• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows the proper way to install a new window into an old—and oversized—doorway opening.

    Steps:
    1. Remove the existing door and doorframe. Then, build a short wall to span opening.
    2. If necessary, cut a rabbet in the 2x6 bottom plate to fit over the finished floor in the room. Cut the rabbet on a table saw.
    3. Fasten the bottom plate across the bottom of the opening with 3½-inch nails.
    4. Cut four 2x6 cripple studs to length and nail them to the jack studs and bottom plate.
    5. Fasten a double-2x6 sill plate on top of the cripple studs.
    6. Sheathe the outside of the wall frame with ½-inch moisture-resistant plywood.
    7. Cover the seams around the perimeter of the plywood sheathing with 4-inch-wide self-adhesive flashing.
    8. Install tarpaper to the vertical sides of the window opening. Be sure the tarpaper overlaps the flashing on the plywood sheathing.
    9. Apply a thick bead of adhesive caulk along the front of the window's upper nailing flange. Also, run caulk along the exterior sides and bottom of the window opening.
    10. Set the window into the opening, and slip the upper nailing flange underneath the siding.
    11. Center the window in the opening and check it for plumb using a level. If the window is not plumb, slip a pry bar underneath the window from inside and raise the lower corner until the level reads plumb.
    12. Secure the window to the house by hammering 1½-inch-long roofing nails through the slots in the nailing flange. Space the nails 6 inches apart.
    13. Insulate around the inside of the window by spraying minimal-expanding foam into the gap between the window and wall framing.
    14. Install fiberglass insulation between the cripple studs. Then, staple up a vapor barrier and install drywall.
    15. Cut and install casing around the inside of the window.
    16. On the outside, install new siding over the exposed nailing flanges and plywood sheathing.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Requires mid-level carpentry skills
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    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • circular saw
        Circular saw
      • table saw
        Table saw
      • pneumatic brad nailer
        Cordless framing nailer
      • utility knife
        Utility knife
      • two-foot level
        Level
      • flat prybar
        Pry bar
      • caulk gun
        Caulk gun
      • drill
        Drill/driver
      • electric stapler
        Stapler

      Shopping List

      2x6s, used to frame the old door opening to accept the new window

      ½-inch moisture-resistant plywood

      4-inch-wide self-adhesive flashing

      Tarpaper (builder's paper)

      Adhesive caulk

      3½-inch nails

      1½-inch roofing nails

      1¼-inch drywall screws

      Minimal-expanding foam

      5/16-inch staples

      Fiberglass insulation

      Vapor barrier

      Drywall

      Window casing

      1½-inch and 2½-inch finishing nails

      Siding

      2-inch siding nails