"Trimming" Our Windows

Over time when we've installed new windows on the south and west sides of the house the old windows and trim have been so damaged they weren't salvageable. In some cases the windows had already been replaced with single pane aluminum windows or the original louvered windows were still in place and those are highly inefficient.

So as we've moved around our house we've installed vinyl windows. Yes, that's right, vinyl. I know many of you are gasping in horror at how we could possibly do that to our original windows in our nearly 90 year old house. I know, if it was my dream I'd install great, efficient, architecturally similar windows throughout our whole house. I know it's very important, especially in a older home like ours to maintain its architectural integrity, which is why we made sure to spend the extra money on the front window.

But with all the work that needs to be done to this house, Chris and I couldn't stomach or afford to spend the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to replace all the windows to match the home architecturally. So we compromised and decided that the windows on the parts of the house you don't see very often would get replaced with energy efficient, vinyl windows, and the windows in the front would get replaced using (MUCH more expensive) fiberglass windows that mirror the look and style of wood.

Now, however, the vinyl windows on the side and back of the house are looking pretty bare with no more trim intact. So we set out on figuring out how to trim them out. We debated many methods but eventually landed on installing shutters, an architectural feature that's common on our street.

We would need 6 sets of shutters for our vinyl windows: the kitchen, the main bathroom, 2 for the art room, the animal room and the back bathroom

I looked online for pre-built shutters and fell off my chair to find out that it would cost a preeeeeeeeetty penny for all of them, so Chris and I decided to build our own.

We purchased redwood 2x4's (more pricey than regular 2x4's but more able to hold up to the elements) at the Lumber Baron in Albany, CA (my hometown, woot woot!) The Lumber Baron has been family owned and operated since 1977. They're incredibly nice, helpful and have great prices. They're a great resource for anyone in the Bay Area looking for redwood.

Once we purchased all the redwood we needed I cut everything down

And once everything was cut down...

...I primed it all with 2 coats of shellac based primer to really seal those babies good

Once I was done priming, Chris painted them our blue trim color and began assembling them

After Chris had assembled all of them I made sure to paint the cross braces and give all the shutters one more coat of blue

Then it was time to install them. That was a LONG process.

First, I pre-drilled where all the screws would go

Next, Chris stood on the ladder and I stood on an old recycling container holding the shutter up. We lined it up with the window and Chris took a hammer drill and drilled through my pilot holes in the shutter and through into the stucco

Then, while Chris stayed on the ladder and hammered in plastic anchors in our stucco holes...

...I screwed 4" screws into my already pre-drilled holes so they were sticking out the back end just slightly and hung a washer on the back

Once that was finished, I grabbed the shutter, climbed back on my recycling container and held up the shutter. Chris lined up the screws on the back end with our holes in the stucco. When he got the holes lined up he screwed the shutter in. Then we could admire how beautiful they looked :)

(and we also re-installed our gutters...)

We repeated that loooooooooong process for all 12 shutters. In the end we got pretty quick at it and were so in the zone about it we barely even spoke to each other - just a grunt from Chris for me to lower the shutter after he had drilled the pilot holes in the stucco and a grunt from me when I had finished drilling the screws in and popping a washer on.

With all the shutters on, now we've got plans to cover the inside screws with faux, decorative hinges, but I've got it on my to do list to putty the other screw holes, sand them down, prime, and paint

For all 12 shutters. Boo.


Erika said...

Wow! I was all - shutters, barf! Now I'm all - shutters, adore!

Shame on me for not having faith in you two And I love the trim color!!

meryl rose said...

I was apprehensive at first too, but I'm glad you like them! I think they were a costly and effective way to trim things out. But still, wood windows are a dream....sigh... :)

Window Man said...

Nice castle. I am a window contractor in Chesapeake, VA. Vinyl windows if done properly can restore a home as well. You did a great job here.