Install a New Window in a Wall
LESLIE: Laurie in New York is up next. You’re possibly my neighbor and you want to talk windows. What can I do for you?
LAURIE: Hi, my husband and I want to put a window in a living room wall. There’s no window there now. And we don’t know what we should go about; which, you know, kind of window to buy and if there’s any concerns about wiring we should be worrying about.
TOM: Yeah, there’s actually a whole host of issues you need to think about, Laurie. First of all …
LESLIE: Is it load-bearing.
TOM: Yeah, are we talking about a narrow window; like a big, wide bay window? What are you thinking about?
LAURIE: Just a narrow – like a 36 by, you know, (INAUDIBLE)-inch window.
TOM: OK. Alright. Well, first of all, the exterior wall; is it the front or the rear wall of your house?
LAURIE: It’s the rear wall.
TOM: The rear wall. It’s probably a bearing wall, which means you need to build a header. Now, if it’s only a 36 inch-wide opening it’s probably not going to be terribly complicated. But here’s what has to happen. First of all, you need to expose the studs and you need to probably remove one to two studs that are holding up part of the wall. Before you do that though, you need to put some temporary bracing in to support the roof and the ceiling above it. And that’s why this is something that at least you might need to have a little bit of professional help with because you’re dealing with a bearing – a load-bearing wall here and you don’t want to do things in the wrong order.
And after you open up the stud bay you’re basically going to reframe the opening now and you have to put in what’s called a header which takes the load of the header, which takes the load of the roof and spreads it across that opening for the window and then back down to the foundation. That’s the big job; getting it framed in right.
Once it’s framed in, the actual window installation is pretty straightforward; pretty simple. But getting the wall framed – the hole cut in the wall and properly framed out – is the part that’s a little more complicated. So I wouldn’t suggest this as a first-time do-it-yourself project. It really needs some structural experience to make sure you do it right and don’t cause any adverse problems to the rest of your house because those are the things that are involved.
LAURIE: Yes, that makes sense. (giggling)
TOM: Alright, well good luck with the project …
TOM: … and call us if you have any more questions.
LAURIE: OK, great.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Our website is MoneyPit.com.