Windows and Doors, Costs, Electrical, Geothermal, Water Heat, Insulation, Landscaping, Roof, Windows, Deck

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This year we added a few more windows. We got the living room done as well as the remaining kitchen and bathroom windows on the main floor. We also replaced the two gable windows in the loft. It's very interesting; adding insulation will improve the energy efficiency of a house but it's the windows that improve comfort. Adding the new windows in the living room changed the comfort levels immediately. Reducing the draft off the old wooden windows has really improved comfort levels. It's actually most noticeable in the living room. It's also nice to be able to open windows again in the summer.

We had a bit of a problem communicating with the contractor on the windows this year. The munton bars in the windows were not quite right at first but once we replaced one window everything ended up looking pretty much as we wanted it.

The last thing worth mentioning about the new windows is that since we've put them in we haven't had any bird strikes on the new windows. Since the new windows have a screen that covers the entire glass area the birds are able to see the window and avoid it. We used to get four or five bird strikes on our dining room window each summer but none have hit it over the past year. There are still a few windows that get hit but we've reduced the area that has been causing problems.

Here's the new living room main window (pictures taken at Christmas time). The centre window munton bars had to be redone but that brought everything into balance. From the outside most people would never know the windows have been replaced. As soon as we had these windows changed we immediately noticed an improvement in the comfort levels in the room. There were no more drafty spots or cold areas.

There are two fixed windows on either side of the fireplace in the living room. This one looks straight into the bathroom next door so we had the glass replaced with frosted glass. It's actually very nice as it lets in the light. The old window had replaced the glass with mirror, which was interesting but didn't let in any light. I like this idea better.

The main floor kitchen had one window left to replace and a bathroom window. Both of these were completed in 2006.

In the loft there were these two gable windows. The old windows were really bad - just pieces of glass held in place with a wood frame. They leaked air and water and were very flimsy. They have now been replaced with sealed units and you can feel the difference when you go near them. They are not drafty any more and now they keep the sound out (much quieter).


Another part of upgrading the envelope of the house is to upgrade windows and doors. Our back door was essentially a piece of 1/4" plywood. It was pretty cold. It would frost over in the winter on the inside. It definately needed to be replaced. We also called around for prices on window replacements and got good price to replace the five windows that we still open on a regular basis. For the other windows we are going to look at fixed replacements or just caulking them against air leaks. Windows are still happening and will likely continue into next year.

So here is our old door. Lovely bit of wood but not very efficient. I'll replace this with an insulated steel door.

The screen door is also in rough shape. I will look to replace it next year. For now I was able to modify it to fit on the new door. That will hold us through this winter.

This is the third door now that I've replaced and every time it has been a rainy day. Here is the opening all cut out. On these old doors you have to cut the two side frames off of the threshold plate. If you try and take everything out then you have a lot of work replacing the threshold. By cutting the side frames off I saved many hours of work.

And here is the new door in place. These new doors do not have the same thickness of frames as the old doors. I will have to add strips of 3/4" square wood to the frame to bring it out to meet the plaster. Then I can replace the wood molding around the inside of the door. That will take a bit more time.

Time passes! Here's the finished door on the inside. A 3/4" strip of wood was required all around to bring the frame out to the edge of the plaster. The trim is replaced, holes filled with spackle and everything painted. Good for another 60 years.

On the outside I just re-used the old screen door. It had to be trimmed from the bottom to match the new door sill but that was faster than trying to get a new custom screen door. We'll look to replace this screen door next year maybe. We are not happy with the way this one swings open so it will get replaced someday. Ialso replaced the motion detector light above the door. This one has a better range and has protective guards for the lights.

The next task was to replace some windows. We looked a number of different window types and eventually decided on double-hung sash type PVC windows. They would match the existing windows the closest but still provide some insulation value. We especially didn't want to damage the wood trim on the inside of our windows. Here are the dining room windows from the inside. You can see why we wanted to protect the trim.

The outside is a different story. These dining room windows have storm windows which don't help that much in the winter. We wanted to improve the performance of the windows without changing the way the house looked too much. The PVC windows we chose fit right into the existing opening. Look carefully at the munton bars in this picture and the next picture. That will show you how little the windows changed.

Here are the new dining room windows from the outside. Check with the previous picture to see how little they've changed. One change is that they are completely covered by a screen. This allows either the top or the bottom window sections to be opened. The full screen also will help prevent birds from running into these windows which was a problem in this location. We'll get the wood trim painted next spring.

The best part is how the new windows look from the inside. The new window unit fits right into the old wooden frame. In fact they didn't even take the inside wood trim off. The new frame fits right up against the old wood trim. Add a bit of caulking and it looks great. Both the top and bottom open for ventillation and both sections tip in for cleaning.

Let's look at the window change from the inside. Here's the music room windows before the update...

And here they are with the new windows. We also did the kitchen window this year. We're pretty happy with the way they look so we might conside doing more windows next year. There are some fixed windows we want to replace early in the spring and we might add some more double-hung windows later next summer. Very happy with the window contractor. Very good job at a reasonable price. Will see how the windows work over the winter before buying any more., Costs, Electrical, Geothermal, Water Heat, Insulation, Landscaping, Roof, Windows, Deck