Hallelujah, we finally updated all the windows!
We used to have aluminum windows throughout the main floor of our ranch. Since day 1, Slav has been wanting to replace them. I do not blame him. The old aluminum windows lack both form and function. They are dingy, hard to clean, and do a terrible job insulating the cold/heat and noise.
The pictures above show the old aluminum windows on the back and the north side of the house. These are windows in the kitchen, our bedroom, and the office:
The previous owners added more layers to insulate, which made it impossible to clean between the layers:
Some of the windows are so rusted that they do not open. During winter months, condensation formed and mold was growing along the window frames:
Colorado is so dry that we do not usually deal with mold problems. But these windows were exception. Needless to say that we were ready for this upgrade for a long time. So when DesignCrew, who did our basement egress gave us a very reasonable quote, we jumped on it with both feet. Their quote does not only include replacing 7 old aluminum windows with custom vinyl windows, but also includes the cost of making the office window bigger.
The picture above shows the old office window on the left, and the living room window on the right. You can see the office window was shorter. To bring some symmetry to the front of the house we wanted to make the office window taller so it would match the height of the living room window.
Making this window taller requires cutting the brick window sill off, removing a few rows of bricks below the sill, and building the sill back up again. The DesignCrew guys subcontracts the brick work to a masonry contractor so the quality of the brick work is professional.
In the morning of the window installation, we pushed everything away from the old windows and covered our stuff.
The crew arrived after 8 AM and worked their way from the inside out, so they can clean after themselves effectively. Lee, the father of the company started to enlarge the front office window (the left window in the picture above) right away, while Ryan (one of his sons) worked on the smaller window on the north side (the right one in the pictured above).
The bricks were removed before the windows were taking down. Lee, the guy in the picture explained to me that doing things in this order prevented the dust from entering the house. I really like how methodical and organized these guys work. Cannot recommend the DesignCrew enough!
Within an hour the bricks demo was done. Lee then removed the window and trimmed the wood framing to meet the new opening on the exterior brick. You can see how much we were lowering the sill from the picture below:
Before noon, the new opening was done and I had a rare opportunity to peak into our exterior walls.
Apparently our brick house was constructed in the following layers: a layer of brick, a layer of insulation board, then interior wood framing. There is no insulation between the interior studs as we discovered during the ethernet cable installation.
It is so cool to be able to look into the walls – I love the mechanical aspect of the house a lot more than the finishes. Maybe one day we will build a house from scratch!
The rebuilding of the window was pretty quick. I snapped the last picture above and went for a walk in the neighborhood. By the time I was back, the new window was up!
The new and bigger window let in so much more light and the office was instantly brighter:
And we can see a lot more of the front yard garden now with a lower sill. All the flower beds are visible as soon as you walk into the office. This new window has become my favorite spot in the morning. I love sipping my tea while watching birds and flowers in the comfort of my pj.
All the new windows facing the front and back are double-slider windows – both glass panels are movable and can stop at any position along the window track. The panels can also be pop off easily from the inside for easy cleaning. Each window comes with a bug screen which is a continuous one-piece. The screen can be removed for clearer view. This feature is useful during winter months when we do not open the windows.
Lee saved all the sill bricks during demo so the masonry contractor could re-point them back onto the wall.
He also replaced the bricks on the side that were cut into halves with bricks taken from the bottom of the window, so the wall on both sides of the new window looks seamless.
And this is the new look in the front of the house! Doesn’t it look much better with both windows at the same height?
Compared to this:
While Lee tackled the office window, Ryan worked on replacing the two small windows on the north side.
We rarely open these small windows due to the furniture placement. All they are there for is letting the light in. To have a better view we opted for awning windows, a decision we are so happy with.
We anticipated that awning windows will appear bigger, but we did not think it would look THIS much bigger and better. The unobstructed view out of these windows looks like a picture and instantly made the rooms feel more finished. In the bathroom downstairs we chose a hopper which is also without the middle frame. For small windows I highly recommend this approach. It also made the windows look bigger from the outside.
And there will be no more mold!
Also replaced are the kitchen windows:
Which Roxie is clearly excited about:
And the other window in our bedroom. Directly below is the egress window DesignCrew put in for us back in January.
A much better view of the backyard from our bed:
The last window we replaced is in the garage! The old aluminum one was completely rusted and could not open.
And here is the new one:
We have been living with the new windows for a couple weeks now and really like them. We no longer hear traffic on the street, and every room is a lot brighter. The temperature inside is a lot more stable, and opening and closing the windows have been a breeze.
In addition to the comfort, upgrading the windows brought such an instant upgrade to our curb appeal. We keep asking ourselves why we had not done it sooner! After removing the old front porch, installing a new roof, putting in new landscaping, building a new horizontal fence, and now with brand new windows, we finally checked off all the big items on our exterior renovation list. Remember the front of the house when we bought it?
A very different view today:
Now we can finally move into the decorative elements for the exterior. Slav has been wanting to add stone veneer to the bare foundation, and I’ve been dreaming about climbing clematis on over-window pergolas. Slav is also very motivated to paint the gables and the garage door darker to better match the bronze trims and gutters – or I should say, to let me paint the gables and the garage door darker. This summer will be full of small and fun projects to continue improving our curb appeal, and I cannot wait!