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Installing Storm Windows

Installing storm windows can be a do-it-yourself project for those that are inclined to do so. It should not necessarily be viewed as a starter project, but can be tackled with the right preparation and aptitude. The cost of storm windows can be reduced by doing it yourself. However, if the installation is not done correctly then the storm window will not properly insulate or fulfill its intended purposes. The following guide will help you install Double Track/Triple Track windows; which are becoming the most common type thanks to their versatility.

Material and Tool List

Before we begin the installation process, let's take a look at the materials you will need.

  • Safety Eye Goggles
  • Storm Windows
  • Sheet Metal Screws - (#4 are the most commonly used type for this installation.)
  • DrillCaulking Gun
  • Exterior Grade Caulk or Adhesive (non-silicone)
  • Tape Measure

(Possible) Safety Warning

Eye protection should always be worn when drilling, especially metal and if it is over your head. It only takes one sliver! Protect your eyes.


Let's take a look at materials before we get to installing the storm windows. Storm windows are available in a range of prices. This is not an area you want to attempt to scrimp money in. Even if you do not pay it out on the price of the window, a cheap window will cost you money in efficiency, use, and draftiness later on.

Quick Tips!

The joints of the storm window should be sealed in some fashion. Joints that feature overlapping metal are what you want to look for.Hardware of the storm window is a very good indicator of the quality of the rest of the window. If the clips and latches seem cheap, it is likely the rest of the production quality will not be good either.

Step 1: Double Check and Preparation

Installing storm windows on the exterior will generally have them being placed on the window stop. The window stop is the framework that holds the glass in place.

Lift the storm window into place where it would sit over the window to ensure it is the proper size. The storm window should cover the entire window. Check the edges of the storm window (flange) for pre-drilled holes. If your storm window has pre-drilled holes, make sure they all line up over the window stop.

If your storm window does not have pre-drilled screw holes, use the tape measure to mark off a place for a screw hole every 12" around the entire flange. Use the drill to pre-drill your own holes that will be over the window stop.

Step 2: Caulking and the Install

When you are ready to continue with the install, draw a bead of caulk on the outer edges of the window stop along the sides and top. Do not caulk the bottom yet, it will be easier to do after the window is in place. Lumps in caulking can cause misalignment in the window; so ensure it is an even bead.

Lift the window again and set it into place. It should be centered between the two side stops, touching the window sill on the bottom, and have a little room above for movement. The storm window will flex with temperature change and not allowing room for it will end with a broken window.

Press the storm window into the caulk. Ensure that it is straight with the level and by virtue of sight. Check to ensure the storm window sashes and screen sash all move fluidly and smoothly. If they do not, the storm window is crooked and must be straightened. A crooked installation will result in a weak seal, difficult movement of the sashes, leaks, and more money spent later on.

Using the drill, install the #4 sheet metal screws in the pre-drilled holes in the flange starting at the top of the storm window and work your way down. Take care to not over-tighten the screws, they will damage the frame and compromise the integrity of the seal.

Step 3: Finishing Up

Once the screws are tightened down, it is time to caulk the bottom of the storm window. Take a close look at the bottom for ventilation holes. Many storm windows have them, but some do not. If your window has them, caulk the bottom of the window taking care to not block these holes. If your storm window does not have them, leave two quarter inch gaps in the caulk along the bottom for condensation to drain through.

Double check the caulk to ensure it is well sealed. Inspect the screws to ensure the flange did not get warped from over-tightening. Finally, test the sashes of the window out. If everything operates smoothly and passes the visual inspection, you're done!

Installing storm windows does not have to be a major headache for those that have the time and the tools to undertake the job. It can be worthwhile to hire a professional for installing storm windows in the event that you are not comfortable with the work. This particularly becomes more hazardous when trying to install storm windows on a second story. Always work smart, and work safe.