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Old 04-03-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


Greetings all

I am faced with a problem that I could really use some advice on. My house has settled a bit over the years, and about 5 years ago, I had some major foundation work done. I am in the process of doing a complete restoriation to my house, and the next task to do is to restore some up-stairs windows (double). These are the original double-hung windows, and noticed that the bottom sashes of these two windows have been cut at an angle, because the window sill is not level. I plan on rebuilding these sashes, and replacing the bottom sash piece that has been cut down. But when I do this, I also need to figure out a way to straighten the window sill, so the "square" sash fits flush with the sill. The house is still not completely level, but the clap-boards right below the windows is just a little off, as well as the top of the window frame. My biggest problem seems to be with the window sill.

I know that I could remove the inside and outside molding, and straighten the complete window frame, but since it is mainly the sill, not the top of the frame (or the sides), what would be the best plan of attacK? I would rather not add a beveled piece of wood on the sill, because this would also be noticable. Below is a photo of the same type of windows I am having the problem with, not these actual ones, but just like them.



Bofus

BTW, please disregard those ugly fake shutters, they are being removed as I get to them. LOL
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Last edited by bofusmosby; 09-26-2009 at 11:50 PM. Reason: add text
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:46 AM   #2
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


You don't want to straighten out the window frame.
You don't want to shim the bottom.
You do want to put the sashes back to square.
Sorry , you can't get there from here unless the bottom frame has just fell out of one side of the side jamb. If that's the case, shim under it to get it back where it belongs.
If this is not the case, the whole frame is rhombus shaped and needs to be put back to square.
Ron

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Old 04-03-2009, 11:39 AM   #3
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


Thank you for your reply Ron. I know that an old house is hardly ever "square", and since the out of square is mostly on the sill, when I repair the sashes (making them square), when the lower sash is closed, it will not be able to close square. I guess my first plan of attack will be to remove the inside molding,and see if the bottom part of the window frame (sill) has come loose from the sides. If the sill was just a small bit out, I wouldn;t worry about it. However, it is out so much, that to close the window will just not work right.

Can you be a little more specific as to what I should do in this case? I believe that if the sill has come loose from one of the side jambs, its a no-brainer. Shim to square. But, after that, what next?

Thank you for any advice you can give in this.

Bofus (Jim)
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


You don't have to remove anything if the sill isn't attached, you just look at the opening on the bottom. No opening, no sill adjustment.
If you can post pictures of both the interior and exterior of the window in question, I can give you a repair scenario.
The exterior shot should be close enough to see the siding and the window. Interior, the whole window, molding and all.
Any reason you're not upgrading them? The amount of heat you're losing is substantial.
Ron
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:37 PM   #5
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


Thank you Ron, I'll try to get some photos this weekend. As far as upgrading the window, on a historic structure, the original windows should never be replaced. The originals should be repaired and restored into operating condition. If it was just any old house, then it wouldn't really make that much of a difference. As far as keeping the original windows, I'll take the energy loss as the price for being the owner of a house like this.

Below the window sill (from the outside) there is a 3/4 round molding directly below the sill. I am assuming that this is to cover any nails that may have been used to fasten the sill and/or to cover any gap to the structure, but since I am ignorant to how there were actually built, I really don't know. I DO know that the foundation had settled quite a bit on this end of the house, and I believe that it was raised up about 3-4" by the foundation crew. I am sure that this may have a lot to do with the problems these windows have now.

Jim

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Old 04-03-2009, 08:15 PM   #6
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


glad to see your repairing the old windows more pics would help
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:57 PM   #7
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


If the top of the frame is level and the sides plumb but the sill is not level then the sill has come loose. Removing the trim and shimming the sill may be enough. However if the top is out of level also you generally have to remove the trim cut the nails holding the frame in on one side. If you have space above the frame cut the nails on the low side and shim that side up, if there is space below the fram cut the nails on the high side and pry that side down.
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:58 PM   #8
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


If the top of the frame is level and the sides plumb but the sill is not level then the sill has come loose. Removing the trim and shimming the sill may be enough. However if the top is out of level also you generally have to remove the trim cut the nails holding the frame in on one side. If you have space above the frame cut the nails on the low side and shim that side up, if there is space below the frame cut the nails on the high side and pry that side down. As stated above you can't put a square peg in a round hole.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:46 PM   #9
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


Thanks a bunch for your advice. The top of the window frame is not level, but it is not out enough to easily see. It is possible that because the house had settled so much over the years, that this is now the by-product of the leveling process. The clap-boards are not level right below the sill, but again, it is not out by that much. It seems that the sill is "exagerated" in its kilter. I just hated how the previous owner cut the bottom of the lower sashes at an angle, so that the windows would close more flush against the sill. AND, they did a really bad job of doing that. I'll take some photos of the windows this weekend, and hopefully you'll see what I am talking about. My problem is that I am a perfectionist, and as long as I know it is out, then nothing else matters. I am hoping that it is just that the sill came loose from the jambs, but I have a feeling that there is a lot more to it than that.

