If you have a two-story house and you’re replacing windows on the first and second floors, there are a few tricks you can use to make working on the upper floors safer and easier. If the windows are replacement framing, they are installed from the inside of the house, so unlike first floor windows, the only thing you have to do is use an extension ladder to caulk the outside. So, let’s talk about doing remodel style windows on the second floor. You can usually remove old windows from the house, but if you have floor-to-ceiling windows, you must use an extended ladder to remove the glass-holding blocks. You can then go inside and use a utility knife to cut the glass from the frame. Put a tarp on the ground under the window to catch any glass shards that may have fallen during the removal process. Also, don’t forget to keep people and animals out of the area under windows.

When you’re ready to install new windows, you can install them inside your home. Remember, when installing retrofit frames, you mount them from the outside and lift them into place. Instead, lift the window upstairs. If it’s a slider, remove the screen and slide panel. Then, using a helper, you can tilt the window frame away from the opening, extend the retrofit lip completely beyond the opening, then pull the window back to your side and install the window as if it were outside. Have your assistant hold the center bar as you insert screws into the top center to hold the frame in place. You can do the entire installation from the inside. The only time it needs to be done on the extension ladder is when you’re ready to caulk the exterior. Make sure to put plenty of caulk where the top of the frame meets the plaster or exterior material. You don’t want any water to flow through the new frame, otherwise it could go through the wall and down through the ceiling or wall. If you remove the sliding panel and screen, you’ll be amazed how easily two people can install an 8′ wide x 5′ high sliding window on the second floor. In fact, my assistant and I did a project that was 10 feet wide and 5 feet high. That was the biggest I’ve ever done on the second floor. Before installing the new frame from the room, you can apply caulk to the outside surface of the old frame.

Now, if you’re going to install a picture window, it’s a little more difficult. You can’t remove any panels to lighten the load, and it’s more difficult to grip the frame firmly. However, on the positive side, floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor are typically not much larger than 3 feet by 5 feet. If you have a large picture window, or you have several to install, I can use suction cups used in the glass industry. You can attach them to the glass and use them as handles when extending the frame out through the opening. If you want to get a price on suction cups please contact me on my website how to install windows. You can get smaller, cheaper models for around $40 each.

So, if you’re hesitant to replace old windows yourself because you thought you couldn’t do upstairs windows, now you know you can. Next week’s topic is replacing rollers on patio doors. If you can’t open sliding glass doors anymore, a couple of new rollers can make a world of difference.

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