I am fixing up a brick rowhouse. All the exterior walls are structural
brick - 2 layers of brick then plaster (no studs or insualtion). At
some point a few windows had the counterweights replaced with
spring-loaded inserts and they weren't done so well. That wall gets the
most exposure to sun and wind. The frames are rotted out and the sashes
(double-hung) sometimes fall into the room and also have some rotting.
I'm curious if it is unreasonable for me to take the original frame out
completely down to the brick and install a new/replacement window from
there. Would I attach some 1x6 or something with Tapcon screws to the
brick to provide something to screw the window to? or should I leave as
much of the original frame as I can?
I haven't taken the windows out yet and am weighing my options between
repairing whats there, sash replacements, and completely new frames. I
realize it is quite desirable to keep the originals (historically,
aesthetically) however this project is more of a rehabilitation rather
than a restoration. Also, I can see light around the outside of the
frame at places and the inside has already been a bit mutilated through
the house's many owners.
Thanks for your time,
Check for regulatory requirements before doing anything.
(In my area, for instance, there is a city architectural review board
and two active historical preservation groups. Some folk have been
forced to tear down construction considered to be out of character.)
Make sure that the masonry is solid and not shifting.
Record the trim and framing carefully for reference in reconstruction.
Don't decide on a method of repair until you have opened up the
construction and know with certainty what is there and how it is
arranged. There may be issues of structure or flashing or dampproofing
not apparent from the surface.
Your description makes it sound like a rebuild is in order. Even if you
repeat the present arrangements, you will want to solve the open
passage of daylight around the frame.
Some years ago when I lived in Philadelphia, I had a sideline business for
replacement windows, doors, etc.
If the framing is in good shape, the easy way was to take out the sashes and
put in new replacement windows. They were big sellers as they required no
more painting, sealed well and moved much freer that a sash with 50 coats of
paint and broken counter weights. If the original framing and stops are in
good condition, this is a simple way to greatly improve your windows. You
sound more involved than that though if the framing is rotted.
If that is the case, I'd remove everything down to the brick, install a new
frame, then a new window. Hard to give exact recommendations as it has been
years since I've done that kind of work
For appearance sake though, you want to framing to be close to the present
materials in thickness. A 1 x 6 is going to look out of place unless the
window itself is wide enough for a good appearance. Take some measurements
of the brick opening and the wood that is there and head out to a good shop
(not the typical big box store) and see what is available. Take a look at
other houses on your street to see what looks good and what looks like crap.
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