Is it ok to install replacement windows in the winter?

install replacement windows in the winter

Winter-time in Chicago, Il is not precisely what some might consider the best time to install replacement windows or to do any home renovation projects.

It’s frigid, and the snowstorms often drop by around these parts.

Winter in Chicago

Last winter, we saw temperatures drop to -45 to -55 degrees in Chicago with the windchill.

I think we can all agree that it would be too extreme to do anything. With temperatures that low, we recommend everyone stay insides and stay warm.

But the good news is, there are only a handful of days in the wintertime where it’s too cold to do an install. The same thing happens in the summertime when temperatures get close to 100 degrees.

With that said, there is are many mild days in our winter season when installations can take place.

Who might want to have their windows replaced in the winter months, in Chicago?

The answer is savvy consumers who want to save money while benefiting from high-quality windows.

While winter in Chicago might feel like winter in northern European countries, the days are not as short as they are over there, so you’ll have plenty of daylight to install replacement windows.

Don’t let the cold discourage you.

In this winter installation guide, we will explore all the details you need to know to make the right decision.

Let’s explore how to install replacement windows in the winter…


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Top 3 reasons to replace windows during the winter

When the temperatures drop, not many are thinking about home remodeling or renovation projects.

The cold weather is the main discouraging factor but it can also be considered an advantage.

Here are some reasons why it’s ok to install replacement windows in the winter:

You’ll be able to test your windows and get immediate results

The best time to put your windows to a test and see if they need replacement is the winter season.

When the temperatures drop, you’ll be able to see if the windows allow the cold airflow into your home, and you’ll also see if there is any condensation between the double pane, especially in the cold winter mornings.

Moreover, this is when you’ll notice if you are having a hard time opening and closing your windows and if there are any leaks.

When you install replacement windows in the winter, the results are immediate – you’ll dramatically reduce your energy costs and enjoy a higher level of energy efficiency, your house will be warmer, and the thermostat won’t feel any pressure to go higher and higher.

You’ll get better deals and benefit from lower prices

The average costs of a window replacement project are now significantly lower simply because the demand is not as high as in the warmer months.

You’ll be able to get discounts between late November and mid-December on various types of windows, so you’ll be able to choose the best windows for your house.

Whether you want fiberglass windows, double pane windows, wood windows, or vinyl windows, this is the time to make a purchase. Windows ordered in November or December usually get delivered by late January – mid-February.

You won’t have to wait too long for winter window installations

Due to the lower demand for replacement windows during winter, scheduling your window replacement will be a lot easier.

Winter is the “off-season” to install replacement windows, so it’s the best season to schedule a fast installation process. You will have plenty of flexibility to decide when to install replacement windows.

While in the summer, all you can do is settle with the date the window installation company offers, in the winter, you will be able to set your own dates and avoid delays related to manufacturing, shipping, and delivery.

What steps are taken to install a replacement window?

Before following all the right steps for a successful window replacement installation, make sure you choose the right type of window for your house.

Many homeowners prefer to install vinyl windows due to their increased level of energy efficiency and impressive color variety.

Moreover, vinyl windows are very durable and maintenance-free, so they will never need painting or scraping. The window frames are equipped with a double-pane glass that features low emissivity and may be filled with argon or krypton gas for better insulation. However, depending on your needs, you can also choose triple-paned vinyl windows.

Make sure you always check out the Energy star ratings before choosing your replacement windows to make sure you understand your options when you have a vinyl window installed and need to assess the window replacement cost.

Installing replacement windows is not a job for the DIY’er in you.

Sure, it might be done by an amateur with the proper tools and a lot of time on their hands, but winter is not the time to take on this adventure.

So, it’s best to let experienced window installation professionals deal with the replacement of your windows in the winter…and probably in any other season. However, it doesn’t hurt to know the steps taken during a replacement window installation and what to expect when you’re replacing your windows.

Step 1: Measure the new window

The key to a successful window replacement is accurate measurements.

You need to measure both the interior width and height of each window frame side to side and top to sill.

Make sure you measure inside the existing frame and not between the stops that keep the sashes in place, as well as the height on both sides – left and right – and in the middle.

The same goes for the width that needs to be measured at the top, in the center, and at the bottom.

Use the minimum measurements for height and width when placing an order for your replacement windows.

In most cases, the old frame measurements are the same as the standard size vinyl windows.

Measure the new window

Step 2: Remove the old window

Removing the old window is not as complicated as it might seem.

