I want to replace some old metal windows in my house but I'm confused on how they're attached/installed. I'm more accustomed to vinyl windows that have "fins" extending out the edges with trim. These windows I'm replacing don't have that. Here are some pictures:

Wide-angle shot of the window

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Metal Window Corner

I don't see any screws or nails holding it in. Is there an adhesive perhaps that it covered by the outside plaster?

  • What type of contruction, wood or masonary? Have you opened the windows to look for hardware in the window tracks? – mikes Dec 22 '12 at 23:09
  • @mikes That's the thing - I don't see any nails or screws in the window tracks. I'm not sure I understand the other part of your question. The house has wood framing with stucco on the outside. – Mike B Dec 22 '12 at 23:12

You have about a depth of about 5/8" to 3/4" of material to remove back about 1 1/4" from the frame you see protruding from the wall.

The aluminum nailing fin is about 1/8" thick and 1" to 1 1/8" wide.

Window Nail Fin

I was lucky in that the base on the DeWalt cordless saw I used spaced the blade the perfect distance from the aluminum frame as a cutting guide. I used a carbide blade, set to depth, cut a strip out all round the window and then finished cutting the corners out with a chisel. This was on wood siding, Stucco, being cement will require some sort of masonry blade and dealing with the heat involved cutting through.

After pulling the nails out of the fin, the window dropped out. Follow directions for reinstallation, there should be a special section for stucco. There are other questions asked on DIY here for Stucco repair which will be the next hurdle.

  • Almost certainly a nailing fin on these aluminum windows. One thing to look into is whether the stucco is laid over sheathing of if it has been applied simply over the studs. If the latter the stucco chipping and repair is going to be significantly more difficult - to the point where I personally wouldn't bother replacing the windows. – Paul Dec 23 '12 at 13:44
  • Sounds like the whole project hinges on finding out as much as possible about the building technique used in the Stucco construction on this house. Similar to dealing with the several methods of applying lath and plaster, each one requires a different approach if you intend on preserving the wall. My experience is with wire mesh systems where the Stucco could be cut down to the sheathing and the waste peeled off. – Fiasco Labs Dec 23 '12 at 18:32

The fins may be there (and it was installed prior to the stucco) or else they were screwed in via the frame itself.

Eitherway, a sawzall should make quick work of removing it.

  • Fair point. I guess I'm a little concerned about removing the old window and not having the right new window to take it's place. – Mike B Dec 22 '12 at 23:12
  • On a side note, we tried chipping away some of the stucco and don't see any fins. Maybe we didn't dig deep enough. – Mike B Dec 22 '12 at 23:13
  • To see if this is a fin-type installation, you will have to dig through about 3/4" of stucco till you get down to the studs. If you've found studs with no aluminum fin overlying and it looks like you could shove a putty knife between the frame and the stud, then look for screws through the frame. – Fiasco Labs Dec 22 '12 at 23:59

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