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In depth information on do it yourself home property maintenance, covering all aspects of residential home, commercial, business, and apartment building repair, remodeling, and renovation projects Featuring tips, advice, how-to and step-by-step information to help you maintain and improve the value of your business building and home.

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Repairing Holes in Window Screens

Window screens are meant to keep insects out, so if your window screen has a rip, tear, or hole in it, it's time to repair it.

Here are some simple directions.              

These methods work best on holes no larger than two or three inches across.  If the hole is larger, you'll want to replace the screen.  You can do-it-yourself or take the screen and its frame to most hardware stores to have them do it.

If you're working with more than one window screen at a time, be sure to write a number on each screen, and write a matching number on the window frame. If you take screws or bolts or other hardware off the window, put those in a bag and write the matching number on the bag, too.

METHOD 1

Step 1. Cut a patch of screen which will cover the hole at least 1" on all sides.

Step 2. Unravel a long piece of screen wire or several pieces and lace it through the patch and screen. See picture below.

METHOD 2

Step 1. Cut a patch large enough to cover the hole with about 1-1/2" around all sides and unravel all sides of the patch about 1/2". 

Step 2. Bend the ends of the wire 90 degrees to the patch and push them through the screen covering the hole. Bend over the wires projecting through on the back side to hold the patch. See picture below.

Parts of this article were adapted from a public domain article written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with references from the Michigan Extension bulletin "Repairing and Replacing Screens." Photographs courtesy of Michigan State University Extension

Bill Lewis

Build a Window Cornice

Give your window a whole new outlook.

Whether you have or are planning to install formal drapery, miniblinds, Roman shades, or another casual window treatment, window cornices add a new dimension to your decorating efforts. In addition to a cornice's obvious functional purpose -- concealing drapery hardware or the often-unattractive tops of miniblinds and other window treatments -- a covering of fabric allows you to bring a touch of color and texture to your room. Choose a fabric that coordinates with (not necessarily matches) that of other furnishings or window treatments. (A separate project tells you how to cover your cornice with fabric.)

A cornice can also be used to improve the proportions of a room that has undersized windows or window moldings. The dimensions of the cornice we show here can be easily modified to suit your design needs. You might, for example, decide to extend a cornice all the way to the ceiling instead of just a couple inches above the window casing.

Materials List

  • Tape measure

  • 2-1/4-in. coarse-thread drywall screws

  • 1/4-in. lauan plywood o Drill/driver w/ Phillips bit (or drill and screwdriver)

  • Handsaw and combination square

  • #6 Combination countersink-pilot bit o Utility knife and straightedge (opt.)

  • Clamps (open to "D" dimension minimum)

  • Wood glue o Two 2-in. inside corner braces

  • 5/8-in. brads (or 5/8-in. screws)

  • 1- and 2-in. screws for braces

1. Determine Cornice Dimensions: The cornice height should equal the width of one side of the window casing plus about 6 inches. The bottom edge should align approximately with the top of the window glass; the top will extend 2-1/4 inches above the top of the casing. The cornice depth should equal the thickness of the casing plus 2-4 inches (minimum). If there are existing or planned window treatments, the depth should equal the depth of any open window treatments plus 1 inch (minimum). The cornice width should equal the full window casing width plus 1 inch (minimum). This will allow a 1/2-in. overhang on each side. If existing or planned window treatments extend beyond casing, the cornice width should be the width of the treatment plus 1 inch.

2. Cut the Parts: Cut all parts, substituting your cornice height (H), depth (D), and width (W) for the letters in the cutting list. Use a square such as a combination or carpenter's square to mark square cut lines.

  • Tip: Lauan plywood is inexpensive and can be cut with a handsaw, any power saw, or even a utility knife guided by a metal straightedge. You may also be able to have your lumber supplier cuts strips to your height (H) dimension (for the fronts and sides) and depth (minus 1/4" for the dust cover). Then all you need to do is cross-cut the lengths.

3. Attach Cleats to Sides and Front: Apply wood glue to the face of the cleat and locate it 1/2 inch below the top edge of the plywood. Drive 5/8-in. brads through the plywood into the cleats (or use 5/8-in. screws). Do the sides first; when doing the front, center the cleat set back 1-inch from the ends of the front. Space fasteners about 4-6 inches apart.

4. Assemble Cornice: Apply glue to the edges of the sides that mate with the front. Clamp the front to each side (or have a helper hold the pieces together). Drive 2-1/4-in. drywall screws through the sides and into the ends of the front cleat, and also through the front into the end of each side cleat. Offset the screw locations and bore pilot holes for the screws with a combination countersink bit.

5. Attach the Dust Cover: With the cornice upside down, apply glue to the three cleats and lay the dust cover in place. Bore pilot holes and use 1-in. coarse-threaded drywall screws to attach the cover to the cleats. With the dust cover on, drive brads through the face of the cornice into the edges of the plywood sides.

6. Mount the Cornice on the Wall: Use 1-in. screws to attach the inside corner braces to cleats so they are flush with the back end of the cleat. Place the cornice against the wall, centered over the window and with the dust cover on the top of the casing. Trace the brace mounting hole locations on the wall. Lower the cornice to cover it with fabric, and remove the braces and attach them to the wall with 2-in. screws. Reposition the fabric-covered cornice and reattach the braces to the cornice.

  • Tip: To center the cornice over the window: Mark the top back edge of the dust cover at the center, and mark the center of the top casing on the wall about 1/2 inch above the casing. Align your two marks as you position the cornice.

Cutting List:

Part

Quantity

           Dimension

side

    2

1/4" x H x (D minus 1/4")

front

    1

1/4" x H x D

side cleat

    2

3/4" x 1-1/2" x (D minus 1/4")

front cleat

    1

3/4" x 1-1/2" x (W minus 2")

dust cover

    1

1/4" x (D minus 1/4") x (W minus 1/2

 Courtesy of True Value Hardware

Condensation on Storm Windows

Q: I bought my house a few months ago. Now with the weather getting colder and the heat running I have found that there is a lot of condensation on the storm windows.

The house is a 30-year-old split level. Is there something I can do about the condensation problem short of getting new windows?

A: You can have the condensate line of your heating and air conditioning system checked for blockage, you can add exhaust fans and use them, or you can add a dehumidifier to your heating system.

If none of these suggestions work, you would probably solve your problem by installing new vinyl or wood framed windows with spectrally selective glass, which would also improve the comfort and look of your home!

To locate some heating and cooling or window replacement specialists, please visit our site at: http://www.servicemagic.com, enter service requests and let us match you with the ideal service professional in your area.

Good luck!

This information is brought to you by Bobby Bautista of Hall's Complete Home Weatherization in Carmichael, CA.

Copyright 1999-2003, ServiceMagic, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Sizing a Rough Opening for a Window

As with a door, a rough opening for a window needs to be accurate, and its sizing depends on the type of window.

In general, wood windows, which consist of the window sash inside of a wooden frame, similar to a door, will require a rough opening that is two inches wider and two inches higher than the size of the window. For example, a five-foot (60 inch) wide by four-foot (48 inch) high wood window would typically require a rough opening that is 62 inches by 50 inches.

For vinyl and aluminum windows, most manufacturers instruct that the rough opening be the same size as the net size of the window. For the 60-inch by 48-inch window mentioned above, the opening size would also by 60 inches by 48 inches. The manufacturers undersize the window slightly during the manufacturing process to ensure a proper fit.

These are just guidelines, and they may not apply to all doors and windows. Prior to framing any rough opening, it's always best to either consult the manufacturer's specifications or check with your supplier to verify the correct opening sizes.

Copyright 2003 Inman News Features. Distributed by Inman News Features             

Window and Door Screens - Clean 'em Up

Write a number on each window or door frame and write the same number on its screen. Put any screws or bolts in a bag and write the same number on it. This makes it easy to put each clean screen back where it belongs. Take the screens out. Dust the mesh and frames with a vacuum cleaner or brush.

