Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Windows: Step-by-Step

Okay, so I am actually writing this not for anyone's entertainment, but for my own sanity. Ever since our $100 a-week house budget went into effect, buying things for projects has become a test of our strategic abilities. For instance, when do we NEED the glass for the windows? When do we NEED to buy the primer or the paint or the sash cords? We spent a good hour in HD playing this game last night. It might get old soon. Who knows.

Quick side note: Last night we made an accidental discovery I feel is worthy of sharing with all of my cheap... er, I mean frugal, house restoring pals. We walked to HD to get some window stuff. One of the things we were going to get was a gallon of primer. After walking around the store with it for a while, we put it back. Too heavy. Purchase averted! Except that we kind of do need it soon to proceed with the window project. Hmmm.

Back to the original purpose of this post. I am going to write a quick step-by-step of our window project to organize my thoughts. Note to people tackling this project. This is not always the most logical order, so you know, rearrange as necessary. And of course, if you want real advice, read Working Windows by Terry Meany.


1. Remove bottom sash.
a) break paint seal all around with razor blade and putty knife. Remove caulk (who caulks a window shut?!) I found grabbing at a chunk of it with a needle-nose pliers is a pretty quick way to get it out in one piece.
b) remove stops gently with a five-in-one painter's tool. I usually put a cloth or piece of
leather under it to protect the wood.
c) gently wiggle the sash back and forth until it comes out.
2. Remove old glazing on outside of sash.
3. Become impatient, try to remove glass too early, break glass.
4. Spend more time removing glazing. (This is actually really important. The whole track needs to be very clean before trying to get the glass out. We've found that heat reflective tape and our trusty borrowed heat gun make things much easier.)
5. Begin stripping paint off with heat gun in garage/basement. Be careful of lead paint! (See your state guidelines for proper removal). Our heat gun has variable heat control. We use it at a relatively low heat, not hot enough to vaporize the lead. We clean up with water and mop afterwards.
6. While spouse is taking FOREVER to strip the windows, get bored and remove all the bottom sashes.
7. Realize it was stupid to have three windows in progress at once. Hit yourself on the head while saying. "Stupid, stupid" repeatedly.
8. Spend at least a week asking your wife, "Should we paint the inside? Should we varnish it? What color should we paint it?" (add your own variations for variety.)
9. Treat wood. We're using boiled linseed oil, but I've read other wood conditioners are also recommended and maybe even better.
10. Remove top sash. Again, same idea as the bottom sash, but instead of the stop, you remove the parting bead. And break it. Is there no way to remove it without breaking it? We found it easiest to take off the storm and work from both the outside and the inside.
11. Gaze adoringly at the hole in your house that used to be a window.
12. Buy screens at salvage place. Begin stripping those to add more to the to-do list.
13. Walk to store to buy primer, realize it's too heavy to carry home, buy screen material instead.
14. Sand and prime screens because you have the week off and you're bored. (Okay, so I haven't done that yet because it's rainy and icky and I have to wear my respirator and I don't like to wear my respirator. It bruises me nose.

Okay see, here's where I have to stop. What do we do next? Prime first and then install the glass? Do we prime the track where the glazing goes? Or leave it bare wood? Anyway, T.B.C.

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