What a way to start a week...

A meeting place for regulars to discuss the lighter side of old-houses.

Moderators: oldhouse, TinaB, Don M, Schag

What a way to start a week...

Postby Texas_Ranger on Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:43 am

Today I got up in the morning to the sound of a sawzall shaking the house. Curious at first, then slightly alarmed I looked out of the window, trying to find the source of the noise (at one point I actually suspected my cousin of cutting a cat door into an original panel door one floor above, but when I heard chiseling that sounded like steel on brick I ditched that idea). What I saw was even more disconcerting... the twin house next door had a gaping hole instead of one of the original windows! Both houses have traditional double windows (hinged casement windows and storms in a common beefy frame), but our outers were replaced in the late 70s including the face frames, for no apparent reason (nothing a can of paint couldn't fix). SO, after cursing the neighbors I grabbed my shoes and a jacket, running out to assess the damage (how many windows they wanted to replace) and save the windows!

I found the casements and large chunks of the frames in the front yard, the 2x5" solid larch frame and face frames cut into 5-6 pieces. Looking at the cuts the wood was in PERFECT shape! The windows even had weatherstripping. For some odd reason they only replaced two windows in the whole house (different apartments) which I saved both. The second one I grabbed has a somewhat rotted frame (English basement with damp brick walls) but the casements are in pretty good shape and I got the entire hardware. The new windows are more or less plain white PVC.

Soooo angry about this useless waste of materials!

On the other hand I'm glad I got the spare windows - they might not fit perfectly, but I hope I can make them fit our house.
The bad thing with electricity : it almost always works.

http://whatapigsty.blogspot.com
Texas_Ranger
 
Posts: 2355
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby KristenS on Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:27 am

I know your pain, Texas_Ranger.

I tried to get my neighbor, who's house was likely built by the same person and at the same time as mine, to not replace his windows. I gave him solid, informative, easy-to-read information from John Leeke's site and others. I even offered to help him if he decided to fix his existing windows.

Instead, he popped them out and installed POS plastic.

We're talking 100-year-old diamond lights like this (these are my windows-- we have the same ones):
Image

He replaced them with crap. What the hell is wrong with people?
Image
c. 1907 Shingle Victorian/Craftsman
House history still being researched!
KristenS
 
Posts: 747
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:38 pm
Location: Northern NJ

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby angolito on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:12 am

WOW, I thought the window assholes were only here in the STATES. We need to get a vaccine for this disease fast, it is spreading like the plague.
Image
angolito
 
Posts: 3891
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:57 am
Location: st. joseph MO

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby Texas_Ranger on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:10 pm

No, the vinyl morons are a worldwide problem. Germany's had that disease for the past 30 years at least, as in many areas apparently they don't know the concept of storm/double windows and started to rip out their single glazed windows rather early.

I'm not even sure who's responsible in this case - the owner or the tenants. Both houses are 8 unit rental buildings built by the same architect in 1913/14. One belongs to my family (my great-grandfather bought it around 1930), the other to some unknown woman who doesn't live there.
Either house retains some original features the other doesn't, for example the twin has all three front loggias intact (one had been closed up for decades but was restored last year) and most of the original rear windows (including the leaded glass stairway windows), whereas ours still has the black marble window stools and at least one of the original light fixtures in the stairway (I'd LOVE to know what happened to the twin's, they just disappeared some 10 or 15 years ago, ours were mostly stolen(!) in the 80s).

One tenant over there already replaced the kitchen window long ago, with a monstrosity twice as wide and 2 feet shorter than the original. Today the new tenants in the same appartment had one more window replaced for no apparent reason. It's closer to the original shape, but still an eyesore. However, since they replaced another window down in the English basement I suspect this was the owner's idea.

Tomorrow I'll try to take pictures of the leftover originals and the new replacements for you to judge.
The bad thing with electricity : it almost always works.

http://whatapigsty.blogspot.com
Texas_Ranger
 
Posts: 2355
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby Texas_Ranger on Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:33 pm

Ok, good news!

