5.07.2010

We Have Windows! We Have Windows!

Color us excited; the windows arrived! We got a call from the delivery driver mid-morning when he was 20 minutes away, and when they got here the three guys made quick work of bringing the four huge windows off the truck.
I barely had time to grab my camera and run outside before they were gone. We didn't think that we would be able to get all four windows installed before the weekend, so we had the delivery guys tuck them behind the house, out of plain sight from the road.

After the delivery guys left we inspected each window to make sure there were no cracks or scratches and that they were what we ordered.
I spoke with the folks over at Jeld-Wen earlier in the week and had agreed to critique their installation instructions. My mom thought this was a pretty cool task since she's a technical writer who specializes in fascinatingly detailed instruction and repair manuals for things like "the world's first self-balancing human transporter," and gerotor thingys. Transporters, gerotors, windows.... Well, you can imagine our surprise when our installation instructions looked like this:
(click the image to view full screen)
We had to laugh. And then I hit the 'net while S whipped out the tape measure to make sure the several thousand dollars worth of glass-ware sitting in our yard was going to fit in the holes in our house.

Back in the house on the Jeld-Wen site I found a whole slew of instructions. Problem is, the titles of the instruction were about as clear as mud. Sorry Jeld-Wen, it gets better from here, but "wood windows without exterior trim or nail fin" and "wood windows with exterior trim or nail fin" were our two logical options. We have exterior trim but no nail fin. I'll give these two options to the lawyers in the house and I'm pretty sure they're going to give you a mind-numbing analysis of the words "and" and "or." Note, we went with "without exterior trim or nail fin" even though we have trim; it made the most sense after reading through both sets of instructions...three times. I printed both, clipped the one I thought was correct with a green binder clip for "go" and a yellow one on the other for "proceed with caution." Then I hit up google in an attempt to find some videos for the fellows who um, well, do any guys ever read instructions?

First up was a guy installing windows in new construction. He made the whole process seem easy as pie, and totally not realistic. We're adventurous, but not gullible. Then, randomly I found videos at Fine Homebuliding and given that I trust their brand and read their magazine at my parents' house, I happily offered up my credit card number for a 14 day membership trial to their site (I have a reminder set to cancel my trial before the 14 days is up, but the "how to build a shed" video has S's name all over it). I quickly forwarded their six-part series on replacement windows to S and his dad. I highly recommend watching them if you're planning to DIY your replacement windows; we referenced "what they did in the video" several times among ourselves throughout the whole process. 

And then with S out in the yard measuring windows we had what can only be described as an oh sh*t moment.
The stickers with the measurements printed on them were right, the order was right, but the depth of the window jamb was about an inch and a half too deep. We panicked. The super helpful guys at Home Depot had sent us home twice to measure the jamb depth before placing our order; what we have and what we ordered were precise, the actual depth of these windows were not.

I called the guys at the Merrifield Home Depot hoping that they would tell me I was wrong and that the windows were fine. The first guy I talked to said no, it sounded like the windows were wrong and directed me to their vendor relations rep. The rep was a super sweet woman who jumped through several hoops to find answers to my questions. After about an hour of phone calls back and forth I finally got final word that we were classic replacement window amateurs: the windows were supposed to stick out a bit from the outside of the house...about an inch and a half. The manager of millwork from the 'Depot who I spoke with was really nice and assured me that if we had a nail fin, the measurements would make more sense and he also said he made the same mistake when he first replaced windows in his home. I'm sure he was making up stories just to ease my embarrassment a bit, but it worked and I appreciated that he didn't treat me like the amateur I am (or was). I know these big box stores can be hit-or-miss, but this particular Home Depot has been a recurring hit.

So we have windows, a whole bunch of instructions, and videos, and we're schooled in jamb depths. Let's get this glass in the house, how hard can it be?

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