September 5, 2011

Window Shopping

My assignment for the day was to go window shopping. Literally. Even while Dan was working on putting in the new kitchen back door, he was already contemplating the next job on the list, tackling the adjacent wall with the window. The plan was to take the wall down, do repairs, replace the window, add insulation, and put up a new wall.

The kitchen window to be replaced.
Photo was taken in summer of 2009.

This window is not original to the house. We believe it was added when the original pantry was opened up to enlarge the kitchen. We knew we were in for some problems, because there were telltale signs of previous water damage under the window...

Even paint couldn't hide old water damage under the window

When we tore down the wall, we discovered that the damage included rotted floor joists.

The rim joist had been replaced at one time. The rest were in question.
(That's paper stuffed into the AC vent to keep stuff from falling into it)

This wasn't really a surprise, because Dan had found similar damage when we put in the back porch door. What we discovered now, is that someone had previously done some repair on this. You can see it as the newer, lighter color joist in the photo above. Unfortunately, they didn't replace everything else that was rotted out.

The amazing thing about this window, is that it had no framing. It wasn't attached to any posts or studs. It had no header. It was just ... stuck into the wall....

Look Ma, no framing. Old window just stuck into the siding.

Before we could get started however, Dan said we needed the new window. The old window is 30 by 47 inches and we talked about the possibilities. We decided wood would look best with our house rather than vinyl. We also wanted something a little taller, and possibly narrower. That would give us more light in the kitchen and a better view out. With all that decided, he told me to go buy a window.

I had already taken a look at the windows at the building supply stores in town. I always look ahead, to see what's available and what kind of prices we're talking about.  Then I set about to see if I can find a bargain. That day I headed to an area discount builders, which carries a variety of salvage, discontinued, unclaimed, and slightly damaged goods. This means they have no basic stock items, but lots of one-ofs and a few lots of items. It was where we got the new kitchen  door, which is better quality and was cheaper than the porch door we purchased at one of the big box home improvement stores. There are no guarantees when going to a place like this, because they may or may not have what one is looking for. There are no returns either, which means a good bargain may not be so good if the item doesn't work for whatever reason.

I confess I was extremely reluctant to go on this window buying mission alone. This is because while Dan and I make an excellent team, we each have different strengths. Mine is design. I consider the aesthetics of a thing and how well it will fit into the overall plan. His is structure. He looks at how well it will work with the project at hand and what it will take to utilize it. I'm pleased he has such confidence in me, but I always worry that I won't know to look for something important.

They had a lot of windows, mostly vinyl, but also a few wood. After a lot of digging around, measuring, and pondering, I finally bought not one, but two; one for the window we're getting ready to replace...

New window is a wood clad, 2x6 ft casement type.

... but also one to go over the kitchen sink.

This is the exterior of the window that will go over
the kitchen sink. It has vinyl exterior, wood interior

They both have energy star ratings, and I figured I'd better get both now, especially since they were on sale for an additional 30% off. And besides, the second window might not be there next time.

Dan said I did good but there was still something I overlooked and he had questions about installing the long casement window. I'll tell you all about that, later.

18 comments:

  1. Leigh - I'm like you. RMan and I work better as a team too, and I get nervous (of messing up and wasting funds)if I have the complete decision making solely in my lap.

    Your windows look stunning - clever girl to go to the discount store. We don't have that here, only a "reclaiming" / used outlet - that's where we found the door for our green power room. But their windows - certainly no double glazed, and what they do have, is in a sad state of disrepair.

    I'm left trying to figure our what you overlooked...

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  2. Leigh how old is your home, and im with you about putting wood on the outside because i think it just looks better. I love those old stone house's that we have in the Lancaster,Pa area, those are really timeless and have held-up very well. Richard

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  3. That is the problem with doing work on older homes, you never know what other can of worms your going to find when you start into the project. That window is very nice. It will let tons of light in.

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  4. Dani, I think that's one of the differences between men and women. Too bad more of us don't realize our differences are for the purpose of competitiveness, but rather for teamwork!

