An Unusual Window Replacement

Exterior view: new window
The home

The home

My clients are owners of a two story stucco home in the campus area. As is typical of older homes, the windows were drafty. They had requested that I build custom wood storm windows to match those on the front. I had promised to get the job done before the first snow fell, but the more I thought about it the less enthused I became. What my clients really needed were new windows!

I suggested custom-sized Pella windows made of wood (not clad in aluminum, as is normally the case). I offered to adapt each new window frame to fit into an existing opening. This required careful measurements and making sure the existing frames were square. I promised there would be virtually no mess! “What about cost,” my clients asked? “Aren’t wood windows more expensive than their clad cousins?” (Note: Pella is one of the few manufacturers that still makes energy efficient wood windows with modern hardware.) I promised to come up with a reasonable price. I knew this would be a labor-intensive job with the attendant “unknowns”. I was willing to estimate labor at $40 per hour. I showed my clients an estimate for material and labor costs and gave them a ceiling price that I would not exceed. Comfortable at last, a proposal was signed and work proceeded.

I dissembled the jalousie windows and re cycled aluminum parts. I installed 1” painted wooden stops on the outside (photo above right). I gave each new window frame a rabbet cut on the sill (photo below) to adapt the frame to the existing window pocket. Then I inserted each new window frame into its opening, so that the sill of the new window lay slightly on top of the existing interior window sill. I insulated air pockets and re installed interior window stops. The installation proceeded without hitch, and the newly painted windows now are virtually indistinguishable from the old ones I had removed. My joy was made complete when a passerby asked me which windows I had replaced.

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