Blow grass clippings with leaf blower
How to cut your grass like a Pro
A Top Rated Troy Built Push Mower

Get the Right Lawn Care Tools to Cut Your Lawn

I have never believed someone should cut your lawn. 8 years ago, my lovely wife and I brought our first home together. We were strapped for cash and we moved in at the end of summer; which means the falling of the leaves was right around the corner. That first Fall, we were all hands on deck. The in-laws even were there helping us collect and dispose of the leaves on our 1.5 acre property that was lush with trees! We had 2 Troy Built leaf blower/sucker combos and lots of tarp. So, to say the least we weren’t in terrible shape. For the spring, we invested in a Craftsman 48 in deck tractor from Sears, with a service warranty. I think Sears repair service was at our house 1x each month until the warranty expired* (more on this later).

Fast forward 8 years later to present day, our tractor is in top notch running condition. The only issue is the bagger is a dust machine! Since we love the brand Troy Built so much, this spring 2021 we invested in a Troy Built push mower. To get to the point about getting the right equipment, we have the best cut lawn on our street. To add to that, we have the greenest lawn as well. And, there are 2 things we just don’t do: Pay a Lawn Company to cut our grass or fertilize and we do not have an in ground irrigation system. In fact, we barely water our grass (some people will say that’s because we are having a rainy summer).

The right mower, creates sharp lines
Using a great mower, gives great results

Self-Propelled or Push to Cut Your Lawn

I like most good husbands listen to my wife. We are being extremely cautious with COVID-19, so we rarely go to the store together *(we use FaceTime)! She did her research and looked at top rated mowers and she found a Troy Built Push Mower. I was so excited at how quick she found it, and the low cost sub $300, that I went in and literally picked it up and put it in my Home Depot basket. I love this Push Mower for many reasons. It can get into the spaces my tractor can’t and most important dust is not a problem.

This push mower always starts up on the first pull. The blade is extremely sharp*** and this is key. I knew we made the right purchase the first time I cut our grass; it looked better than the professional Lawn Companies. Now, I live on a street where the neighbors are cool but let’s face it, it’s like keeping up with the Jones’. I initially hired the company that does most of our neighborhood but they took too many short cuts and over charged. So, I let them go and I continue to show them each week, I can do Lawns better than you!

One thing I want to point out for cutting your Lawn like a Beast, you need sharp blades. The good news it you can purchase new blades, take your blades to a shop for sharpening or sharpen them yourself with a metal file. My blades make my grass look like I do striping, which is leaving beautifully colored lines/patterns in your lawn. The funny thing is, I looked at striping kits which range from DIY to a couple hundred bucks. When you have the right blades, your lawn will look like your striping.

Also, one important thing to do if you need to revive your lawn is dethatching. I bought a dethatcher blade for my push mower and an actual dethatcher that I hitched to my tractor. Basically, this helps get up the previous dead grass and allows some water to support your new growth. People dethatch in the Fall or Spring, I prefer spring! One caveat, you may dethatch a lawn that is already greening and after dethacthing it will turn a nasty brownish color. This is absolutely normal so don’t fret; you will have a beautiful green lawn in a few short days!

Blow grass clippings with leaf blower
Use a leaf blower to blow grass clippings.

Leaf Blower and String Trimmer/Weed Wacker

You can buy any leaf blower, if you want to replace it soon. Or, you can buy a highly rated leaf blower that will last the length of time. You want something highly rated, I myself got a Ryobi battery powered Leaf blower, Weed Wacker/String Trimmer and an extra battery. I’m not going to lie battery life is very limited, so you might need a 3rd back up battery.

One thing that will set your lawn apart is the tiny details. I refer to trimming & edging and blowing as tiny details. Fellas, it’s like going to the barber shop and getting that nice shape up/edge up and nice details around your beard. I basically give my lawn an edge up. I originally thought I needed an edger; you can buy an edger but a string trimmer is more versatile in my opinion. I make a thin outline along the permitter of my driveway, walkway, street, etc. because this makes my lawn “pop” and standout. Then I cut the grass. After I cut the grass, I blow any excess grass that the bagger didn’t catch, back into the grass. I edge weekly or biweekly depending on the growth and the sharpness of the previous edging.

