How to Mount a Window Without a Nail Fin

Retrofitting a replacement window into an existing jamb requires basic tools and a little advanced knowledge. Using vinyl-clad windows without nailing flanges (finless windows) helps reduce the amount of work and keeps the integrity of your home's exterior in place. After you've removed the old window, carefully inspect the jambs and frames -- both inside and out -- to ensure there is no rot or water damage. Leave the outside stop in place, if possible, to maintain weatherproofing, and remove the inside stop carefully. You'll replace it after retrofitting the new window.

Replacing old windows can improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Step 1

Place shims in the rough opening along the bottom sill.  There should be a 1/4-inch gap to allow for expansion and contraction.

Use shims in each corner and about every 1 foot to properly support the window. 

Step 2

Lift the replacement window into the rough opening and tilt into place.  Ensure that the sill is evenly supported by the shims.

Step 3

Use shims on all four sides, to get the window roughly square in the opening.  Trim with the utility knife as needed, and apply a drop of caulk to each shim before placing it.

Make sure you place shims at each pre-drilled pilot hole along the sides. 

Step 4

Check the window's placement using the bubble level, both horizontally and vertically.  Tap the shims with the hammer to make minor adjustments, if needed.

Step 5

Apply a drop of caulk to a screw, and drive it through one pilot hole in a lower corner to secure the replacement window to the jamb.  Check the window with the bubble level one more time to ensure it's square, tapping shims with the hammer to make minor adjustments.

Step 6

Fasten the window at each corner in a similar manner, then fasten through any additional pilot holes. 

Step 7

Fill air gaps from the interior, on all four sides, with low-expanding spray foam.  Larger gaps may be filled with fiberglass insulation.

Cover each screw head with caulk.  On the exterior, caulk any gaps with acrylic caulk.

Step 8

Replace the interior window stop and any siding you may have removed. 

Things You Will Need

  • Hammer
  • Cordless drill and screws
  • Bubble level
  • Utility knife
  • Shims
  • Caulking gun
  • Acrylic caulk
  • Low-expanding spray foam
  • Fiberglass insulation

About the Author

Evelyn Fielding has been a full-time freelance writer since 2001. She has a Master of Fine Arts and a Master of Business Adminstration. Her work has appeared online at Beiers Greenhouse, SelfGrowth.com and various syndicated real-estate websites. Fielding has also composed grant proposals, research documents, marketing materials and numerous articles on various subjects.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images