    Recycled windows probably are never as effective as new ones, for the reason you mention. I was just delighted to get two for less than the price of one!

    Richard, it was built in the 1920s, so is going on 90 years old. I love those old stone houses in the Lancaster area too. Shows a wonderful use of native resources.

    Jane, that's it exactly. We're learning to at least double our time estimates for our projects, LOL. I'm happy with the window. It's bigger than I would have gotten if I'd had other choices, but like you say, it will be great for letting in light.

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  5. Windows are such an important part of a room's structure/layout. We are ending up with very little wall space in our kitchen and living room but, for me, the light is more important. Also the ability to see out and around your yard and house!

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  6. I wish we had a reclaim yard like this here. every time we have to replace something we end up with major jobs, because the carpenter in our town seems to be unable to get a single measurement right:(( unfortunately he is the only one within reach:(( even if you make a technical drawing with all measurements on it - he messes up with most of them... I am just glad that DH is able to figure out most of the problems - and that nearly all our repairs are done for now! I am looking forward to your finished kitchen - I am sure you can't wait to do all the inside things later:))

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  7. That window is GORGEOUS!!! Hopefully you will be able to put it where you want to.

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  8. I really love that big wood window. Great choice!

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  9. Mama Pea, I couldn't agree with you more. I absolutely must have natural light and definitely want to see what's going on outside! I agree it's a priority when it comes to wall space. I'm sure you considered this, but what about skylights in your kitchen?

    Bettina, there aren't a lot around, but we're fortunate to have one about 45 minutes away. We have had the same problem with finding qualified people to do repairs. Very difficult to find someone actually skilled as well as responsible. A lot of what we're doing, we learn as we go!

    BRF, thanks! I can't wait to be able to enjoy it. :)

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  10. what's the problem with the long casement window? please tell, i want to sleep tonight.

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  11. Leigh - Ya know, we never even talked about a skylight(s) for the kitchen. We do have two double windows along the south wall of the kitchen that give us lots of light year round.

    We have a skylight in the room that is now the pantry and also in our enclosed back porch. And I have to say, they certainly do let in a LOT of light!

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  12. Great bargain hunting! We've got a store which sells window and door overstocks, etc. I should check them out for the two we need.. Very pretty window and I love the light the new door lets in. All that light can make a room feel bigger!

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  13. Ah ha ha ha! Your window construction is just like the interior door construction that I uncovered in my old house -- no headers, just sort of stuck in there, unattached.... Amusing. You look like you are well on your way -- nice job!

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  14. Sylvanna, thank you! I'm really happy for it because I love to have a lot of natural light.

    Chris, well, it was made for 6 inch thick walls but ours are 4 inches. Now, please do get a good night's rest. :)

    Mama Pea, I think sky lights are great for places that don't get much light from windows. We've had them before and really liked them except in the heat of summer, when shade would have been preferable!

    Nina, thanks! Places like that are so unpredictable. I find I have to visit regularly and keep my eyes open for what I want. The window was bigger than what I would have originally gotten, but you're right, all the light will make a big difference.

    Project Girl how funny. I figure they assumed the wall and the siding would hold the thing up. They were right, but I'm glad I didn't know before how unattached it was!

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  15. I've been out of town for a while and I see you've been very busy! Wow! Way to get this project going. I love it!

    My husband likes to give me a hard time about everything, but he totally trusts me to buy stuff for the house...in fact he would rather that I go buy it.

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  16. Renee, welcome home! Vacation? It's nice to have the trust, but I'd still rather pick things out as a team! LOL

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  17. Ah, the joys of previous renovations! In our last house, my husband took out some drywall to repair the sagging French doors to find that someone had put them in with no header, no extra framing, no nuttin'.

    Ah well, you're going to love that new big window. It's going to make a huge difference in your kitchen. :)

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  18. Kari, good grief. I'm getting the picture that folks didn't worry about proper framing back in the day! Project Girl had the same thing with a door. It's amazing these things didn't fall out of the wall!

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