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Window Framing Guide

There are plenty of home improvements that you can handle yourself, as long as you can follow a basic set of instructions. Some, like window framing, don’t require the help of an expert carpenter. In fact, just about anyone can do it. Here are the steps that you’ll need to follow in order to do this successfully.

About Window Framing

Window frames serve a crucial role in the construction of your home. They not only support the windows and hold them in place, but they also push the weight of the wall and ceiling down to the floor. This is why you’ll find that there are more studs underneath a window than there are on top of it. Without them, the wall would begin to buckle under the weight of both the ceiling and the window, and you’d have a massive problem on your hands. This is why it’s so important to set this up properly.

#1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin this project, you need to gather all of the tools that you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a step, only to realize that you don’t have a crucial tool on hand. So, take the time to go out to your workbench and place the following items in your toolbox or bucket: a cordless drill, a hammer, several 2 by 4 stud boards, 3-inch screws, a saw, a prybar, a utility knife, a saw, and a measuring tape. You might also need a large sledgehammer.

#2. Remove the Wall Covering and Insulation

The very first step involves a little deconstruction. You have to remove the wall covering in order to reveal the studs underneath. You’ll also have to get rid of any insulation in this area. (Don’t worry, the insulation can go back once the job is complete.) The destruction process might be simple, particularly if you have drywall, which can be pried off fairly easily. However, if your walls are plaster, this could be a bit trickier to do. You’ll have to break down the plaster with a sledgehammer. One thing to note – don’t spend time neatly taking the wall coverings down. Instead, just install new ones at the end of the process.

#3. Measure the Space to See Where the Window Will Fit

Always double-check your measurements. Your window needs to fit precisely in the frame. Your measuring process should be as follows:

For the top of the window – include space for your header boards, the height of the window jamb, the size of your window sill (this could be the standard 30 inches, but it depends on your window size), and around half of an inch, just in case.

For the bottom of the window – measure upwards, adding together the size of your window and subtracting the size of the sill.

Mark the studs in both spaces, and then mark where the sides of the window will be. This measurement will look similar to the top one, only you’ll need to add the size of the window and the frame together to ensure that you have enough space marked off.

#4. Cut the Studs That Are in the Way

Once you have all of the measurements in place, it’s time to cut the studs. Draw a general square around where the window and its frame will be, using a level to make sure that everything is even. Then cut away the wall studs that will be in the way. Don’t worry about cutting through the exterior part of the wall just yet. That will come later.

#5. Install the New Window Frame

Now it’s time to install your window frame, as well as the new jack studs that will be placed underneath it. These last two pieces of the puzzle (so to speak) are crucial since they’ll support the weight of the window and help keep the wall from buckling. Place the pieces of the frame against the wall (this is where you may need to have a second person to help support things) and screw it in after ensuring that everything is perfectly square. The last thing that you need is to have everything screwed in, only to find that it isn’t square.

#6. Move to the Outside and Cut Away the Siding

Once your frame is in place, you need to remove the siding. This will open up the window to the outside of the house, revealing the frame. Start by placing a hole in each corner. Use a drill bit that’s large enough to be seen on the outside, as well as one that’s long enough to go through the siding or whatever material the exterior of your home is made of. On the outside of the house, draw lines that connect all four holes. Then, cut away that central square.

#7. Install the Exterior Window Molding

Finally, install the exterior window molding into the edges of that square. You’ll connect them directly into the interior frame. Your window framing is now done!