Monday, March 16, 2009

Plans for the spring

We spent some more time working on the second floor bathroom this weekend.  We are ready to start putting up the drywall now.  Our plan is to try to concentrate on the bathroom as much as possible because once the good weather is here to stay, we need to switch over to working on all the outdoor issues.

I’ve got calls into about five different roofers right now to get quotes on the standing seam metal roof over our cantilevered sun porch on the second level and to have repairs done to the two dormers (as described in a previous post).  We also plan to have soffit vents installed around the main roof and have insulation blown into the attic (there’s only about 1/2” of loose insulation sitting up there).  It may seem odd to be insulating in the springtime, but it will help with the summer heat (we don’t have air conditioning, yet) and we couldn’t insulate until all the knob and tube wiring was replaced.

While we get the professionals to figure out the roofing and insulating, we’ll concentrate on the numerous repairs to the windows.  I made a trip over to our local Lee Valley store to pick up some supplies for window repair.  They had decent glass cutters, and a glazier’s point tool (along with glazier’s points).  They also had a small size wood repair kit (made by Abatron). I had to make a second trip to Preston Hardware to pick up the DAP33 glazing compound for glazing.  Unfortunately no one carries copper window weather-stripping (only the cheap plastic stuff), so I’m putting in an order with Kilian Hardware.  Kilian have the Abatron wood repair products in much larger sizes, so if I’m pleased with the results, I’ll order a 2 gallon tub of each of the WoodEpox and LiquidWood (I’m going to need a lot of it to repair all the rotten sills, frames, and window sashes).

Kate and Rob over at are in the process of replacing all their old wood windows.  You can read more about it on their blog.  I went by to visit them this afternoon (a big thank-you for the tour!), and they were kind enough to offer us their old windows.  I don’t think they have any that will be an exact fit for the ones we’re missing, but the hardware and hinges, and much of their glass (the nice old wavy stuff) will be incorporated into our window repair project.

I spoke to a local company that does wood window restoration and repair.  I was given their name as a possible source of the copper weather-stripping.  They were nice enough to give me a few suppliers and some tips on restoration.  I asked them how much it would cost to have them do our windows so I could get a feeling for how much we’re saving doing it ourselves.  They charge $200/sq ft of window to do a complete repair.  That includes repair/restoration of any rotten wood (sills, frame, sashes), repair/replacement of any broken hardware (pulleys, weights, locks), copper weather-stripping, replacement of ropes with chain, stripping and repainting (interior and exterior primer), and replacing broken panes with standard glass (extra charge for historic wavy glass).  This also includes restoring the old wooden storm at the same time. This price seems especially high to me.  We have some windows that are 18-21 sq ft (> $3500!).  I asked how busy they are with that kind of work, and they indicated that they could fit me in sometime later this fall.  Either there’s a huge demand in restoring wood windows here, or they don’t want the work; I haven’t decided which.  Regardless, I feel pretty good about doing the work ourselves.

We have 56 windows in total (I’m counting window openings, not individual sashes), 10 of which are replacement PVC windows, so that leaves 46 original windows (62 individual sashes) to restore (plus all the corresponding storms, I think we’re missing only 1 or 2).  I think we’ll be busy this summer…

1 comment:

  1. Even by old house standards, $200 a square foot sounds expensive. I can understand that the work that has to be done out at your house, up on ladders, might be a bit more pricey, but for most of the repair work on windows, which can be done in the comfort of a workshop, the price should be less.

    I'm trying to find someone to work on my windows, too. I plan to do all the glazing myself, but some of the steel frames are in pretty bad shape, and I'd like to get them all painted in such a way that I never have to worry about painting again - perhaps powder-coating?