Washing Screens Outdoors - Our 1st Choice

Fill a large pail or washtub with hot soap or detergent suds. Attach a hose to a faucet, and turn the nozzle to give a fine spray of water. Lean the screen against a wall, railing, porch, or other handy support. Scrub both sides of the screen mesh with a stiff brush dipped into hot suds. Wash the frame all around with a sponge dipped into sudsy water. This will wash off dirt and "drip" from the metal screening. "Tension screens" (the soft ones which have no frames and are springy enough to roll up) can be opened flat and washed the same way. Use a brush and suds. Rinse all sides of the screen with a good hosing of clean water. Let the screen drip a little, then wipe it with a dry cloth, and stand it up to dry in a breeze.

Washing Screens Indoors - If you must

The best place is the basement floor near a drain. If you have such a place, do the washing exactly like outdoors. Wear rubbers or boots over your shoes. If you must use a bathtub, washtub, or kitchen sink to wash screens. First line the tub or sink with old towels or cloths so the screens won't scratch the finish. Also pile newspapers on the floor to catch splashes or drips or even better spread a big sheet of plastic and cover it with newspapers. Scrub each screen with sudsy water. Then rinse it by squeezing clean water out of a sponge. Or pour clean rinse water from a pan. A shampoo-type spray hose is also good for the rinse off.

Special Tip:

Before you put screens back, wash out the window or door grooves where the screens slide. Wind a strip of cloth around a ruler or screwdriver which will fit into the narrow slots. First dip this into suds then into clean water. Finish up by wiping with a dry cloth. Wash window and door frames and sills before putting in clean screens. If you want to store the clean screens for the winter, put them in a place that is clean and dry. Cover them with paper sacks or clean cloths. Or use a big sheet of plastic, like an old shower curtain or tablecloth.

This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension

Window and Door Screens - Fix'em and Forget'em

Patching Holes

No matter how you decide to repair holes in your screens, the patch will show. If your wife is a fussy homeowner like mine, continue to the next section. The patch, however, can keep out insects. If the holes you want to cover are small, you can buy precut aluminum screen patches that have their side wires bent back as fish hooks to catch the screen. Using these patches make sure you are level before inserting, you do not get a second chance to adjust it.

Using extra screening to repairing holes can be done as follows: Cut a piece of screening which will cover the hole at least 1" on all sides. Unravel a long piece of screen wire or several pieces and lace it through the patch and screen to keep the patch in place.
or
Cut a patch large enough to cover the hole with about 1-1/2" around all sides and unravel all sides of the patch about 1/2". Bend the ends of the wire 90 degrees to the patch and push them through the screen covering the hole. Then bend over the wires projecting through on the back side to hold the patch.

Replacing Screens

Replacing a damaged section or an entire screen can be done with tools usually found around the home and by do-it-yourselfers. Several different materials are available for screening including aluminum, used today mostly on wood frames and plastic or fibreglass for plastic and metal frames, all 3 of which are nearly permanent against weather. Galvanized iron and copper screen were used in the past but these materials corrode over a period of times and should be replaced before they discolor the window frames and walls.

Screen fabric comes in many different widths so choose the width that will cover your frame with the least waste. Sketching a layout of the pieces you need on paper before buying the wrong width and before cutting will reduce waste.

  1. Remove the aluminum or plastic retainer strip from around the frame that holds the screen fabric. Be careful not to tear the plastic or break the aluminum strip. An awl, ice pick or other sharp pointed object works well to remove either type of retainer.

  2. Using the torn screening as a pattern, cut the new screening. Plastic screening is usually used today with aluminum frames. Cut the screen at least 1/2" wider than the pattern to be sure there is enough to hold when you replace the retainer strip. Cutting the screen even with the outside of the frame is a good size.

  3. Spread the screening over the frame and press the retainer strip into the groove. Temporarily fastening the screen with masking tape keeps it in place on the frame.

  4. You may need a hammer to force the retainer strip into the groove. Do not strike the metal strip directly with the hammer but use a wood block about 3" or 4" long between the hammer and the strip. If a plastic strip is used it can be forced into the groove by hand pressure on a wooden block 3 to 4 inches long.

  5. Trim off excess screening with a kitchen scissors or a knife or razor blade.

Making a Replacement Frame

Occasionally a metal screen will fall out, be blown out or otherwise damaged beyond repair. Then there are windows, especially in older houses that are odd sizes for which a screen is desired. Materials to make a replacement screen or odd-sized screen can be purchased at many building material, home centers and hardware stores. The framing material usually comes in lengths of 6 or 8 feet so measure the opening into which the frame must fit before you buy the material. Buy enough material to make all four sides. In addition buy a package of four corner braces. Then proceed as follows:

  1. Mark off a 45 degree angle near one end of the material.

  2. Mark off a distance equal to one side of the opening being sure to mark on the long side.

  3. Cut another 45 degree angle so the piece looks like the side of a picture frame.

  4. Insert a corner brace into each end of one of the pieces and attach two more sides so you have a "U" shape.

  5. Insert the remaining 2 corner braces into the last side and attach to the frame.

  6. Install the screen fabric as described in the section above.

This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension

 

Fabric Window Awnings

Fabric awnings add beauty and charm to the exterior of your home. They allow people to enjoy outdoor

activities, avoid excessive heat, sun exposure, and mild rains by controlling the shading and light exposure on your deck, window, patio, terrace, or balcony. The use of shading will also help protect your carpet, furniture, and drapes by blocking UV rays.

Depending on which direction your awning faces, awnings can reduce interior temperatures during warm weather between 8 and 15 degrees. This can reduce your air-conditioning energy costs considerably. Awnings can reduce solar heat gain by 65% on south facing windows and 77% on west facing windows.

Fabric awnings can be made in huge array of colors and styles. Popular styles include: traditional open sides, traditional with closed sides, double bar standard, dome style, quarter barrel, waterfall, semi-circular entrance and gable walkway. Most fabric awnings are now made of special acrylic canvas guaranteed against fading for five years. Most fabric awnings last seven to 10 years, then the fabric needs to be replaced. Replacement is about half the price of a new awning.

Frames made of steel or aluminum, anodized and sometimes powder-coated, last virtually forever. Awnings can be stationary, freestanding, or retractable. Traditional awnings can have sides or be open, and pitch can be adjusted. A standard projection would be approximately half the height of your window. For example, a window that measures 48" in height would have an awning that has a 24"projection.

All awning hardware must be mounted on either window frame or exterior wall to keep the awning level. If there is not enough room above window, patio, door, etc. awnings can be mounted on roof brackets.

Copyright 1999-2003, ServiceMagic, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Gridded Windows Offer Traditional Beauty
By: Paul Bianchina

In years past, glass-making techniques were such that producing large, clear, structurally sound sheets of glass was difficult and expensive. As a result, most windows were divided up into smaller panes of glass – known as divided lites -- which were separated by wood strips and secured with a semi-flexible material called glazing putty.

As glass-making techniques became more sophisticated, the ability to produce large sheets of perfectly clear glass soon became routine. As a result, windows with broad, undivided panes of glass became both practical and affordable – and very popular.

In the last couple of decades, however, many housing styles have trended back toward the traditional in appearance and materials. Windows play a prominent part of the appearance of any style of architecture, and one of the most distinctive features of the traditional style home is a divided lite window – real or simulated. Depending on your tastes and your budget, there are several ways you can achieve this very popular look.

True Divided Lite

The most authentic – and most expensive – of the divided windows are wood windows with true divided lites. True divided lite windows are manufactured using essentially the same process as of the windows of yesteryear – a solid wood frame is broken up into squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, or other regular geometric shapes using interlocking wood strips, and individual panes of glass are fit into the openings. About the only difference between today’s windows and yesterday’s is the fact that the glass is now sealed, double-insulated units, and the old glazing putty has been replaced with more modern flexible sealants.

