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How To Replace Sliding Windows In 7 Steps (with Pictures)

black window frames

Sliding windows are similar to sliding doors. They slide horizontally, rather than vertically like sash windows. They do require more horizontal space than a single panel window takes up, but they don’t need the vertical space that a sash demands.

Also known as gliding windows, they tend to be lighter and easier to operate than a sash window and replacing the sliding window is a relatively easy job, although there are some essential steps and some potential hazards. If in any doubt, it may be best to get a professional to replace the sliding window for you. It can save money in the long run and may prevent you or whoever you roped in to help, from getting injured.

divider 5Safety First

When dealing with windows and any type of glass, safety is paramount. Smashed glass is a serious hazard, and it can be very difficult to clear up efficiently. If the window is on the ground floor, the replacement should be relatively easy, but if it is above the ground floor you will need secure ladders and assistance from another person. Do ensure you have good gloves, strong boots, and someone to help carry a large window.

Equipment And Materials

As with most DIY projects, having the right tools and the proper materials will make the job a lot easier. Depending on the type and size of sliding windows you have, you will need some or all the following items:

reglazing old window
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Can I Replace Just the Slider Window?

If the stationary pane of glass is not broken and you can find a replacement that fits into the slider, you can replace the slider window without having to replace stationary panes or window frame sections.

How Do I Remove a Stationary Sliding Window?

There may be occasion when you need to remove the stationary panels of a sliding window installation. To do this, hold the top of the panel firmly with one hand and strike the upper section of the vertical frame with a rubber mallet. This should loosen the top section and allow you to lift the panel out of the bottom of the frame.

window installation
Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock

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Replacing Slider Windows (7 Steps)

Once you have your equipment, have called in assistance, and are wearing the proper safety equipment, follow these steps to safely replace the gliding window.

1. Measure Up

woman measuring window
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

Ensure you take precise measurements of the window that you’re replacing. If your measurements are wrong, even by a small amount, the window will not work properly when reinstalled. Write the measurements down and take them with you to order a replacement.

2. Remove the Sliding Window

Different windows have different methods of removal. Open the window fully and look for retaining screws and adjusting knobs. These can be used to tighten and loosen the sliding window, and you will need to remove them completely or loosen them fully to get the window out. You may need to knock the vertical frame away from the window, carefully, to further loosen it and allow the sliding panel out. Once you’ve removed the window, put it down somewhere safe.

3. Clean the Frame

handyman repair window
Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock

If you are retaining the existing frame, ensure that it is clean and free from any dirt, debris, and protrusions. Sand, if necessary, and clean with a damp cloth. Remove any bits that you can see and that might prevent the window from closing properly. If you’re removing the frame, find the fastenings that are holding it to the wall. Unscrew the screws, pull the nails, or use a saw to cut nails between the frame and the window.

4. Apply Caulk

If you have removed the frame, ensure that the opening is clear of debris and make any necessary repairs. Once this is done, apply caulk around the opening.

5. Install and Secure The Window

man installing storm window
Image Credit: Michael OKeene, Shutterstock

Once caulk is applied, lift the window into position and put it in the frame. Ensure the window is level all around, otherwise it won’t open and close smoothly once the installation is complete.

6. Add Shims

Shims are pieces of tapered wood or other material that you can place between the window frame and the wooden frame. They are used to ensure that the window is perfectly positioned and is even all the way around. Take your time ensuring that you get this step of the process right. You will reap the rewards later. When you’ve applied shims and have straightened the window, slide it open and closed a few times to ensure it operates smoothly.

7. Tidy Up and Add Trim

Cut the trims as close to the frame as you can. A coping saw will make the job easier. Install trim to give the window a more professional looking finish and, once everything is done, give your new windows and frames a wipe down so that they look their best.

divider 5Conclusion

Sliding windows are convenient and they should be easy to operate, if there are no obstructions in the glider tracks. Rust and other corrosion, as well as age and warping of the windows or frames, can lead to problems opening and closing the window, and this may mean replacing the sliding windowpane. Similarly, a smashed panel will need replacing. Fortunately, it is a relatively easy job to replace a sliding window, and with a little help and preparation you can do the job yourself. But if you are unsure, or if the window is above ground floor level, you might want to use a professional to ensure the job is completely properly and safely.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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