Jim
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:53 PM   #10
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


OK guys, I believe I have opened up a can of worms. OK, this is what I have done. I removed the center window molding (between the 2 windows) outside to get a better look at what I am up against. THere is a 2" X 4" going from top to bottom, between the 2 windows. Where this 2" X 4" goes just below the sill, this 2 X 4 is all eaten up by termites (old damage). I took some photos of the bottom of the sill, showing the difference from one side to the other. I also took photos showing the bad 2 X 4 running between the windows. I also took a few photos showing the level on the inside top of the window frame, as well a the level on the window sill (way out)l. Inside the window frame (well, below) there are a couple of boards (solid) that are running parallel with the window sill. I believe that because the one board that is all eaten up by the termites, the inside boards have nothing to fasten to, so the entile window frame has shifted downwards on the left side. I am afraid that I am going to have to replace the eaten up 2" X 4", and then somehow raise the inside parallel boards, so that the sill is pushed upwards. Then nail the parallel boards to the new 2X4 to keep it from shifting again. If this is needed, I am hoping that I can do this from inside the house. I would hate to have to remove the clap-boards. I am assuming that it is the same case for the window on the left as well. However, I am hoping I can do this to one window at a time. The actual window frame is in pretty solid condidtion, except for one of the blind stops being rotten at the bottom. I am hoping that if I can remove just the left and top molding, I will be able to shim the window fram back into square, or at least much better than it is now.

Any ideas? Any advice on this? Any input you can give me will be GREATLY appreciated. Is my way of thinking correct, or is there a much better and easier way of doing this?

Below are some photo. I hope this helps.
Attached Thumbnails
Crooked window sill in old wood house-100_0698.jpg   Crooked window sill in old wood house-100_0706.jpg   Crooked window sill in old wood house-100_0735.jpg   Crooked window sill in old wood house-100_0733.jpg   Crooked window sill in old wood house-100_0724.jpg  

Crooked window sill in old wood house-100_0743.jpg  

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Old 04-05-2009, 04:23 PM   #11
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


jJim, I think we passed your , "easy" a while back. Now we're into ,"more involved". Not too bad, but more involved.
This will work without taking out the window.
I would remove all the plaster from below this section so you can work from the bottom up. Get some 2x6's and rip them to the correct size to match the current framing. Cut out the rotted 2x4's as square as possible and add a new piece to the rotted 2x4. You can use a mending plate to keep it in place. Then add a second 2x4 and sister the two together using 3" deck screws. The sistered 2x4 needs to be as high as possible so you can screw it together along a good distance. If you can fit it all the way to the top plate, do that. If you can throw a few nails in through the exterior siding into the new framing so much the better.
Rebuild the double 2x4's as needed below the window. You can screw up from the bottom to secure it.
Square the window in the opening, shimming the low corner. Add shims midway and at the other end if there's space under the window sill. Add shims between the side jamb and the rough framing and drive finish nails through the jamb sides and the shims. If the window is taller then 36" add two sets of shims at the 1/3 and 2/3 area.
That should be it. Insulate sheetrock and add the interior trim
Ron
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


do these windows have sash wieghts? removeing lap siding is not to difficult
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:15 PM   #13
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


Ron, there's a problem. I had already figured to get a P.T 2" X 6", and rip it to the correct size, but this area is where the sash weights go. If I sistered another 2X4 in its place, then the sash weights would not fit. I dug a bit deeper, and it seems that one side of the 2X4 is still solid. I don't know if this makes a difference or not. I thought that the window sill was supposed to rest on the parallel boards below the sill, but I checked another window I had done before(the center molding was still off on the inside), and I see these same boards below the sill, but they are not resting on them. Confusing for me.... Well, anyway, what exactly does the window sill rest on? Is there a support board that it rests on, that I can't see with the outside trim removed? Or, does the sill just float there, fastened to the lower edge of the window? If it is supposed to float, fastened to the window frame, then how about this. If I remove the inside and outside molding from the top, as well as the lower side, will the window frame be free enough to pry it upwards, long enough to tack a few boards from the top, to keep the opening square, then install the left molding to keep it square? After that is done, then the top molding can then be added back to hold the rest in place? Forgive my ignorance, but I guess what I really need to know is what the sill is supposed to rest on, if anything at all?

Tom, yes, there are weights for the windows. I know that there's is no big deal with removing the clap-boards, but here again, I keep thinking of that dern can of worms. I am going to have to redo some of the plaster anyway, so removing the plaster for me is no big deal, it has to be done reguardless.

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Old 04-05-2009, 06:57 PM   #14
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


on those old type windows ive seen the sill is blocked up in the center and the side jambs are rabbeted on the bottom and are nailed to the sub sill
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:56 PM   #15
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Crooked window sill in old wood house


Tom

Do you mean that the sill is actually fastened to the window frame? OK, now you've gone and done it, you mentioned a word I'm not familiar with...."sub sill"? Can you explain?

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