I’m going to close this post by saying, you know you are on point with how you cut your lawn when your neighbors are having more face to face conversations with their lawn companies. Also, when you cut your grass lower, and all of a sudden the lawn companies are cutting your neighbors grass lower, hmm. Great indicators on your success!

About Us

Dr. Lewis and Mrs. Lewis are 2 ordinary people, who find fulfillment in helping others get projects done themselves. From remodeling to repairing, there is nothing you cannot do without the right equipment and mindset which is your biggest tool!

Window replacement, snowblower repair, carpet installation, window flashing/capping, and more!

DIY - Cut your own grass, repair your own products!
If you have the mindset you can DIY!
DIY like a boss
If you are on this site, then you can DIY too!
Blow grass clippings with leaf blower
DIY it and Cut Your Lawn Yourself!

Shear Pin Too Big and Won’t Fit

Shear pin too big, you are in luck! Chances are if you have had your snowblower for more than 4 years, you’ve replaced some shear pins and shear bolts. The bigger problem comes from having gone through the little amount of replacements that came with your snowblower when it was new. Or if you’re like me and purchased your snowblower from a Home Depot in a shady location, they never gave you the replacement/extra shear pins. Either way, my situation is that since my snowblower is 8 years old it is hard to find the replacement pins at Lowes or Home Depot. For example, the packages will read: Replaces 300/500/600 series, and my mines is a Troy Built 726 oe. Or you might even see replaces Troy Built Shear Pins for models prior to 2005.

Long story short the last few purchases have been of incorrect sizes; often too wide, or a little too short.

Shear Pin too big, no problem
Get help fixing shear pins that are too big

Help, Shear Pin Will Not Fit Into Hole on Auger

I got a few videos below to show my tips and tricks for working with a shear pin too big that won’t fit the holes in the augers. Just for clarity, shear pins are designed to break when overstressed to prevent auger damage. They are a great protective mechanism especially, if you’re like me and you help your neighbor who has an unpaved driveway with rocks and gravel, etc.

Make sure you align the impeller to the auger holes

Align the holes in the auger with the impeller

How to access the impeller by removing the thrower assembly.

Accessing the impeller to replace shear pins

Why do I keep breaking shear bolts?

Shear bolts or Shear Pins break for a variety of reasons. Your not on a paved driveway or sidewalk. Your collecting tiny stones, chunks of ice, moving too fast, etc. First things first, what surface are you running your snowblower on? I was a good neighbor for many years when I lived in a rural location. I’d snowblow my neighbor Pauls 50 yard driveway which was all dirt, rocks, and gravel. Not only did I go through tons of shear pins, bolts, you name it, but at one point the snowblower got stuck on a rock and my forward momentum caused me to crack my iPhone screen. 

Also, do you have skid plates on? Those would’ve helped me doing my neighbor’s driveway. I removed them so my snowblower could fit in my trunk and I never put them back on since the day I bought it. 

Inflate your snowblower’s tires

Now that you’ve addressed the problem of your shear pins being too big, make sure your tires are inflated and ready to go ahead of your next snow fall. To do this, remove the wheel locks and slide your wheels off the axel. This creates convenience for space, if you have limited space and would like to inflate your tires without moving the entire snowblower. For example, you could bring just the tires to the gas station to inflate them. Or this might work for you if you have a tiny garage or shed. The tires do not require a lot of air and this can be done from a standard bicycle pump. It’s great if you have an air compressor but totally not necessary.

