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Old 04-27-2011, 04:05 PM   #1
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Window reconstruction

I've got a window that needs rebuilding and I'm thinking of tackling it this weekend. Here's the current situation (and please, don't think I let it get this way; we just bought the house!). It's a small window; the pane is maybe 14" wide and 20" tall; it's in a little square dormer in the attic; more of a roof-access hatch than anything else, squeezed in between two rafters. (The previous owners finished the attic but evidently just ignored this window and now we're getting water. As you might imagine--here are some pictures.

Here's my plan:
1) remove current sash (casement?)
2) remove sill. Far enough to get to good wood?
2a) cut off bottom of side frames so I can make the new sill to sit underneath them.
3) replace sill, with 5 degrees or so of slope away from the inside of the house. Wider than original sill and overhanging the frame member below.
4) build new sash, with thicker wood members than the original, so that I can fasten it together with horizontal pegs and glue.
4a) install glass, paint new sash
5) replace bottom stop
6) scrape the paint
7) prime and repaint the whole shebang

And here are my questions (I'm floating what I'm currently thinking just so I can try to think this through for myself):

1) does the overall picture sound ok?
2) what species of lumber? I've seen cypress, mahogany, cedar mentioned as preferable woods for windows. Should I see what the local lumberyard has? (given the small pieces I'm looking for, I might be able to get some cheap ends of quality boards, no?)
3) I think that the sill proper is rotted but that the rot doesn't extend into the frame member below it. (I think that the frame is suprisingly healthy, all things considered.) I'm planning to make the new sill to overhang the "second sill" below it? (The thing that's more or less flashed with roofing cement in this pic: )
4) where and how to fasten the new sill? Nailing up from the inside bottom was what I was thinking.
5) where and how to caulk/flash the new sill? I was planning to use silicone window/door caulk at the sides and across the bottom, where it sits on the frame piece. Also a thin bead between the sill and the stop.
6) oil-based primer and paint? (This is invisible from the ground; so thankfully I don't have to wait until we've decided on a house-paint color!)
7) should I seal the edge of the OSB roof decking you see here? With what?
(bonus question 7a: None of the OSB roof deck edges are sealed; given OSB's relationship with water, should I get on that?)
8) Should I fill the gap at the top of the window with something? How about nailing a piece of trim across the top, butted against the OSB and caulked at its top?
9) Given the amount of roofing cement joining this to the shingle; okay to leave unflashed? (or maybe there's flashing under there? Should I take off the roofing cement and flash this, maybe with flashing from between the sash and the under-sash down to the shingle?


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Old 04-28-2011, 06:57 AM   #2
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I did not read all your post........a pic is worth a thousand words. This has obviously been a leaky spot for a long time, judging from all the tar around the edges. I would not waste time trying to rebuild that window. Tear everything out, including the outside trim the window and probably the siding, and a few courses of shingles. Make sure everything is properly weather sealed and flashed, and install a quality new construction vinyl(never rots) window. Again, PROPERLY FLASHED!!!!

A lot of work, yes, but done right, you should not have to deal with it again for a long time. Use half measures and you will be spending a lot of time working on that opening.


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Old 04-28-2011, 07:24 AM   #3
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Yes, what "Just Bill" says!
Also, the roof on the dormer looks a little to "flat" for shingles.

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Old 04-28-2011, 03:31 PM   #4
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Hmm, yeah, a rebuild of the dormer would be ideal (there has been water damage in the past under the flat roof, but I don't think that this current iteration of the roof is leaking). The project list for this spring and summer is already pretty lengthy, however, and this one is one that we can do after we've moved in (unlike replacing all the bedroom floors at once, for example!). So doing a major rebuild is still down the road a piece.

All that said, we might wind up doing a replace-with-2011-technology (we'd do aluminum rather than vinyl), but the question then becomes, what kind of 20" by 24" window (I measured this morning) opens all the way (like a door); we need to preserve roof access since keeping the gutters clear is an absolute necessity (our house directly butts up against the greystone on the north so clogged gutters mean a go-directly-to-leak.

It might actually be more helpful to think of this as a very small door than a window!

Last edited by timmymcg; 04-28-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:21 PM   #5
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Marvin makes push out casement windows clad in aluminum,since you use this for roof access you probably should use a tempered glass unit
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