First of all I've got to tell you that anything here was eyeballed when they built that house. And I mean everything. Identical doors from different apartments are up to an inch off in both width and height, and don't dare to lose track of window casement positions in one window, there's no way of earth one will fit somewhere else!

After that introduction you can probably understand my surprise to find that the salvaged window and our matching one are exactly the same size, within 1/8 of an inch!

Just for fun I tried to hang one of the neighbor's inner casements (where we still have the original frames) in our window, and lo and behold it fit! The hinges were slightly off, but it actually closed!

So one of my future project is restoring the salvaged face frame (each part is cut into two pieces and one has an 8" long chunk missing) and then devise a way of how to install it, some 30 feet off the ground. In order to get the old face frame off I'll likely have to tear off all the stucco around the opening, remove the sill flashing (which is a pity, since it was replaced less than 10 years ago, but it's nailed solidly to the face frame) and then pry off the frame. While I have that off, I can insulate between the brick wall and the actual box frame.

I guess I'm going to need scaffolding for that job... I don't think I can assemble the frame in situ, and installing a 5 foot by 7 foot frame leaning out of a window far too small to pass the frame through (the partitions get in the way) most certainly isn't something I want to do, not even with proper rock-climbing gear. Buying scaffolding just doesn't seem worth it for the prices I've seen - this house is just too tall for the average DIYer. As I said, we're about 30 feet off the ground, and there are 2 more floors above.

There's one thing though that woeries me about the original windows... the storm transoms are side-hinged outwards opening. Now imagine hanging or removing a 3-foot wide outwards-opening casement... sounds a bit adventurous. The current ones are inwards opening and we suspect that's one of the reasons why the originals were replaced. Don't really know what they were thinking back then (usually outwards opening windows were much narrower than this).

The worst thing though is that I'll eventuelly have to completely take apart the interior trim and wainscotting underneath the window. The wall is pretty measly there, an unplastered single wythe brick wall, whereas the rest of it is triple wythe. Besides, the wainscotting is in fairly bad shape. Unfortunately, it's all that holds up the radiator... so in order to fix the wainscotting I need to take down the radiator... *sigh*
The bad thing with electricity : it almost always works.

http://whatapigsty.blogspot.com
Texas_Ranger
 
Posts: 2355
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby Texas_Ranger on Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:30 pm

Ok, I promised pictures about 1 month ago... here they are!

That's one of the originals:
Image

The 70s replacement I want to replace with an original:
Image

The vinyl atrocity:
Image
(the lower one,the top one is even worse, it looks like this used to be an outwards opening casement and they just covered the old frame with vinyl).
The bad thing with electricity : it almost always works.

http://whatapigsty.blogspot.com
Texas_Ranger
 
Posts: 2355
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby Morningstarlet on Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:58 pm

Those new windows look amazing, and they are probably much more energy efficient. But then again, I live in a 1992 Colonial so I probably don't get it. :wink:
Morningstarlet
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:45 pm

Re: What a way to start a week...

Postby Texas_Ranger on Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:10 am

Amazingly bad, that's what they look!
Seriously, they could be worse, but not by much. At least they had the decency to keep the partition scheme of the originals rather than putting in two huge windows with peel&stick "dividers".

As for energy efficiency... there's really not that much of a difference between good wooden casements with storms and weatherstripping and cheap thermopane casements, particularly as the vinyl replacements age, warp and the rubber gaskets fail. A friend of mine has 1994 vinyl replacements in his apartment (courtesy of some nutjob previous tenant apparently) and he says he never has to open a window to let fresh air in - the leaky windows do that all by themselves! Then I've seen some aluminum clad vinyls in another place, late 80s/early 90s vintage, and they're SHOT - completely! All you can do is put them into the landfill! The material has become brittle and the windows just fall apart. The most depressing thing: they failed even before they were paid off!
The bad thing with electricity : it almost always works.

http://whatapigsty.blogspot.com
Texas_Ranger
 
Posts: 2355
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:42 am
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe


Return to The Hangout Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest