Advice needed on replacing old aluminum porch windows

Jayme1April 10, 2011

Hi all, I need some help, after living in my little home for 21 years, I'm finally able to do some work on my back porch and I would love to have new windows - ones that actually open and close! One estimate is 2600.00 and the other 2000.00 - these are for the el' cheapo windows - they don't have argon gas or a low E rating (I have 8 windows)

I don't have a big budget, and that seems a bit much for windows that aren't that good - I would like them to be a little insulating even though I can't afford the best. My thought was I could do this myself since there is no siding, window trim or much else to deal with and buy a little better windows.

It seems to me that new windows are thick or wide and I don't have much wood to work with, the wood sections are 2" wide (marked in the photos below). I don't even want to attempt to remove the wood that is there (to put in wider pieces) because it's attached to cement blocks. I can work with wood, I'm not at all any good with any type of cement/brick.

And removing the wood scroll work above the windows - not sure how difficult that might be.

So, can I just go to a local store and buy regular windows? If the size is right anyway, I have one that is only about 12" wide but I could put a stationary window there if I can get one made that little, that would work for me.

Is this something that would become complicated because of the narrow wood widths? Or could the screws holding them in be so shot I can't get them out? Should I hang up the dream of having a back porch with functioning windows? I really appreciate any advice, tips, any help you can give me - I have never installed a window before.

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What you appear to have is what are commonly called triple track storm windows. They are mounted to the face of the exterior trim as opposed to inside a jamb. These were quite commonly used for porches in years past. Unfortunately there are no replacement type windows that I am aware of with a 2" jamb so the only thing that realistically could be done would be to have the wall framed with 2x4's, and remove the existing exterior wall so as to give you a typical wall construction to insert your windows in.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:15PM
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Thank you so very much for the information! I guess I will have to be happy with just the screen in the door for a breeze :-)
I would be concerned with removing the 2x2's from the cement block (they are held in place with spikes) might cause more trouble. I will just re-paint and caulk them again so they at least look a little better and leak less - maybe some WD40 will help loosen them so I can open one!
Thank you again, I do appreciate your help!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 3:27PM
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Windows on Washington


Overwhelming majority of replacements are based on 3.25" frame depths.

You are hamstrung in this regard. Your options are to frame out the wall as Millworkman said or maybe look an an insulated storm window.

The storm window option will not be airtight like a new window would.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 3:28PM
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Hi Jayme1: If you are stuck with keeping what you have, you can get a product to clean the aluminum frames at a hdwr or box store. Have you removed the glass and screens on any windows yet? If you do and get them back in place after cleaning them, do they move up and down? If not there are products like sill glide etc that you spread on the tracks. I noticed the wood condition above the windows and on the sills. For this kind of wear, I use Peel&Stop...I scrape all the loose paint and apply this clear product and then paint over it with a good oil base paint after filling holes etc. if screens are missing, you can buy a kit and make them for missing ones. Not too hard to do after the first couple of trys. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 7:20AM
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Hi Wiley, thank you for that information! I didn't know that a special product was made for aluminum cleaning! The screens are all there but everything is rather 'stuck' - you know how aluminum gets gritty and rough? I will be getting some sill glide - didn't know about that either! The wood looks bad because I've been scraping everything so I can re-paint when warm weather finally comes - still have quite a bit to do, scraping is so boring - I'd much rather be painting! I need to caulk again too, a little water does come inside so I'm hoping that will help. Thank you so much, I have hope now that I can make the porch look nice again :-)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 3:33PM
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