Because of their authentic nature, true divided lite windows have the advantage of unparalleled beauty. Also because of that authenticity, they are labor intensive to produce and utilize more materials, making them more expensive than other types of windows – often significantly so.

Simulating the Divided Lite Look

There are a couple of ways of achieving the divided lite look at a lower cost. One attractive and considerably less expensive alternative are detachable grids. Also used with wood windows, detachable grids are simply a wood framework that snaps over the inside of a standard, non-divided window. The grid simulates the appearance of individual panes of glass, and also offers the advantage of easy removability to simplify both painting and cleaning. One other advantage to the removable grid is that if a manufacturer offers them as part of their product line, the grid can be added at any time and does not have to be ordered as part of the original window.

For vinyl and aluminum windows, the divided lite look can be achieved through the installation of grids between the two panes of insulated glass. The grids are made from metal or vinyl in a color that matches the window’s frame, giving the appearance of a traditional, painted divided lite window. No painting is required, and the interior and exterior surfaces of the window are smooth and unbroken for easy cleaning. While not at all a true divided lite, gridded windows still offer a very attractive alternative to more expensive wood windows with individual panes.

Gridded windows must be ordered that way at the time the window is made, since the grids are sealed in place between the two panes of glass. There are a number of standard grid patterns and styles available, and most manufactures can custom build a grid pattern to any design you wish – check with your window dealer for samples.

Copyright 2002 Inman News Features. Distributed by Inman News Features

Install Interior Window Shutters

Stylish wood window shutter panels with operable louvers offer privacy as well as control over the amount of light that enters a room. The shutters, which come primed or unfinished, can be painted or stained to suit your décor. Choose to cover the entire window either with full-height panels or two sets of half-height panels; or cover only the lower portion of your window (café style), such as in a kitchen. You can install the shutters within the window frame (called an inside mount), or on hanging strips installed on the window casing or wall (called an outside mount). An inside mount requires greater skill and more work. Here are the basics for installing shutters using either of these two options.

Detailed step-by-step instructions are supplied with shutters, including how to measure your window and how to choose the right panel size. Before you leave the store, read the entire instructions so you can determine other material needs.

1. Plan the Installation: Determine whether you want to mount inside or outside the opening. For an inside mount, measure the inside dimensions of the window frame; for an outside mount, measure the outside dimension of the window casing. Purchase shutters that are wide and tall enough to cover the desired width and height.

  • Tip: Shutters for an outside mount are always hung on hanging strips (1/2x3/4-inch). In an out-of-square or out-of-plumb window, hanging strips (3/4x3/4-inch) also simplify an inside-mount installation. They can be tapered or can be moved in or out at the bottom to correct window irregularities. Don't forget to allow for them when calculating shutter width requirements.

2. Trim Panels to Size: Lay the panels side by side (for width) or end to end (for height), using spacers between them as suggested by the maker. Plan to remove an equal amount off each side and end of each panel so that together they will equal the total opening width and height. Mark all cut lines with a pencil; trim panels to size using a block plane for the sides and a handsaw for the ends.
3. Apply a Finish: Lightly sand the wood. Spray or wipe on a stain; or spray on a paint primer. Use very fine sandpaper or steel wool to smooth any fuzzy, raised grain. Spray on multiple light coats of either clear polyurethane over the stain or enamel over the paint.

  • Tip:  Use the primer specified by your topcoat maker even if the shutters are already primed. Don't risk incompatibility between a primer and topcoat. It's a disaster when it comes to louvered shutters!

4. Hinge Panels Together: Follow the maker's directions for locating the hinges and spacing the panels. Install a pair of hinges (supplied) between each pair of panels. Face-mounting of hinges is easier to do and looks fine, since the hinges can only be seen from the outside of the window. For a professional appearance, mortise (recess) hinges with a chisel into the edges of the panel like you would a door hinge.
5. Hang the Panels: Attach the hinges to the panels and position them in the window with spacers between the window stool (interior sill) and the panel. Mark the hinge position as shown on the window frame (for an inside mount) or hanging strip (for an outside mount). Then attach the hinges to the frame.

  • Tip: For an outside mount, temporarily secure the hanging strips with partially driven 4d finishing nails so they can be adjusted until you have a uniform gap surrounding all panels. Then fasten them permanently.

Materials List

  • Interior shutter panels

  • Wood for hanging frame

  • Stain and polyurethane, or primer and paint

  • Finish applicator and related supplies

  • Tape measure and pencil

  • Handsaw

  • Block plane

  • Rubber sanding block

  • 80- and 150-grit sandpaper

  • Steel wool (0000-grade)

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Wood glue

Written by Roy Barnhart, home improvement expert

Install Interior Window Shutters

Stylish wood window shutter panels with operable louvers offer privacy as well as control over the amount of light that enters a room. The shutters, which come primed or unfinished, can be painted or stained to suit your décor. Choose to cover the entire window either with full-height panels or two sets of half-height panels; or cover only the lower portion of your window (café style), such as in a kitchen. You can install the shutters within the window frame (called an inside mount), or on hanging strips installed on the window casing or wall (called an outside mount). An inside mount requires greater skill and more work. Here are the basics for installing shutters using either of these two options.

Detailed step-by-step instructions are supplied with shutters, including how to measure your window and how to choose the right panel size. Before you leave the store, read the entire instructions so you can determine other material needs.

1. Plan the Installation: Determine whether you want to mount inside or outside the opening. For an inside mount, measure the inside dimensions of the window frame; for an outside mount, measure the outside dimension of the window casing. Purchase shutters that are wide and tall enough to cover the desired width and height.

  • Tip: Shutters for an outside mount are always hung on hanging strips (1/2x3/4-inch). In an out-of-square or out-of-plumb window, hanging strips (3/4x3/4-inch) also simplify an inside-mount installation. They can be tapered or can be moved in or out at the bottom to correct window irregularities. Don't forget to allow for them when calculating shutter width requirements.

2. Trim Panels to Size: Lay the panels side by side (for width) or end to end (for height), using spacers between them as suggested by the maker. Plan to remove an equal amount off each side and end of each panel so that together they will equal the total opening width and height. Mark all cut lines with a pencil; trim panels to size using a block plane for the sides and a handsaw for the ends.
3. Apply a Finish: Lightly sand the wood. Spray or wipe on a stain; or spray on a paint primer. Use very fine sandpaper or steel wool to smooth any fuzzy, raised grain. Spray on multiple light coats of either clear polyurethane over the stain or enamel over the paint.

  • Tip:  Use the primer specified by your topcoat maker even if the shutters are already primed. Don't risk incompatibility between a primer and topcoat. It's a disaster when it comes to louvered shutters!

4. Hinge Panels Together: Follow the maker's directions for locating the hinges and spacing the panels. Install a pair of hinges (supplied) between each pair of panels. Face-mounting of hinges is easier to do and looks fine, since the hinges can only be seen from the outside of the window. For a professional appearance, mortise (recess) hinges with a chisel into the edges of the panel like you would a door hinge.
5. Hang the Panels: Attach the hinges to the panels and position them in the window with spacers between the window stool (interior sill) and the panel. Mark the hinge position as shown on the window frame (for an inside mount) or hanging strip (for an outside mount). Then attach the hinges to the frame.

  • Tip: For an outside mount, temporarily secure the hanging strips with partially driven 4d finishing nails so they can be adjusted until you have a uniform gap surrounding all panels. Then fasten them permanently.

Materials List

  • Interior shutter panels

  • Wood for hanging frame

  • Stain and polyurethane, or primer and paint

  • Finish applicator and related supplies

  • Tape measure and pencil

  • Handsaw

  • Block plane

  • Rubber sanding block

  • 80- and 150-grit sandpaper

  • Steel wool (0000-grade)

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Wood glue

Written by Roy Barnhart, home improvement expert

Window Of Opportunity

If you live in a house with high heating costs and outdated windows, maybe you should consider installing new, double-glazed glass windows. Like a storm window, double-glazed glass creates insulation by using an extra sheet of glass to create an air pocket.

