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Wood Sash to Vinyl Replacement Windows

4341 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Pittsville
Starting the window replacement on the 130 year old Victorian this coming weekend. (A total of 15 windows to replace over the next few weeks) The existing windows are wood sash in poor condition. The replacement windows are vinyl which we purchased from Lowes. (ReliaBilt I believe...) Now the question...

Before purchasing the windows, Lowes sent one of their people out to take measurements. What we have now realized, is that the measurements taken allow the vinyl replacement to fit in the space currently occupied by the wood sashes. Normally, I'm sure that this would work out just fine. Unfortunately, since we're dealing with old sash windows, we're also dealing with old sash weights. And more specifically, the hollow sash weight ports on either side of the window frame. This makes things interesting when it comes to screwing the vinyl replacements to the frame, no? If we simply pull out the stops, parting bead and sashes from the old window and then install and screw the new windows in place, the screws would be driven into the hollow weight cavity and therefore, provide little support. I didn't have a tape measure with me during the last trip to the house, but I estimate the depth of the sash weight port to be around 3". At the back side of each port is what appears to be the wall stud forming the "true" rough opening.

I don't feel comfortable supporting the windows with screws driven into the empty cavity. I'm assuming that I'll need to tear out the trim work down to the wall studs on each side and then "build out" a new rough opening to accept the vinyl replacement. I'm thinking two 2x's on each side should be enough to create the proper rough opening for the new windows. Any other thoughts on better ways to accomplish the window replacement? Should I just drive the screws into the sash weight ports and rely on my window stops to keep it in place? Am I over-analyzing this?
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· Administrator
14,160 Posts
If there’s no rot and the Lowes guy can read a tape you shouldn’t have to replace anything except maybe the stops. What held your sashes in for the last 130 years?

· Registered
3,119 Posts
Yes, you are over analyzing. As suggested above, those windows have been there for 130 yrs. Just follow the direction supplied with the windows.

Screws on the side, thru the 3/4 old frames are quite secure, but there is also a stop molding that you removed to get the old sashes out. That goes back on. The stop molding that holds the sashes in, is the only thing that needs to be removed. No need to remove other trim.

Once the weights in the weight pocket have been removed(and remove the rope pulley at the top), insulate the pockets. I usually poke fiberglass insualtion up and down as far as possible. Don't pack too tightly. DON'T use expanding foam insulation, it can bulge or burst the pocket. Also insulate the air gap around the new windows. DAP Foam is good for that, or a NON expanding urethane foam.

· Maryland
413 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would just like to note that the vinyl replacement windows are temporary. (Sounds awful considering we spent $2600 on them...) We are keeping the original wooden sash and will either restore or rebuild them as time goes on. In the next few years, I hope to have them all restored to their original beauty and reinstalled in the house. During that time however, we need to keep the heat in and the rain out, so the vinyl replacements serve a purpose.
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