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Insulating around recently installed windows

Northern Mike's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,541

05-14-12, 02:38 PM   #1  
Insulating around recently installed windows

Moved into our current house in December. All the windows in the house had been replaced recently by the previous owner (30-35 windows total)
Over the weekend I noticed that I could hear the crickets outside as if the windows where open. When I checked the windows, they where closed and locked. I stuck my ear to the wall and couldn't hear anything but when I got to the window frame, I could hear them clear as day.

So... Here I am, looking for DIY tips and tricks to fix all the windows they installed.

The catch;
This house was built in the 1930s and still has all the original window framing (inside and out). I'm need to do this without damaging the original finish.
I know the previous owners where able to install new windows, so I must be able remove the window framing somehow without damaging things.

Also should be noted that the budget is tight. I want to do this right, so if I can only afford to do a few at a time, that will be the route taken.

A bit of a side question... Knowing everything was done to look its best, but be the cheapest as possible, could these new windows be so cheap that the sounds are as clear with the windows closed as open?
I checked by the way, and with the windows open, the crickets might have been a couple db louder, but not much.

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Northern Mike's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
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05-14-12, 06:19 PM   #2  
Took a quick look at a couple windows and confirmed my thoughts on the craftsmanship and skills of the installer.

Notice something wrong with this picture?
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Now, to remove the window, it looks like I need to remove this inner trim (as indicated by the broken paint.
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And remove the screws in the four corners (top corners and lower corners) as shown here
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Now that I know how the window was installed and how to remove it... How do I properly insulate them?

chandler's Avatar
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05-15-12, 03:23 AM   #3  
Mike, yeah, they used case trim molding for a header molding rather than extending the jamb extension properly.
Before I would tackle removing the window, I would remove the interior trim and see what the gaps present on the sides, bottom and top. You can use minimally expanding foam to fill in the cracks and achieve a greater amount of insulation properties that way.

Northern Mike's Avatar

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05-15-12, 03:52 AM   #4  

I'm with you on that thought. Hopefully I get lucky and can simply remove the trim and expand foam inside. I just need to get better at judging the amount of expanding foam required. My one and only attempt with expanding foam left me trimming a lot after it continued to expand.

Should there not be enough gap, suggestions?
There are enough windows that I suspect I'll hit this road block one or more times (hopefully not all).

Northern Mike's Avatar

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05-22-12, 06:13 AM   #5  
Well... Didn't get to do the windows this weekend. Had a few other things come up and two young boys that wanted daddy time outside.

I did pull the molding around one of the windows and noticed that I can see a bit of light through the gap .
The gap looks to be a bit too small the easily fit the expanding foam nozzle in, so I may need to look at a different technic.

I suspect I'll need to seal the outside of the windows with exterior silicone and then foam from the inside.

Any suggestions on how to apply the foam insulation if I can't get the nozzle into the gap?

Northern Mike's Avatar

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05-25-12, 11:07 AM   #6  
So just a recap/confirmation....
Remove interior molding, sqeeze nozzle into gap and fill with ~1/8th beed of spray foam.
Allow to dry/cure, trim excess, silicone then replace moldings?

Suggestions for cases where the nozzle won't fit between window and frame?

Northern Mike's Avatar

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05-28-12, 04:38 AM   #7  
So I started this off Friday evening with what looked to be a fairly easy job, repeated over and over. Boy was I wrong. Only the first window (spare bedroom on second floor) was easy, the other two I did where total messes.

This first batch of pictures is from Friday night.
This first picture is of the window molding. Notice the nice gap between the window and molding where there is zero insulation
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This next picture is of the tightest gap which was still big enough to get the nozzle of the spray foam into.
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The next couple pictures are of the finished insulation, before the molding was reinstalled. This latex spray foam is really easy to work with, and easy to clean up. It doesn't expand like crazy after time so pretty much what I had when I started clean up of the spray can, was what I had when I returned to install the molding. Keep in mind, this was my first time doing this type of work, so it's not pro grade by my views.
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After a successful and fairly easy job Friday night, I figured I would work on the a couple main level windows while the boys played outside. some of the main level windows looked to be installed from the outside, instead of removing the molding and installing them through the inside of the house.
Should be easy, Robertson screw driver, a bit of effort to break the silicone loose, and go. No so much. Felt like I got punched in the gut when I removed the first piece of trim. The previous owners installed these windows ontop of rotten wood (inner frame). This stuff was so bad that when I poked it with the screw driver, the screw driver went into it like it was spunge.
This first pic is what I first saw when I pried the trim down.
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A closer look at the rot.
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This is the better end of the board. I poked at it with the screw driver prior to taking the picture. It was easily removed with a standard screw driver and a shop vac
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I forgot to take pictures of the replaced inner frame board, but I did get one of the almost finished product. All I have left now is to paint it.
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To be continued....

Northern Mike's Avatar

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05-28-12, 04:41 AM   #8  
Continuation from previous post...
Now Sunday, I figured I would tackle another main level window. This was had been installed from inside the house, but had some odd molding work. The vertical pieces didn't match the other windows and the top was a piece of MDF baseboard instead of regular molding.
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When I removed the MDF baseboard piece, that feeling of getting hit in the gut returned.
This is what I found.
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I put the camera down at this point and grabbed a few cold ones from the beer fridge.
Removed the two chunks of wood, the 2" nail gun nails and spray foamed in all the gaps.
a modified piece of 1"x3" was installed and tacked into place. I had to shave a bit off one end as the window frame wasn't perfectly square.

Tonight, I'm going to try doing one or two windows on the second floor. Hopefully they will be the same as the first window I did up there that was a total of 20 minutes work.

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