How To Prepare For Your Window Installation

Kenneth Wilson

How To Prepare For Your Window Installation

A window replacement project - well, actually, any home improvement project - can sometimes be overwhelming. From planning to completion, there are many things you need to consider, prepare, and check. And one part of the window installation project that seems the most daunting is the installation. 

After all that planning, the day has finally arrived to execute it. While the decision-making part is over, there are still things you need to do before leaving it all to the professionals. Whether your installation date is already scheduled or you’re just about to plan for your project, it would be better to know what to expect and what you need to do when the time comes.

To make sure that the window installers will be able to do a seamless installation, here’s what you need to do to prepare your home and yourself for your window replacement project. This way, your project would go more smoothly, and you’ll be one step closer to your dream home.

Remove Window Accessories And Treatments

First things first, remove all window accessories and treatments - blinds, curtains, sheers, shades, drapes, and other decorative features, especially if you plan to reuse them. Don’t forget the ornaments hanging from the frames or anything on the ledges and sills. Store them properly to prevent them from getting dirty or damaged. Plus, it will save your installers time from removing them, allowing them to get to the main work faster.

If you can, it would also be better to remove the interior shutters and trimmings. You can also ask if they need the hardware removed. These trappings are time-consuming to remove, which will take up your window installers’ time. If you’re paying by the hour, wouldn’t it be better to save some by getting this task done?

Clear The Worksite

Even if it’s only your windows that will be replaced, the entire room should still be prepped for the installation. Remove anything delicate or fragile in the work area. This includes furniture, accessories, and decorations (both on the ground and hanging on the wall). Don’t forget electronics, papers, and other small items. When the window is removed, it will leave an opening, letting a breeze in. This could throw off all paper and dirty other items.

If you have floating shelves, make sure that they are properly mounted since these can be shaken when removing the window. But to be safe, just remove any hanging items that can be jostled loose.

It’s not just the room or home’s interior, but you also have to clear the exterior and nearby areas. particularly the landscaping. You may need to trim or prune some trees, bushes, or shrubs to make sure that the installers can work on the exterior of the window. They would even need more space if they will be replacing bigger windows, such as a bow, bay, or large custom-made. To make sure that you won’t be trimming too much as well as to prevent delays, you can always clarify with your contractor if your current landscaping is clear enough. 

Cover Your Furniture

Window installations can be messy, so expect dust, scraped paint and glue, and debris from sanding. Even without the prep work, installing drywall and painting may also be involved, which can stain furniture and the flooring.

Since you probably won’t be able to remove all the furniture in the room, you will just have to cover some of them with sheets or blankets. Even if they will work from the outside, outdoor dust and debris may fly in from the short time between removing and covering the window opening. If possible, try to move the furniture to the farthest corner from the window openings to prevent it from getting damaged as well. You may also want to cover the floors because they are bound to get dirty as well.

Do note that some contractors cover the worksite with drop cloths as part of their process and do their best to be neat. You can call and clarify if you can leave the task up to them since sometimes they insist on doing it - or they might have suggestions. But personally, I prefer covering it myself just to be sure. You may also have furniture and other items that you want to provide more cloth or plastic tarps for additional protection. This way, even if they do miss some furniture, you won’t end up with new windows and dusty furniture. It will also help the clean up go faster, which can make the post-installation and the overall project finish quicker as well.

Create A Workspace

Your window installers will probably have a lot of tools and equipment for the project. That’s why you need to create a workspace where they can set up and leave their gear. They would probably need an electrical outlet, so make sure to provide an area with one or have extension cords. This means it should also be indoors or at least covered so that even if it rains, you won’t have to worry about wet equipment getting hauled into your home.

While you’re at it, designate the rooms and areas where the crew is allowed. You can also provide a bathroom they could use, so they don’t have to travel to a nearby public restroom.

Don’t forget to make space in the driveway for their truck. In the event that you don’t have a room or space in the garage for their tools and equipment, then the driveway will be their workstation. Give them a spot and transfer the car that you or your family will be using for the day out of the garage.

