Remodeling - window & siding questions

Hello all -
I've got an old 2-story house, built in 1911. The outside has been unchanged for 30 years now, and it needs EVERYthing done over: roof, windows, siding, all of it. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional. I plan to live here 2-3 more years, and then sell for what I can get (I'm in a neighborhood that is in a mild state of decline).
The roof has either 3 or 4 layers of shingles on it already. That all has to come off - back down to the original sheathing - and start over.
Lots of loose shingles on the sidewalls, so I will probably have to have the existing siding (old wood shingles or something else they were using back in 1911) stripped off, too, back down to the sheathing, and built back up.
Not sure what to do about the windows. I don't care for vinyl "replacement" windows, I'd prefer either full replacements (real wood with aluminum cladding on the outside), or something similar.
I've been checking out something the Marvin windows company offers called "Tilt Pac". Not a replacement "insert", this is a double-hung replacement kit that replaces your old sashes with new wood/thermal glass, and has jamb liners that once installed, allow the new sashes to tilt inward.
The end result is a "reconstructed" traditional window that uses the old casings.
I was wondering if anyone out there has tried these, and can offer opinions on them.
They aren't cheap. They cost about the same as Marvin's "Integrity" double-hung FULL window assemblies. The sales guy said there might be extra installation cost involved with full windows due to trim removal/reinstallation on the outside, however.
Some questions:
- When doing a complete exterior remodel, would it be best to start "from the top down" (the roof first)? I'd kind of like to take this in steps so I go broke a little at a time, not all at once. :)
- With the roof done, should the windows be taken care of _before_ the siding is removed/replaced? I'm thinking by doing windows first (especially if it is going to involve complete replacements that require trim work on the outside), the siding job will go more smoothly as the last step.
Speaking of siding, I don't care for cheap vinyl "strip siding". I've seen some newer-design products by Certainteed and Nailite that use a heavier plastic (polypropylene) with molded designs that mimic individually-installed shingles (and do a very good job at it, too). Anyone tried this stuff? Opinions?
Thanks, - John
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Nailite:
http://mysite.verizon.net/despen/house.jpg
Great stuff.
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John Albert wrote:

With the housing market and economy as it is, functional is the way to go.

The original roof was probably wood shingles, so expect to go down to the rafters and put on new sheathing. You may get lucky and find tongue and groove sheathing already there, and not the open spaced battens that shingles are usually applied on. A good roof is a vital item in a house

Whoa, lad, didn't you just say you wanted functional, declining neighborhood and all? Best bet for your 2-3 year residency is to hire a good carpenter to do over the old shingle siding. A fresh coat of stain and you've put that one behind you.

Unless the windows are falling apart, just repair and caulk, whatever. Keep telling yourself, 'I won't be here in 3 years'.

Keep windows on the back burner. What is the condition of the important utilities, plumbing, electrical, furnace, AC?

Yes, do the roof. It will cost many times more than you think it will since logically you will need gutters and downspouts in most places.

See comments above. Don't get in over your head, the roof alone may be over $10K.

Your preferences on building materials won't resonate at all with the future owner. Concentrate on having a respectable curb appeal not upscale features that don't blend in with the neighborhood. Good luck on your project.
Joe
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Joe wrote: << Whoa, lad, didn't you just say you wanted functional, declining neighborhood and all? Best bet for your 2-3 year residency is to hire a good carpenter to do over the old shingle siding. A fresh coat of stain and you've put that one behind you. >>
I think a good portion of it (west and south sides) is too far gone to "do over". They're painted, can't be stained. Don't even know if they're wood, were they using anything else at the time, asbestos, perhaps? They have a deeply stippled outer edge that doesn't look like wood. I could be wrong.
I realize often vinyl siders just build over what's there, I don't think that would work for me and I wouldn't want that, anyway.
<< Unless the windows are falling apart, just repair and caulk, whatever. Keep telling yourself, 'I won't be here in 3 years'. >>
One window did literally "fall apart on me" (had an air conditioner in the window and hadn't checked it closely for a few years, found it a few days ago). The bottom of the sash rotted out. When I pulled the a/c out, the glass came out as well. All I have in that opening today is a storm window and half a double-hung. I definitely need to get that taken care of!
<< Keep windows on the back burner. What is the condition of the important utilities, plumbing, electrical, furnace, AC? >>
Plumbing has had some upgrades, but my upstairs bathroom tub tiling is falling apart (old plaster wall rotting out behind the tiles, which were done over in the 50's or 60's, it looks like). Wall needs to be re-done with the green sheetrock and I'll put in a liner of some sort (no more tile!). Furnace is 20 years old but ok. Electrical? Knob and tube, 60 amps, with old-style fuses. No way I can get that replaced without spending a fortune. I figured I'd at least have the service upgraded to 100 amps if I do the siding over.
<< Yes, do the roof. It will cost many times more than you think it will since logically you will need gutters and downspouts in most places. >>
Gutters on one side are falling off. Downspouts seem ok.The trim needs cleaning up. By the way, I can't check up in the attic to see if I have tongue & groove, as there is insulation packed on the ceiling and even the end walls. Perhaps I can pull a little down when I have a roof guy look at it.
<< See comments above. Don't get in over your head, the roof alone may be over $10K. >>
Yup. I figured by the time I did everything needed to make the place saleable, I'd be spending upwards of $30,000. I can afford to do it financially, but of course wish I didn't have to.
I'm _hoping_ to sell and move upon retirement. Then again, I could be stuck here for reasons whatever. That's why I want to do the job right, even if I have to sell for a little under market value to get it off my hands.
I expect that any buyer will move immediately to convert the house to 2-family, or even add onto the back and transform it into an "immigrant hotel", doubling or tripling it lengthwise. Seems to have been done to more than a few existing one or two family houses in this area (including the one right next to me, ugh).
Thanks for the comments, - John
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wrote: <snip>

I haven't used Marvin's, but have used similar kits by another manufacturer whose name escapes me at the moment.
They work as advertised, and after I got the hang of it, took maybe 30 minutes per window to install. The major effort was staining and varnishing them (mine were wood inside, AL clad outside). They operate nicely and seal very well.
As you say, they cost as much as good quality full windows. IMO, the only reason to use them is avoid the siding work and inside trim work that comes from doing full replacements, and wanting to avoid the kind of replacements that slip inside the old frames. Since you are redoing siding anyway, that reason evaporates. If you really want to do the windows, go with full new. Once the old siding is off, they will be easy to do. If you are careful, and the old windows are standard sizes, you can reuse the inside trim.
HTH,
Paul F.
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Three words to describe the advantage of full replacements over the inserts that you are looking at: Lead-based paint.
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My house had old asphalt siding, two layers of roofing, box gutters that leaked and drained the way, old windows. If it had to be done over, remember to insulate the exterior walls. Getting rid of the box gutters was a good decision because the water can be put into the street. Large commercial grade seamless gutters give a balance in place of box gutters. Add insulation, but knob and tube creates a problem. Good luck. Good market.

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