Tap to Read ➤

Installing Retrofit Windows

Installing retrofit windows could be done at home. Here are the steps for the installation.
Saptakee Sengupta Jun 22, 2019
Replacing the old window frames with a stylish retrofit is being adopted by many. Retrofit windows have a pre-attached exterior rim and the flush fin goes outside the surface. The flush fin, also known as retrofit lip is actually the stopper that holds the window in the right place.
Vinyl retrofit windows are the latest trend that match up extremely well with glass. Window tinting could easily be done on the retrofit frames, ideal for the contemporary designs. The installation is best done with a professional expertise. However, one can also try the installation process at home. Here are the steps to know the process.

How to Install

It's a great idea to replace the old aluminum windows with vinyl retrofit panels. It is easy to install at home with few materials procured at hand. The get up of these windows is quite similar to double pane windows, that effectively absorb solar energy and provides insulation.

Materials Needed

  • Insulation
  • Retrofit window
  • Shims
  • Deck screws
  • Trimmer
  • Caulking


  • Drill three holes on the side and the top of the window. The holes should be approximately 3/8 inches in diameter. The bottom of the window should be left as it is and one need not drill holes there.
  • Now take out the old window panels. Let the aluminum panel remain in place and run a thick bead of caulk on the front of the aluminum frame.
  • One would require a helper for the third step, in order to lift the vinyl retrofit window and then place it on the frame. Next, center it properly such that it opens from inside.
  • Ensure that the window frame is plumbed and leveled. Check the accuracy of leveling by opening and closing the vent panel.
  • In case the window is misplaced, then install shims. Put the shims adequately in between the sill, bottom, and in the corner of the window frame. This way the leveling could be adjusted.
  • Into the pre-drilled holes, drill the deck screws for insertion into the wooden panel. Once the screws are secured, remove the sliding panel.
  • Lift up the drainage holes with the help of a screwdriver and insert the screw into the holes. A caulking is applied around the screw head to make it secure.
  • To avoid water leaking, one can make an extra caulking into the gap from the exterior of the house. This is a way to protect the house from water seepage.
  • Now, comes the insulation part. For this, one needs to fill the interior of the gap with an insulating device, known as R-13 insulation. The insulation is packed tightly with a caulking bead at the junction of the wall and the trim.


These windows are basically of two types, vinyl retrofit and fiberglass retrofit. Vinyl windows are much popular than fiberglass owing to cost. On comparing vinyl windows with aluminum windows, we find out that the cost of vinyl panes although a little more, look extremely beautiful.
Aluminum windows can be upgraded with vinyl panels. For an average size of window, the cost comes to nearly US $320. They are durable and many designs are offered by manufacturers to install vinyl windows. The installation process of fiberglass retrofit windows is more or less the same.
The only difference is that they are a lot more expensive than vinyl ones. The average cost of fiberglass retrofit windows is US $550. Although their durability is still a question, the insulation quality could be equaled to vinyl retrofit windows. They can be customized with different designs and shapes.
The installation of these windows is not a difficult task, if one has some prior experience in this field. The cost would definitely be more if one hires a professional. The materials are available in the hardware stores and are compiled in kits.
All one has to do is, take accurate measurements before installing the panels and then check if the window can be opened and closed properly. Retrofit windows, as the name suggests, are stylish and they uplift the beauty of a house.