damage your walls – you might be better off placing your trust in an installer.


When ordering a window, you might notice a few differences

We’ll focus on whether it has a brick facade outside.

If you HAVE to order it with the brick mould, there are a few standard brick mould dimensions. The idea is that the full width of the window – plus the brick mould – is now the width of the window. This can get a little bit tricky . . . After all, you don’t want to damage the wall when replacing your window. So, depending on where you order from, clarify this to ensure everybody’s on the same page.

With this said, you DON’T even need a brick mould, most of the time.

Just order it as a casement and then add an aluminium capping or something on the outside. We often order brick mould all the way around. However, because we’re doing a commercial brown exterior with a white interior for this example – and that’s just a small upgrade – this is not a big deal. Doing so does give us the ability to then trim all my new siding on the outside of that brick mould off. This just gives it a little bit more body so it has a bit more presence on the wall.


IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Okay, now we have a hole . . .

Here’s where replacing your windows could damage your walls . . .

Now, we should have mentioned this before we kicked things off . . . Before you begin to replace your window and damage the walls, go and double-check the measurements. First, measure the old window. Make sure your width and height match the hole – write it down – go double measure the new window, and make sure that they labelled it and shipped you the correct one.

There’s still a chance for human error in this world when it comes to manufacturing and shipping.

You don’t want to suffer from any mistakes with the manufacturing process and then make another mistake by not double-checking it before starting. If your manufacturer gave you the wrong size window and it doesn’t fit, you’ll have a great big sheet of plywood stuck on that hole for 3-6 weeks. We say 3-6 weeks because you’ll have to endure its presence while you wait for a replacement window – and we think we can all agree that plywood is just not very attractive.


Does replacing windows damage walls? It does if you don’t wrap it tight

House wrap is NOT the solution – by any means – but it does help.

Generally speaking, if you were to go back in time to the 50s or 60s, developers didn’t use house wrap. They didn’t utilise air barriers because they didn’t have any clue about the benefits of the wrap. Therefore, if you’re changing out windows from the 50s or 60s, you’ll see the evidence of this fact. The evidence in question will be things like advanced rot on the sill – which we obviously don’t want.

So, to ensure your installation lasts and helps protect your home, we now add a little bit of house wrap.

Okay, picture this: Imagine water coming down the house wrap. It comes down, hits the top of the window and TRIES to enter. However, it faces expansion foam, so it’ll run left and right. Now, as long as that water is moving it won’t cause too much damage. The chief concern here – when wrapping your house – is protecting the corners, specifically on the bottom of the sill. When installing a window – especially with a brick mould extension trim – we only foam from ONE side. Therefore, we’ll ALWAYS have an exposed sill resting against it. So, we have to ensure we implement a long-lasting seal on the outside edge. One that isn’t going to rot and invite ants and other things to go wrong, like mice chewing through it.

Now, we’re going to want to measure out something a little wider than the window. If you can imagine, this house wrap will come across, then up a few inches and flush with the edge. Now, in most situations, water will hit the window and be diverted down the side – after all, this is still a water protection barrier. So, it’ll divert it down, down, down onto here. However, it has nowhere to go. It’ll have to work its way out. So, if we can find a way to wrap the edge just a little bit and seal up the outside, then we’re in great shape.

The best thing about this house wrap is that it stretches and sticks to itself really good.

The trouble is, you have to be careful. We’re going to shift our focus to the outside rather than the inside. Okay, now you want to stretch it around that corner and into the edge and up the side. Once stretched, we’ll punch a couple of staples in it . . . good! Now we have a system where, if any water comes down, it’ll follow the window, hit the sill and funnel out this way, thanks to the house wrap.


Replacing the window without damaging the walls

Practice makes perfect. Don’t commit until you’re certain!

Our window is sitting here, and we’re in great shape. Now, because we’re adding a facade plus the window, we have the luxury of determining how high we want to go. We ordered a window that was 39 inches, and my cavity is 41. We’ve done this to ensure a little bit of playing-around room because we wanted to find a nice, happy place. Now, when we add our J-trim and our siding, it will be nice and full and finished.

Before we get too committed, we’ll do a test first.

We’re going to set the window in the open cavity, and – with a helper holding it secure – we’re then going to run outside and see how it looks. We need to do this right. The window will be a little heavy if – like us – you didn’t remove the panes. However, if you’re a strapping young lad, you could probably handle it.

