Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.
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Last year I bought a 1920s Craftsman home in California. The house has undergone a fair amount of work over the years, with very little of it being of any quality. I've been working on the house and recently decided to tackle the windows in the master bedroom. The original casing had been removed and a newer, far less attractive narrow profile casing had been very poorly installed. I had simply intended to recase the window so as to match the rest of the house. The window had been thoroughly worked over. The obviously-not-original quarter round stop bead was about 3/4" out of parallel with the bottom sash so the window had a ton of slop. I pulled the casing and found that the interior edge of the sill and jambs had been cut down, poorly, to plane in with the sheet rock put up sometime in the last 30 years. Enough was removed that the weight pocket access plate has been cut into. Around 1" on the left and 3/4" on the right side had been cut away. Both jambs are cracked all the way up through the parting a bead groove. Anyhow, I take it further and cut out the sheet rock around the window and find that there is no infact framing around this particular window at all. No full header, sill, cripples, etc. The window looks like it had been moved over one stud bay and the framing to one side was just cut out and tossed. As far as I can tell, the only thing holding the window in the wall is the exterior casing and a heavy helping of can foam. So, deep breath, I'm now going to make new jambs, a new sill, rebuild the window and properly frame the opening. Here's my question. How were windows back then intended to be fastened to the framing? Were they intended to be directly fastened to the framing at all? It would be easy enough to shim and nail through the sill and head jamb, but is that how it was done? What's an appropriate rough opening? I'd like to stick with the era and I really want to keep these windows. I really appreciate any help. Thanks!
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