You see, glass itself isn't an insulator, it's the air pocket trapped between the 2 pieces of glass that insulates. But unlike storm windows, there's no heat loss along the frame of double glazed windows, thus making them more energy efficient. What's more, with double-glazed windows, the air pocket often has a drying agent to absorb moisture, and they usually come with a reflective coating to increase the insulation. But make sure the neighborhood kids don't play ball anywhere near the windows because, once cracked, they need to be replaced.

Maintain Combination Storm/Screen Windows

Combination storm and screen windows are very convenient because you don't need to remove the storm or screen sash when seasons change. However, periodically it's a good idea to remove all the sashes to clean the frames and clean and lubricate the tracks. Naturally, it's also a good time to clean the storm and house windows. While neither project could be considered "fun," with a few helping hands and a properly set up work area, you can do a whole houseful of windows in a couple hours.

Materials Needed:

  • Drop cloth or old sheet

  • Toothpicks or ice pick

  • Makeshift work surface

  • Cleaning cloths

  • Vacuum

  • Fine steel wool as needed

  • Sponge or foam paintbrush

  • Spray lubricant

  • Water bucket and detergent

  • Glass cleaner

1. Set up Shop: There's no need to haul screens outdoors or to a workshop, but you'll want to provide a central area on each floor to work. Cover a floor area with a drop cloth and set up a card table or sawhorse/plywood work surface over the cloth. I cover the table with an old beach towel, too. It's a nice clean, padded surface for window cleaning, which is inevitably part of this task in my household.

2. Remove the Sash: Raise the house windows and remove all three sashes (screen and storm windows). To remove a sash, pull the two latches inward to lower it; and while still holding the latches tilt the bottom outward and rotate the sash a little to free the top edge from the tracks.

3. Clean Tracks: Remove any debris from the tracks and vacuum them. Then clean the tracks with a slightly damp household sponge or disposable foam brush, as shown.

  • Tip: Keep a bucket of soapy water and a second sponge to clean the exterior window sill. At the same time make sure that dirt has not blocked the small weep/vent holes at the bottom of the window. Clogged vents are easy to clear with a toothpick or ice pick inserted from the outside.

4. Clean the Sash: At your worktable, clean the metal sash frames with a damp cloth. In coastal areas and where windows are mill-finish (untreated) aluminum, you may need to use fine steel wool to remove any oxidation (corrosion caused by salt air) on the sash and tracks.

5. Lubricate: Use a spray lubricant such as WD-40 to lubricate the tracks. Dampen a very small cloth with the same lubricant and wipe down the two side edges of the sash, and don't forget to give the latches a quick squirt, too. Wipe off any drips with a dry cloth.

6. Reinstall: Reinstall the sashes by reversing the order and procedure that you used when removing them.

Written by Roy Barnhart, home improvement expert, Fairfield, CT.

Make the Most of Your Windows
By: Katherine Salant

You wanted your new house to have spaces that were flooded with natural light. But now that you've moved in, you've discovered that a room can have too much sun. It threatens to fade your furnishings, and when it beats down in the afternoon, some rooms get uncomfortably warm. After the sun goes down, things aren't so great either. You knew your lot was small, but the neighbors are much closer than you expected. You need window treatments, and you need a lot of them.

Assuming your house has about 2,400 square feet—a mid-size, mid-priced house in most markets—you have 20 to 25 windows and possibly more. Covering them with something really classy like lightly stained maple blinds to match your maple floors or simple pleated drapes in fabrics that complement your upholstered furniture would look terrific. But even with the frequent sales and discounts that window treatment vendors offer, both these options would cost much more than you want to spend.

A more realistic strategy to get the privacy and light control that you need while keeping the bottom line where you want it, is to get simple, but serviceable "hard treatments," which are shades or blinds, for all those windows. While you're sorting all this out, you can get Redi-Shades, temporary pleated paper shades that can be cut or overlapped to fit any size window. They cost about $5 each at most home center stores. The shade attaches to the top of the window opening with an adhesive strip and comes with clips to pinch at whatever length you want.

As you begin to study more permanent solutions though, be prepared for a stiff learning curve. Even limiting yourself to "simple, serviceable solutions" still leaves a lot of ground to cover. For example, you may think you want a simple 1-inch aluminum blind, but do you want a 6 or 8 gauge one? A blackout feature to block out daylight? Metallic, brushed, hammered or a leather-like soft suede finish? And which color—there are more than a 100 available.

If your household includes rambunctious children and frisky dogs, durability is important. Silver Spring, Md.-based interior designer Deborah Wiener says she spends a fair amount of time with her clients just outlining all the choices. "Many people start out thinking they need drapes, which they find confusing because there are so many different types of pleats and styles. And they're afraid to commit to a color or fabric because they haven't picked out all their other furnishings yet. I tell them, ‘go slow, start with blinds or shades that give sun control and privacy and deal with the drapes later.

 I usually recommend a simple, good quality white fabric roller shade, with a side chord mechanism so you don't see the clips on the side. It's inexpensive, it's simple and it looks good." Several months to several years down the line when your wallet recovers from the biggest purchase of your life, you can embellish the shades or blinds with drapes, advises Dexter, Mich.-based window treatment specialist John Simonds.

Since the purpose of the drapes will be purely decorative at this point, you won't need nearly as much fabric, and this will dramatically reduce their cost (if you check the drapes in furnished models, you will find that most are purely decorative and not sufficient to cover the window). When you're still getting settled in your new house though, you should consider more upscale hard treatments for the space where you will be spending the most time, the eat-in kitchen and family room. You may resist going beyond the minimum, especially when you're likely to be strapped for cash.

But, Ted Barron of Ypsilanti, Mich., who has been in the window treatment business for 25 years, points out that, "windows have more impact on a room than most people realize. They spend a lot of time choosing flooring and furniture, but when you enter a room, most people look straight ahead and the first thing they see is the windows." Choosing window treatments for the eat-in kitchen and family room can be a challenge, however, because three distinctly different activities—cooking, eating and lounging—occur there. Each calls for something different, but one that meshes with the other two.

You won't have to do anything for the window over the kitchen sink if sun control is not an issue. But if you're squinting with morning or evening sun, you need to do something, and it needs to be easy to clean because you'd be surprised where food splatters and grease specs can end up, Simons explains. He recommends a faux wood blind. The eating area is often next to a sliding glass door that opens onto an outdoor area. Adults, children, and pets going in and out can bang against whatever you put there for privacy or sun control, so the solution must be durable as well as functional.

A faux wood blind would work well, but one that was wide enough to cover the entire slider would be heavy to raise, especially for small adults and children. Instead, Wiener recommends a 1-inch aluminum blind. She usually specifies Hunter Douglas's "soft suede finish" because "It's good looking, a low price point and difficult to damage. It's easy to raise and lower if a sliding glass door will be used a lot to go in and out, and it's easy to keep clean." A vertical blind with fiberglass or vinyl slats that can be pulled to one side would also work, but in houses with kids and animals, a vertical blind next to a sliding door will start to show wear as kids, chairs, pets and a vacuum cleaner bang into it, Wiener says.

 If you have French doors that open onto the outside area, selecting a window treatment is easier because you won't have to raise it every time you want to go outside. You can simply attach a blind or shade to the back of each door. But it must still be durable since kids, pets and chairs can still bang against it, and easy to clean since the doors are next to an eating area. The windows in the family room are less likely to get damaged or dirty so durability and clean-ability are less of an issue. For sun control, Wiener often suggests a softer look with a fabric blind called a "silhouette." It has two or three-inch fabric slats suspended between two pieces of sheer fabric.

When you look through the blind, the shear fabric filters the light, creating an effect like an Impressionist painting. If the view outside is your neighbor's garage door or his air conditioning compressor, this Monet treatment would definitely be a plus. (Silhouette is Hunter Douglas' trademarked name, but designers routinely call all fabric blinds "silhouettes.")Another window treatment for the family room area that Wiener uses when sun control is not an issue is woven wood shades, which are made with matchstick thin pieces of wood, bamboo, reeds and grasses.

