2.14.2011

Replacing Fort Knox with Globs of Wood Filler

Happy Valentine's day! I hope your day is filled with lots of love. In preparation for our big Valentine's date night to the tile store tonight, I painted our entire little kitchen, including the trim, window, and back door. We decided that since I was painting the door, it was probably time to take off a few of its 6 locks, most of which are totally useless. It appears as if one of the window panes on the door was replaced, so it makes sense that someone was totally paranoid after having the house broken into at one point, but it's just all a bit too ironic to have five locks that can just be unlatched once the window is broken. 

Out of all the useless locks we decided to keep one, the day lock, because it serves as a latch since the latch on the original glass door knob doesn't catch when we close the door. The only really secure lock is the deadbolt that opens with a key on both sides. Kind of dangerous if we're ever stuck inside in a fire (we have an emergency key plan that we really hope works, if it's ever needed), but it's really the only way we've found to secure a glass door, apart from our alarm system.

So with all that said, we de-fortified Fort Knox by chipping off as much paint as possible around the screws that had been painted over several times. Then after backing the screws out, we had to pry the actual locks off the door.
One of the slide locks had so much paint on it that it was almost blending into the door completely. S persuaded it off with a few whacks of a hammer followed by a couple of minutes with a flat head screwdriver.
Usually when you back a screw out of a piece of wood, you're left with a little hole to fill with just a dab of wood filler. But since we had pried the locks out of caked on paint, we were left with big gaps surrounded by crusty paint. So I took out our paint scraper and flaked and scraped off as much of the rough areas as possible, then, using a putty knife, I filled the space with wood filler and left it to dry.
While I waited for the filler on the door to dry, I moved on to scraping a section of the window trim that was flaking off down to the bare wood. Our windows are a mess in general. They all need to be re-glazed on the outside and the insides have seen a half dozen or more coats of paint and are all in various degrees of flake. Disaster. The kitchen window is one of the better windows, but happens to be the first one we've actually painted or scraped, so I didn't really know what to expect. I scraped big chunks of paint off around the window frame and then started to sand the rough edges at the edge of the paint so the whole area would look nice and smooth when I painted.

Then, as I was standing there on the counter, sweating because the nine recessed lights in our tiny kitchen give off some serious heat, it suddenly struck me: I bet some of this paint has lead in it. So I stopped sanding. And I carefully wiped up every single surface the tiny dust particles could have possible fallen on, rinsing my microfiber cloth frequently. That was a pain in the....

I stuck my finger in the wood filler and filled in and smoothed out all around the rough edges of the scraped paint around the window trim. My thought was that I would build up the area just a little with wood filler and then sand it and only to top layer or two of paint around it, smooth.

My don't-inhale-a-bunch-of-lead plan worked; when the wood filler on the window was dry I lightly sanded it to smooth everything out and then stepped back to the door and sanded smooth its wood filler too.
A couple coats of glossy white paint later and we're calling our first window and door update a success. But I'm not sure if we're really up for doing the same inside and re-glazing all the windows too. It seems like it would take a weekend a window. 12 weeks of windows? Ugh. What are your thoughts on replacement windows v. re-glazing?

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7 comments:

  1. We debated FOREVER about replacing our windows. We didn't want to lose the charm of our windows - wide sash trim, lovely glass, etc. but we could literally feel the breeze come through and around them. We finally decided to go with Anderson Renewal because they were closest to the look and feel of our old windows. Much heavier than a lot of the discount replacement brands. We ended up getting a good deal so they were only about $100 more window than the cheap-os. Well worth it. We had 16 windows in our house which we replaced.

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  2. wood filler is amazing. well, as long as you paint it. left unpainted it makes me kind of queasy. hahaha. it looks great on your windows. you can't even tell.

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  3. Anonymous2/15/2011

    I vote replacement windows as they will make your house energy efficient, look nicer, and all you need to do is write the check..... :)

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  4. Wow! This looks like a ton of work. I would probably go for the replacements due to energy savings more than anything else. Do you have draft issues?

    These look great. Good job!

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  5. Getting new windows is hands-down one of the best home improvements we've done. Can't feel a breeze through them, quieter, and I am TOTALLY amazed every time I need to clean them that I actually CAN clean them (instead of having to clean each little square and having it look terrible, and not being able to clean the outside at all.

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  6. We don't have any drafts because we have storm windows, but some of the storms are the huge original things that have to be removed and stored, so we can't even open the windows when it's nice out! We spent the day researching more window options today, hopefully we're getting close!

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  7. Wood filler is amazing. Good job!

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