How to remove snowblower wheels to inflate tires

In closing, the last thing I will say about Shear Pins and Shear Bolts, they are a pain when they don’t break off clean and they are a pain if you can’t find the correct replacement sizes. But the solutions are simple:

  1. Widen the current hole so the new shear pins fit
  2. Drill a brand new hole so the new shear bolts fit

Just make sure your drilling straight and not on an angle as this will impact how the shear pin passes through the hole or not! Good luck.

Dr. L

Install your own carpet

Install your own carpet and stop wasting time looking for carpet installation quotes. Get yourself the measurements of your room, choose the color carpeting you want, and move forward today! The problem with installing your own carpet or taking on many different DIY home renovation projects is that we start over thinking it. We should simply set our goal: I’m installing a carpet! Then identifying what we need, getting it, and getting started.

Install your own carpet
Save time and money and install your own carpet.

Measuring for your new carpet

To get started, grab your tape measurer. I prefer a steel measurer because of the stiffness of it; ultimately it will stay extended at longer lengths aiding me in getting an accurate measure of the room. The goal is to find the area of the room you are measuring. Measure the length from one wall to the opposite; and measure the width of the room from wall to wall. To be safe add 4 inches to these measurements. This allows you to have extra in the event of slanted walls, and for awkward nooks and crannies.

Hardware and Tools for Carpet installation

You need 5 simple things to move forward with your carpet install. A knee kicker, utility knife/blade, tape measurer, seam/heat gun, seam glue and possibly tack strips. These tools each have their benefit and may not be entirely necessary; for example, I bought carpet seam glue and a seam gun but never used them (still in their boxes). A utility knife is self explanatory but it will help cut the excess of the carpet. A knee kicker, helps to pull the carpet tight to the tack strips and into the gullies just beyond the tack strip.

The good news is if you had carpet installed previously, then you can use the previous tack strips. Even if you have pets, the likelihood of tack strips being ruined is very slim. I speak from experience with a 20 year old carpet and 2 dogs. If you need to replace tack strips, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. One more item to obtain would be a transition strip. This is to be installed at thresholds of doorways also commonly found when transitioning from one carpet to another or from carpet to hardwood floor.


When cutting your carpet, it’s best to cut minimal amounts so you can put it in place and still have extra after using the knee kicker to pull it tight to the wall. Once you identify the excess, then you can cut it because you are certain you don’t need it.

Buy your carpet and install it

Yes, it’s true you get what you pay for. I’d only tell someone to buy cheap carpet for a basement or for a home you are flipping or selling. Carpet can quickly get pricey but keep in mind, you want that carpet to last years. In most cases you want it to outlast the warranty that’s offered with it. Some high end carpets have 12 year+ warranties. 

Look around but also shop for what you desire. Find that color that just calls your name and/or gets your significant other’s approval. Also padding is important. Get a thick pad ideally 8lbs. Carpet padding is measured in pounds with the higher pounds equating to thickness and comfort. If you have pets, get you some pet protection, 3m layer, etc. that is designed to make cleaning messes a breeze. You won’t regret and its money well spent. 

Tip 2:

If you are buying and installing your own carpet, or having carpet installed, get yourself a new vacuum and carpet shampoo machine. These are 2 good investments that you won’t regret. These are an absolute must if you have pets. I won’t tell you want to get because every budget and need is different. But get something that has great reviews. 

Other DIY Carpet Installation Resources

DIY Carpet Installation

DIY Tools review on Ryobi

Confused about what tools to buy? Read this DIY tools review!

There are many DIY Tools that you need to make your home renovations stellar. The difference between an amateur appearance and a touch of professionalism can be based on your tools! Use the best tools that you can get your hands on while also maintaining comfort because you are going to use these tools for years to come. With that being said, think longevity and that will help you shell out that extra $50 bucks or more if necessary. Here is an example of what I say, “This weed wacker is $199 vs this one at $119. Well I’m going to be using it for at least 7+ years, I’ll go with the $199 with more features.”

