Replacing mobile home windows will save on energy costs and give your home a whole new look. If you want to spend your remodeling dollars wisely you cannot go wrong with new windows. You get better heating and cooling control and update the appearance of both your interior and exterior. That’s a decent bang for your buck.
Replacing mobile home windows isn’t difficult if you don’t have to retrofit a different sized window. Unfortunately, because mobile home windows have a “non-standard” size. If you are a seasoned DIYer with moderate construction knowledge and experience replacing a window of the same size should be no problem. If you are installing a smaller or larger window the difficulty factor increases quite a bit.
In this article, we share the types of windows found in mobile homes, how to choose the right replacement windows for your mobile home, and share a step by step guide on how to replace mobile home windows.
6 Most Popular Types of Mobile Home Windows
Mobile and manufactured homes typically have 7 different types of windows:
Awning windows are like Jalousie windows but with 2 or 4 larger panes of glass. Panes open and close via a crank mechanism and torsion rod. Awning windows were popular between 1976 and 1985. Think of them as the ‘new and improved’ Jalousie window.
Casement windows have cranks that open the framed pane. Casement are like awning windows but they are vertical instead of horizontal.
Double Hung and Single Hung: Double hung windows are now the most popular window type. Single hung are a bit cheaper.
Jalousie windows were installed in mobile homes built before 1976. Several panes of glass are installed horizontally and the panes are opened and closed with a torsion rod and crank. Jalousie and awning windows are not very good at stopping drafts so they should really only be used in the south.
Slider windows (horizontal and vertical): Slider windows were popular in mobile homes between 1986 and the late 1990s. One example of a horizontal slider window is in most mobile home bathrooms. Horizontal sliding windows are affordable and often used as replacements to the original mobile home window.
Custom windows can be any unique shape such as the half or full circular.
I’m including the Picture window as the 7th most popular window but these are typically one of the 6 window types above but in a larger size or placed together. These fixed windows are the large bay windows you see on the end of mobile homes.
Why Replace Mobile Home Windows?
If your home is more than 30 years old and still has the original windows you will probably want to replace them soon. While it is a large upfront investment the long-term savings on your energy costs and the updated appearance will make it worth every dime.
Replacing windows is a smart mobile home remodeling project that will affect both the interior and exterior of your home and give you better control over your temperature and energy consumption. It’s a win, win, win!
Mobile Homes Have Non-Standard Window Sizes
In most older mobile and manufactured homes, you cannot buy a standard window at Lowe’s and expect it to fit the opening in a mobile home unless you plan on retrofitting it.
Unless retrofitting sounds like your idea of a good time, you will want to order the exact size you need from a mobile home supply store. Keep in mind that if you order the windows online the shipping increases the price per window significantly so try to find a local mobile home supplier first.
An example of an awning window. The two panes can be raised.
Parts of a Window
Before replacing mobile home windows you need to know the different parts that make up a window. Regardless of the design, a window has the same parts: casing, sills, sashes, etc. This image shows all the different parts of a window:
Single Hung Vs Double-Hung
A single-hung window is fairly self-explaining: In a single-hung window the bottom panel, or sash, moves vertically, while the upper sash remains stationary. When opened, the bottom sash partially obstructs the upper sash. While single-hung is cheaper than double-hung, you get the same appearance. However, you are losing R-value and insulating properties compared to double-hung windows.
A double-hung window offers the homeowner the ability to open each sash, rather than just the bottom sash. This allows for better airflow and ventilation. The ability to open and tilt each sash makes cleaning easier, too.
Vinyl or Aluminum?
The two most common window frame materials for mobile and manufactured homes are vinyl and aluminum. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Vinyl is the most popular window frame material because it is cheap, has good energy efficiency abilities, and a long lifespan. It’s available in several colors but white is the top pick.
An average vinyl framed window for mobile homes, measuring 14″ x 27″ with double-hung glass, was found online for around $85 without shipping costs added.
Aluminum windows have been used on mobile and manufactured homes for decades. It is strong and cheap to produce and does very well at creating an airtight seal. Most will agree that aluminum windows aren’t the prettiest but they get the job done and that’s all that matters.
Aluminum windows are cheaper than vinyl. What you lose in appearance you gain in value. A 14″ x 27″ aluminum window can be found online for around $45 without shipping.
Guide to Replacing Mobile Home Windows
Step 1: Remove the Window
The type of window and siding on your home will determine how easy it will be to remove the old window. If the window’s frame is over the siding just unscrew the numerous screws.
If you cannot see the frame and screws around your window you’ll need to find them. For vinyl or metal siding, you will need to remove the siding sections that surround the window.
Step 2: Measure the Opening
Your measurements will make or break your entire project. You need to get it right!
Most importantly, when replacing mobile home windows, you don’t measure the window, you measure the opening after the old window has been removed.
Next, you’ll need to check to see if the opening is square. If it’s a bit off you can use shims to adjust the difference. If it’s off by a lot you may want to use a smaller window so you can create a square opening yourself.
Mobile Home Parts Store gives detailed instructions for measuring:
“The rough opening should be 1/4″ greater in width and height than the portion of the window that fits in the rough opening. The rough opening sill must be square to the floor within 1/8″ across its width. If the rough opening sill is out of square by a greater amount, it may not be possible to shim and square the window in the opening.”
Step 3: Prepare for the New Window
Old putty or caulk will need to be removed around the opening of the window so that new sealant can be used. You will also want to use new screws for the new window. Assuming the opening is square, you’ll create a line of caulk and install the new window into the opening and then screw it in.
If the opening is not square you will use shims under the window (never above) to make the window square. Mobile Home Parts Store advises:
If the rough opening sill is not square to the floor and if you have elected to shim the window, place the shims beneath the lower corner of the unit until the sill of the unit is square. Shims must be placed beneath the extreme corners of the window frame, additional shims must be placed every 12″ on center to fully support the weight of the unit. Do not use shims on the header, or building loads will be transferred to the window, causing improper operation or failure of window.
Center the window from left to right, but do not remove the sill from contact with the rough opening sill and any shims that were required to square the sill of the unit. While holding the window flat against the exterior wall, start a corrosion resistant Hex Head Screw in the approximate center of one of the frame/jamb mounting flanges. Continue installing screws in the following order: Center of opposite frame/jamb, center of head and center of sill. Re-check the window to be certain it is centered from side to side in the opening, and that the window frame members are straight and the frame is square.
Check to ensure the window operates properly, if it does not, remove the screws and reinstall. Continue installation of the rest of the screws, starting in the center of each member and progressing out to the corners. Note: Do not over drive the screws; to do so will unduly deform the window frame and compromise the seal.
Mobile homes are not uniform when it comes to exterior wall thickness. Some homes are built with 2 x 4’s and some with 2 x 3’s. The width of your home and of the old window will need to be given to your window supplier. They can give you the best advice about the sashes for your thickness. Sometimes it’s best to order windows without a sash.
Step 4: Seal the Frame and Replace the Siding
Finally, run a line of silicone sealant around the entire outside of the window frame. Then simply return the siding over the edges of the frame.
I hope these steps will help to work as a guide to replace mobile home windows and giving your manufactured home a fresh look!
As always, thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living!