Why Not Go for (Sub-) Broke?

Really hoping to get this replaced quickly; blue tape is a crap weather seal.

Really hoping to get this replaced quickly; blue tape is a crap weather seal.

After emptying out most of my savings account for a new roof, I thought, “What the hell. Might as well get new windows, too.”

This is not an aesthetic choice. Half the windows in my house don’t close properly and thus don’t lock (I have workarounds in place, in case you’re contemplating stealing the silver…and anyway, I haven’t any silver; I sold it to pay for the roof). And, because of the significant window widths, many of the vinyl sashes are sagged in the middle; those windows look drunk and let in gales of cold air all winter (despite the towels and weather stripping I jammed into the voids, and the lovely 3M plastic I installed over them). But yeah – they’re also ugly – maybe aesthetics played a part….

So John Pater (of Pater Architectural), is making new wooden sash windows for me, in the style that is appropriate to the house (I’m cheating toward the 2st-century a tiny bit; they’ll be double-paned). John will paint the exterior bits (which is why I was in a frenzy to choose the right colors); I’ll stain/tone/shellac/varnish the interiors to (hopefully!) match the casings. (I’ve been playing around with that for a few weeks now.)

For that to happen, I had to pull a window so he could take a look at the frame, and measure the angle of the sill. And I’ll have to pull another in the next week or so to confirm that angle, before he returns to make final measurements for the 21 windows (very few of which are the same size).

But I realized last weekend as I was walking around the place whilst contemplating my dive into penury that one window, in what was the second-floor kitchen, is probably not right. That is, there’s a sink in front of it, and the casings are clearly not original. That window, naturally, is on the side of the house that’s close up against the neighbor’s fence and house, so I can’t get back far enough to get a good look from the outside.

So I leaned out and had a look.

Pretty (and pretty far to fall...)

Pretty (and pretty far to fall…)

Sho ’nuff. There’s a piece of plywood in the bottom of the frame. The window ought to (and once did) start about 1′ farther down. (Funny that it’s the only replacement window in the house that is wood…were it the right size, I might leave that one.)

But the kitchen cabinets have plumbing and electric inside that preclude my going “full Fitz” on them with a sledgehammer and wrecking bar, and I want to leave the water and electric in place – this room will eventually become a guest bath.

So I roped in Christopher Schwarz. He’s on his way now to help me get the cabinets out in a more controlled manner…and to be truthful, because I am terrified to see what might be living in the void between the plywood and the interior behind the cabinet. If I swoon (say, should a colony of cockroaches come pouring out), I want someone here to catch me.

Those windows should be the same length. And will be.

These windows should be the same length. And will be.


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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5 Responses to Why Not Go for (Sub-) Broke?

  1. Good luck. Please document slant potential swooning.

  2. wb8nbs says:

    What’s “Savings Account”?

  3. BLZeebub says:

    Ditto on vinyl sash being crapola! I did a whole house replacement for a friend and after working all day with them I would never put those things in ANY structure I own. Here in FLA we have to worry about cooling more than heating. The chief complaint about wooden sash down here is that it swells and sticks during our brutally hot and HUMID summers. BUT when done properly, fit well and maintained, it’s not really a problem. Most of the time it’s too many layers of latex slathered on that’s the problem. Anyway, it looks like your abode is coming right along. Soon enough you’ll be showing the place off. Right now, I’m off to the big box store for a quarter sheet of wall board to plug up the hole left by my plumber in preparation for the new kitchen cabinets coming Monday. Woohoo!

    I’ll tip a Double Black or two to our shared progress. Cheers, Fitz.

  4. neitsdelf says:

    But you got to have friends.
    The feeling’s oh so strong.
    You got to have friends
    To make that day last long.

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