Rationalize Spending More Money on DIY Tools

Here is the rationale with this approach for buying DIY Tools: even if I wanted to go with the lower priced weed wacker at $119, it’s already a given it lacks features the higher priced model at $199 has. The $119 weed wacker may last just as long and if it does, I’d be using it for the same length of time constantly wishing I went with the higher priced model with better features any way.

Since you are understanding that it is better in most cases to spend the extra money, you probably already know you need to shop around. Compare prices between Lowe’s, HomeDepot, and Amazon. Keep in mind that a lot of these stores cater to certain brands i.e., HomeDepoty Rigid, Ryobi, Milwauke, and Makita, while Lowe’s has Craftsman, Dewalt, Black and Decker, etc.



My first Ryobi came with 2 batteries. One day I was working out back and left my Ryobi out in the rain and 1 battery stopped working. *Note the drill was fine and I was left with the remaining battery pack! That drill and battery lasted a few more years and literally this past year finally was time to go, or so I thought. 

The thing about Ryobi, they often run deals on combo packs which save you tons of money. This makes Ryobi tools my DIY tools of choice!

Reciprocating Saw

coming soon!


coming soon!


DIY Resources

DIY Window Replacement Installation

DIY Carpet Installation

DIY Window Flashing

DIY How to Fix Rotted Wood

DIY Window Remodel – Removing an Old Window

DIY Window Remodel – Removing an Old Window

Remove and replace a window in 3 quick steps

Most people think window replacement and automatically start Googling “Window Replacement”. I’m here to share with you that you can do it yourself. Chances are, that is how you found this blog; because you were looking for tips on how to remove and replace a window, DIY window replacement, and many other home renovation projects.

Remove a bathroom window
How do I remove a bathroom window quickly?


Step 1. Remove the interior trim. 

Now this can be done with various tools but the preferred tools continue to be a Painter’s tool and a Pry bar. These are 2 tools that I didn’t always have in my tool box but I do now. You’ll notice that each has it’s own advantage when removing a window. 1 may be able to get into smaller cracks and crevices. While at times, the other may provide better leverage for prying off interior trim. Also, on some windows I experienced better success starting with the right side of the window frame and removing that side’s trim first.

Use a pry bar and painters tool to remove interior window trim


Step 2. Remove the Window Stop

After removing the window trim, you need to remove the window stop to access the window sashes. This will be a quicker process than removing the trim but it still requires some patience.

Remove Window Stops to access window sashes


Step 3. Insulate the replacement window with spray foam.

Lastly, when you pop that replacement window in to that empty frame you are going to need some insulation. I recommend using spray foam. It’s messy as heck, so use gloves and avoid getting it on your clothes and anything else. It comes with a tip and there are also many tools for distributing spray foam i.e., spray foam gun, etc.

Apply spray foam around entire window from interior

There you have it, 3 easy steps to remove and replace a window and get the new window in with insulation in place!


See the bonus picture below of the bathroom after finishing the window installation, painting the tiles white, painting the bathroom, installing the vanity mirror and best of all listing and selling the house!

Bathroom remodel after removing window
How do I remodel a bath? How to remove bathroom windows.

Dr. & Mrs. L

How to do your own replacement window installation the easy way

Do your own replacement window installation and save money while adding huge resale value to your property! When thinking of how to make replacement window installation easier think measurements. If you have the exact measurement of the window openings it will make it 10x easier to install. 

How to take the best measurement

To take the best measurement, literally take the measurements and bring them with you. Write them down and also take a photo of the measurement that way you are always certain of the exact measurement. What I mean by this is, literally place the tape measurer in the desired location and snap a photo with the measurer in place. Why? Because it doesn’t get anymore exact than this, and you have the photo in your phone for easy access while at the store. Also, check the store’s inventory by window measurement before driving to the store. Doing this allows you to make sure the windows you need are in stock. This will save you lots of time and energy. When you get to store your replacement window will have a range of measurements specified on the side of the box containing your replacement windows.