Make A Path

If you are getting multiple windows replaced, you will need to make a path for your window installers so they can freely move from room to room. Even if it’s only one room where you will get the window replaced, you will still need to create a path from the entry point to the work area. They will need to go in and out of your home, whether to their workspace, truck or for a break.

Aside from making a path, make sure to clear the way as well. The paths, both inside and the driveway, shouldn’t be blocked since the crew will be carrying the old windows out as well as bring in tools, equipment, and big, heavy windows from their truck to the work area. You don’t want your new windows to break even before they get installed as well as keep your furniture and decorations safe. Don’t worry, you don’t have to store large and obstructive furniture and decorations, just move them to create a clear path. 

On the other hand, do keep any scattered toys and other clutter. Even if these are small, they can be a tripping hazard - and plus, you don’t want your home to look like a mess. These can also get dirty if stepped on. Don’t forget about the breakables, which should be kept in a safe area. Clear the way as much as possible, especially the stairs to prevent any accidents.

The same goes for outside your home. If the window is in the second story, then they will be using ladders or scaffolding. Clear the space of patio furniture, outdoor decoration, and lawn tools and equipment that might be in the way. Any hanging decorations such as wreaths and holiday items where the ladder will be should be removed. Don’t forget about the fragile or edible plants that you don’t want to get stepped on. While the installers will do their best to safely work around plants or beds, their priority is to properly install your new unit.

Deactivate Alarm Systems

On the day of your project, make sure to disable the alarm systems connected to the windows that will be replaced. You don’t want to make a sudden commotion when the pros remove the windows. 

If you don’t know how to deactivate the alarm system, don’t experiment with it. It would be better to get the security company who installed it to temporarily disconnect it. After the window installation, make sure to get the system back up. While they’re at it, they can make sure that it’s properly reconnected and check if everything is still in working order.

This applies to whether you will be there or not during the project. If you won’t be there, make sure that they will be able to get inside and do their job. Don’t forget that they should be able to move in and out of the home easily, depending on where their workspace is or if they need something from the truck. If you prefer not sharing a house key, you could ask a family member, neighbor, or friend to let them in. Just make sure they don't get stranded, which could delay the project entirely. 

Keep Your Children and Pets Away

If you and your family are going to be home while the window installers are working, make sure to keep the children away from the worksite. This is not just for the safety of your family, but also for the crew. Make the work area restricted and ask your family members to get anything they may need from the room to prevent delays. By preventing possible accidents and interruptions, it can help the project go more smoothly. 

But if you and your family won’t be home, then you will only have to worry about your pets. Keep them in a different room, in their cages, or chained up to prevent them from wandering into the work area. This is important, especially if they are easily frightened by construction noise or tend to become aggressive against strangers. 

Expect The Change In Temperature

When the windows get removed, your home’s temperature will be affected, especially if you’re planning a whole-house window replacement. Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent losing hot or cold air created by your heating and cooling systems. If you weren’t able to schedule your project for spring or fall, then be prepared for this sudden change in temperature.

First, turn off your HVAC system during the installation. The sudden fluctuation in temperature will be a burden to your system, that’s why it is probably better off. Aside from making them run more, it will also increase the energy bill. If you and your family will be home during installation, you can also make yourselves comfortable by wearing the appropriate outfit - lighter clothes during the summer and layers during the winter. Don’t forget about your pets!

Double-Check The Paperwork

Before getting started, always check the paperwork. If permits are required, make sure that everything has been settled. Don’t forget about insurance. Usually, there’s workers’ compensation insurance and general liability insurance. The first is for the crew in the event that they get injured on the job. The second is to cover any damage that could happen to your home. 

If they will be needing subcontractors or other professionals, make sure to confirm that they are also licensed, insured, and bonded. Of course, these should have all been checked and discussed before installation, but it wouldn’t hurt to double-check.

I hope this helps make your window install go more smoothly. Not only will this benefit you, but it will also be helpful to the window installers. This way, you will ensure that your house remains clean, keep everyone safe, and reach project completion stress-free.

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Kenneth Wilson
January 18, 2021
Window Replacement

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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