How to Remove an Old Window

Master the first step in replacing windows

Upgrading to new windows helps make your home more secure, and if you choose windows with sturdy, airtight frames, you can also significantly improve your energy efficiency and reduce your utility costs. Removing windows is a fairly simple process that doesn't take too long, and it requires only a few common tools and pieces of equipment.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Contact tape
  • Utility knife
  • Crowbar
  • Cat's paw
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Measuring tape
  • Level

Replacing Windows: Remove an Old Window

Clearing the frame for your replacement windows is a four-step process:

  1. Take your utility knife and use it to slice through the casing of the old window. Next, take your chisel and use your hammer to dig the chisel between the edges of the old window and the frame to loosen it. You should be left with a clear gap between the casing and the reveal board beneath.
  2. Use your crowbar to pry up any siding which is preventing you from accessing the nails holding the old window in place. Work your way from the bottom of the window to the top, and don't rush. You'll have to replace any structural elements you damage if you go too fast.
  3. Secure the glass from the old window using your contact tape, then dig away any old caulking you come across. With your cat's paw, remove any remaining nails which are holding the old window frame in place.
  4. Use your level to make sure the opening that remains is perfectly square. At this point, you can take accurate measurements using a measuring tape to be 100 percent sure that the frames of your replacement windows are of the correct size before you buy or order them online.

If you have never removed an old window frame before, it's a good idea to enlist the help of someone who has experience to guide you. However, on the whole, this is one of the easier DIY tasks you can do, and the benefits of new windows are well worth the labor involved. Just take your time, and the job should progress without any complications.