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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Windows and Components Category

Improvement Project:

How to install window sashes.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Appropriate sashes

  • Fiberglass insulation

  • Nail puller

  • Hammer

  • Finish nails, including 4d finish nails

  • Pry bar

  • Silicone caulk / caulking

  • Caulking gun

  • Drywall compound

  • Flexible joint knife

  • Touch-up paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Screwdriver

  • Yardstick / any similarly sized stick

  • Scissors

  • Cutting pliers (for the cutting of sash cords made of chains)

  • Carpenter's knife



Window sashes can offer windows unique framing attributes.  You should not only seek a good window sash, but also quality installation of it.  Depending on where you are at in the installation of a window sash, you may or may not need to read Guide 1 (concerning the removal of an old sash) before going on to Guide 2 (concerning the installation of a new sash).

Caution: When dealing with sharp objects, such as a carpenter's knife, with chemicals, such as those found in paint, and otherwise with other potentially dangerous materials, such as insulation, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions.

Guide 1

To remove existing window sashes in preparation for the installation of new ones, do the following:

  1. Remove any exterior screen and interior window cover of the window whose sashes are to be removed.

  2. Use a carpenter's knife to cut through/score the paint usually found forged between the interior stops and side edges of the window sash, and then use a pry bar and/or a joint knife to pry off the the stops.  (If you are to reuse the stops again, use a pry bar, nail puller or hammer to remove any existing nails from such stops.)

  3. If applicable, remove the existing parting bead found on the top of the window frame with a pry bar and/or a joint knife.

  4. With the stops removed, uplift the bottom sash at an angle so as to ease it out of the window opening, and in the process cut the sash cords with scissors or cutting pliers to have the sash totally removed from the opening.

  5. Repeat step 2 for the removal of the top window sash.

  6. With a screwdriver, unscrew the screws of the pulley and other track hardware of the frame sides of the window so as to remove such hardware.

  7. Upon removing the hardware, open the access panel of the window side frame and remove the old sash weights.

  8. With the access panel still removed, stuff fiberglass insulation into the hole exposed by the removal of the access panel; use a yardstick or other similarly sized stick to ensure that the fiberglass insulation is inserted all throughout the hole.  Then put the access panel securely back into place.

Guide 2

To install window sashes, do the following:

  1. Following the window sash manufacturer's instructions, attach, with a hammer and appropriate nails, the liner brackets and corresponding clips on the window sides in preparation for the installation of the window sash jamb liners.

  2. Do any additional insulating as may be recommended by the manufacturer.

  3. With a caulking gun, cocked with an appropriate caulking tube, fill in any crevices/gaps.

  4. Grab a hold of the supplied "jamb liners," which are all practically made of vinyl these days.  Following the manufacturer's instructions, attach these jamb liners to the already installed liner brackets and clips on the sides of the window.  The fitting of these jamb liners on the liner brackets and clips should be snug-snap tight.

  5. Having installed all the jamb liners to effectively act as tracks for the sashes, go ahead and install the new sashes: First the top sash and then the bottom sash should be installed; follow the manufacturer's instructions.

  6. With the sashes installed, consider using either the original interior stops or new ones.  With whatever interior stops you choose, make sure that when you install them that they are first temporarily attached to the sides of the sashes with 4d finish nails.  Before actually driving the finish nails permanently into the stops, make sure they are aligned appropriately so as to permit the sashes to operate without difficulty in your testing of the sashes going up and down.

  7. Having tested the sashes to work properly and permanently secured the interior stops with finish nails, use a flexible joint knife to apply a small amount of drywall compound over the finish-nail holes so as to fill them up.

  8. Then use a paintbrush to apply touch-up paint, especially over the holes filled in with compound patch.

That is basically how window sashes are installed.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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