"This type of shade," she says, "has great textures that go with everything, it's unusual, it usually costs less than a silhouette and I think that natural materials create a room that is more serene and more relaxing." You may have assumed that there was one window in your house that didn't need anything—the large one over the front door in your two-story foyer. But in many houses, heat and sun pour though this big window and make the foyer feel like a "cook box," said Lee Ryden, a window treatments expert and former window manufacturer based in White Lake, Mich.

Amazingly, he added, when this happens, the homeowners can be reluctant to do anything because from the outside "you won't see our $5,000 chandelier." If you're going to spend that much on a light fixture, he advises owners to get a house with the front facing north. Even then, you may still want a window treatment for the big window to get privacy at night. From the street, family members in their robe or pajamas can often be seen walking in the second floor hallway behind the window, Simond says.

Mechanical Restoration of Windows

Mechanical restoration of old fashioned windows can be a complete, thorough job that requires disassembling the windows. However, it can also be a simple project where disassembling is not required. Because windows may have been painted so many times, run-over paint ridges may appear on the pieces of the channels where the sashes ride in. A scraper and a little bit of lubricant can make your old windows work as if they were new. Tuning up your windows will make them work and lock the way they should - quite easily.

It should take little effort to move a double-hung rope and pulley window once all of the problems are eliminated. When you have a correctly aligned sweep lock, the middle will be pulled together and the top and bottom will be forced down, with the result being a tightly locked assembly. This, along with weather-stripping will give you a window that is relatively airtight. If you have a good storm window, the energy savings may either be the same, or even better than having a new styled insulated glass window that has modern pieces.

Tune-ups may require:

  • Total disassembly of your windows

  • Planning and sanding if necessary (this will relieve tightness from the excess paint).

  • A brand new rope or chain.

  • Reinforcement of all loose joints in the sashes. Caulking will be needed to keep the joints from deteriorating any further. Epoxy restoration may be needed for badly rotted joints.

  • Replacement of parting beads that may be cracked, rotten or warped.

  • Re-weighting. There should be no falling down or floating up in a sash. It should be suspended in space.

  • Stapled "Spring-Bronze" weather-stripping to get rid of looseness. This will also increase energy efficiency and make the window seem smooth.

  • Total lubrication of channels and pulleys, which should solve squealing and sticking.

  • Realignment of locks and stops. Stops are vertical strips of wood that are often held together by screws, which control the bottom sash. They should be perfectly lined up to allow the sash to have just enough clearance for free movement, but not too much. When they are totally closed, they should touch the top rail of the bottom sash to keep the assembly still. This will prevent rattling when the wind blows.

  • Replacement of any loose putty with caulking. You do not have to completely re-putty, as that is for structural restoration. Often there is some putty that will fall out of the bottoms, leaving the joints vulnerable.

  • Replacement of any broken glass, with historical replica or salvaged float glass if desired.

There may be some cosmetic damage done to the stops when a window is disassembled. However, this damage can frequently be repaired with caulking. It may be necessary to re-paint when the sashes need to be sanded.

Re-Glazing Broken Windows

Broken window glass can be replaced by regular glass or by plastic unbreakable glass, usually an acrylic. Before starting to replace broken glass, put on a pair of gloves and a pair of glasses. It is easy for bits of glass to chip and fly. Glass, in both wood and metal frames, is normally held in place by a mechanical fastener. In wood these are usually glazers points, a small triangle of thin metal. In metal spring clips are used. Putty or glazing compound is then applied to keep out rain. The following steps are suggested for replacing broken window glass:

  1. Carefully remove all pieces of glass being careful to clean up the area around the window to prevent injury and cuts. Use pliers to grip pieces of glass still in the window.

  2. With a chisel or jackknife, remove the old putty. Be careful not to gouge the wood frame. As you proceed around the frame you will find glaziers points (small steel triangles) in wood frames or spring clips in metal window frames. Save the points or clips. Be sure all old putty is removed so the glass will slide into place easily.

  3. With sandpaper or a rasp, clean off bits of putty which remain on the wood or metal sash.

  4. Paint the frame with an oil based wood preservative or an oil base primer. This seals the wood surface under the putty and prevents the metal frame from rusting. A fast drying primer is the most convenient.

  5. Measure the size of the glass with a yardstick or folding rule. A steel rule may sag causing errors in dimensions. Allow 1/8" clearance on all sides so reduce each measured dimension by 1/4". Buy the glass cut to the correct size.

  6. Put a thin ribbon of glazing compound in the groove on the frame for the glass to rest on. Keep the thickness of this glazing compound fairly uniform so when you press the glass down into the compound it will not crack.

  7. Install the glass, press it onto the glazing compound and insert the glaziers points (small metal triangles) which you removed. Push these in with a large screwdriver. If you use a hammer be careful not to break the glass. The points should be placed every 6" to 8". The spring clips for metal windows should be inserted in the holes provided in the steel frame.

  8. Knead the glazing compound and form it into strings no bigger than a pencil. Lay a string of compound along one side at a time and force it onto the glass and wood frame with the tip of a putty knife. Smudges from the compound can be removed later with a cloth dipped in mineral spirits or turpentine.

  9. After the glazing compound has dried, paint it to finish sealing the seams between the glass and the compound, and the wood and the compound.

This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension

Structural Restoration of Windows

People automatically think that they have to replace their old wooden windows when they notice that they've rotted. Frequently, however, there is no need to replace them at all. The problem is the fact that the wood used in replacement sashes is low quality. People will find that the original wood used in the sashes may be old hardwood, which can turn out to be quite easy to repair and restore, with using a just a little bit of putty and caulk or epoxy in the joints.

The weakness in double hung sash windows can be found in the joints. The sash (the part of the window that goes up and down) is made up of rails, which are pieces of wood that surround glass panes. These rails are held together by mortise and tenon joints. They are made really tight and it prevents the seams from being seen. What makes the joints so weak is the fact that the bottom sashes sit on the sill with the end grains exposed. In the summer when storm windows are open and rain water gets in, they soak up moisture into the adjacent joint. The bottom rail of the top sash has a horizontal surface. Condensation will seep into the joints when it sits.

People who don't maintain wood sashes use combining the weaknesses as a viable excuse. The joints are exposed when putty falls out, thus letting the joints rot. When seams open up on this inside they become susceptible to condensation throughout the winter season.

Instead of replacing old sashes, it is actually smarter and less expensive to restore them. This is because the wood in old sashes is rather hard. In addition, their appearance will fit better with the decor of most older homes. The sash could last, possibly another hundred years if they just rebuild them with epoxy and the putty is replaced with permanent caulking. Replacement sashes, made out of any kind of material will not last as long as a restored old sash

Storm Windows

Triple track, combination (windows and screen) storm windows are designed for installation over double hung windows. They are permanently installed and can be opened any time with a screen slid into place for ventilation. Double-track combination units are also available and they cost less. Both kinds are sold almost everywhere, and can be bought with or without the cost of installation. You can save a few dollars (15% to 20% of the purchase price) by installing the windows yourself. But you'll need some tools: caulking gun, drill, and screw driver. In most cases it will be easier to have the supplier install your windows for you, although it will cost more.

 

The supplier will first measure all the windows where you want storm windows installed. It will take anywhere from several days to a few weeks to make up your order before the supplier returns to install them. Installation should take less than one day, depending on how many windows are involved. Two very important items should be checked to make sure the installation is properly done.

 

Make sure that both the window sashes and screen sash move smoothly and seal tightly when closed after installation. Poor installation can cause misalignment. Be sure there is a tightly caulked seal around the edge of the storm windows. Leaks can hurt the performance of storm windows a lot.

