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We have a small window in our dinning room but it would be the perfect spot for a bay window. I have considered a bow window, but want to install a bay window instead. My intent is to fill the seat board of the bay with potted plants as we don’t have a good place to display and nurture some indoor plants. The new arrangement would give us a little more space in the room and improve the overall appearance of the house. It was time to go shopping.

What to look for:

Most manufacturers make completely pre-assembled bay windows. These days contractors use pre-built windows for new house construction or renovation projects. This means you can do the same for your remodeling project.

Bay WindowsIf you have a large window at present that would be big enough for your new bay window to fit in its place then you need to measure the present opening accurately so the new window can be ordered to fit in the old opening. This will save you a ton of work, but if your present window is small like mine and you want a large bay window you can order any size you would like. Though this will mean you will have some structural work to do when it comes to installing it.

A lot of people are using vinyl windows today and they are great. They save any exterior painting now and in the future and will not rot like wood windows. They can also be ordered to the quarter of an inch so you can fit them to any size opening. This saves a lot of work. The only drawback is they have to be ordered and will take around four weeks to come in but few places stock windows like this anyway. Another thing is most bay windows have an operator at each side with a picture window in the middle. The operators can be casement or crank out windows or double hung that slide up and down. Either is a good option it’s your choice.


Bay WindowsInstalling a bay window can easily be a do-it-yourselfer project but before you go the DIY route, you may want to line up a contractor to help out if necessary. This is not going to be a job that you can complete during a Saturday afternoon. Chances are you may not even finish it in a weekend, unless you have done it before.

You are also going to want to line up some help. Bay windows are heavy; at least they are too heavy for one person to manage. Also, be sure and check out the weather forecast. Installing the window means opening a hole into your home. If it takes you more than a day to get the new window in place and sealed, the last thing you want is for rain to come pouring in on your floor, walls or furniture.

Be sure and check your city or community construction codes. There may be special local requirements, such as having safety glass in low profile windows. You may need a building permit anyway, so that is also a good time to check the codes.

Tools and Materials Needed:

You will need a few tools for this project which should include a tape measure, a framing square that you can also use as a straight edge, a circular saw or miter saw, crow bars, drill and bits, level, stapler, utility knife, tin snips and a caulking gun.

The materials you will need to include the bay window unit, the support brackets (these can be made out of 2×4’s), nails, roofing paper, shingles, roofing nails (if your window will be under the eave of the roof and the eave is deep enough to cover the window you won’t have to build a roof over the window and therefore won’t need some of these materials), exterior grade caulking and fiberglass insulation. You will also need some plywood and siding material for the window skirting. If you are enlarging an existing window, or if you are installing the window in a space that was previously wall, you will also need additional framing materials (2×4’s for studs, 2×10’s for new header).

Basic Installation Steps:

Bay Windows1. Establish window position in the wall. I usually start in the inside as how I place it in the room is more important to me then where it is on the outside. Remove the existing window. Measuring the bay window, mark on the interior of the house the opening needed for the new window and cut the required opening. Then transfer the opening to the exterior of the house and cut the opening there.

2. Make sure the framing for the new window is good and complete. If you are changing the size of the window, this will include cutting through existing studs and putting in a new header, rough sill, jack studs and cripple studs.

3. Install the support braces. A window up to five feet wide will take a minimum of two support braces. A wider window will need three.

4. Lift the bay window (with help) onto the support braces and slide it into the rough opening. Shim as necessary to make the window level and fasten in place.

5. Build the window roof frame on top of the bay window unit and nail in place. Fill the space between the roof and the top of the bay window with insulation. Fasten the roof sheeting to the frame and install the drip edges, then cover with roofing paper and then shingle making sure to use flashings where needed.

6. Install the rough window skirting around the bottom of the window, making sure to fill the space with insulation, and then attach the finish skirting, usually vinyl siding to finish off the underneath side of the window.

7. Seal the edges with good quality exterior caulking.

This abbreviated list of the basic installation steps is in the interests of simplicity and space. Your window unit should have the complete installation steps with it or you can get it from your dealer. Take it from the voice of experience; the project will go much more smoothly and be completed in much less time if you read and follow them.
I’m looking forward to my new window how about you?

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5 Responses to “Bay Windows Add Character and Space to Your Home”

I think a bay window would look great at my place I was wondering when you were going to come and install it.

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