In this article, we’ll explore just how messy is window replacement.

Arguably, one of the biggest downsides to a home improvement project is the invasiveness of the work. 

You may have recently hired a window contractor to get some replacement windows installed.

You may be wondering if there will be nails , dust and other debris will be thrown around your house.

We have the answers for you.

How Big Of A Mess Will Be Left Behind?

How much of a mess can you anticipate with your window replacement project? A huge one.

In fact, some homeowners who have received window replacement have gone so far as to call the job “very messy.”

Just because there’s no paint or other sticky materials used doesn’t mean your home will stay immaculate for the duration of the project. Likely, it’ll be anything but.

Also, generally speaking, this doesn’t mean the installation team will act carelessly towards your property

They’ll take as many precautions as they can to keep things as tidy as possible


Interior Drop Cloths Drop Cloth for flooring

If your contractor uses drop cloths, they’re doing so to reduce the mess they’ll inevitably make during the window project.

Still, you might consider the appearance of drop cloths spread across your home as unwanted clutter.

If you’re getting just a few windows replaced, then the contractor will only use drop cloths in those rooms.

If it’s a whole-home window replacement, then yes, you’ll have to live amongst more drop cloths than you may like.

Most of the time, the contractor and their team will clean up the drop cloths at the end of the day.

If they can’t do that, they should at least shove them aside so the cloths aren’t in your way while you’re in your home at night.

If you’re the type who works from home or is a stay-at-home parent, you won’t get that luxury. You’ll have to tiptoe around drop cloths all day while the contractors work.

While you can get annoyed by this fast, remember the drop cloths are there for your benefit. They’re catching a lot of mess that won’t end up on your floors or carpeting.


Dust Accumulation

You could clean your current windows religiously, but more than likely, you can’t reach every last nook and cranny.

That’s okay, but you should ready yourself for dust during a window replacement, and sometimes lots of it. Once the contractor and their team begin taking out your old windows, they disturb plenty of long-since-settled dust.
The dust spreads on any nearby surfaces unless the team uses plastic wrap (keep reading for more on this).

If you or another family member suffers from dust allergies, you should prioritize staying away from the house during old window removal.

You might want to ask a family member without allergies to clean up the dust after the team takes the windows out so you don’t have to breathe it in.


Plastic Wrap Coverings

Besides tarps, the team working on the window replacement project may also put a plastic wrap to various interior surfaces and items.

For instance, before they remove your old windows, the contractor and their team may cover floors, couches and seats, beds, shelves, and more. This way, when the dust falls from the window replacement job, it will settle on the plastic wrap and not the actual items.

The team will later roll up the plastic wrap and dispose of it at the end of the day (or once the project wraps up). This way, there’s no hidden dust in the corners, nooks, and crannies of your most-used household items.

You also don’t have to worry about dust getting in your bed, which can certainly cause you sleepless nights as you sniffle and sneeze until morning.

So yes, while you might think the plastic wrap is an eyesore, it’s a necessary evil.


Blind Removal and Reinstallation

You probably have blinds or window treatments installed on most if not all of your windows. You might use these instead of curtains to keep the sunlight to a minimum.

However, to take out your old windows and install your new ones, the contractor and their team will have to remove your blinds.

You may elect to get the same blinds reinstalled or you could upgrade what you have. Either way, removed and discarded blinds can contribute to the mess during your window project. This isn’t a huge issue, but one that we should mention nonetheless.


Is There Any Way to Minimize the Mess? Rotted wooden window sill

You’re probably not a huge fan of a messy home. Who would be? That has you wondering, can the team minimize the mess in any way? Sure!

Double-check that the contractor uses tarps both inside and outside the home. We already talked about the importance of tarps inside.

What about for outside? As the contractor and their team take out the windows, they’ll have plenty of old wood and drop debris to deal with.

To keep your interior cleaner, they will likely just dispose of this debris outside of the home through the window opening. Having a tarp on the lawn keeps your grass, plants, flowers, and landscaping in good quality during this stage of work.

Another good reason for outdoor tarps? The window installation team could use a miter or table saw to cut the wood down to size for the replacement.

As you can imagine, a job like this kicks up a lot of sawdust around the area. A tarp can catch most of this. The team then balls up and throws away the tarp without leaving a sawdusty mess on your lawn.
Besides tarps, drop covers and plastic wrap are two essentials your window replacement team should rely on, as we mentioned.


How to Prep Your Home for Renovations

Okay, so we just talked about what your window replacement team can do for less mess as they begin your renovation project. What about you? How can you prepare your home for the work ahead?

Leave Lots of Room in Hallways and Openings

While your windows themselves might not take up a lot of room, a decent-sized team of installers will. If you can clean up anything in your halls and doorways to open up more space, then please do so. You’ll make everyone’s lives easier. That could in turn speed up the installation process and cut down on messes.

Take out What You Can

You might feel worried about certain items in your home getting dirty or damaged during the window installation process. While the team will take great care of your possessions—covering and staying away from them—it doesn’t hurt to do what you can, too.

For example, if you have one-of-a-kind items or keepsakes, then you might want to seriously think about moving them out of the home until the project’s done. This makes the replacement window installation process less stressful on you since you don’t have to fret over your most prized possessions. You can focus on your beautiful new windows instead.

Keep Pets Away

Do you have a cat or a dog at home? For the length of the project, you should try rehoming them, be that at a friend’s house or even through a veterinarian.

Pets in their overexuberance or anxiety can get in the way of the team while they’re working and halt progress. They can also contribute to messes through shedding and possibly urinating or defecating out of fear.

You also don’t want your pets breathing in or possibly eating the messes accumulated by the team as they work. If your pet were to get into a pile of dust or wood pieces, that could cause health issues that would require immediate medical treatment.



If you’re considering a window replacement for your home, you might not have given much thought to how messy this project can be. While a trained team of installers will do their best to minimize messes, they can’t keep every last speck and particle away from your house.

By using tarps, drop cloths, and plastic wrap, the team will contain most messes they make. As a smart consumer, you should make sure any window replacement company you work with provides these items during old window removal and new window installation.

Before the team comes to your house and begins work, go through each room and clean it up. Keep pets out of the house if you can. Remove keepsakes and other precious items so they don’t get dirty or damaged.

Also, make as much room in entryways and doorways as possible.

While a window replacement project might be messy, by taking tidy precautions and ensuring your contractor and team does the same, you can make the experience a seamless and cleaner one.