 

Frame finish: A mill finish (plain aluminum) will oxidize, reducing ease of operation and degrading appearance. An anodized or baked enamel finish is better. Extruded vinyl is also available, and when properly designed vinyl works fine.

 

Corner joints: Quality of construction affects the strength and performance of storm windows. Corners are a good place to check construction. They should be strong and air tight. Normally overlapped corner joints are better than mitered. If you can see through the joints, they will leak air.

 

Sash tracks and weather stripping: Storm windows are supposed to reduce air leakage around windows. The depth of the metal grooves (sash tracks) at the sides of the window and the weather stripping quality makes a big difference in how well storm windows can do this. Compare several types before deciding. Hardware quality: The quality of locks and catches has a direct effect on durability and is a good indicator of overall construction quality.

Storm Windows: Replacing or Adding

The advantages of adding storm windows to your home are multifold. The first thing people notice about a home are the windows, and if yours look great, they can increase the beauty and value of your home. Storm windows serve as a protector from harsh weather. They keep cold air from filtering into the home, which saves you money on heating expenses. This minimizes wear and tear on the main window and lessens the chance of weather damage thus prolonging the life of the main window. In addition to conserving heat, storm windows can protect the home from burglaries, since a burglar may be less inclined to break into a home that has two layers of glass to get through rather than one. Installing storm windows is a fairly easy job that actually saves you money in the long run.

Types: When old storm windows wear out, many people choose to install the more modern combination storm windows. These differ from the old storm windows since they are permanent and attach directly to the main window. Because combination storm windows are permanent, they come equipped with attached screens. They also fit directly into the existing window opening and are available in many different sizes.

Tools and Materials You Need:

  • Replacement storm window

  • Caulk or panel adhesive

  • Drill

  • Screws

  • Tape measure

Tip:  Before installing, repair damage to the main window including replacing cracked glass or painting and mending damaged wood around the frame.

Step 1: Purchase a Replacement Storm Window: Buy the replacement window to fit your main window. To ensure you are buying the correct size, measure the old storm window or the existing window opening. Since the storm window attaches directly to the window stop, it should be approximately the same size as the main window. Test fit the window to make sure it is the correct size before installing.

Step 2: Apply the Adhesive: Using an exterior grade panel adhesive or caulk, apply to the outer edges of the window stop at the top and sides distributing as evenly as possible. It is not necessary to apply adhesive to the bottom edge until the storm window has been installed and fastened.

Step 3: Insert the Storm Windows: Predrill pilot holes, which assist in fastening during installation. They should be drilled about 12 inches apart and centered directly over the window stops. Press the storm window into the opening, pay close attention to the side stops and make sure to center the window between them.

Tip:  Installation Tip: To ensure secure placement, the bottom rail of the window must be resting on the windowsill. the main window and the storm window.

Step 4: Fasten and Adhere the Windows: Fasten the windows using #4x1-inch sheet metal screws and a drill. Drive the fasteners along each side of the storm window starting at the top. Evenly distribute your caulk or adhesive to the bottom rail along the windowsill leaving a 1/4-inch wide opening in the middle to serve as a weep hole for air filtering between the main window and the storm window.

Tip:  Before filling in the fasteners, make sure the window is straight. This ensures adequate insulation and protection.

Written by Roy Barnhart, home improvement expert, Fairfield, CT.

Screen Play

That big gaping rip in your window screen is an open invitation for bugs to enter your home, plus, it looks really tacky. So, if an energetic child, angry pet or the simple passage of time has shred a screen beyond simple repair, it's time to fix it...but don't be intimidated. The process is fairly easy to follow. The hardest part is usually the first step--taking the door off its hinges, or the window out of its track. After that, just follow the steps below for an easy project that should take about an hour and will keep the flies away all summer. (To repair small holes in window screens, see the archive section under Doors and Windows).

What You'll Need:

Pointed tool, such as a small standard screwdriver or putty knife.

Measuring tape

Screening material

Spline (if necessary)

Utility knife

Clamps

Spline roller

Remove the old screen by lifting out the metal, plastic or rubber spline that keeps it in place. To do this, use a small standard screwdriver or putty knife to lift one end of the spline from its track. Then gently pull the rest out.

Measure the desired screen's size before buying a replacement, remembering that you'll need extra material along the edges. It's a good idea to replace the spline if it's showing any sign of wear.

There are two types of screening material to choose from--aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum is stronger, but costs more and rusts in humid and salty climates. Fiberglass mesh tends to sag with time but costs less and blocks sunlight better. After you've decided which type you want and have measured the screen area, cut the screen to size with a utility knife. Again, remember to leave an extra inch of screen along all sides.

To keep the screen taut, fasten it to one side of the door or window using small clamps.

Using a spline roller and short strokes, roll the screen down into the groove on the same side as the clamps.

Next, using the spline roller's second edge, secure the screen by pushing the spline back into place. Repeat the process on all four sides. Then trim off any excess screening material.

Replace Metal-Frame Insect Screening

Why pay for rescreening services when the task is a relatively easy one that you can do yourself? You'll save money and get the job done when you need it. Choose a screen material that matches the type (aluminum or Fiberglas) and color of your existing screens.

Although you may be able to buy screening by the foot, you may save money in the long run by buying a roll. It's also not at all unusual for a beginner to accidentally tear the new screen during installation, so having a roll may save another trip to the store; and you'll have some on hand for future repairs. Just make sure the roll that you buy is wide enough for all the windows, not just the one you happen to be working on now.

Materials Needed:

  • Utility knife and new blades

  • Spline

  • Awl (or nail)

  • Screen roller

  • Insect screening

1. Remove the Screen Sash: Raise the window and remove the screen.

2. Remove Old Screening: Use the point of a utility knife, awl, or nail to pry out one end of the vinyl spline that holds the screen into the channels in the sash. Grasp the end and pull slowly to remove it, then pull out the screening. If the spline is in good condition (soft and flexible, not dry and cracked), you may reuse it. However, it is better to replace the spline since it tends to stretch as it is removed and may not fit as tightly as it should if it is reused.

  • Tip: Bring a sample of the old spline (or better, the screen frame itself) with you when you go to purchase your materials. Spline diameters vary, and sizing is critical for proper installation.

3. Position New Screening: Lay new screening over the sash so it overlaps all sides at least 1 inch. Cut screening with shears or lay it over a piece of scrap lumber and cut through it with a sharp utility knife.

  • Tip: If you are repairing more than one screen and one is larger than another is, do the large one first. Then if you accidentally cut the screen when rolling it in place, you can roll out some new material for a second try, and save the damaged piece for the smaller screen.

4. Roll in Screening: If you are using aluminum screening roll the screen into the channel on one side of the sash using the convex wheel of your screen roller/installation tool. Place the palm of your hand in the center of the screen to keep it from shifting. Roll lightly at first, and then more firmly to press in the screen in stages. Otherwise you may cut it. Do only one side at a time and then roll in the spline as shown in Step 5. If you are using Fiberglas screening, skip this step and roll the screen and spline in simultaneously.

  • Tip: Allow about 1 inch more screening around the edges than is shown in this and the next two drawings.

5. Roll in Spline: Press the spline over the screen and into the channel beginning about 1 inch in from one corner. Then use the concave side of the roller to press completely into the channel. Roll lightly at first to press the spline into the channel gradually. Rolling too hard tends to stretch the spline and increases the risk of having the roller slip off the spline and cut the new screening. If you are using Fiberglas screening, simultaneously roll the screen and spline into the channel in this step.

  • Tip: Make sure that the horizontal and vertical pattern of the screening correctly aligns with the frame.

6. Cut Corners: As you near each corner with the spline, use shears or a utility knife to make a diagonal relief cut from the outside corner of the overlapping screening toward the inside corner of the sash. This is one place where "cutting corners" is wise. It prevents the screen (especially aluminum) from bunching up in the corner as you press it in place.

  • Tip: The roller can't quite roll all the way into a corner, so use the tip of a standard screwdriver to press in the spline at the corners.