How to measure your own window for replacement
How to measure your own window for replacement

 *A tip from experience: 

You may have to drive to several different stores to obtain all the sizes you need. Depending on how old your house is, all window openings may not be the same especially considering bathroom windows. Bathroom windows are almost always smaller than other bedroom and living area windows.

How to get desired replacement window sizes
You may have to go to multiple stores to buy the correct sizes of replacement windows

Another way to make your own DIY installation easier

Be careful as you are moving the old windows. Keep the trim in tack, the window stops, mullions, etc. because these are often reused parts in window installs even by professional window installers.

Carefully remove the trim and the nails in the trim. If you leave the nails in the trim, carefully realign the nails with the nail holes as you wrap up the replacement window install. If you can’t salvage the nails, you can use your nail gun or an old school nail and hammer approach. Just get the right nails so they penetrate the wood enough so the head doesn’t stick out and create an unsightly problem with your install.

How to remove window trim
Remove window trim carefully to reuse it!

Also, before removing the trim and window stops, take a picture of everything. This will help you get things back together accurately.

Setting up your replacement window

Keep your replacement windows near the area where you will install it. That way the replacement window doesn’t have far to travel and you can go from the floor to the frame. Have the rest of your materials on site including your window insulation foam and caulk. 

Have replacement windows and materials near window location
Keep replacement windows and materials near desired install location


Take a picture of the old window
Taking a picture before removing old windows will help with installing replacement windows


Use photos to help with replacement windows
Use photos to help with replacement windows

Once the window is in, insulation applied, screws screwed in, edges caulked, you can prepare to get the window stops and trim back in place. At this point take a photo and high five yourself because you can say you know how to do your own replacement window installation!

Replacement Window Installation Help

DIY Window Flashing

DIY Window Replacement Installation

DIY Window Remodel; Removing an Old Window

My realtor laughed when we said we would renovate ourselves…

DIY Rotted Wood Railing Repair

 DIY How to Fix Rotted Wood for Good!

DIY how to fix rotted wood address the window sill rot, the rot on wooden railings, and similar surfaces. To begin the process of fixing something, you must first identify what’s broken. This is a delicate process because you already know or have suspicion that there is rotten wood. Some signs of rotted wood might be it has started splitting, stick out or up, it literally may have begin falling apart or falling to the floor or ground.

How to Stop the Wood Rot?

So now that you have identified and located the rotted wood, you don’t want to just paint it or cover it up. This creates a nice environment for further rot to emerge. Ultimately, we want to first stop the rot and repair the rot. In my DIY experience, this requires removing a piece or a section of the rotted wood. Here I’d advise you to mark the spot where the rotted wood transitions into “good” wood that can be salvaged. Then, you guessed it! We would remove the rotted wood up until the salvageable wood.

Using Wood Filler

Next, we’d get some replacement wood and/or wood filler. It depends how wide or long the open space now is that will determine next steps. If the space is 1inch or smaller, use wood filler. If the open space is wider, then use a combination of replacement wood and wood filler. Depending on your needs, you might need to use the replacement wood as a wood filler, in addition to the wood filler. 

I use Bondo brand Wood Filler it’s $20.49 at Amazon (see below)

Another tip with wood filler is that you can use spray foam and go over it with wood filler. For example, if you were covering a lock hole in your door. You could spray foam in the hole to create a filler effect. Let it dry, then cut the excess like using spray foam on windows. Then cover it with a layer of wood filler.

What to expect when you use wood filler. So if you get Bondo, there is a quart sized amount of wood filler. There is a small tube of activator located underneath the cap. Mix a generous amount of filler with activator. The activator hardens the filler. This gives you a short working time up to around 15mins. (check the label) before it hardens. Once it hardens, it is literally solid as wood and you have to sand it to even it out.

