How to Enlarge or Shrink Your Window Opening

window opening size

Now that spring is here, you may find yourself yearning for a gorgeous view of your flowering front yard or
wishing your windows allowed more sunlight to brighten your home. Fortunately, with the help of window
installation professionals, you can easily transform your room from dark and dingy to warm and inviting.

Resizing Your Windows

Many homeowners are familiar with the process of window replacement and may even have done it themselves
in the past. Replacement consists of removing the window and its casing, inserting an appropriately-sized
replacement window, sealing, weatherproofing and adding the new casing and trim.

Window resizing is much more complicated than replacement. You aren’t just removing and replacing the window
– you’re also expanding the opening in the wall or adding framing to shrink the existing opening. Construction
experience is necessary to successfully rebuild portions of the wall and exterior siding, which is why the average
homeowner will need to hire a contractor.

The Anatomy of a Window

To understand what window resizing entails, you need to understand the basic components of window and wallframing:

  • Rough opening – Just like it sounds, the rough opening is the approximate size of the window, not taking
    the framing into account.
  • Header – Wood framing that runs horizontally along the top of the window. If the window is especially
    large or part of a load-bearing wall, you’ll want a thicker header to offset the lack of structural support in
    the window area.
  • Sill – Wood framing that runs horizontally along the bottom of the window.
  • Studs – Regularly spaced wood framing that stands vertically and supports the entire wall. Trimmer (or
    jack) studs surround the window’s rough opening and run from the header to the floor. Cripple studs are
    short and run from the top plate of the wall to the header and from the sill to the sole plate on the
    ground. King studs are as tall as the wall itself and must be installed right beside the trimmer studs and
    outermost cripple studs.

Depending on the type of window resizing project, you may need to remove the header, sill or studs and replace
them with new framing. This allows you to adjust the size of the rough opening to fit your desired window.
Keep in mind that amateurs tend to get in trouble when they try their hand at window resizing, especially on a
load-bearing wall. If done improperly, a DIY project can compromise the structural integrity of your home, putting
your family in danger and potentially causing your window to break due to excessive pressure.

Making Your Window Larger

Enlarging your window is typically more complex than shrinking it. If you increase the width, you will need new
studs to the right and left of the rough opening. You will also need a new header and sill that can fully span the
window for adequate support.

If you are only looking to expand your window upward, the sill may be left intact. The opposite is true if you are
extending the length of the window down – in this case, the header remains and the sill needs to be replaced.
Some studs will also need to be replaced. The size and strength of these components may also need to increase in
order to support the added weight of a larger window.

To access the framing, you will need to remove the existing drywall or plywood and relocate any nearby electrical
wiring and plumbing out of the way. Once the new frame is constructed, new drywall or plywood will have to be
installed, insulated and sealed so there is a seamless flow from the new wall to the old wall.

Making Your Window Smaller

Shortening your window, whether vertically or horizontally, tends to be easier because less structural change is
needed. Wood framing can be added to the old rough opening to close it off, and less demolition is required

One notable challenge is that you will need to convert a portion of your home’s exterior to a wall instead of a
window. That means you will need a professional to help put up new siding or lay brickwork to cover the previous
opening. If you know you’re going to decrease your window’s size in advance, save any extra siding or brick
materials from the original construction to ensure a flawless transition between the old and new exterior.

Upgrade Your Windows With Allied Siding & Windows in Texas

If you are thinking of enlarging or shrinking your window, try to do it in spring before the sweltering heat and
monsoons arrive. More importantly, don’t let fear stand between you and your dream home. While window
resizing can be overwhelming for the average homeowner, it’s second nature to a professional.

Allied Siding & Windows has been transforming homes for 30 years and has more than 40,000 satisfied customers
in Texas. Our crew excels in what they do because they’ve taken the time to go through manufacturer training
and learned how to install all our products the right way! We offer Simonton®, Don Young and Andersen®replacement windows and James Hardie® home siding with exceptional warranties.

If you want to work with professionals who will get the job done right the first time, give us a call at (713) 946-