However, the steps to follow in this stage of the window replacement process differ depending on the type of windows you have.

Sometimes, you’ll need to remove the sashes from the inside, while other times it’s best to remove them from the outside.

Make sure you remove the old window with care using a screwdriver or utility knife to avoid damaging the surrounding materials.

Use a pry bar to remove the window. Remove the inside stop, but keep it because you’ll need it for the installation.

Cut any sash cords, remove the old lower window sash and the parting stop, as well as the old top sash.

Remove the sash liners and springs or open the sash pockets and remove the weights.

Do keep the outside stops.

Clean the inside faces of window jamb and sill and prepare the area to install the replacement windows.

Remove the old window

Step 3: Do a test installation

Before nailing and caulking, it’s important to do a rough installation first to see if the new window will fit just right.

Put the shims in place and mark the places where they should go.

Make sure you have shims at hand because no replacement window will fit perfectly and, shims will help you raise sides for the perfect installation.

Remove any packing clips that have accompanied your replacement windows because they no longer serve any purpose.

They’re only used was to keep the sash from moving around and keeping the window square during transport.

Do a test installation

Step 4: Install the replacement window

Apply flashing tape to the sill and make sure that fits its length and extends up to the bottom ledge of the window’s interiors side.

Check the sill to make sure there’s no bowing and use shims if you need to level it.

Place the window in the opening and use your square to check the four corners. There should be a small gap around the window frame. Tap in the shims in the marked places. Apply a 3/8-inch bead of silicone caulk at the top of the frame, the stops, and the sill.

Rest the window against the interior stops and press it against the caulk. Secure it with shims. Screw in the mounting screws in the pre-drilled holes, at the top and bottom of each side jamb without over-tightening.

Make sure the sashes are even and bring in the shims if you need to adjust the frame. Apply spray foam insulation from the outside to fill in the gaps around the window.

Test the sashes to check if the sliding is smooth and if the sashes are tight, adjust them with adjustment screws. Caulk the inside of the window and install the inside stops with small finish screws to finish the installation.

And that’s how it’s done! Installing replacement windows is not a very complicated task but it’s also not as easy as you might want it to be.

That’s why it’s best to leave a professional handle the replacement windows. Make sure you save money with the window installed costs by choosing to install replacement windows in the winter.

Regardless of your zip code and window preferences, winter is the most affordable season to buy replacement windows. Protect your home with energy-efficient replacement windows and benefit from the best deals for the install replacement process.

Install the replacement window

Differences between summer and winter window installation

Myth of the installation process

The window replacement techniques are the same in any season.

There is absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to window replacements performed during the winter months.

Many homeowners fear that if they install replacement windows in the winter, the techniques used are not as reliable and the insulation process, is not as efficient.

These are simply misconceptions about windows that have no foundation in reality.

Window installers know exactly how to adapt their techniques and adhesives to make sure the window replacement process is as reliable and efficient in the winter as it is the warmer months.

They can easily install replacement windows even if the temperatures drop as low as -20 degrees Celsius.

Loss of Heat and Energy

One of the other reasons homeowners postpone to install replacement windows till the warmer months is the fear that during the window replacement project they will have to face significant heat and energy losses.

This simply isn’t true!

The heat and energy losses are kept to a minimum because the installation is done one window at a time. There are other techniques installers use to minimize heat escaping your home.

This means that while there might be a bit of a heat loss, it will definitely go unnoticed when it’s time to pay the energy bills.

Moreover, if you decide to ensure your home is energy efficient and install replacement windows in the slower seasons, you’ll get a more thorough window installation because the installation crew will focus on each and every window they install.

Also, winter window installations tend to be more durable and weather resistant because the sealant materials used for winter window installations have an increased level of durability. Window installers usually use different insulating foams and caulking in the winter, so they can be sure the materials stay malleable even at the lowest temperatures.

Installing the Right Window

Certain types of windows shouldn’t be installed during the winter though.

Buying low-quality windows can become more brittle in the winter, which makes it harder to cut, which can impact the installation process.

Little Difference Between Summer and Winter

However, when it comes to all the other types of windows and doors, there is no reason to postpone installing energy-efficient windows till summer.

There is no difference between summer and winter installation processes and techniques, but you will definitely get a better deal and a faster installation if you decide to opt for winter window replacement.


The modern window replacement techniques are energy efficient and fast and won’t allow too much cold air to sneak into your house during the process.

So, don’t wait for spring or summer for your window replacement installation! Take advantage of the winter season to get a great deal for your replacement windows.