Our goal in this post is to go from this:


DIY Rotted Wood Railing Repair
DIY How to Repair Rotted Wood Railing

 To this:

DIY Rotted Wood Railing Fixed
DIY Rotted Wood Railing Fixed

Step 1 Mark the Good Wood

Mark the part of the wood where the rotted wood meets with the “good” wood. Cut away the rotted wood. 

DIY Remove rotted wood
DIY mark and cut away rotted wood

To remove the rotted wood, you can use a reciprocating saw (that’s what I used). It’s $99 on Amazon (see below).

Step 2 Apply Wood Filler and/or Replacement wood

Depending on the size of the area you may need just wood filler or both replacement wood and wood filler to fill the gap from the rotted wood you removed. You do not need special replacement wood, it can be any piece of wood you have around or spare wood from another project.


DIY prepare replacement wood
DIY swap rotted wood with replacement wood
DIY placement of replacement wood
DIY position replacement wood
Now that you have the replacement wood positioned, you are ready to apply wo

Now that you have the replacement wood positioned, you are ready to apply wood filler to create the bond between the existing wood and replacement wood (see next step).

Step 3 Sand the Wood Filler 

Sand the wood filler so it is level with the existing wood. You also want it smooth so it can receive the paint. Note, paint it on a dry day. I painted it may be an hour before it rained and let’s just say it looked like it was never painted. To be clear, you can use an orbit sander or a corner cat sander depending on how big the area is. If it is the corner of a window or in a tight space, you’d use the corner cat to reach a smaller space.

Step 4 Be Proud

Congratulations DIYer, you just fixed your rotted wood!

Other Helpful Resources

DIY Window Replacement Installation

DIY Window Remodel & Removing an Old Window


DIY window flashing for a clean install

The last post closed with cleaning up the install from the interior; DIY window flashing is all about cleaning up the exterior. On the exterior of a brick house, there is brick moulding around the window. Think of this like the trim or exterior frame around the window.

This moulding is what your storm window frame screws into and there are window stops that keep your window from falling out, just like the interior stops keep your window from falling in.

Why you need to flash your windows

Flashing your windows is necessary to protect your new window, the frame, and the interior walls from moisture and the elements of precipitation. The good news about flashing a window is that it will last 20 plus years. There are 2 options aluminum or vinyl flashing. If you have vinyl siding, go with vinyl flashing. If you chose aluminum flashing it would still work and provide you with a clean install.

Flashing is molding to the specs of the frame of your window and the exterior molding. It is important to have the exact measurements to a T simply because this determines how clean your install will be. 

In the pictures below you will see the before and after and ultimately you will want to go from this:

DIY window flashing mulled window
How to Flash 2 windows or a mulled window

To that:

DIY how to Flash a mulled window or 2 windows
How to Flash 2 windows or a mulled window

Notice how the aluminum flashing covers the top and bottom of the window, the middle and the left and right side of the window. Also the top corners were cut at 45 degree angles to perfectly align.

Should you try Do It Yourself Window Flashing?

If you are looking to save big money on your window install, you want to clean up your install, and you can following directions, then yes! You should certainly try do it yourself window flashing. If you installed your own window, you should definitely flash it, because flashing is much easier. This is a fine detail project that involves measurements, cutting, and precision. The material is literally feather light, so it does not involve heavy lifting.

My experience with flashing

As I mention later, I could not find much reliable or helpful information on flashing windows. I pulled from everywhere including professional window installers, Home Depot & Lowes’ employees, YouTube, This Old House, and more. What I heard was, “you need some window casing,” “you need some window molding,” “you need to get someone to wrap your windows in aluminum,” or “you need to have your window capped.” These are all the things you may read or hear as you look for how to get your windows flashed or wrapped in vinyl or aluminum. Either way, when it comes to DIY window flashing these terms may be used interchangeably. (Please note I am not saying they should be, because the process was much more confusing because of that.)

