Replacing windows that have a drywall return
My old windows are aluminum single hungs that were installed with a nail flange. The builder drywalled up to the perimeter of my window except at the sill where there is a 5/8" thick wood sill. the exterior is siding and they sided right up to the window. The problem i'm having is i dont know what size to make the new windows. For example my inside width is 31 1/4 x 59. My exterior measurement is 29 3/4 x 60. The other problem is the windows i want are 3 1/4" jamb depth as compared to the 2 1/2 jamb depth of my existing ones. So i guess my question is, should i try and get a sawzall inbetween my j channel and the window and cut the flange then just slap the window in? or should I cut the vinyl siding around my window so i can get to the flange and remove the whole window. Then I would butt the new window right up to the drywall and i would build out the exterior to accomadate the larger depth and the cap it with trim coil. The other option would be to down size the window so i can pull it in further and still keep my exterior flush, then finish trim the interior. With this option I would still have to cap the exterior but not build it out. I know that is alot of info but i'm looking for the best way. Not only the easiest but which way would look the best? Thank you
None of the methods you proposed would look good and none of them are approved methods for installing new windows.
First of all, you need to be using the right window for your openings. If you are intending to leave the drywall stops in place you need to find a window that is that depth and that has nearly the same dimensions. You will have to remove the siding and reinstall the siding once you have properly flashed the new window. If the window is has slightly smaller outside dimemsions you could add some exterior trim around the window and recut the siding to fit. Might spruce up your place a little to have some exterior trim.
If you just can't live without that particular brand of window or style, you will have to remove the drywall so the window will fit properly in the opening. You could then have some wood extensions provided by the window manufacturer or make some up and trim out the window.
There is no shortcut to a good job. Before you order your windows it might not hurt to slide one of the old ones out to get the proper numbers on your rough openings. If they have to be special ordered you don't want mistakes.
I would suggest you call your local lumberyard(not HD or Lowes), a professional builders lumberyard and have a rep come out and see what they can do for you. They will be able to offer several different reputable window manufacturers with options that will suit you...and if they screw up measuring it will be their fault. And if there is ever a warranty issue or problem they will just be a phone call away.
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