Windows In

I know it has been a few weeks since I gave an update on the windows (read about when they arrived here), but I am pleased to announce that they are in! We had some strange 50 degree weather over New Years weekend and I was able to put in both the laundry room and bathroom windows with the help of my brother in-law.

You will remember from this post that I already removed all the mismatched interior woodwork in anticipation for the new windows order to properly measure the original window openings. A previous owner replaced about half of the homes windows with new windows that were slightly smaller than the framed openings. You can see that in this before photo.

I decided if I was going to take the time to install the windows myself, I wanted it done right. And that meant installing windows as large as the original frames would allow. Let me walk you through the (long, tedious) process of replacing the laundry room window.

The house is sided in its original cedar shake shingles.  They’ve been painted with a low quality paint (future project?), but the shingles themselves are holding up quite well.

Because of the condition of our exterior window trim, we chose all vinyl windows that have brickmold trim attached. Notice the deep cracks between the trim and the window and failed attempts at caulking in this picture.

First, we removed the storm windows.  Then began the minor demo. We used a sharp utility knife to cut the remaining silicone between the trim and the wood shingles.  Next, we used hammers and a wonderbar to pry off each rotting trim board.

Ignore that telephone wire to the left of the window.  Since we don’t have any land line phones, I just yanked on it until it came loose from wherever it was attached.  Problem solved.

With all the trim removed, it was time to remove an entire row of shingles around the entire perimeter of the old window. We took this step slow, using a wonderbar to remove the shingles carefully so as not to break any. We tried our best to lay out the singles on the ground in the same order as we took them off, hoping that would help us put them back on once the new window was installed.

That mess of wires remaining left of the window? Internet. I plan to run them through the attic this spring. That hole below the window? Well, all dryers are vented somewhere, right? The holes above the window? Those tell me that at some point in time, a former owner had additional insulation blown into the walls between each stud. I was actually quite glad to see them.

With all the shingles removed, I taped black plastic over the entire window opening on the inside to help keep dirt and dust from blowing in the room. I pulled out the insulation, sparse as it was, and powered up my recipricating saw. With a combination wood and metal blade, I cut through the nails between the window frame and the framed opening. With all the nails cut, the window easily slid right out.

I hammered out the blocks of wood around the perimeter and used a shop vac to sweep up all the dust we made. Now the prep work to install the new window.

Just as the installation packet instructs, I bought self adhesive window wrap and used it to prepare the window opening. The strip of window wrap seals the bottom of the house wrap, or in my situation, felt paper, to the sill of the window opening. With that in place, I dry fit the window in place to test for level and plumb. Next I ran a thick bead of silicone around the perimeter of the opening and set the window into place. I hammered one nail into the bottom corner, and tested again for level and plumb. With this window I got lucky, the sill was level, the wall was plumb, and the window set perfectly in the opening. So I finished nailing the window into place, with nails every 6 inches. I put another bead of silicone around where the nailing flange met the felt paper around the sides and along the top of the window. Then more window wrap. I applied the window wrap first along the bottom of the window, overlapping the nailing flange and sealing the vinyl to the felt paper. Then a strip of window wrap along each side.

Lastly, I put the window wrap along the top of the window, making sure the strip is long enough to overlap the two side pieces. By working at the bottom and overlapping as you apply each piece, you ensure that if any rainwater would penetrate to this layer, it will run down the wall without getting in the wall to damage the wood.  With the final piece of window wrap in place, it was time to put the shingles back on.

And we thought taking the shingles off was a pain. We tried our best to keep them in order as we were taking them off, but that only half worked. The majority of the shingles didn’t fit in the same place as they came from so it became the worse jigsaw puzzle I have ever attempted. Ever. But I finished. I had to use some unpainted shingles in places, and I siliconed over a few seams just for extra measure.

The siding just needs a layer of a good quality paint and these windows will really stand out. On the inside, I tucked an ample amount of new insulation in the small gaps between the window and the framed opening. Which you almost can’t see because the window is just that good of a fit in its opening!  Exactly what I wanted. And I sleep better at night knowing the window will never rot like a wooden window would, even if a leak would occur in the future.

Now I can’t wait to trim it out with woodwork! Although I know that won’t happen until at least spring when it becomes warm enough for me to use my garage as a shop again. I am going to try to use as much of the old woodwork as I can, but I already know I will have to buy all new lumber to make window sills (since the old windows were framed without sills).

So there you have it.  Tearing out an old double hung and installing a new construction window in a existing framed opening.

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