If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a girl builder and a boy builder I can tell you right here.
I’m now set up in my friend’s garage for a bit of paint stripping on my old windows for the annexe. As I packed at home in a hurry, I forgot a few handy little bits, including a set of small paintbrushes. Rather than snuff around through my mates’ 100 boxes of stuff I remembered the fab care-package sent by a friend earlier in the week : a serious stash of cosmetic goodies, from Le Mer samples to herbal nail treatments and whatnot. Unreal, especially right now as I’m needing that makeup brush to apply a dainty layer of toxic chemical on my DIY project of the moment…
OK, so a guy builder could have thought of it, sure, but would he get away with it? Later in the morning session I felt the need for an emery board, to get at those pesky corner bits. As it happens I was given a rather large pack of them for Christmas, from another intuitive female who I’d never met but who obviously could sense that I was the tricky-creative-random-tool/emery-board-emergency kind of person. Now, boys, don’t go stealing the lady’s stuff. Get your own.
About these windows. I’m going to do a crazy thing. I’m going to ask for your advice.
Eyes being the windows to the soul, windows are the soul of a house.
And new windows ain’t got no soul, man! I’ve acquired some 40 or so windows and doors that have been ripped out of a chateaux in France, or fell off the back of a truck or whatever. They are gorgeous. Trouble is, big, old, single pane windows do nothing to help insulate against cold. It snows in my village. Snow = double glazing. The second most important thing after insulation in designing an energy efficient house is double glazing. So. I’ve decided to make old fashioned double glazed windows, as in this:
Massive job. Stripping 34 windows and making 17 boxes to contain them. Plus the windows most likely contain lead paint, and there’s only so much lead poisoning a girl can take. Let’s put aside the cost for a minute because the alternative is also expensive: new timber double-glazed windows for my place will cost upwards of €5000 or more than €300 a unit. So far, it’s taking about a week to strip each window, so there goes the rest of the year if I’m going to do the lot myself. That’s out. So how can I simplify what needs to be done, while still using the old windows but upgrading their insulation potential from single-glazing?
Anyone got any paint stripping tips? Does anyone really vouch for a hot-air gun over sanding? Know anyone in the furniture restoration business, who can strip them for a good price, and possibly stain them? And that someone will not be dumping the waste in the nearest river.
Maybe then I just make the boxes. Is this style of box the way to go? It’s been suggested that I could stick on a single pane of glass over the top of the existing with a 5mm air gap, but I can see condensation and mould, because the air space is useless if not sealed. Does the frame need to go inside another rough frame? I’m thinking not, (in a unusual instance of self-restraint). What are your thoughts regarding expansion and movement? Treat against insects? Treat against water penetration? Oil or polyurethane stain? Sill gasket, foil, or insulation between the frame and the stone surround? Chocks and spray insulation? Any bright ideas anyone?
Or here’s a third idea from a “get-on-with-it” type builder: don’t strip the windows back to timber, just prep them for more painting. And he’s got a point because in my all-white-Scandinavian-modern style interior, the window interiors would be white, and not stained timber. It certainly would be a travesty to have stripped the windows beautifully, expensively and toxically if only then to paint one side anyway… so, I put it to you, dear reader, could we work with painted timber windows for the exteriors? I’m thinking slate grey or chocolate brown. I like the idea for it’s skipping the stripping process, but I baulk at it from an aesthetic pov (not that there’s any evidence that the windows are made from a noble timber, or that there is any thing worth “revealing” from the paint stripping process). And, as pointed out by someone else – there will always be an apparent difference of the timbers of the old windows and the new boxes, which painting would sympathise. Is there any added protection against humidity and insects with a paint finish other than a oil or stain?
Painted timber windows anyone? Or does everyone want to remind me what a economically crushing massive overproduction this idea is?