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The Importance of Proper Window Installation: Avoiding Common Mistakes

proper window installation

Proper Window Installation Importance

Your windows play a critical role in maintaining the beauty, comfort, and functionality of your living space. At TruVista, we offer a wide range of replacement and new construction windows that will enhance both the aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency of your Milwaukee home. When it comes to getting the most out of your home’s windows, proper installation is a crucial factor in maximizing their lifespan, energy efficiency, and overall performance. In this guide, we will look into the importance of proper window installation, as well as how to avoid common window installation mistakes.

Energy Efficiency

The fluctuations of Wisconsin weather can take a toll on your energy usage and utility bills. Properly installed windows prevent leaks and drafts, keeping heat transfer to a minimum and increasing your home’s energy efficiency. The result? Lower utility costs. Reducing your energy costs allows you to put your money towards what really matters - your family and your home.

reduce energy costs

Greater Comfort

Eliminating drafts and air leakage isn’t just good for your wallet. Proper window installation also means that you and your family will enjoy a more consistently comfortable living space year round.

Water and Moisture Control

Properly installed windows provide an effective barrier against the elements. Incorrect window installation can give outside cold and moisture a route into your home. This can lead to damage to the window frame, the inside of the walls, and interior surfaces, while also providing a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Properly installed windows create a watertight seal, stopping moisture infiltration at the source and saving your home from structural damage. This also improves the air quality of your living space, and keeps your family safe from the health risks associated with mold and mildew.


Improper window installation may result in damage to the windows in the process, decreasing their durability and shortening their lifespan. Proper window installation prevents such damage from occurring, and well-installed windows are generally more likely to have greater longevity, requiring fewer repairs over time.


Proper installation guarantees that windows will function as intended - opening, closing, and locking without issue, which makes for windows that are safe, secure, and easy to use.

Auraline Jen-Weld

Proper Window Installation Increases Curb Appeal and Indoor Aesthetics

Properly installed windows enhance the beauty of your home. A seamless installation process guarantees that your windows look their best, inside and out.

Proper Window Installation Leads to Increased Property Value

Properly installed windows add to your home’s value and increase its attractiveness to potential buyers.

increase property value

Proper Window Installation: A General Overview

When it comes to installing windows, whether full-frame, insert, or pocket replacement windows, the process typically follows similar steps. While it’s advisable to hire a professional for proper installation, the following is a general guide you may follow if you plan to tackle window installation on your own.


Using a tape measure, measure the opening precisely before ordering your replacement windows. Once you get your new windows, make sure to measure them to be certain they fit before proceeding.

Score the edges with a utility knife, remove all screws, and then use a pry bar to detach the frame. Remove any existing sash springs or weights, as well as stops. If the stops can’t be pried off, they likely need to be cut with an oscillating saw. If needed, use wood filler to seal any remaining holes. Lastly, replace any rotten or damaged wood.

Clean the window opening thoroughly, using a shop vac to remove any remaining debris.

Apply flashing along the entire length of the windowsill, making sure to cover the bottom ledge of the inside of the window, including the corners.

Check that the sill is level, using shims for correction if not.

Make sure the window fits by placing it into the opening. Once you’re certain only a small gap remains around the frame, set the window down for now and proceed to caulking.

Apply caulk to the top of the frame, the stops, and the sill.

Install and Secure

Place the window back in the opening, ensuring that it’s supported by the interior stops, and press it firmly against the caulk. Secure the window with shims, screwing them in place through the pre-drilled holes in the frame.

Make sure the window sashes are even, using shims at the meeting rails to compensate if necessary.

Check that the window is even at all points, and test for functionality by opening and closing the window.

Use spray foam insulation and/or weatherstripping to fill in any existing gaps around the window.

Measure from the bottom of the window to the sill and then cut the sill adapter accordingly. Drill two weep holes for drainage into the bottom of the sill adapter and then fit the adapter onto the window, making sure to lock it in place.

Install the exterior trim and seal it with latex caulk. Fill any holes except the weep holes with wood putty, and paint if necessary.

Seal the interior trim with latex caulk. Allow caulk to set before opening and closing the window. 

Avoiding Window Installation Mistakes

Proper window installation can be a painstaking task. Maximizing the functionality and energy efficiency of your windows demands precision and attention to detail during every step of the installation process. Unfortunately, performing such a meticulous task leaves a lot of room for potential error. Installation mistakes can be costly and time consuming to fix, can compromise the energy efficiency of your windows, and may lead to far greater problems down the line. The following steps of the window installation process are most prone to mistakes. Read on for tips on how to avoid errors in these installation steps.


Precise measurements are key to any window installation project. Even slightly inaccurate measurements can result in windows that simply don’t fit properly. Ill-fitting windows won’t just detract from the beauty of your home; they can also lead to a host of other problems, such as air leakage and moisture infiltration. To avoid these complications, it is essential that you accurately measure the window opening at least twice, both horizontally and vertically, before ordering your windows.

window measurement
window shimming


Improper shimming can lead to windows which are uneven or even unstable. This can negatively affect the appearance of the windows and compromise functionality. Use shims and adjustments at multiple points to distribute weight evenly. Shim both sides and the top, ensuring the window is level and plumb.


Insufficient waterproofing can result in water leaks which can damage the window frame, lead to issues with rot, mold, and mildew, and compromise the structural integrity of your walls. This potentially disastrous situation can be avoided by employing correct flashing techniques or applying a waterproof membrane, as well as properly caulking around the frame.

waterproof window
window sealant


Using a low-grade or incorrect type of sealant can result in air and water leaks. Instead, make sure to select a high-quality, weather-resistant sealant compatible with the window material. Apply sealants liberally and evenly to ensure a tight seal. Pay attention to areas especially prone to leakage, such as corners.


Failing to install adequate insulation around the window can compromise the energy efficiency of your windows. To ensure proper insulation, install suitable insulation material around the window frame, making sure to insulate any gaps between the window and the opening to prevent drafts. Installing weather stripping will further improve energy efficiency and cut down on heat loss.

window insulation
window instruction manual

Manufacturer Instructions

Neglecting to read or adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions can result in expensive installation mistakes. It is essential that you follow the installation guidelines provided by the window manufacturer. This includes using all recommended materials, tools, and techniques.

Importance of Professional, Proper Window Installation

Perhaps the single biggest mistake you can make in the window installation process is failing to recognize when you need professional help. As we’ve seen, attempting a window installation is a process fraught with potential hazards. Tackling this type of project without the proper knowledge and skills can easily lead to costly or catastrophic mistakes. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the installation process, hire a professional. 

Contact the window installation experts at TruVista today to guarantee that you have a worry-free installation experience. Proper installation by the dedicated professionals at TruVista ensures long-term performance of your windows, greater energy efficiency of your home, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you made the best decision for your home and your family.

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