Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Custom Building Windows...Part Three

In parts one and two, you saw what the job entailed, how the windows were designed and built, primed, pre-painted and installed...well, OK, at least one of them. The next five of them were not over a deck, so we had nothing to stand on to reach the tops. The whole front side of the room had bushes in front of it, so maneuvering a ladder and having to run up and down all the time was not an option. But we had already made the answer for this during a previous job. 

I had used some leftover lumber...a 4 x 4 vertical piece, and notched into it a couple of 2 x 4's which were all secured to each other with 1/2-inch carriage bolts. By using some ratchet straps to secure the top and bottom of the vertical 4 x 4 to the support posts of the room, and bracing it underneath with a scrap 2 x 4 so it couldn't slide down, we were able to make our own "outrigger"scaffold. With a couple of 2 x 10 planks on the top, it would easily hold two of us, and anything we would be able to lift.

Unfortunately, I only made two of them, so we worked on one set of windows and then had to move one of the supports to a different post to do the next two windows, but it was still better than a ladder.



Disclaimer: Don't try this at home! (Or at least not because I did it!) I'm sure if OSHA saw this they'd pitch all kinds of fits, first of all because it doesn't have a railing around it, and doesn't come with a support harness, and all that other crap they would want. But remember, I have been doing this for 40 some years, and short heights like this don't bother me. I am very careful when working on scaffold, and have never had an accident. For some people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time, you might want to surround yourself with a cage AND safety harness!

To get up and down from the scaffold, we did have to use a 6-foot stepladder, but that was easy enough.


With all the new window frames installed, it was now a matter of installing the glass.


Unfortunately, when they arrived, we were all so busy removing the temporary plywood covers and adding the glass caulking ahead of them that we forgot to take pictures, but let it be known that we used a special clear, non-yellowing, paintable caulking to set the glass. This was applied to the inside face of the glass stop around the frame. There's no need to put it anywhere else. When the glass goes against it, and it is pressed into place, it adheres to both the glass and the painted wood. Any excess that is squeazed out is best left to set a couple days, as it remains sticky a long time. When it sets, it becomes like a hard rubber seal. Then the excess can be trimmed off with a razor blade type scraper. The glass panels were set on rubber blocks to raise them off the bottom about a 1/4-inch. This is standard practice when setting glass like this, and again, knowledge of that, and to make provision for it, along with sufficient space around the other sides of the glass, is necessary when doing a job like this. One mistake in this area can cost hundreds of dollars in wasted time and materials to do over again! 

Only after that was done, did we go back and fill in the little "chair rail" blocks that were part of the continuous apron under the old windows. It didn't look right to leave them off, because they showed up in other places around the siding, so we cut each block to go between the new frames. Then we caulked around each window and over the top of all joints with a good grade of exterior painters's caulk, and then applied a last coat of paint to everything. Even though it is standard practice to use a drip cap (usually aluminum), slipped up underneath the siding above the window, so that it sets right on top of the top piece of casing (to drain rain off and prevent it from going back into the siding), it still needs caulking...especially at the ends.


What a dramatic difference the new windows make! The above picture is looking at them from the west, and the picture below is from the east side.


The new decks were also built by us, but we'll cover those in future posts. For now, we need to go to the inside with Part Four, and show you how the inside went together.




  

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