Compared with their traditional home counterparts, mobile home replacement windows are more inexpensive and easier to install. If you are experiencing drafts, fog, or condensation, that should come as welcome news. However, there are still several important things to know before installing windows in a mobile home, especially if you intend to do it yourself. This month, we’ll give you the rundown so you don’t get “hung up.”
Window framing materials
Mobile home replacement windows are generally made from either vinyl or aluminum. Vinyl mobile home replacement windows have become the standard because they offer the best blend of performance and affordability. They tend to do very well in all climates and they are offered in a number of colors and finishes — although white is the most common and widely accepted in mobile home communities.
The aluminum variety has fallen out of favor over time, especially in colder climates. This is because the metal has poorer insulating properties and is more prone to condensation and corrosion. However, if you live in an area where warmer temperatures prevail, you’ll love the durability and ease of maintenance that aluminum replacement windows offer. And regardless of where you reside, you’ll love the very modest prices.
Types of Manufactured and Mobile Home Windows
In homes manufactured prior to 1976, you’ll often find jalousie windows, which consist of several parallel glass, acrylic, or wooden slats that tilt open and shut (like mini-blinds) with a crank. There’s a good reason they’re no longer in vogue — they’re susceptible to air and water infiltration, and heating or air conditioning is liable to seep out. If you still have these in your mobile home, they’re a prime candidate for vinyl replacement windows.
Modern manufactured homes commonly feature awning and casement windows (which hinge from the top or side, respectively), horizontal slider windows (slide along parallel tracks), and most frequently vertically sliding double- or single-hung windows. In double-hung windows, both sashes are operable; in single-hung windows only the bottom sash is operable.
What you need to install windows in a mobile home
Installing windows in a mobile home doesn’t require pricy equipment. If you have the following items in your toolbox, there’s a good chance you can tackle the job yourself.
- Safety glasses/goggles
- A small pry bar/crowbar
- A tape measure
- A level
- A caulking gun
- A hammer
- A power drill
- A screwdriver + screws
- Putty and utility knives
How to install a mobile home replacement window
1. Remove the old window
This step boils down to simply locating the frame and unscrewing. Where it might get complicated is if the outer edge of the frame is under the cladding (lap-siding mounted); this will require you to remove and replace sections of siding for access.
2. Measure the rough opening
When measuring for your replacement window, it’s imperative that you measure the rough opening in the wall of your home — not the window you’re replacing. Your home and its foundation can shift over time, resulting in an opening that is not square and level.
You’ll want to take three measurements in each direction (for a total of six) to check for discrepancies — top, center, and bottom on the vertical axis AND left, center, and right on the horizontal axis. Variances greater than ⅛ of an inch indicate the need for adjustment (this is where you employ the shims). If there are major adjustments to be made, you might want to contact a professional installer in your area.
It’s important to select a replacement window that fits the smallest of your measurements for width and height. Also pay attention to sash thickness — some homes are constructed from 2x4s, while others from 2x3s.
3. Prepare rough opening and insert the replacement window
Use your putty knife to scrape away old caulk and putty from the rough opening; then apply new caulk with your caulking gun. Insert the replacement window and screw in place.
4. Seal and finish
Use a quality silicone sealant around the entire outside perimeter of the window frame to ensure your new window is air- and watertight. If you had to remove siding for the window installation, replace it and you’re done!
Replacement windows from Star Mobile Home Supply
Replacement windows can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your mobile home — and spare you from high energy bills and structural repairs. At Star Mobile Home Supply, we carry vertically sliding vinyl and aluminum windows in a variety of sizes, as well as window hardware.