7. Complete Rolling: Repeat the process, working your way around the screen frame. Hold the opposite side of the screen somewhat taut, but not so tight that you cut the screening while rolling it in place or that you distort the frame.

  • Tip: On large screen frames (or on less expensive ones that are not very rigid), you may need to tack some scraps of 1/4-in. plywood onto your workbench to prevent the sash from being distorted as you roll in the screen. Locate a block at the inside center point of each side of the sash.

8. Cut off Excess: When the rolling is complete, use a very sharp utility knife (a new blade is advised) to cut off the excess. To avoid accidentally cutting into your complete work, angle the blade outward and move slowly and steadily. Hold the frame securely with your second hand but keep it a safe distance away from the cutting.

9. Reinstall: Reinstall the screen sash into its channel, reversing the procedure that you used when removing it.

Written by Roy Barnhart, home improvement expert, Fairfield, CT.

 Overhangs for Shading Building Elements

Exterior overhangs provide a practical method of shading building elements such as windows, doors, and walls. Overhangs are most effective at midday. This is especially true for building elements facing south in the northern hemisphere (or north in the southern hemisphere). If the building element bears more than about 30o off true south, the effectiveness of an overhang, as with any solar feature, begins to decrease significantly.

Overhangs usually only affect the amount of direct solar radiation that strikes a surface. Diffuse sky and reflected radiation gains are not often directly affected by overhangs.

The higher overhead the sun is, the shorter the shadow a person will cast on the ground. However, the short brim of a baseball cap can create a long shadow across the body of a standing person. The same concept applies in designing overhangs for buildings. The higher, or more vertical, the arc of the sun, the longer the shadow that the building overhang generates along the face of the wall. Summer shadows extend down walls the furthest, winter shadows the least. Sites closer to the equatorial path of the sun have deeper-extending wall shadows than ones farther from the equator, assuming the same overhang length.

Overhangs may be solid, louvered, support vegetation, or combine all of these aspects. Some shutters, eaves, trellises, light shelves, and awnings serve the same purpose as an overhang. They are particularly effective for exposures oriented within 30o of true south (true north in the southern hemisphere).

Overhangs may also be fixed, operable, and/or portable. Examples include roof eaves, awnings, and Bahama shutters (top-hinged louvered shutters typically propped open with wooden dowels) respectively. Fixed overhangs offer perceived longevity and low maintenance at the expense of flexibility, or the ability to adjust to site-specific factors.

Although adjustable devices allow the user to fine tune the amount of shade or direct sunlight, they require more maintenance. Portable fixtures generally provide flexibility and longevity plus some personal involvement with installation and removal. Overhangs may be inappropriate for sites with restrictive regulatory guidelines.

For example, your calculations indicate your house needs a three foot (~1 meter[m]) overhang on the front. The local zoning ordinance restricts eave extension to two feet (610 millimeters [mm]) beyond the front yard setback. If your house is located precisely on the setback, you must do one of following: relocate your house at least one foot (305 mm) back of the front building setback, redesign your building fenestration (windows, doors, grilles, vents, and other openings), redesign your overhang, or apply for a variance (an exception to the ordinance).

Openings, such as windows, do not always require fixed overhangs. A fixed overhang designed for optimal shading on the autumnal equinox (September 21) casts the same shadow on the vernal equinox (March 21). While northern hemisphere shading may be welcome in September because of the heat, shading in March is usually undesirable. Vegetation, on the other hand, can follow the climatic seasons. Vines that shed their leaves for winter usually leaf out about the time shading is needed. Movable shading devices, while adjustable, often become maintenance problems.

Sizing Overhangs:

Unfortunately, there is as yet no universally workable, simple formula for sizing overhangs. While one overhang methodology works well for some locations, it can be completely inappropriate for others. For example, there are a limited number of overhang sizing guidelines acceptable for buildings located in southern states, particularly hot-humid climates. Guidelines acceptable for the high plains of Montana are unlikely to work for a site in Florida.

Due to the varying microclimate conditions encountered across the United States, the methods presented here are general in scope. Anyone seeking a more specialized analysis should seek professional advice from an architect trained in passive solar design. The bibliography at the end of this section also provides several sources for more in-depth coverage of this issue.

Every climate requires special design attention. The following general guidelines may be useful in determining a suitable overhang design. The guidelines are listed by climate type, for solar noon (when the sun reaches its maximum altitude for a given day). (Solar noon is very rarely the same as noon in local standard time.)

Cold climates: above 6,000 heating degree days (HDD)* (at base 65oF [18oC]) * Locate shadow line at mid-window using the June 21 (summer solstice) sun angle. Moderate climates: below 6,000 heating degree days (HDD)*(at base 65oF [18oC]) and below 2,600 cooling degree days (CDD)*(at base 75oF [22oC]) * Locate shadow line at window sill using the June 21 (summer solstice) sun angle. Hot climates: above 2,600 cooling degree days (CDD)* (base 75oF [22oC]) * Locate shadow line at window sill using the March 21 (vernal equinox) sun angle.

Content Provided By the DOE

Simplifying the Installation of Curved Trim
By: Paul Bianchina

Curved windows can provide an absolutely beautiful accent to any home's décor. Large or small, used alone or in combination with other windows, they can easily be the focal point of any room.

Curved windows are installed like any other window. The only difficulty you may encounter comes after the window is in – installing the trim. Unless you are wrapping the framing around the window with drywall, both the jambs and the casings on the new window will need to be curved.

Installing the Jambs

The jambs are installed to cover the inside surface of the wall framing, between the inside face of the window and the interior face of the wall. In most houses, the wall framing itself is not actually curved – instead the framing is simply a series of angled blocks that roughly fit the shape of the window. It is the jambs that are curved to fit the contour of the window and finish off the installation.

Curved jambs are usually installed in one of two ways – kerfing or laminating. For a kerfed installation, you begin by ripping a piece of ¾-inch thick wood to whatever the finished width of the jamb is. Then, a series of saw cuts – called kerfs – are made on the back of the board. The kerfs are cut across the width of the board to a depth of about 5/8-inch, and are spaced about ¼-inch apart.

These saw cuts allow the board to bend, and make it possible for you to shape the board to the curve of the window – the sharper the curve of the window, the more cuts you'll need in order to make the necessary bend. The board is then installed in the opening, using shims behind it as needed to smooth out the curve.

For a laminated installation, several thin strips of wood are used – typically 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick, depending on how tight the curve needs to be. The strips are ripped to the finished width of the window, coated with glue on both faces, then stacked on top of one another to make up a thickness of ¾-inch.

While the glue is still wet, the boards are bent to the curvature of the window – the wet glue allows each board to slide over the surface of the next one. When the correct curvature is achieved, the frame is held in that position with clamps or other means until it dries, and is then sanded smooth and installed.

Installing the Casings

The casings are the outer trim, installed flat on the wall and partially overlapping the exposed edge of the jambs. The casing is the final trim piece on any window or door installation, and hides the gap between the back the jamb and the rough framing. In the case of either of the previously described jamb installations, it also covers the saw kerfs or most of the lamination lines.

In traditional installations, the casings are created by first cutting the ends of several boards on an angle – the exact angle depends on the diameter of the window's curve. The boards are then glue-jointed end to end so that they make up a rough curve. Once dry, a band saw or hand-held jig saw is used to cut the assemblage of boards to the correct curvature of the window.

Thanks to modern technology, there's now a much easier way to achieve the same look. There is a product called Flex-Trim, available by special order through most window and door retailers, that curves to fit virtually any size window – it's literally flexible enough to tie in a knot.

Flex-Trim is a synthetic polymer product, and is molded into a variety of standard molding patterns and sizes that match all commonly available wood moldings. Installation is simply a matter of cutting the molding to length, bending it by hand to the proper shape – it bends very easily and smoothly without kinking – and then nailing it in place in the same manner as any wood molding. Like real wood, its surface is smooth but with a faint grain pattern in it, allowing you to either paint it or – following the manufacturer's instructions - stain it to a surprisingly rich and realistic finish.