Cutting the flashing

So truth be told, there is very limited DIY information available on flashing windows. For weeks, I’d go to work. Watch YouTube before driving home. Then stop at Home Depot and Lowes on my way home to look at aluminum, aluminum rolls, chimney flashing, etc. I had no clue what I was looking at and the YouTube videos were only How Tos not really “What to buy and from where”. And when I thought I found a good video, it was just a guy using a Brake to bend aluminum to make flashing for his own windows. More or less him bragging out how he was able to flash his windows. 

Where to buy Window Flashing

If you are DIYer on a budget like me, then you want to always keep quality and budget in mind. Moving forward, I finally found 1 video where the guy was talking about

He went on to show how simple it was to install flashing ordered from Trimbender if you can provide the exact measurements of the window. He even instructed on how to measure. The rest was history.

Trim bender refers to it as window trim (see image below). This is what you need to order.

DIY window flashing brick mold trim
DIY window flashing trim from

I measure every single window, I placed my order through their website and I paid their outrageous standard shipping fee of $69. Being on a budget and uncertain if this would even work I placed a small order for about 5 windows. Let’s just say Trimbender makes it very easy for you to get the flashing you need! They literally make it to the specifications and all you have to do is cut it because it comes in 6ft and 9ft lengths. You can even order the nails through them as well. Most important your order arrives in 7 days max.

Cutting your flashing

As mentioned earlier, if you buy an aluminum roll, you can cut it using a Brake. A Brake is a $1,500 piece of equipment that will cut your aluminum to size. It is about 6+ ft. long. Ever see those window installer guys with their trailers? They have a Brake in there! But if you are a do it yourself on a budget, don’t buy a brake. Just go to trim bender and save the hassle. Now that you have your order and it is time to unbox and install.

You are going to need a multi angle miter cuter tool. I bought mines on Amazon for $15. Also, you will need Tin Snips, which in my opinion worked better for me. You are going to measure the angle you need, 45 degrees in most cases and cut the corners. You are also going to cut the length and width of your windows to cut the flashing to those specifications.

Purchase Tins Snips for $23.99 at Amazon see below

DIY Tin Snip Aluminum Flashing Tool
DIY Tin Snip Aluminum Flashing Cutting Tool


One last tip about cutting. After I did the 45 degree cuts, I noticed driving around and visiting my parents, a lot of houses don’t have 45 degree cuts on their flashing. Their installers kept it square and it just overlaps and still maintains a clean look. Much simpler if you ask me because it is a pain standing outside in the winter cutting aluminum.

You can experiment, you may choose to keep it square. To do so, just account for the cut in your measurements. 

Either way, when flashing make sure you overlap the sides of the flashing on top of your bottom at the points where the sides and bottom meet, and overlap the top with the side at the points where the top meets the sides. This creates a protective barrier from moisture getting behind your flashing and becoming trapped. When I say the bottom, I am talking about the window sill flashing.

Congratulations you just finished learning how to prepare and complete DIY Window Flashing!

Other helpful links

DIY Window Replacement Installation

DIY Window Remodel & Removing an Old Window

This the Miter Tool I used from Amazon for $28.99

DIY Window Aluminum Wrap Trim cutting tool
DIY Installing Aluminum Window Wrap Trim Miter Cutter tool


DIY replace windows

DIY Replacement Window Installation

A DIY replacement window installation is the way to go if you want to save some serious money, I’m talking about thousands. So in the last post we talked about doing a DIY Window Removal. The most essential take away was the simple fact that you have to get to the window sashes. In my experience there weren’t any straight forward videos or How Tos that were available for our specific window design, window stop configuration, etc.

Taking off from where we left off last post, at this point you should have a clear windowless window frame. Use a shop vacuum or a vacuum with a dust filter to clean any excess dust and debris. You can also you use hand broom (you know the little one that comes with a dust pan) if you have one. Before I go any further, let me say getting to the removal step and pre installation, we are assuming you already measured your window frame from left to right and top to bottom. And bought the replacement window.

DIY replace windows
DIY Replace windows yourself

What is a replacement window?

