Garage Window Installation Instructions


Installing a window in a garage requires intermediate carpentry skills. The first step is to identify the garage’s existing framing. American-style framing and pole barn framing are the two most common varieties. An American wall is typically framed with a plate, studs, a top plate, and sheathing on the exterior. The rafters or trusses in the ceiling above rely on the wall studs for stability. The framework of a pole barn is unique. The primary poles that form the framework of a pole barn are usually spaced six to eight feet apart and driven into the ground below the frost line. Poles must be pressure-treated underground, typically six inches by six inches in dimension. An enormous pole may be necessary for a barn of a specific size. Let’s start with the regular framed garage.

Find the spot on the wall where you want the window to go first. Most garages are left unfinished on the interior, making it simple to check for any obstructions like electric cables or pipes. More effort will be required if the garage walls are sheet-rocked. You must drill several holes in the drywall to investigate the space behind the walls. You don’t want to accidentally sever utilities while cutting the wall studs with the saw, so be sure they’re clear. When constructing a frame for a three-foot-wide window, you’ll need at least one 4″ by 6″ piece of wood, which can be made by nailing two 2″ by 6″ pieces together. Make the header’s length 39.5 inches if your window is 36 inches wide. (39 1/2″). The header will sit flush on the inside and outside of the framing if you use 5/8″ plywood sandwiched between two 2x6s in a wall framed with 2x4s. To get a similar effect with 2 x 6 framing, use another 2 x 6 and some plywood.

If the garage’s gable end is where you want the window installed, you can make the wall cut. Put up temporary shoring if the damage is on the eave end or rafter-bearing side.

Nailing a new 24 alongside the remaining stud will ensure the window is supported at its height. Cut the window aperture at the new stud’s edge using your saw. Sheathing and windowsills will need to be re-nailed to these studs later. Plywood sheathing should be cut to slightly more significant than the window’s outside dimensions. Be sure to hold it together. The re-framing process can begin when the plywood and outside finishes (siding, etc.) are removed. Put a jack stud or another short stud on the right side of the opening. The recommended distance between the short studs is 36 inches. Now, with the header sitting on the short jack studs, slide it into the opening at the top. It ought to squeeze in snugly between the full-size studs. Put full stud nails in to secure the header. Make sure every piece of a new frame is firmly affixed. Replace any studs cut away from the header with new, shorter studs. Repeat this process at the bottom of the window, leaving space for the sill. Again, ensure enough vertical space for the window to fit into the opening. Support the bottom using new short cripple studs positioned centrally on either end of the sill.

If your outside walls are finished with something like T-11, installing the window won’t require extra labor. If your home has siding, some of it will need to be removed to install the new window. Through the brick mold and sheathing, nail the window firmly into the new framing. Before nailing the window into place, check for level. Wood shims can be used to ensure the window is level and plumb, allowing for smooth operation.

A window in a pole barn is significantly simpler to frame. For the construction of a pole barn, it is common to employ “girts” for short. These allow the pole barn’s external sheathing to be nailed down. Plan the placement of the windows within the barn once more, taking care to avoid any wiring or plumbing.

One girt at the top of the window would be ideal. After cutting the wall to the outer side of the window, insert new vertical pieces between the girts and nail them in place. Over the left and right sides of the new window opening, nail two new pieces from the bottom of the bottom girt to the top of the top girt. In a vertical sense, this will bring everything together. If you add two more horizontal pieces between the two side verticals, the inside framework will be completely flush. Using the inside of the framing as a guide, remove the window. After cutting the window to size, it should be installed from the exterior by nailing it firmly to the sheathing and the freshly framed interior. Check for square and level before hammering in the final nails.

Pete, the Building Inspector You Can Trust
System Software for Building Inspection and Code Enforcement (BICES)

Pete has been working as a building inspector in the public and private sectors for over 30 years. He has experience in both the office of building design and the field of construction in the Eastern United States, having worked on a wide range of projects from schools to treatment plants, individual residences, and condo projects to major residential landscaping projects. Together with two other building inspectors, he established Wagsys LLC in 2006, which developed applications for local governments’ building departments, planning boards, and zoning boards of appeals.

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