5.10.2010

The Help Shows Up

S's dad hoped to be at our house by two o'clock on Wednesday to help with the first couple of windows, but a meeting that went way too long delayed him a few hours, drastically cutting our daylight working time. As you may recall S's dad is the project master, so after a quick huddle to consult of the two Jeld-Wen instruction printouts, we broke and the serious work began.
We saved a lot of money by ordering stock-sized windows, but because we needed 1/4 inch on each side of the windows to make room for shims, we had to shave down about an inch off each window opening.
Essentially it meant taking out a piece of trim on each window and a touch of the paneling inside; not a big deal at all. In the end each window fit perfectly between the 4x4 structural posts, which you can see at the left here:
This photo also shows a bit of the rotten wood that we replaced - we were lucky that there was so little damage in a room that was essentially outdoor space for so many years.

With the first opening widened, we did a dry fit of the first window. S and his dad lifted from the outside while I guided the massive double-width double hung unit from the inside.
After a moment of "wow that makes a huge difference" reflection, the guys lowered the window back to ground and out of the way so we could move on to what turned out to be the most frustrating step in the process: making the openings water tight.

The caulking process was pretty straight-forward, and unlike our bathroom project, required very little precision.
It was just crazy messy:
The part that we learned to totally dread was the sticky black water barrier tape rolls that went around the entire opening and wrapped the depth of the opening from the inside out.
The stuff was seriously sticky. Like, if you peeled the backing off too far it would immediately come to life, jump from your hands and stick to itself. Forever. We wasted the first long section when it made a giant strip of stuck-to-itself mess and then we quickly made wrapping the openings a two-to-three person job for the rest of the night.

We learned from the Fine Homebuilding videos that we had to put the Protecto Wrap around the window openings in a certain order to keep water from getting in the seams from above. It seems logical to wrap the openings from the bottom, then sides then top, but it was nice know that there was a reason to do it this way.
The Fine Homebuilding videos gave a great explanation of why we had to do certain things certain ways and coupled with the Jeld-Wen instructions (both sets) we felt pretty confident that our windows would be secure and the surrounding wood protected from the elements.

We'd love to see some videos on the Jeld-Wen Web site because we totally think that replacing windows is something the average homeowner with a touch of the DIY bug and some basic carpentry skills can master. In fact, if Jeld-Wen sent a film crew over to the Hive, we'd bake them some cookies and happily pop out some of the old windows in the main section of the house, ya know, in the interest of being the guinea pigs to show you all just how do-able this project really is. And in terms of bang-for-your-buck, replacing these windows is one seriously big bang.

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