How To Frame A Window: 10 Easy Steps Guide

Why are window frames important? What tools and materials are needed to frame a window?  Read on to learn how to frame a window in 10 easy steps.

What is a Window Frame?

It is the frame that gives a window its structural strength.  A window frame has three sides: the head side, sill side, and the jambs. These three sides form a precise opening into which a window sash fits. The sash locks and jambs are found on the inside of the frame. Simply put, a window frame is the outer boarder of the window.

Window Frame

The window sill, which is the bottom of the jamb frame, is in some cases wider than the actual frame and has a lip that extends to the outside.

Improving the quality of your window frames requires minimal effort but improves the quality of your house in a big way.

Why are Window Frames Important?

Window Frame Importancy

The frame holds the panes of a window in place and holds the window into the wall of the house. Window frames give a window its structural strength. The frame holds the panes of a window in place with the aid of spacers.

Types of Window Frames

Types of Window Frames

Choosing a window frame material requires that you consider its cost, energy efficiency, and its advantages and disadvantages. Good quality material is not only energy efficient but durable.

Window frames can be classified according to the material from which they are made:

Vinyl Frames

Vinyl Frames

Vinyl window frames are made out of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Vinyl material is known for its water resistance ability. Vinyl frames also require little to no maintenance and painting. Another advantage of Vinyl frame is that they are relatively affordable. Like Fiberglass frames, Vinyl frames can be insulated to improve their energy efficiency.

Its limitation is that it responds to temperature changes causing it to expand and contract which can lead to seal deterioration and drafts. Another disadvantage of Vinyl is that is less compared to wood and aluminum window frame materials.

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass frames are a popular choice because, compared to wood and uninsulated Vinyl, they have a better thermal performance. Fiberglass frame materials are known to stand up to extreme weather changes than any other frame material. They are mostly used in commercial buildings than in homes because they are relatively expensive compared to other frame materials.

They also have fewer sizes and features than other frame materials. Compared to Vinyl, fiberglass offers less aesthetic value.

Wood Frames

Wood window frames

Wood as a material for making window frames can match any architectural style and has high energy efficiency. It also has a warm appearance. On the downside, wood requires high maintenance, are vulnerable to insect infestation, and require frequent and constant scraping and painting.

Metal Frames

Metal window frames

Metal is the most affordable window frame material. The commonly used metal is Aluminum. Aluminum window frames are rugged and long-lasting. Aluminum windows also let into your house plenty of natural light and require little maintenance. Aluminum is sturdy and durable.

It is also recyclable. With metal being a good conductor of heat, there is an increase in heat loss. A thermal strip is usually inserted between the frame and sash so as to reduce the thermal load.

Composite frames

composite window frame

A composite window frame is made from a mix of wood particles and plastic. This makes it stronger and more durable than a wooden frame. Composite frames offer the strength of wood and have a high energy efficiency just like Vinyl.

The main disadvantage of composite frames is that compared to other frame materials, they are relatively expensive.

Tools and Materials Needed for Framing a Window

Materials Needed for Framing a Window

You will need the following items to build a window frame:

  • Measuring tape
  • Framing square
  • Handsaw
  • Stapler
  • Staples
  • Nail set
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue and
  • Clamps
  • Shims
  • Plywood

10 Easy Steps to Frame a Window

The process of framing a window has been elaborately discussed in this article. A window can be framed in 10 easy steps as discussed below:

1. Set the Working Area

The flooring has to be covered with drop clothes and the doors blocked to keep out the dust. The studs are then moved and examined. Use the current wall stud as the king stud on one end.

2. Fix the studs

Fix the studs

A single new stud that has the same length as the current one is needed. Making cuts on two cripple studs makes the window sill drop on their heads. Install a jack stud on top as the sill will stay between it and the cripple stud. To install a combination of king and cripple studs, wedge the king stud between the upper and bottom plates.

3. Make the required markings

required markings

The mark created at the bottom plate indicates the spot for the king and jack studs. The sole of the header is shown by a mark placed across the studs. Make another mark at a position around 1/8 higher than this measurement. Make a follow up of making bottom cuts at around 1/8 from underneath.

4. Mark the Center Stud for Cutting

Mark the Center Stud

Place markings on the center stud that you will cut at the bottom. When marking center studs, add an extra 3 inches to the required window framing through opening size.

5. Cut the lines

Cut the lines

At this stage, you cut up the unwanted piece using the circular saw at its full depth. You must remember to put on a safety gear for your eyes and ears.

6. Make and install the header

Make and install the header

Cut two pieces the same size as the width of the cavity but allow for an extra 3 inches. If you are making a spacer, make strips using a ½ inch plywood. Hit the header with a hammer to make it strong.

7. Create the Window Sill

Create the Window Sill

Cut two pieces to length. Use a nail or screw to secure the ledge. If you are using two pieces, place one piece on top of the cripple stud then cover with the second piece.

8. Make the necessary cuttings

Make the necessary cuttings

You may find it hard to patch walls especially those with plaster. Should this happen, slip in the new window frame. Use the widths of the sill and header to cut through the lower and upper studs. Cut the studs halfway and move them out.

9. Fix the header and sill

Fix the header

Place the header into the cavity and make it stand by inserting a jack stud on both ends. The header helps the window not get damaged by the weight of the roof.

10. Add finishing touches

finishing touches

Apply exterior latex caulking on the inner part of the window frame. Finally, properly fit the new window frame into the space. The window frame will be held in place by screws.

What Causes Mould on Window Frames?

Mould growth is usually caused by condensation. Condensation happens when warm moist air meets a cold surface. Condensation mostly occurs in winter when buildings are cold and windows are opened less, making it hard for moist air to escape.

Mould on Window Frames

Black mold forms where there is an increased amount of moisture in the air. It produces a damp smell and can cause serious respiratory problems to your health. Toxins released from mold can cause damage to your lungs and the nervous system.

Any slight sign of presence of black mould around your window should not be ignored. To prevent mould forming on your window, address any leakages that may be present by repairing the damaged window frame or replacing it altogether. If you suspect that the black mould is caused by condensation, then you should make an effort to reduce the amount of moisture in the air around your house.

Window Frame Maintenance

The frequency and method of cleaning window frames depends on the material from which they are made. That is why it is always advisable the maintenance required on the material before choosing a window frame.

Window Frame Maintenance

Mouldy wooden window frames are cleaned with a commercial mould spray.  As long as you follow the package instructions to the letter, your window frames will be sparkling clean. Varnished window frames that are not mouldy are normally cleaned with warm soapy water.

Aluminum window frames are cleaned by dousing with a specialized aluminum cleaner. The frames are wiped from top to bottom then rinsed with fresh water.

Vinyl window frames are the easiest to clean. You only need a bucket of clean fresh water and soap. A 3:7 ratio of vinegar and water solution can be used in place of soapy water. The solution is sprayed on the window frame and left to dry for a few minutes. A clean towel or piece of cloth is then used to wipe it dry.

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