Replacing Steel Case Windows

How to Replace Steel Casement Windows with Vinyl Replacement Windows

By Mark J. Donovan

Steel case windows are the types of windows that you have to crank a handle to open them outwards. Steel case windows are not commonly used in new home construction today due to their reliability and low thermal insulation properties.

Many homeowners of older homes with steel case windows want to replace them, and fortunately it’s not that hard to do. This article summarizes how to replace steel case windows. The real trick is ordering the right size vinyl replacement windows to replace them.

First, do not remove the old steel casement windows until you’ve order and have had deliver your new window replacements.

The last think you want is to have to spend weeks with polyethylene covering your home’s window openings.

Measuring for and Ordering New Vinyl Window Replacements

To remove an old casement window start by cranking the window open to its full extent. As you crank the window open notice that there is a metal lip that is about ½ inch wide extending around the perimeter of the steel case window frame. This part of the window frame will be left intact, so that the new vinyl window replacement can attach to it. Use a tape measure to measure from top to bottom, and side to side, of the lip opening. Then subtract ¼ of an inch from each measurement. Record these measurements and proceed to your local window store.

Order new vinyl window replacements to your recorded measurements. Depending upon where you live you might be able to buy retrofit replacement window frame kits when you are ordering the vinyl replacement windows.

If you are unable to buy the retrofit replacement kits then you’ll have no choice but to have to incorporate window trim to the exterior of the new window replacement after it has been installed.

Once the new vinyl replacement windows have shown up on the jobsite you can then remove and replace the old steel casement windows.

Warning: Always wear eye and hand protection when working around glass.

To remove casement windows with no fixed panels simply crank the window wide open. As you crank the window open you’ll notice two pivot arm assemblies. There is one located at the top of the window and another at the bottom. Using a hack saw, cut off the pivot arms at the point where they attach to the window panel. Once cut the window panel can be easily removed from the window frame.

Next use a screw driver to remove the crank assembly from the window frame. There should be a couple of screws that can be removed from the crank assembly to disconnect it from the window frame.

Finally, to complete the removal of the steel case window twist or cut away the pivot arms that are still attached to the window frame. Vice grips work well for flexing, twisting, and breaking off the pivot arms.

How to Install a Window Ebook

Learn how to install a new window with this eBook

Installing Replacement Vinyl Windows

To install the replacement vinyl windows, first run a bead of caulk along the exterior lip edge of the old window frame. Next, place the vinyl replacement window up against the metal lip of the old casement window. While someone holds the replacement window in place, square and plumb up the window and then attach it to the metal window frame lips with screws.

Once the vinyl replacement window is securely mounted, apply another bead of caulk to the exterior of the vinyl window replacement. I highly recommend using a 100% silicone caulk. It is flexible and will last longer than a latex caulk, albeit the silicone caulk is much more expensive than the latex caulk.

If you need more help on choosing the right window replacement for your home, contact one of our pre-screened window installation contractors. They can help you select the replacement windows that are right for your home and budget, and perform the installation.

For more information on Installing Replacement Windows and Interior Window Trim

  • See the Installing a New Window Ebook from  The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
  • See the Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook from  The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Related Information

Additional Window Installation and Maintenance Resources from

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