The house I moved into recently urgently needs some replacement windows. For example, in the kitchen, the original windows aren't there any more. It's just some sort of quasi-storm window. It's very cold and drafty.

We didn't have time to work on this until now. But now it's mid-November. If we order custom windows from a big box store, it will take at least three weeks for them to arrive. Would it be a bad idea to install the new windows in mid-December? I am in upstate New York, close to Pennsylvania.

The alternative would be to temporarily install some plexiglass just to get us to spring.

  • @isherwood - I guess his concern is (a) the siding might need to be pulled away from the house during installation, and the siding could be brittle and fragile; (b) there could be shrinkage and/or swelling, and then we could end up with some gaps. // I wonder if the big box custom windows are to be avoided in general, and if so, what source to use instead for buying replacement windows? Nov 21, 2019 at 2:54

2 Answers 2


I see no particular reason that installing windows in December is a bad idea--assuming it can be done quickly enough to not freeze to death or have rain/snow ruin anything. You may want to make temporary living arrangements for a few days while the windows are being installed.

My recommendation is to go somewhere other than a big box store. You may be able to get them MUCH quicker else where. HD told me it'd take 12 wks to get in Andersen windows-- I got them thru a local HW store in 4 weeks--for less money.

  • A friend told me he thinks it would be a mistake to try to do it in the winter due to my siding being aluminum. Nov 20, 2019 at 0:45
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    Did he elaborate on why? I cannot imagine trying to get thru a winter in upstate New York without real insulated glass windows while living in the house. BRRRR! If I had doubts I would call the mfr of the windows you want to use and speak with their field application engineers. I am sure they will have ways to mitigate any potential cold-weather installation gotchas.
    – peinal
    Nov 20, 2019 at 1:46
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    I agree. Done with some forethought, there's no real concern. Keep the doors to the rooms and HVAC vents closed to help with the cold. Keep flashing tape inside so it's warm when you go to stick it in place. Use solvent-based caulks (pure silicone, urethane) where possible so it doesn't freeze before curing.
    – isherwood
    Nov 20, 2019 at 3:09

The unpredictable weather and low staffing because of the Holidays could be a problem in planning this work in mid December especially in Upstate New York. You could still order the windows and if the weather cooperates you could get the job done. If you're doing the work yourself, many local townships require permits to replace windows. To play it safe in case the planning goes south, get a few rolls of clear plastic drop cloths and tape it all around the existing window frames to block the drafts and keep in the warmth. Good luck

  • Thanks for the suggestion of the plastic drop cloths and the tape. I tried the plastic film kits previously in a different house and they didn't do much. I don't care about the aesthetics right now. I hope the plastic drop cloths are thick plastic. What type of tape should I use? Part of the border is tile and part of it is wood. Nov 20, 2019 at 0:44
  • You can get plastic sheeting that's 4 and 6 mil . The plastic film kits are much too thin to really work. Gorilla tape works great. The tape can remove the finish on some wood so best to use it on the frame of the windows since you'll be replacing them.
    – JACK
    Nov 20, 2019 at 0:59
  • Thanks. I've seen Gorilla tape in the store. There's more than just one kind. Does it matter which one? By the way, my kitchen windows don't have a wooden or vinyl frame. They're quasi-storm windows. The original windows aren't there any more. I guess I could plan to paint the trim in the spring. Or would the green or blue masking tape work? That peels off well. Nov 20, 2019 at 1:18
  • The green or blue , painter's tape, probably won't hold enough. The plastic sheets can "inflate" from the drafts they are stopping. ... but you could try it.
    – JACK
    Nov 20, 2019 at 1:30
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    The "Crystal Clear" tape.
    – JACK
    Nov 20, 2019 at 2:37

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