DETERMINING WINDOW DIMENSIONS
First, check the dimensions of the rough opening made for the window:
Square: A right-angle [90 degrees]; when all four corners of a frame are square, the joints will not separate from each other and all components will operate smoothly.
Tip - Before installing the window, it is advisable to pre-drill the screw holes to save time and prevent mistakes.
BALANCING WITH SHIMS
Shims are used to block, or secure, a window around the sill and jamb so that the unit sits square before the final steps of installation. The proper placement of shims at key points around a windowframe establishes the basis for smooth and correct function of any moving parts.
The shims are specifically responsible for creating a level aperture for the frame to sit in, so that the frame does not bend or warp from undue pressure. Squaring the opening that surrounds a windowframe keeps the joints from separating and lets water shed from the sill, instead of pooling and eventually infiltrating at the window's edge. Shims should only be inserted where they will not compress the frame, and in most cases, never at the top of the sill.
Please note - windows that have not been made plumb during installation may begin to leak or develop operational issues.
INSULATION FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The addition of insulation and a vapor barrier are essential to eliminate rotting and mold growth around window frames. When combined with proper installation, the efficient thermal performance of a window increases occupant comfort and reduces energy waste.
Any large gaps need to be stopped up using wool fibreglass insulation before the trim and siding is applied. This type of insulation should never be compressed - the air molecules present in the wool fibres are necessary for the filling to function properly. The insulating products should sufficiently fill the empty areas without placing undue stress on the windowframe.
At this point, the vapour barrier is attached, covering the interior joint between the building wall and the frame.
Sealing a wood unit will greatly extend the life of the product and requires only a caulking gun and the appropriate type and quantity of caulk.
The interior sealant fills in the smaller holes between the rough opening and the frame that are often difficult to find by looking; a thin, even bead placed at the juncture of window sash and wall opening will obstruct and prevent air leaks before they develop.
Exterior sealants form the primary weather seal along the outside break in the wall, creating an impermeable closure that should stop all water penetration, if applied correctly. The type of caulking that you may choose will depend on the frame material used and the level of exposure that the window recieves. In order to ensure absolute two-sided adhesion of the sealant [inside and out], a backer rod may be needed to fill the trenched area between the frame and the building.
As soon as the installation is completed, it is advisable to clean any moving parts to free them from debris.
If needed, paint or varnish the frames as soon as possible to prevent warping, and be sure to follow all of the hardware manufacturer's instructions regarding the appropriate care and lubrication of their product.
This document is a brief summary of the recommended methods of window installation. CWDMA recommends that all window installations follow the guidelines set out in CSAA440.4-98 "Window and Door Installation".
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