A replacement window is just that, a replacement. It will fit right into the same opening you removed the old window from assuming you have accurate measurements that are accurate within .5 inches. As you will see when you buy the replacement, it will give you a range i.e., fits openings 29.5-30.5″.


What is a New Construction Window?

The other alternative is a new construction window. These windows are designed for a rough tear out where you have literally removed everything to the bare bones even the window sill. New Construction windows come with a nail fin and are install from the outside of the house.

DIY Replacement Window Installation Materials

Drill (Preferably Ryobi)

Pack of Window Shims

Caulk (white so it blends in with your new vinyl window)

Spray Foam (Use low expanding for windows)

Shoe stops

Inside window stop or Interior Casing/Trim (to clean up the install)

Install that new window

First, check the specs on  your window and measure it a final time before preparing to install. This ensures that it will fit. Let’s just say I learned the hard way last January in freezing temps buying a window right before Home Depot closed, which meant I couldn’t return it that night. I didn’t realize the size was off until I tore out the old window (yikes).

After you have confirmed the measurements. Get your drill ready, your window can now be placed into the frame. Use window shims to make the distance where the window is not touching the frame. These shims can be applied on the bottom and left and right sides of your window. Once they are in a good position where you can let your window go and it won’t fall in or out, you are ready to check the leveling using a leveler.

Level the new window

Place the leveler on the top of the bottom sash in between the window locks. Once the indication shows level. Get the drill and the screws to the screws into to the frame. I suggest going left to right. Top left and bottom right and vice versa to keep everything balanced. You don’t want to screw in an entire side and then everything is off as you go to the next side.

After you have your screws in, check for plume. Making sure you window is level and can open and close properly. Keep in mind depending on the material your window is made of you have to be mindful of temperature functions and humidity that may allow the window to close easier or not.

Insulate that new window

Here is the messy part, the DIY replacement window insulation. Now it is time to go in between the window shims or any cracks between the frame and the window and using the small nozzle on your spray foam. To do this insert the spray foam (straw) into these cracks, and pull the trigger to spray a good amount of foam. It is important to use low expanding foam because if you use a high expanding foam, there is a chance that you can spray way too much and literally move the window even though it is screwed into the frame.

Please note that spray foam gets very messy because it is very sticky and difficult to remove. I’m not saying it can’t be removed but trust me you will see what I mean if you get it on your hands or clothes. If it gets on your clothes, toss it, from my experience it doesn’t come out.

DIY replacement window insulation

DIY replacement window insulation with spray foam


Where to put the spray foam

The spray foam goes around the perimeter of the window. Don’t worry if you spray too much. At least your window is insulated. No bugs are getting through. More importantly cold air won’t be seeping in or warm air escaping. Keep in mind that some brands offer window head expanders and sill extenders. These are designed to help fill the gap between the top and bottom of the window and frame. It is ideal to spray foam inside the head expander and behind the sill extender. This helps ensure no gaps for air to come in or heat to escape your home. Also, when you spray too much foam, don’t worry. Take a very sharp utility knife or razor blade and make a straight cut to remove the excess.

Depending on how much excess, you might decided to push it back in the cracks. To do this, use a painters tool or putty knife. Ultimately, you will cover it all up with interior trim, window molding or interior window stops. This depends on what Home Depot has in stock when you go pick up your materials.

Cleaning up the Window install

After the spray foam around the windows dries, use caulk on small cracks. Do not try to cover a .25 inch or .5 inch crack with caulk. This is where shoe stops, interior stops, or interior trim come in. They take this:

DIY replacement Window Molding interior trim install
DIY Window replacement including Molding and Interior Trim

Congratulations on your first DIY replacement window install

And that should do it folks! You have successfully completed your DIY replacement window installation.

Now go enjoy your favorite cigar, glass of bourbon, IPA, coffee, or tea!

Other Helpful Resources

DIY Window Remodel  Removing an Old Window
We are all DIYers
How my wife and I became DIYers