Old Stone House

Installing Windows Should Be Simple – Part One

November 20, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 11:34 am

windowsmall.jpgHaving spent countless hours fixing-siding-flashing-sheeting I was excited to finally install the new windows – a relatively straightforward job. Installing windows should be simple: put the new window in the hole, shim till level, foam, done. This would have been true in our case, had the window’s been the right size…

It would seem that I made one major mistake when I measured the windows – I ‘assumed’. Rather then remove the trim on each of the existing windows and measure the rough openings, I simple measured the inside dimensions of the each of the window frames and added an inch. I ‘assumed’ that this would account for the width of the window frame, which for all intents and purposes should have to be smaller then the rough opening.

I started installation in the sunroom. I ran the reciprocating saw around the perimeter of the first window, and then carefully lifted the windows out revealing the rough opening. I cleaned off the leftover insulation, banged in any stray nails and lifted my new window into place. It didn’t fit. I measured the hole, and then the window and found that the hole was 24”x48” and the window was 24 1/8” x 48 1/8”. How did I mess this up?! I measured the old window that I had just torn out and it was the same size as the new window. The issue was that the rough opening wasn’t a rough opening. Typically, rough openings are about 1” larger each way to allow for shims etc. – this opening was the same size as the window – which upon reflection made sense as this sunroom was a kit. The opening didn’t need to be rough as everything was prefab – slide the window in and you’re done.

I resisted the urge to bang the window in with a hammer and instead picked up the skill saw and walked inside the house. I plunged the spinning blade into the wall sending plumes of drywall dust and sparks into the ceiling as I traced the perimeter of the window until I had enlarged the opening by ¾ of an inch. (My wife quietly watched from a distance fully aware that I was in a ‘mood’)

Now with a proper rough opening I returned outside and again lifted the window into place. It fit perfectly. I banged in some shims until the window was level, and then blew low expansion foam around the perimeter and sealed the window in place.

Satisfied, I repeated the procedure on the other side of the sunroom, with one small difference. When I lifted the old window out of the hole, I did like most people and pulled it in tight against my chest, resting my chin atop it. When I had finally lowered the window to the ground my wife shrieked and started squirming uncontrollably, tearing up and pointing at the window. Ants. I had found the last remaining nest – in the foam atop this last window. The very place when I had rested my chin. There were ants in my beard….

At this point I’ll save you any further details – I’ll simply assure you I killed every last ant – if not with physical force, then with vulgarity alone…

And I managed to finish installing the window. More to come…



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