Replacing Exterior Window Trim
Instructions on How to Replace Exterior
By Mark J. Donovan
If your windows have wood
exterior trim, chances are you will need to replace the window trim
every 10 years or so. Inevitably weather, moisture, and insects take
their toll on exterior window trim. The window trim becomes checked,
split or punky due to moisture related issues. When it comes time for
replacing exterior wood trim, I highly suggest either going with solid
plastic window trim or making sure you paint or seal all 6 sides of
each piece of window trim prior to installing it around the window.
Though more expensive than wood,
solid plastic exterior window trim will virtually last forever and require less
Replacing exterior window trim begins
by first measuring the length and width of the windows to determine the amount
of linear feet of window trim required for the project. With your measurements
in tote, visit your local home improvement store and purchase the required
length of exterior window trim stock.
|Typically 1”x4” stock is ideal for most exterior window
trim. Also make sure you pick up exterior nails for fastening the window
trim. Make sure you select nails that will penetrate at least 1 inch into
the framing. In addition, make sure you buy some new window flashing. You
may luck out and not need to replace the old window flashing, however I
often find the old flashing corroded or in overall rough shape. Finally,
make sure to buy some exterior caulk.
If you plan to use wood, make sure to
prime, paint or seal the wood first on all sides. Also, keep your paint or
sealer handy so that you can touch up trimmed edges.
To actually remove the old exterior
window trim, use a flat bar and a hammer to get underneath the nail heads and
pry the nails from the window trim. After the nails are removed you should be
able to easily remove the old exterior window trim from around the windows by
simply pulling on the pieces.
You may need to use your flat bar,
however be careful not to damage the house siding when using it. Use a small
block of wood to help protect the house siding when using the flat bar.
After removing the old exterior
window trim, inspect the window area for any additional rot or damage to the
window itself. Assuming there is none, you can continue on with replacing the
exterior wood trim.
Start by measuring and cutting a
length of new window flashing. Slide the new window flashing up underneath the
house siding that is above the window.
Next, measure and cut a length of
window trim for above the window. If using wood, make sure you touch up the cut
ends of the window trim with paint or a sealer.
Then install the top replacement
exterior window trim piece, however just prior to installing it, apply caulk
near the house siding edges and along the window edge.
Once you have installed the top
window trim fasten it with nails. I like to use two nails on each side edge,
and two in the middle, with one nail about 2 inches above the other. If you
are using solid plastic exterior window trim, then use a manufactured
suggested adhesive and make sure you apply it to all joints and corners.
Next, install the side exterior
window trim pieces by first measuring and cutting pieces to appropriate
length. Again, apply caulk to the house siding edges and the window edge
prior to installing the replacement exterior window trim.
Photo by Mark Donovan
Depending upon the type of window,
you may or may not need to install a bottom trim piece. In some cases the side
trim pieces will rest on the window sill edge. In other cases the side trim
bottom edge will butt up against either the house siding or the bottom trim
piece. In either of these two latter cases apply flashing to the bottom edge of
the side window trim pieces to prevent water from seeping behind the house
Once you have replaced the exterior
wood trim, simply fill the nail holes if required, caulk around the window, and
apply touch up paint.
For information on
Installing a New Window, see the
Installing a New Window Ebook from
HomeAdditionPlus.com. The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to
understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and
install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
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