Friday, November 18, 2011

don't you love fall?

Meet "oakie" my prized Shumard oak tree, living up to its Southern red oak lineage.. When I first bought this tree it looked like a two foot stick with a couple small branches. Every year it gets progressively bigger and fluffier. The fall colors keep getting more spectacular too. I can't imagine when this thing is 60+ feet tall, that'll be pretty sweet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

window insulation upgrade pt1

Once upon a time I dreamed of improving the windows in my daughter's room. No better room in the house to improve first. I actually started this project about a year ago. To make these windows worthy of what I had in mind the window sash themselves would have to be completely restored. They were removed one by one and each got the royal treatment. Much scraping, reglazing, and repainting. With the sash ready to go, the window casing on the interior was also completely scraped/sanded down and primed (final paint is still on my to-do list).

I've put a lot of research into how to make an old window perform like a new energy efficient window. One option would be to use storm windows -- not sure if this was ever really common in el paso, my home did not come with storms (to my knowledge). I've never seen another old home in the area with original storm windows. It can get cold here -- but I guess not cold enough. Although last winter it dipping below zero for a few nights in a row was pretty darn cold. I wasn't about to spring for storm windows though -- I was looking for solutions that were a little easier on the wallet and wouldn't involve much hassle come winter.

A while back I read a few articles on This Old House about Easy Stop weather stripping. I was convinced that I could have my beautiful vintage windows minus the drafts. I actually purchased a set for each of the three windows and had them on standby for nearly a year while I got the windows ready. Yeah, yeah -- I like to take my time ok? I'll show the goods on that next time.. Another good idea I had read about from a past issue of Old House Journal was insulating the sash pockets. I'd seen something similar on TOH using a rigid insulation that was thin enough to stuff into a sash pocket and yet have the weights operate normally. I think they called it a polystyrene foam? Unfortunately for me I could never find a similar product. That is until I stumbled on the Prodex website.

After consulting with customer service, I found that the Prodex Total 16 inch insulation would work for my application. The only downside is you kind of have to order in bulk, but if you use this across multiple windows you can make the numbers work. So after popping the casing off each window, you line the sash pocket with the insulation on all three sides (and top and bottom if you want).

I also replaced the aluminum window jamb liner (I think that's what you call them) with copper V strip. The old stuff worked ok, but the channel in the sash was too wide for the liner to keep tight. A big point for drafts to pass through. The new weather stripping should hold the sash tighter and provide a more solid barrier against the wind. Well that's the hope at least..