Easily Remove a Double Hung Sash Window

  • 2 hours
  • Advanced
  • 10
What You'll Need
Work gloves
Safety goggles
Putty knife

Double-hung sash window removal is fairly easy and requires only basic tools. A double-hung sash window has two parts, called sashes, which slightly overlap and slide up and down inside a frame. Each part of the window does not have to be the same size or even the same shape. Traditionally, these windows had counterweights on each side of the window to support the sashes, but today spring balances are used. These windows are most popular in the United States and other regions that were colonized by the British.

Windows are one of the leading culprits of energy inefficiency. They allow air to escape the home, causing drafts and high heating and air conditioning costs. Some people hire contractors to remove old windows and install new ones. Removing a double-hung sash window is very easy and installing a new window is not hard either.

Gather Tools Needed

When removing a double-hung sash window, you’ll need work gloves, safety goggles, hammer, putty knife, and both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers.

Determine Window Type

There are several different types of double-hung sash windows, with different types of weights and opening and closing mechanisms. Some sash windows open vertically and some open horizontally. The most common double-hung sash window resembles two windows, one on top of the other, with a locking mechanism in the center. The bottom sash can be raised next to the top window to allow air into and out of the room.

Disarm the Window

Put on the safety goggles and work gloves. Find the stops and look for screws or other types of releasing mechanism, and remove the stops. Next, using the flathead screwdriver, open up the chamber where the counterweights are stored and remove them. Be sure to pull the rope out of the channel on the side of the window frame. Counterweights are metal or lead weights found in old sash windows. They are suspended inside the frame of the window that is connecting to the sash by a rope or a steel cable that goes over a pulley on the upper portion of the frame. Do this for each sash. This is called “disarming the window.”

Remove the Windows

After removing all the external parts of the double-hung sash window, use the putty knife to remove the sashes and the window frame. Be careful as there may be broken corners. Keep the safety gloves and glasses on in case the windows fall and break. Some windows may come out all in one piece, so be cautious as you are proceeding. When the window sashes are contained within the frame, the window casing must be removed altogether.

Clean Up

The final step is to remove any remnants of the double-hung sash window that is still in the framed opening. Do not damage or remove the studs in the wall, or the sill plate that the window sits on. When replacing the window it is best to salvage as much of the wall framing as possible.