Saturday, August 16, 2008

Storm Window Installation

The pile of windows is no longer on the porch, They are all up. Tomorrow I have a few minor adjustments to make and hooks to add but I am very happy with the result. It might not seem like much but this is one of the bigger projects that we have taken on. I describe it like this because it was a long road from choosing a manufacturer to getting to this point.

I knew when we bought the Tiny Bungalow that we would be installing wood storms. I had a dream at one point that I'd make them. I thenreconsidered the idea WITHOUT drinking a six pack of beer and decided against it. I am sure there are folks out there that don't even know that you can still get wood storms and I am sure there are others that are sitting in shock because we're not putting in something like aluminum or replacing the windows all together with vinyl. That would look really sweet, wouldn't it?

We narrowed our manufacturer choice over a year ago to a local guy, a place in Iowa, and Spencerworks in Nebraska. We liked the Iowa windows but decided against them because the built-in storm/screen combination required complete removal of a pane of glass to use the screen. I knew it wouldn't be long before we lost or broke one of these panes. The local guy ended up coming in at twice the price as Spencerworks and Spencerworks included the paint job. I really wanted to support the local economy and not have to ship the product but I also never got a follow up from the local folks when I asked questions about pricing and scope. Spencerworks it was.

To place the order for the windows, we had to measure the openings ourselves (my friend Steve helped me with this feat a few weeks ago), deduct some spacing (all as directed by the manufacturer) and send them a final order. The Spencer windows have concealed storms - this means that from the outside you can't see the movable storm windows (very similar to the typical aluminum storms people are used to except these look much nicer). The order was supposed to take 4-6 weeks but the windows arrived in three. You order the hardware with the windows and everything came well-packed in a huge crate.

Installation was deceptively simple but I don't recommend anyone taking this on alone (do as I say, not as I do). I am glad that I am still alive after the experience of trying to negotiate a ladder with tools, shims, and a 60lb window in hand. Yeah, sometimes I'm not too bright but I am also friend-deficient so I don't have much of a choice.

To install, there is a two-piece hardware assembly. A "female" one that goes on the window and a "male" one that goes on the window head. The window then slips in and the hardware interlocks like a hinge. I made a real fancy guide to mark all the windows and I borrowed a cordless drill to drill and screw. This made me think: how the hell have I gotten this far in DIY projects without a cordless. I must ask Santa for one this Christmas. One tool that did come in handy and I recommend it to anyone, even if you aren't friend deficient, is the magnetic wrist band my mother in law got me last year. It is awesome and saved countless dropped screws and hardware components. Thanks mom!

Even though the house and most of the frames are out of plumb, all of the windows fit pretty well. I think there is only one that I need to really adjust because the sill drops about an inch from one side to the other. In addition to the hinge at the top, the windows are held in place at the bottom with an eye hook.

One thing we didn't plan on doing during this process was choosing paint colors for the house. The color of the storms is Chocolate Cherry. I chose a color called Olive Leaf for the trim and to complete the food theme, the body of the house will be Brioche. It will be some time before we see the rest of these colors on the house but hopefully I'll get the garage painted before fall so you can get a preview.Hopefully we'll find a difference in our heating bills come fall as well. The most noticeable difference right now is the noise. I've always complained that the house has paper walls because we can hear EVERYTHING outside. Traffic on our street is bad and even non-violent storms can be annoying. Now it is almost silent in the house - very strange.

Another nice bonus is that the storms conceal the double-hung windows and protect the from the elements. They are in sad shape and can use all the protection they can get. Hopefully the project of restoring them will begin in another year.


StuccoHouse said...

Funny, thats the first thing I noticed about my wood quiet they made the room.

Had to laugh about the installing the storms yourself comment. I had a moment on my ladder, holding a storm and hardware...where I just about lost my balance...and thought, so this is how it's gonna end....putting in storms.

Anonymous said...

Wow !! I can't believe you tackled this job on your own !! Sophie could have helped !! I am glad the wrist band came in handy. The windows look amazing !! Good job !!


Crazy Nana

Michael said...

I'm curious how much this would cost to do on my own home. Could you share a rough per window cost? Thank you.

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

My average window size is 32x62 and the the average cost was about 330 a window for the all-seasons. I got a handful of traditional storms (without the screens) and these were about 200 each.

Stephanie said...

Wow - those are GORGEOUS!!!!

Kim said...

They look really great!!!!!!!!


timmyjoe42 said...

I'm getting one of those magnetic wrist bands. That would have been awesome when I installed my shutters last month. I spent more time climbing down from the ladder looking in the bushes for my screws and drill bits than I did actually installing them.

Jenni said...

These are about the best looking storm windows for an old house that I have seen. Ever!!!

Nathan said...

Hi; I stumbled across this old thread on a google search. We are considering the SpencerWorks storms for our house - how do you like them, 5 years in?

Chris said...

I am very happy with them. Not a problem to date. Paint is holding up and they still operate fine too. The only thing I may recommend (though I have yet to do it myself) is some very thin weather stripping for additional protection against air infiltration. I am glad I made the decision I did in this regard.

Maria Jose Tobar said...

Did you install the impact windows by yourself? Here in South Florida, it's always been really important to get all the windows in your house changed to storm windows.

Chris said...

Maria, up here we don't require anything with impact resistance. I installed these myself. Our storms are primarily to protect the inner windows from rain and snow and these also offer some insulation air-sealing as well.