How to Remove Vinyl Windows

  • 2-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-40
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Utility knife
Silicone sealant
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Utility knife
Silicone sealant

There are a few types of vinyl windows, each requiring a slightly different way of removing the sashes. The most common are double-hung windows, so this article will concentrate on these. Removing the windows is quite easy, though the glass can be more complicated. Vinyl windows are relatively low-maintenance, but occasionally the glass breaks or there are problems with the windows themselves.

Step 1 – Lift Out the Window

Free the window from the frame by removing the snap molding from around the fixed window. If it is catching, you may need to pop it out with a putty knife or utility knife. Lifting is usually all that is needed to remove a sliding window from the frame. The bottom of the window will pull out when the sash is lifted. Hold it firmly as it can swing in unexpectedly.

Don't be afraid to ask a friend with this step. Also, if you're concerned about the window glass breaking, put masking tape in an X over the glass before you start lifting it out.

Step 2 – Pull the Tabs

There are tabs at the top of the double hung window that you must can pull to remove it from the frame. When the tabs are pulled in, the sash can be tilted inward.

Step 3 – Tilt the Sash

If you move one corner of the sash while keeping the other corner in place, you will free the metal posts that secure the window to the balancers.

Step 4 – Remove the Sash

When the posts are released, pull the sash free of the frame.

Step 5 – Determine if the Glass Can Be Replaced

If you have an Insulate Glass Unit (a double pane, or sometimes triple, with an airspace filled with gas) you must first determine if it is replaceable. To find out if it is replaceable, look at it from inside the room and see if there is a black pieces of plastic running around the glass beside the frame. These are called stops. If it is there, the glass can be replaced.

Step 6 – Remove the Pane

The glass in vinyl windows is held in place with either silicone or two-sided tape. This holds the glass on the lip of the frame. They then apply stops on all four sides of the glass. You must remove the stops first, carefully with the putty knife. Be careful not to damage the stops. Now flip over the panel and, using a utility knife or thin putty knife, break the seal holding the glass to the frame. Save the old spacers.

Step 7 – Clean the Frame

When the glass is removed, scrape off any excess silicone or residual tape. The frame must be clean before you install the new glass. If you have an Insulate Glass Unit, it can take two weeks to deliver the new pane, so don’t remove the old one until the new one arrives.

Step 8 – Replace the Glass

Take the frame to your glass shop so you can make sure that the new pane will fit. Place the new pane of glass in the frame and, using silicone, place a bead around the bottom of the glass on the inside.

Step 9 – Rehang the Window

Place the stops back in place and rehang the window.