Copyright 2003 Inman News Features. Distributed by Inman News Features

Awnings

An awning over a window, a terrace or a balcony provides shade without shutting out the view or the surroundings. A house is enhanced when its windows are framed in an appropriate color, while terraces, decks and balconies become airy attractive additional rooms.

You can choose from an extensive range of both stationary and retractable awnings for decks, patios, terraces, windows, doorways, for residential and commercial applications.

Stationary Awnings

Stationary awnings can enhance the appearance of any home while protecting the structure at the same time. Awnings also protect your home against the sun and rain, which will not only save in utility costs, but can also help prevent against premature replacement of windows and doors.

Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings have simple adjustments to change the pitch, and consist essentially of the fabric, the frame and the operating mechanism. The addition of a retractable awning to your home creates extra space. It is a fun, useful element that can also be considered decorative. With the choice of hundreds of styles of solid colors, stripes and patterns, you can add beauty and charm to the exterior of your home.

With retractable awnings you are in control of light or shade, and can enjoy outdoor activities, avoid excessive heat, sun exposure, and mild rains by controlling the shading on your deck, window, patio, terrace, or balcony. The use of shading will protect your carpet, furniture, and drapes by blocking UV rays.

Awning Options

Retractable awnings are the "Cadillac" of awnings, ideal for covering patio. A retractable or lateral arm awning uses spring-loaded arms to provide tension to the fabric as it rolls from the drive tube. The retractable awning is unique in that it may be extended as needed and only as far as needed offering unlimited utility. You can adjust the tilt of the awning up to 45 degrees from the straight out position. But it's not made to be used in high winds, heavy rains or snow.

Electric motors which are optional are recommended with outdoor plug-ins. Indoor switches can be ordered but require a licensed electrician to install. Motors should include the manual overide so that if the motor stops for some reason the awning can be operated using the hand crank. Electric motors can also be on a remote control and include wind and sun sensors to open and close automatically.

If retractable awning is exposed to sunlight and weather, a protective hood would be a worthwhile purchase, but if it's under an eve or soffit, a hood is probably not necessary.

Fabric Window Awnings

Fabric awnings add beauty and charm to the exterior of your home. They allow people to enjoy outdoor

activities, avoid excessive heat, sun exposure, and mild rains by controlling the shading and light exposure on your deck, window, patio, terrace, or balcony. The use of shading will also help protect your carpet, furniture, and drapes by blocking UV rays.

Depending on which direction your awning faces, awnings can reduce interior temperatures during warm weather between 8 and 15 degrees. This can reduce your air-conditioning energy costs considerably. Awnings can reduce solar heat gain by 65% on south facing windows and 77% on west facing windows.

Fabric awnings can be made in huge array of colors and styles. Popular styles include: traditional open sides, traditional with closed sides, double bar standard, dome style, quarter barrel, waterfall, semi-circular entrance and gable walkway. Most fabric awnings are now made of special acrylic canvas guaranteed against fading for five years. Most fabric awnings last seven to 10 years, then the fabric needs to be replaced. Replacement is about half the price of a new awning.

Frames made of steel or aluminum, anodized and sometimes powder-coated, last virtually forever. Awnings can be stationary, freestanding, or retractable. Traditional awnings can have sides or be open, and pitch can be adjusted. A standard projection would be approximately half the height of your window. For example, a window that measures 48" in height would have an awning that has a 24"projection.

All awning hardware must be mounted on either window frame or exterior wall to keep the awning level. If there is not enough room above window, patio, door, etc. awnings can be mounted on roof brackets.

Copyright 1999-2003, ServiceMagic, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Metal Awnings

Vertical aluminum panel awnings and door canopies are solid, stationary awnings constructed of strong double ribbed heavy gauge aluminum panels for all-weather durability against wind, rain and sun. Sides provide extra shade and they are ventilated to allow hot air to escape while blocking the sun. They are available in solid or striped styles in several colors. Horizontal window panel or louvered awnings have an angled slat design with space between slats that enables you to see out and no one can see in. Overlapping slat design allows soft, indirect light to filter in. Made of heavy gauge aluminum slats with a baked-on enamel finish that resists chipping, cracking and peeling.

Retractable or roll-up aluminum awnings are made of horizontal slats with no visible space between slats when open. They are controlled with crank or cord pull. Storm awnings are solid which can be pulled down to cover the entire window during a storm. Aluminum door hoods/canopies are designed to attach over the door to help keep stairs, entries and landings free from excessive water. They must be installed high enough to allow the door to open.

Copyright 1999-2003, ServiceMagic, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Shutter Basics

This information can help answer and clarify many of the questions.

Kinds of Security Storm Shutters:

The accordion is a durable shutter that moves horizontally between an upper and lower track. Interlocking aluminum blades make up the protective wall of the shutter. For larger areas it can have a center opening, so that half the shutter moves toward the right and the other half towards the left. The accordion shutter provides protection against hurricanes, flying debris, theft and forced entry, reduces noise and provides privacy.

Aluminum awnings offer protection from the heat and glare of the sun as well as storm protection. Most are affordably designed to function perfectly and fit windows, doors, patios and porches. Both the standard awning and the winged awning easily close down to convert to storm shutters.

Bahama shutters provide privacy, sun control, weather protection and security. They are equally attractive for homes, apartments and businesses. They help reduce solar heat build-up over windows, porches, carports and other areas. They also can be used to enclose terraces, patios and balconies.

Colonial hinged shutters are durable enough to withstand hurricane wind forces. When installed beside windows, they swing to close and can be locked to discourage unauthorized entry and vandalism.

The roll shutter rolls up or down over the opening, offering good protection against flying debris and hurricane force winds while guarding against theft and forced entry for security. Energy efficient, they're also great for noise reduction. They work well as handsome exterior window treatments that compliment any style of residence or place of business.

Storm panels are formed aluminum panels that are designed for quick and easy installation. These lightweight panels provide maximum storm and security protection. The storm panel requires minimum storage space and can be stored in garage or closets until needed.

Copyright 1999-2003, ServiceMagic, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Solutions

Phil can help you fix your own property’s mold problems at low-cost, more safely, and better-in- results than what is done by many mold inspectors and mold contractors.  How can Phil help you?

     1. Read Phil’s five plain-English,
mold advice books to master mold inspection, testing, removal, remediation, and prevention for your house, condo, apartment, office,  or workplace.

     2. Buy do-it-yourself, affordable mold test kits, mold lab analysis, video inspection scope, mold cleaner, and mold killer, for the  successful toxic and household mold inspection, mold testing, mold species identification and quantification, mold cleaning, mold removal, and mold remediation to find mold, kill mold, clean mold, and remove mold from your residence or commercial building.

     3. Get FREE mold advice, mold help, and/or answers to your mold questions, by emailing mold expert Phillip Fry at
phil@moldinspector.com. You can also email pictures of your mold problems in jpeg file format as email attachments.
 

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Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Solutions

Phil can help you fix your own property’s mold problems at low-cost, more safely, and better-in- results than what is done by many mold inspectors and mold contractors.  How can Phil help you?

     1. Read Phil’s five plain-English,
mold advice books to master mold inspection, testing, removal, remediation, and prevention for your house, condo, apartment, office,  or workplace.

     2. Buy do-it-yourself, affordable mold test kits, mold lab analysis, video inspection scope, mold cleaner, mold killer,
and a mold-killing high ozone generator for the  successful toxic and household mold inspection, mold testing, mold species identification and quantification, mold cleaning, mold removal, and mold remediation to find mold, kill mold, clean mold, and remove mold from your residence or commercial building.

     3. Get FREE mold advice, mold help, and/or answers to your mold questions, by emailing mold expert Phillip Fry at
phil@moldinspector.com . You can also email pictures of your mold problems in jpeg file format as email attachments.

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