Our new window is spectacular! I love it... Who knew one window would make such a huge change in our house.
This old house is filled with the (what we believe are) the original casement windows by Anderson. In never having casement windows, I was intrigued by the cranks and the latches. I love how they are long - almost floor to ceiling in length! There are no internal 'grids' or the normal middle obstruction from a double hung window, letting lots of light in and giving a feeling of being closer to the outside. They are old school; each having their own second pane of glass that snaps in or out, in addition to an individual screen too. When we moved in we realized that not all the windows crank correctly - major drag but at least one, two or three in each sectional open. In order to keep track of which work and which don't, we keep the top open/close latch in the open position. We would love to replace all the windows in the house, yet there are far too many so we are prioritizing by energy efficiency and use.
Along those guidelines, the first and largest sectional to be replaced was the living room. Originally being five separate casements with only two of them opening, we decided it was our best option with the sunshine beating in a good portion of the day. To help with energy efficiency, we bought thick, insulating curtains from Wal-Mart to keep the heat out and the cool in during the summer months and vice versa during the winter months.
We originally wanted Thompson Creek to come out but we are outside their district. Therefore, our next option was HD who sells Renewal by Anderson windows. A rep came out and priced it all out for us...being crazy expensive, we settled on the living room first. In replacing the five separate casements, we chose a three pane window - large middle 'bay' window with a casement on either end. This would be perfect to remove the vertical obstructions and frame our Japanese Maple perfectly, yet still have the option to catch a breeze.
The window was installed on Sept 18th by sub-contractors we were told are legal and professional. In preparation, we had 'fenced' off the hydrangea and two grasses in the front yard, took down the window treatments and moved all the furniture off that wall. Two men arrived - a larger, younger man and a smaller, older man - neither spoke english very well. Jay, Hunter and I sat on the couches and basically watched what they did...curious to see how it was all going to work and to make sure we understood what was happening. I had the camera also to take pictures along the way and document the momentous event - in a covert manner. :)
Everything was going smoothly... they took the old window out and hauled it away... tore out the rotted wood bottom frame, which I thought was nice of them... they then proceeded to replace the rotted frame with a 2x4 piece of wood - makes sense, but seemed strange to us... next it was time to install the new window... they stood outside for about 20 mins just looking at it... tried to cut down a seam to see if would truly become 'sections'... they tried to carry it sideways, but it started to buckle at the connection points between the three windows and realized that wasn't going to work... Jay and I were wondering what they were doing (?!?!)... we walked outside to get the mail and a stray piece of trash that had drifted into the court... once out there, we stood talking to our neighbor and just watching the spectacle... finally we realized the smaller, older man could not lift his end of the window to carry it into the house!!!! You have got to be kidding me!?!? I asked Jay if he was going to help them, but he said no way because if something goes wrong, it's our problem then - makes sense but it was torture watching them. Finally he used a rope for leverage on his end and carried it inside. The larger, younger guy lifted his end into the empty frame and then they switched places - the smaller guy held it in the window while the larger guy hoisted the other end...the entire time the window is perched on the current sill!! I am in shock that he couldn't lift the window - how ridiculous!!! The window is in place and we head back inside to keep watch on the situation. There obviously are gaps between the old frame and the new window; they filled the side gaps with thin packaging foam... I am sure this is fine, but I was again in shock this was happening. At this point, Jay started to look up online about replacement window installation...nothing too comprehensive online, but everything seemed legit. They used shoe molding to hide the gaps and then caulked the seams on the inside. The outside needed some coverage due to the 2x4 for a bottom frame and the gaps on the side and top. They used brown metal which he bent and cut on site. It turned out to match as well as can be expected. Yes, there were times we had questions about what and why they were doing things, yet didn't ask questions for obvious reasons - they do this every day so they should know what and how to do this with their eyes closed. At least that's what you would think... In the end, we are happy with our end result - a beautiful picture window!!
|Original five windows|
|Hunter keeping watch :)|
|Like a picture (try to ignore the ladder)|
|Torn in strips to fill the surrounding gaps after new window in place|
|2x4 as new base with no insulation stuffed in the cracks|
|From the outside|
I am glad I documented all of this because there is are two unfortunate middle chapters. 1) The trim on the window sill had to be replaced due to the Chinese fire drill of putting the new window in the frame. It was wrecked pretty bad, so I called and they replaced the bottom trim molding. 2) Now the window is leaking water into our house!! The caulking looks to have pulled away or deteriorated from the outside of the window around the metal casing. We noticed this Tuesday evening and realized it's probably been happening for a while. There's water creating a small puddle in the living room and creeping along the wall edge, plus damage in the basement joists below the window. Fun stuff! I called HD again and someone was supposed to come today and is now coming in the morning - see below post. Hopefully they will be accommodating because who knows what is happening behind the dry wall or above the basement joists (between the underlayment floor and sub flooring). I will let you know how it goes...