Okay, with it in place, we’ll inspect the positioning and the intended fit.

One thing you want to know is that every window and manufacturer we’ve ever worked with sends their own mounting screws. These ALWAYS come attached to the window – which is awesome – because you simply undo your locks, slide that up there and find the spot for your screws. Okay, you don’t want to have them visible, so these stoppers serve two purposes

1. To hide the fixed assortment screws
2. To keep the window from dropping too far

So we’re going to remove those screws for a moment, and we’re going to reapply the first couple screws.

There are several things you want to work on when you’re installing your window. The first goal is to make it flush with the outside. Now, if you have a brick mould as we do, you want to have someone outside pushing it. Sometimes you can buy a window with a nailing flange just like vinyl siding, and you can attach that window to the open frame of the house from the outside. Yet, before you do any of that, you must ensure that this bad boy is level. Now, whenever you’re shimming, you want to shim under these vertical surfaces on the outside. None of the shimming in the middle even matters here. Once we have the base in place, you’ll see that there’s no contact anymore – and that’s because all the weight sits on these screws.


You don’t have to go crazy shimming!

We’ll pull ours back so that the expansion foam curls around the outside when it expands.

This way, we’re not relying on the wood to be our thermal break. Once you double-check your entire window is level and square, the only thing left now is to ensure it is flush. A means of checking is to give it a bit of a tug forward. Make sure you close that gap and then we’ll go ahead and drive these screws home. So, we’re going to set the screw; but we’re not going to drive them in tight. We don’t want to tighten it as it might PULL the window out of position. This is key, so we’re going to set it right in that little gap there, and we’re drilling our own hole for the screw to drive in. There we go, and we’ll stop short on purpose to ensure everything is sitting flat. Upon driving the screws in straight, that’ll hold it in place at the bottom so that only the top can still fall out. Yet, you’ve still got to be paying attention to that. Now, we’re going to take our shim.

Remember, shims are thick on one side and thin on the other. You want to put it in but NOT past the vinyl extrusion. You just want to get to where the screw is.

So what we’re going to do is, we’re going to cut my shim in half just by scoring and snapping so that we can fit it right in there. Now, we’ll wiggle down to the screw until we know we’re sitting on it. Then we come in with a thin side and just create a little extra pressure there. Okay, once we’ve got it fully shimmed – and we’re feeling like we’re putting pressure on the shims – then we use the screws to drive it nice and flush. That’ll keep things from going out of whack. Now we’ll tighten up those screws without warping the window – which is key. The last thing you want to do is start tightening the vinyl and pulling it out of shape. Do this wrong, and then the operation of the window isn’t going to work well. Your seals aren’t going to function correctly, and it’s just a mess that’ll see you have all kinds of heat loss in the wintertime.

Now, for some good solid contact.

Take your pinkie finger and see if you can work your window. If you can’t get your window to open and close with your pinkie finger, it’s not lined up correctly. It doesn’t take a lot of force nowadays to open and close a window. It’s designed so that anybody – even a cute little 95-year-old great grandmother – can come over and close it without exerting much effort. How it still holds itself open and – with hardly any force – you can close it is a remarkable feat of engineering.

So long as that’s working fine, it’s now time to close the bottom.

Take off the top caps because it’s now time to screw the top screws in. Basically, we’re doing the same thing as we did before. Your partner will exert a lot of pressure on the other side. Remember, if it opens and closes really easy, that’s how you know it’s still square. If it’s tight, it’s twisted out of position, and this is where MOST people mess this up. They actually twist it out of position while they’re shimming. Instead, we’re going to do the same thing with the screws here in these top two locations that we did for the bottom. With a little bit of force, I’m going to pull as well, and I’m NOT going to drive the screws in all the way. Now that we’re good, we can head inside.


The key to sealing your window (and NOT damaging your walls)

This is very important – and something we should have mentioned sooner.

Every time you’ve completed even a half step, double-check what you’ve done! This is something you learn through trial and error. Fortunately, we’re in no hurry – the window’s not going to fall out – the window is nice and snug. So it’s time to drive the screws in. Just make sure that you’re not adding too much torque. All these screws are doing is ensuring that you’re fixing the frame of the window so it won’t fall out of place.

This is nothing to do with sealing and weatherproofing – it’s just mounting it in position.

