395 Hughes Drive, Traverse City, Michigan 49696 Tel: 231-947-2120 - Fax: 231-922-0609

Customer Care: Window Basics

How to install a window

Installing a window is a relatively easy process and if done right will prevent any future problems.


The first step in installing a window is to insure that the rough opening (the area you are putting the window into) is the correct size. Your rough opening should be 1/2" larger in both width and height than the actual size of the window. Once you have confirmed this you are ready to start.


Unwrap the window and remove all shipping material from the unit. Most window manufactures have shipping skid plates or blocks on the bottom or sides of their windows these must be removed. Now the window is ready to install.


Next run a 1/4" bead of silicon caulk around the exterior perimeter of the rough opening. Make sure to keep the bead of caulk within 1/4" of the edge of the opening. Once this is complete you are ready to insert the window in the rough opening.


When inserting the window in the opening you want to make sure the nailing fins or brick mould is flush with the exterior of the home. When this is done properly you should have a consistent ooze of caulk protruding from the nail fin.


Now that the window is in the rough opening you want to check it to make sure your sill is level. Use your level to insure the sill is perfectly level. If this is not the case you will need to shim the sill on either corner until the sill comes to level.


Once this is completed you will put a 1 1/2" roofing nail into one of the top corners of the nailing fin or a 3" #8 finish nail into the brick mould whichever applies. (Note: if you have brick mould with a pre-finished exterior you will not want to nail through the finish, consult with manufactures installation instructions)


Once the top corner is fixed you want to check the window to see if it is square in the opening. You do this by taking a tape measure and measure from the top corner on one side to the bottom corner on the opposite side. Repeat this process from both top corners. The two measurements should be the same if the window is square. You should never have more than a 1/8" to 3/16" difference in the two measurements. The further you get from perfectly square the more likely you are to have problems with operation of the window in the future. Once you have made all adjustments so the window is square you will nail off the other top corner.


Now you want to check the window for plumb. You do this by placing your level on the side jambs in a vertical orientation. Again both sides should read perfectly level. If this is not the case you will need to adjust the window in the opening using shims until you get the unit plumb.


The window is now level, square and plumb. You are ready to nail off the two bottom corners, sides, bottom & top. You will want to insure you have a nail at least every 8 to 12 inches along the whole perimeter.


The last step in installation is putting on exterior water flashing. There are several types of flashing available, we recommend Vycor 4" or 6" flashing. They are basically long rubber like pieces of tape. You will apply these along all four sides of the window over the top of the nailing fin, starting with the bottom, then sides and lastly the top. Make sure to extend your flashing at least 4" to 6" past the corners, so the next piece you put on overlaps at the corners. This will prevent any water that may get behind your siding from getting into the house.

Maintenance for windows

Windows are just like your car. You need to provide regular preventative maintenance to insure proper operation and appearance. At least once a year, we recommend twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall you should inspect all of your windows.


Things you should check:

1.) Operation: Does the window open and close properly? At any point in the operation of the window does it take significantly more pressure to operate?


2.) Weather stripping: Has any of your weather stripping come loose, torn or deteriorated? All weather stripping is made of synthetic materials and in most cases is petroleum based, which means it can deteriorate due to U.V. rays. Hence it is common on the Southern most exposure of your home.


3.) Seal Failures: Much like weather stripping all insulated double pane windows are sealed with a synthetic material. There is a possibility that the material will deteriorate and cause a seal failure. The tell tale sign that you have a seal failure is if you have any moisture accumulating between the two panes of glass. This may cause water droplets to be visible inside the glass that you cannot wipe off. However, in most cases it will just cause a haze to appear in between the two panes and is most noticeable on sunny cold days.


4.) Interior: You will want to check the interior finish of your windows for any water stains or possible mold forming. You can do this by visually looking at the window. If you see any brown water stains or black areas appearing on the interior there is an issue that needs to be looked at by a professional. Often times it is nothing more than a result of condensation (see condensation issues on this page) or it might be a much larger problem that needs to be addressed immediately.


5.) Exterior: You will want to check the exterior for any damage, peeling or cracking paint, and over all appearance. All windows should be cleaned at least once a year using a mild cleaning agent like dish soap or car soap. We do not recommend using a high-pressure washer other than a hose with a nozzle.


Condensation is a very common problem in Northern Michigan or anywhere the climate provides cold temperatures. It is a common misperception that something is wrong with the window if condensation is forming on the interior of the window. Condensation is a common by-product of high humidity on the interior of the home and cold temperatures on the exterior of the home. Technology has come a long ways in window manufacturing, however; it has not eliminated the fact that glass is a great conductor of heat and cold. If it is cold outside some of that cold is going to be transferred through the glass to the interior of the home. If you have a high humidity level in your home condensation will form on the glass. Areas where this is most prevalent are in kitchens, baths, and basements. The only real solution to this issue is a dehumidifier, which can either be a stand-alone unit or one that is hooked up to a forced air furnace.

Product Warranty

All window manufactures provide some type of warranty on the windows they produce. In most instances the warranties provided for quality windows are very similar. Below you will see a very basic overview of the type of warranty you should expect to accompany your windows. General Warranty Information: ** 10-year warranty, all parts and pieces of the window shall be free from defects in material and workmanship that would render the window unserviceable. 20-year warranty on glass against any defect in material or workmanship. Replacement of the defective glass at 100% coverage for the first 10 years and 50% coverage for the second 10 years. For more information or to review the actual warranty on products purchased through Old Mission Windows please refer to the following web sites.




** Most manufacturer warranties only cover the cost of the product to be replaced and do not cover any labor cost. At Old Mission Windows we provide a labor warranty for the first 18 months. Any service call that is made within the first 18 months dealing with a warranty or service issue will not incur any labor charges.

Call 800-493-2951 for more information today!