Removing Aluminum Windows

bright windows surrounded by brown cabinets
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 60-90
What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Glass suction holders
Masking tape
Utility knife

Aluminum windows are easy to remove with only a few tools. Most aluminum windows are the sliding type, and that is the type I am discussing here.

Get Your Tools and Hardware Ready before You Start

Make sure you have the new windows on site before you take out the old ones to avoid problems that might come from delays in getting the new ones. You will need screwdrivers and a pry bar. Re-measure the new frame just before you take out the old one, just to be sure.

Removing the Window Glass

Remove any trim and screens from around the old windows on the outside. Any screws can be undone with a screwdriver. Keep the trim and place out of the way, to be reused if you are installing new aluminum windows. Remove the sliding part of the window first. With masking tape, stick two large crosses on the outside and inside of the glass to hold it together in case of breakage.

If the sliding part will not lift out, there should be a small screw on the top of each side rail, look closely on the edges that are hidden when the window is closed. Loosen these screws, lift up the panel and it should come out. Another reason why the window may not lift out is that there could be a piece of rubber lodged in the top track. Just pry it out with a screwdriver.

Removing the Fixed Panel of Glass

You need to remove the center piece of aluminum now. If there are screws in it on the inner edges, just remove the screws and take it out. Tap the middle bar at the very bottom with a hammer and screwdriver, then take it off the fixed window panel, slide, and lift out the panel. Don't be afraid to ask someone to help you with this part.

If there are no screws, the window is probably fixed in with silicone, rubber strips or foam tape. In this case, you will have to take out the glass and cut out the center bar with a reciprocating saw. Using a utility knife, strip or cut away the adhesive holding the glass in the frame. If it is being held in with rubber strip, use a screwdriver to prise it up and pull it away with your hands.

Removing the Whole Window

If you are going to remove the whole window with the glass still in it, just remove any window trim and pry out the window frame gently with a pry bar.

Safety Concerns

For safety, wear gloves and goggles to prevent injuries in case of glass breakage. Use glass suction holders to remove the glass safely and in one piece.

Stand on a ladder while taking out the window or glass so you are not under it if there is a small crack in the glass. If there is a crack, it will spread when you grab the pane and you will find yourself trying to hold multiple pieces of glass. Being on a ladder, you can safely let the glass go if it breaks.

Your Old Frames

Don’t dump old aluminum frames and glass, there are recycle centers that will take it. If the windows are in good condition, you might be able to sell them, or find someone who can use them.