Now it’s actually time to seal! So, we have to disengage the staples on our house wrap outside because we have this gap – and it’s a little bit bigger than we would have preferred to have. However, there’s no sense putting in £20-worth of expansion foam in a hole when we can hopefully fold this wrap in instead. Here we go – beautiful – now it’s time to add the expansion foam around the window. Before doing this, remove all the blocking underneath. We don’t need it, and here’s why . . .

You don’t want to have any wood screwed into the bottom of this window. Why? Because water WILL find its way around those corners and WILL – at some point in the history of the house – start rotting that wood!

Now, onto the foam. When you’re adding expansion foam to your window ensure that you use something that says its window and door foam only. There are a lot of different foams on the market which have different expansion rates and pressures that they create while they’re curing. You don’t want to warp your windows out of shape, so ensure they’re fully closed. Keep everything in place. Stick the straw against the outside as we want to expand and fill that gap towards the outside. Generally speaking, that’s our thermal break; and you don’t want to come too close to the inside because this stuff will expand a little bit. To avoid trimming it all off, we’ll leave it out there. Now, if we start at the bottom, we get the added advantage of building a structure as we lead the foam up the side of the wall. Okay, you want to squeeze it in a controlled manner. You don’t want too much of this foam running out of the gap. That’s why it’s nice if you can measure a gap of at least a quarter-inch for each side of the window when you’re ordering it. Whenever you have a space like this at the bottom, you don’t want to try to fill it all at once. If you do, you run the risk of having too much insulation and causing buckling.

Now, you know it’s not expanding anymore, and you can see what’s going on. Now, we want to shoot towards the fill, and this is just to ensure we have a thermal break.

The first row is almost structural to help hold the weight of the window. You should be able to see the difference as you go from right to left. It should be pushing the insulation towards yourself, and you’ll know that the gap is full when it’s crawling out towards you. This is the perfect way to get a thermal break. If you have any concerns, use the rest of the can. Now, generally speaking, one can equals one window. If you have a little left, feel free to fill up some of these extra gaps after it’s had a chance to settle a little bit. It’s kind of like spray foam in a house – you don’t fill the whole cavity in one pass. You do a pass – you let it expand – then once it stops expanding, you know how much room there is to fill up. That’s when you go back and throw a little bit of squirt here and throw a little squirt there.


So, does replacing windows damage walls?

Not if you do it right, like Boyland Windows.

Here’s the secret to installing two windows in the same room. Grab yourself a laser level and throw a line right on the bottom of your frame across the wall. This way, when you’re setting your other window in place, you can set that window at the same height as this one. Now, that may not seem too extreme, but trust me – if you’re doing a kitchen renovation like we are – it can be a life sizer. When installed the plug sockets, we used a laser line to establish all the plug lines. This was crucial as we were using a tile backsplash, so EVERY element on that wall needs to be exactly level or else it’ll scream out. You’ll end up with little slivers of tile and things out of level, and they’ll scream out at you, “hey, I don’t think you know what you’re doing?” However, if you use a laser level for all elements of your installation, you’ll be guaranteed a level and perfect-looking install. This doesn’t just look professional. In our opinion, it’s more professional than what most professionals will give you!

So remember: the key to replacing windows and not damaging the walls is to . . .

1. Measure properly; re-measure and then measure before you take out the old one and put the new one in. Just to ensure that you’re going to be able to complete the job.

2. Don’t use anything inside or around this window that will rot. Okay, you can use all kinds of different wood as far as spacers, and that sort of thing UNTIL you screw it in but then remove it all.

3. Double-check everything is still operating with one pinkie finger. If so, you – my friend – are all good to go!


Get in contact for an in-depth discussion on avoiding window damages during replacements

First impressions are everything. Make yours count with Boyland Windows.

If we were to sum up Boyland Windows, we would say we are a solution provider for all your home improvement needs. We work with many product partners to supply you with the best possible option to use with your GOV Double Glazing Grant.

We cover:
Ashley – Barton on Sea – Boscombe – Bournemouth – Brockenhurst – Burley – Burton – Christchurch – Dorset – Ferndown – Hampshire – Highcliffe – Hurn – Lymington – Lyndhurst – Milford on Sea – Mudeford – The New Forest – New Milton – Poole – Ringwood – Southbourne – West Parley – Wimborne – Winton

Please feel free to get in touch by calling 01202 499499 or use our contact form.

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