Casement Window and French Door Replacement

Sandy O'Konek
by Sandy O'Konek
3 Materials
4 Days

Our major 4 year remodel is slowly winding down, with the last of the windows being replaced in the dining room/glassed in porch. We learned early on how to replace windows via "YouTube University" but contracted out the huge picture windows in the LR and had help installing the windows in this room (our dining room) as well. The windows were wooden casement windows; 3 columns of 3 windows on 2 walls. One wall looks out onto the screened in porch and past that, our lovely pond. The other wall adjoins our back porch entry and views the left side of the pond. Originally, all columns of windows had non-working handle openers on the bottom row; all windows were long past their prime with broken seals and age, not to mention the decades old solar reflecting installed over them that prevented seeing out the windows and additionally blocked light from entering the room.

Earlier in 2020 we removed and replaced those bottom windows with shiplap and trim on the inside of the dining room, and used left over vinyl from our whole house vinyl soffit wrap on the outside of both walls. You can view that project under my name. In October I measured and ordered custom vinyl Jeldwen windows at a local home supply store (we used them for all our custom size windows.) We planned on replacing each 2 window set with one large non-opening picture window. In December our local Southeastern Salvage store had double garden french doors for sale that I had been looking for, at half the cost of Lowes. We purchased 2 doors to replace the old 18 pane leaky sticky french doors off the living room and onto the screened porch and our windows arrived the same week (bonus!). After replacing one door ourselves (did I mention it took us 2 days?), I cried "uncle" and asked my trusted home repair contractor to schedule a day to install the other door and all 6 windows. I told him we would finish the inside window trim and all the door trim if he would please bring the equipment to vinyl wrap the outside with our leftover metal coil material from our vinyl soffet install. The results exceeded my expectations!

Post shiplap install

These were the original windows left after we removed the bottom row and installed insulation, shiplap and vinyl. You can see that project under my name that we completed in February/March time period this year.

Another store we shop at (SouthEastern Salvage) had french doors for sale, and half the price of my big box store. They have wonderful sales for doors, vanities, and furniture. These were only $380 a set, Low-E dual pane inserts. They also sold hardware that were keyed the same for 2 sets of doors. Bargain for both, compared to $760 at the big box store just for the door.

I cut the paint along the edge of the inside trim and used a putty knife to get up under enough to put in a 8 in crow bar, then used the claw hammer to pry up and lightly release it all the way down so we could reuse the trim.

Trim down on French Doors

Trim removed! I ran a sawzall down between the door jamb and wall to cut all the nails attaching the jamb to the wall). Since we weren't saving the door jambs, I cut both sides of the jamb near the middle with the sawzall and folded each toward the middle to pull down (or up from the bottom) and remove the boards. Don't forget to remove the screws from the door threshold! You also may find a long screw in one or more of the hinges attaching it to the door jamb board.

Door installed

We usee wood shims to level each side and used screws to install each side to level the reveal around top and sides and ensure it opened and closed easily. We also ensured each hinge had a 4 in screw that went through the jamb into the framing for the door. We had to engineer wood pieces to cover the area where the flagstone outside met the framing of the door. The original trim hiding the gap had deteriorated over the years.

One door in

The original door on the left, the door that took us 2 days to install, on the right, after the hardware was installed. We stuffed cellulose insulation between the brick finish and the framing of the door before installing the frame to aid it keeping drafts out. After finishing this photo, I texted my repair contractor Jon Hutto and cried "uncle". He scheduled time for us to install the other door and replace all 6 windows and wrap the outside of the windows.

Preping windows for removal

I had a week prior to my contractor coming, and considering I only hired him for one full day, I did as much prep work for him as I could. I removed the outside trim on the windows and used a razor knife to break loose the thick caulking around each.

Inside windows prepped for removal

We removed the shades, leaving the hardware in place for re-installation. We also broke the old paint away from the 6 screws holding each casement windows in place. Ready for Jon to do his magic!

2nd Door being installed

We also prepped the 2nd door for removal, taking down the inside and outside trim using crow bars outside, and minimizing damage on the inside for reuse. I remembered to remove the screws from the threshold, and installed the new hardware on the new doors. This saved Jon and Carl time for working on the windows. Here he is using the sawzall between the jamb and wall to cut loose the old framing.

One of 5 windows installed

Jon and his helper Carl made short work of removing the windows, cutting out the cross beam, and installing the picture windows I had ordered. He added silicone around each window frame prior to installing the new window. Thankfully I did the measurements accurately and they fit beautifully!

3 windows down, 3 to go

3 windows completed, 3 to go. We told Jon we would finish the inside trim (I wanted a plant shelf) and for him to focus on vinyl wrapping the outside with left over materials from our earlier project.

Installing fur strips

To wrap the outside of the windows, the crew cut strips of 2x6 I had left over to nail between the windows, to have something to attach the metal coil to; the coil was left over from the vinyl wrapping job Jon and Carl did on our soffits in May.

Windows wrapped

The outside of the windows were professionally finished with bent metal coil that matched the vinyl below. We had paint tinted to match and painted the tan around the windows at the top. When the weather allows, we'll paint the door to match.

Adding trim and a paint shelf

We purchased 2 inch flat trim to go around the inside frame of the windows, and 2.25 inch chair rail to go on the outside of the board between the windows. Then we purchased a 10 ft 2x6 and a 12 ft 2x6 and used our contour gauge to measure where to cut out the trim between the windows. The board is sitting on wood, which we used white 3' deck screws (2 - 3 per window) predrilled to hold the 2x6 in place. Then I painted the trim and boards with a white semi-gloss.

Bar Top Expoxy

I had a package of bar top expoxy my SIL had given me 2 years ago so I mixed it and poured over the plant sill board and let it cure for about 52 hours. You have to have plastic below to catch the drips. I also went around and used a paint scraper so I wouldn't have to sand the drips below the board later.

Doors trimmed

We reused the same inside trim, with a fresh coat of semigloss white. I added caulk around the trim to hide where the paint met the trim. We then painted the inside of the door an eggshell white finish. The outside will have to wait for warmer weather to paint. We did purchase trim to go around the outside of the doors and painted the top- board in matching cast iron black. The trim hid the area where the old caulk held the old trim in place, giving it a polished finish.

Completed Dining Room

This is the final result of the new picture windows overlooking the pond in the dining room, with the blinds reinstalled and the plant shelf full of plants and knick knacks. The room is finally finished!

Suggested materials:
  • Windows 6 each   (Home Store)
  • Doors and hardware/knobs/locks   (SouthEastern Salvage)
  • Trim boards window and door   (Lowes)
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  • William William on Jan 03, 2021

    Big job. Lot of work. Looks amazing. Some things are better left to the pros. great share.

    • Sandy O'Konek Sandy O'Konek on Jan 05, 2021

      We replaced all the other windows in the house, and did finish all of the inside trim on the windows, but you're right. I can't justify buying a machine to bend coil for just doing one house remodel. Sometimes you have to hire pros who have the equipment to do what you want.