Removing Window from Stucco
I made a previous post with questions about putting in a larger window in our bathroom. Our house has a stucco exterior. We have decided to install a new construction Milgard Tuscany window. The size will be approximately 48"x 18". The window store recommended removing the old window and measuring the rough opening before ordering the new window. The frame that is visible without removing the stucco is 46 7/8" x 11 1/2".
Windowdog posted these instructions for removing the window.
"You don't have to tear up the stucco. Here is a good method. Get a diamond blade for your circular saw. Get an expensive high quality one. On the outside, right NEXT to the exposed aluminum frame, cut through the stucco AND the nailing fin. Experiment with your blade depth because you don't want to be cutting into the stud. Diamond blades don't work so well on wood! Be careful on the corners to get a full cut - you'll have to go past 3/4" to compensate for the circular shape of the blade. When you're finished, the old window will lift out if it doesn't fall out, so don't hold on to the window when you're cutting. Also wear a mask because this is very dusty. At this point, you should end up with a clean cut in the stucco. You should measure your window to be app that size, and you can do that before cutting. Give yourself a minimum of an extra 1/4 inch all the way around for easy fitment between the stucco. You will most likely be behind the sheetrock at that point, but that's not for sure. Once you do one, you'll know how to do the others better. Worse case, you'll have to cut the stucco twice on the first one. DO NOT forget to flash/drip cap above the new window. You can get up in there with a sawzall blade and cut the nails to remove the upper fin, which should give you plenty of clearance for your drip cap. Go ahead and rip out your sheetrock before installing the new window, and then just jamb up to it once it's determined where it will sit. You won't loose much glass area, if any, if you do it this way.
The new window, in this situation, will stick out past the stucco app 3/8 of an inch. You will be able, hopefully, to put a nice neat bead of caulk around it that way, with no raw stucco edge showing. Be sure that you measure for this from the inside surface of the wall around the window all the way around, because stucco can be much much more uneven than the inside sheetrock.
Don't forget you can measure where the studs are by measuring between the sheetrock on the inside and adding for the thickness of the sheetrock. Compare this measurement with what you get measuring the exposed aluminum frame on the outside - BUT, use your inside stud to stud measurements for your basis of determining the new window size. Also, do not forget, window sizes are always width first. width x height. Always.
If this sounds like too much for you, bite the bullet and have the pros do it. If you don't know what you're doing it's not hard to butcher this kind of job. Worse worse case, you're patching stucco, but that will always have a tendency to crack where you patched it.
And please be careful with power tools on ladders. Always have a helper or two. Preferably one to steady the ladder, and one to hold the window. Tie off the ladder, tie off yourself."
We are going to have an experienced friend do the install but I'm hoping we can remove the window ourselves. Here is a photo of the exterior:
Windowdog, I'm wondering why we should cut through the nailing fin. I get that this method would not damage as much of the stucco. However, since the new window will have a nailing fin, how will it fit into the opening if we don't cut around the old fin?
As you can see, the stucco needs painting anyway so we're not worried about matching the color. We hardly ever see this side of the house. If we add wood trim, it would be for convenience rather than because we're eager to dress up the windows. Eventually, we'll also be replacing the bedroom window shown in the photo. Would wood trim work around this window even though it it raised from the wall? If we install would trim, will the stucco still need to be patched underneath it?
You mentioned that the stucco will have a tendency to crack where it is patched. Can the cracking be prevented by making a jagged edge around the window instead of cutting a straight edge? We're leaning toward installing wood trim. The window store rep asked me if we want a stucco key on the new window. She said that if we're adding wood trim, it may not fit well with the stucco key. What type of frame should we order for this window?
Sorry for the long post.