Removing the Frame

Removing the Frame

With sash(es) and/or fixed lites completely removed, determine if any mullion structure between windows placed side by side is a structural supporting post or a window mullion. If it is a structural supporting post, do not cut or remove it. Removing the wood, aluminum or steel frame will expose the original window rough opening wall material. This is a good time to inspect the opening for any problem areas that need correcting: wood decay, water infiltration, dry rot, etc. and correct as necessary.

Wood Window—Frame Removal

  1. If  the interior trim needs to be removed, use a pry bar or putty knife to carefully pry the trim away from the wall.
    At the mitered corners, be sure to pull both pieces of trim away at the same time because they are generally nailed together.
    Remove the interior trim. Take care to pull the nails out with the trim.
  2. Using a pry bar, lift the separate parts of the frame sill away from the rough opening. Continue prying the frame at the
    jambs and head, separating the entire frame from the rough opening.
  3. Saw completely through the frame sill using a hand saw or reciprocating saw. Be careful not to damage the interior wall surface.
  4. If there is a mullion structure that is not a structural supporting post, saw completely through it using a hand saw or reciprocating saw.
    Remove the mullion toward the outside, to prevent damage to the interior wall surface.
  5. Remove the wood frame from the rough opening.
  6. If there is a blind stop located between the exterior cladding and the rough opening material (i.e., wood studs),
    remove it using a chisel or other similar tool.
  7.  Clean all debris from the rough opening surface with a small brush.

Aluminum Window—Frame Removal

Aluminum windows are usually secured by screw though an exterior flange (or fin) or through the frame itself Screws
that fasten the window through the frame are generally located in the sash track.

  1. Using a utility knife, score a line between the old aluminum frame and the drywall or plaster to break the caulk or pain seal.
    This will minimize the damage to the interior wall and trim. If there is interior trim, score a line between the old aluminum
    frame and the interior trim.
  2. If the interior trim needs to be removed, us a pry bar or putty knife to carefully pry the trim away from the wall.
    At the mitered corners, be sure to pull both pieces of trim away at the same time because they are generally
    nailed together. Remove the interior trim. Take care of pull the nails out with the trim.
  3. Using a hacksaw or reciprocating saw, cut through and remove any fixed meeting rails/stiles that may have
    framed a fixed lite. Some fixed meeting rails/stiles are fastened with screws and, if possible, should be removed
    by taking out the screws.
  4. If the frame is fastened to the rough opening through the frame sash tracks instead of through a flange or fin,
    find and remove all of the screws.
  5. Pry the old aluminum sill away from the rough framing at the center of the window sill using a pry bar or frame puller.
    Pry the sill enough to allow it to be cut through.
  6. Using a hacksaw or reciprocating saw, cut completely through the window sill. With caution, pull the separated ends of
    the sill away from the rough framing. The rough opening and any waterproof paper must be left intact.
  7. Collapse the remaining frame parts away from the rough framing and remove the frame.
  8. Clean all debris from the rough opening surface with a small brush or vacuum

Steel Window—Frame Removal

Steel window removal usually involves unfastening the frame from a steel flange which is screwed through to the rough framing.
The interior steel panning can be either left in place or removed, depending on the specific conditions and planned installation.

  1. Locate the screws that fasten the steel frame to the rough framing. They may be embedded in putty, which can be removed
    with a chisel or putty knife.
  2. Once the screws are exposed, remove them. The screws may not come out with a screwdriver and will have to be removed
    with a chisel or will need to be drilled out.
  3. With all of the screws removed, the frame can be pried away from the rough framing and/or the steel pan taken out.
  4. If the frame cannot be removed at this point, you may need to take extra steps to remove it from the rough framing.
  5. Pry the old steel sill away from the rough framing at the center of the window will, using a pry bar.
  6. Using a hacksaw or reciprocating saw, cut completely through the window will. Pull the separated ends of the sill away
    from the rough framing.
  7. Collapse the remaining frame parts away from the rough framing and remove the frame.
  8. Clean all debris from the rough opening surface with a small brush or vacuum.