We became first-time homeowners last month and are excited to join the family!

We are excited about our new home but the old aluminum windows are drifted. The glass is thin and the home is facing a busy street. So we decided to do a retrofit of Milgard laminated windows to solve the problem.

The window replacement company came to our home and told us our old double-hung windows have very thick frames. (Actually, the frame isn't that thick, there are some side fins making the frame look very thick, see below pictures) Then they said doing a retrofit will make the glass really small. So they recommend us to do either a new construction or a block installation.

However, we are not sure if it's common (or possible) to remove the excessive side fin for these windows, and then retrofit on the frame, which is the same as doing retrofit on regular windows.

Questions on block installation methods: We did some research on block installation, and found it seems not that popular. And block installation is mainly used for old wood frame and brick walls. But our home is wood structure and the old frame is aluminum. Not sure if this is not a good fit for our case.

Thank you everyone. We appreciate the help!

Side fin to remove

Side view of the frame

  • 3
    As noted, you can hack out the fin pretty easily. However, it sounds like you've only had one firm through to look at it... you'd be well served to get an additional estimate or two. Jul 10, 2023 at 1:05
  • Yup, agree! Get several estimates from several different companies. Maybe Milgard doesn't sell a window that could be used as a direct replacement in your situation, so they've provided a "fix" that will allow them to sell some windows. Others may sell a window that will slide right in without any issue at all.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 10, 2023 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


Is the house balloon framing or earlier? If not, then for the life of me, I can't understand why you (or the installer) can't just use a sawzall, angle grinder, and a thin crowbar to take the aluminum pieces out. Once you get to the frame, then add wood so that the new frame comes up to the level of the trim. Then install new windows.

  • Hello, thanks for the comment! I want to clarify that ideally we want to remove a part of the aluminum frame (The side fin on the aluminum frame), not the entire aluminum frame. It seems you meant removing the entire aluminum window frames? Jul 9, 2023 at 19:02
  • I would remove all. But you can easily cut aluminum with an angle grinder if you only want to remove part of it.
    – Cheery
    Jul 9, 2023 at 19:04
  • Got it, thanks for the suggestion. That's really helpful! Jul 9, 2023 at 19:26

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