How to Remove an Old Window The Right Way

(3.5-min read)

Whether you’re looking for a simple way to increase the energy efficiency of your older home or your kid’s knuckleball missed your glove, removing an older window doesn’t have to be complicated. In this quick tutorial, we’ll discuss the right way to remove an older window. 

Tools Needed

For this job, you’ll probably only need a sharp utility knife, a trusty pry bar or backside of a hammer, and a standard level. All of these tools can be found at your neighborhood hardware store. Having a friend help is likely not a bad idea either. 

Starting Inside

The initial steps of removing an older window actually begin inside. Because we’re likely removing a wood window, there’s a good chance that the older window frame is painted to mesh with the rest of the interior. Find where the interior wall makes initial contact with the old window frame. Most of the time, there will be a defined 90-degree angle. Take your sharp utility knife and score through the paint and any adhesives underneath. This step will ensure that once the window is removed, it won’t damage any interior paint out with it in an uneven nature. 

Finding the Nailing Fins

Once the interior paint and initial adhesive have been scored, its time to head outside. The goal here is to discover the location of the nailing fins that are holding the older window in place. A nailing fin is the thinner strip of material, typically metal, that allowed the window to be nailed directly into the framework of the house. In most instances, this is a lip that contains pre-made holes for nails to bind the window snugly in place. Finding the nailing fin may require prying back the siding of the house in certain areas. For this task, your pry bar or the backside of a hammer will work nicely. Take your time, working carefully so as not to damage the siding of the house. 

Removal of the Nailing Fins

Once the nailing fins of the old window are discovered, look for the positioning of the nails. Begin to pry them out using the “cat’s paw” cutout in the pry bar. If the nails are too damaged to pull out, the nails can be removed using a hack saw or another appropriate saw. Make sure that you are only cutting or removing attributes of the window assembly and not any other building materials to minimize any damage that will need to be repaired. 

Removing the Window Assembly

Once the nails in the nailing fins are removed, you should begin to feel the window loosen. To help the window come loose, use gentle pressure along the outside of the window assembly. Gently rock the window assembly free, being extremely conscious of what is holding the weight of the window frame. Once the window is freed, gently remove it and place it in a safe place to eliminate injury due to broken glass or splinters. 

Prepping the Slot for a New Window

There’s a good chance that the slot left in the house will not be utterly level following the window removal. Using your level, determine if the window slot is level or whether additional framing will be necessary. Take several measurements of the window slot, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and depth. When covering the opening, you can do so with a large section of plywood. Nail the plywood out much further out than the window frame to ensure the supporting nails do not damage the structure for the new nailing fins and other supportive components. 

Consult the Professionals

For any professional demolition services, big or small, DT Specialized Services, serving the Greater Tulsa, OK area, can handle them all.

Learn more about DT Specialized Services today.