Enlarging a Window

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

In remodeling your living space you may wish to enlarge a window, either to let in more light or ventilation, by installing an opening window to replace a fixed one.

Window types and materials

Modern windows come in a wide choice of styles in wood metal or plastic. They can be simple fixed panes or they can open with either top-hinged, side-hinged, pivotting, horizontally-sliding or vertically-sliding sections. The tendency is to go for large, uninterrupted panes of glass, but if your house is old you can still buy windows made up of small panes to give it a period look.

Despite the fact that it needs regular maintenance, wood is the most popular material for window frames and offers the widest choice of styles and sizes.

Steel windows are functional in appearance but can suffer considerably from rust if not looked after. Aluminum windows, too, can suffer from corrosion due to the atmosphere, especially in coastal areas.

On the face of it, plastic would seem to be ideal for window frames, being largely maintenance free. However, it is not easy to paint (and is intended not to be), which means that you are stuck with the manufacturer’s color, and if this is white you may find it yellows with age.

Assuming that you are going to fit a larger window frame in place of the original, you must provide temporary support for the wall (with needles and jack posts) while you remove the old frame and lintel. This should be either concrete or steel so that both leaves of the wall are supported. For a solid wall, fit a concrete lintel to the inner leaf and, at the same time, form a curved soldier arch over the top of the window in the outer leaf.

With the lintel in place, cut out the brickwork for the larger frame. Prepare the edges of the opening, prop the frame in position and nail, screw or cement it in place. The final job is to seal around the edges with mortar and caulk.

To make the frame lighter and easier to handle, first remove any opening sections and then carefully remove all the glass.

Cut out the mortar seal at the edges of the frame with a flat chisel and run a screwdriver round the gap to locate the fixings. Cut through them with a saw inserted in the keyhole.

Having cut through or released the fixings, lever the frame out with a stout bar or knock it out with a length of wood and a light sledge hammer.

Wooden window frames are normally held in place by galvanized metal ties cemented into the brickwork at the sides of the opening, by nails or screws driven into wooden wedges set in the brickwork, or by screws and wallplugs. Metal-framed windows may be held by metal brackets or be fitted to hardwood frames, which in turn are screwed into the opening.

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