October 23, 2014

The Big Window and Door Switcheroo- Part 2

On the morning of Day 3, I woke up to this motivation.

A wall desperately begging me to "make me pretty again!"  I wasn't about to get discouraged though, there's a window where a door used to be people!

Since the structural and insulating part was already done, all I had left was to cut and attach new paneling.  This first piece wasn't going down without a fight though, it was shaped like a Tetrus piece and included 2 electrical boxes to cut out.  I owned it. 

For the next part, I used a piece of the old paneling, slightly cut at the top right and moved over about 2 inches to the right of it's original placement (since the window is slightly skinnier than the old door was.)  Then I had to carefully cut a 2" strip of paneling to fill the new gap on the left.  
Too. Much. Thinking. Not. Enough. Coffee.

Gorgeous no?  Nothing a little paint couldn't solve, so I quickly threw on a coat of primer.  This is what progress looks like:

While I was at it we filled the Living Room window hole with a piece of scrap paneling and threw a coat of primer on that.  The plan is to cover this full wall with a fireplace and built ins, so there was no need to professionally cover this hole as it will all get covered eventually, but we didn't want it to be an eyesore in the meantime.

With my paint drying, I headed outdoors to tackle the old window wall first.  Now we may have been throwing windows and doors in and out of this cabin like Taylar Swift goes through boyfriends, but the reality is that our exterior siding makes it really easy.  Our vertical board and batten is simply large sheets of plywood, covered by strips of 1x2s at the seams and studs to cover the nails.  If you have vinyl or aluminum siding, this would be a lot more challenging, as you would need to pull out a bunch of siding and stitch it back in to make it look random and seamless.  In our case though, I just needed one 4'x8' sheet of plywood to cover the hole.  

Unfortunately nothing is ever that easy.  In a perfect world my existing plywood would have been centered over my window like this:

Then I could just rip out the old piece and put up a new one.  Instead, I had two sheets of plywood overlapping my window, like this:

Which means I had to use my circular saw to cut each piece of plywood in half.  I set the depth of my saw so that I was cutting just the plywood and not the stud below it. Luckily the trim piece would cover my seams, so I didn't have to be 100% straight, but it was still a challenge to cut vertical up the wall, balanced on a ladder with sawdust flying.

"Pro" tip- Sunnies double as protective eye gear.
One side down, one more to go.

After both sides were successfully cut, I could nail in my new piece of plywood.

And then place the 1"x2" strips over the seams and studs, carefully measuring with my level to keep it straight.


A little paint and that will look as good as new.  But I couldn't break out the paint just yet, as I had this mess to tackle.

In the category of "Things Can Never Be Easy," I couldn't just use the same trim for the window on this side of the house as the studs on this wall were 2"x6"s and the studs on the other wall were 2"x4"s.  We used some good scrap wood leftover from the old deck to build the new trim (which is why it's a dark red.)

Then I could fit the old brick molding and sill back over it.

At this point it was getting to be the end of a really long day, (which of course included breaks for running into town to get ice cream with the kids, eating, cooking, diapering, playing, raking leaf piles for the kiddos to jump in and crafting.)  I finally got my last piece of plywood, which had to be strategically cut to include 2" panels on either side of the window, by flashlight.

The sun's not the boss of me though.  After I put the kiddos to bed I finished up the work day by adding a couple of coats of paint to the interior paneling.

All in, Day 3 was a super successful day:
  • Install paneling on the interior walls- check!
  • Prime and paint interior paneling- check!
  • Install new board and batten siding over old window- check!
  • Trim out new window exterior- check!
  • Install new board and batten siding around new window- check!
Whew!  Hang with me- the big reveal is next.  Has anyone else tackled this type of project at home?  Has anyone had to weave in new siding?  That seams incredibly hard to me, and I don't envy you.  I have to admit that I'm pretty lucky with this project working with paneling and board and batten.  If I had drywall and vinyl siding, things wouldn't be going quite so easy. 

October 21, 2014

The Big Window and Door Switcheroo- Part 1

Last week I promised that I was finally going to put my money where my mouth is and get to the big window removal/door removal/window install project.  Good news friends- I was able to head up to the Cabin with the boys for an extra long weekend and we got a ton done! *brushes shoulders off*
I have about a thousand photos and, as always, way too many words, so I'll break it up for you in a few posts.

If you're just joining us, the Cliff's Note's version is that we added a new front door to our cabin in order to build a third bedroom in the old entryway.  While the new front door and bedroom are functional, there were just a couple last steps remaining; remove the old front door from the bedroom and replace it with a window.

We've already started to wear a path to our new front door. We'll work on the landscaping and hardscaping next spring.
Lucky for us, we had a window to spare.  The Great Cabin Plan includes installing a fireplace and mantel in the center of our Living Room wall, and flanking it with floor to ceiling bookcases.  This off center window had to go, and it was the exact size and style of all the other windows in the cabin, so the hope was that it would fit right in to it's new spot and look like it always belonged there.

So on Day 1 when I arrived at the cabin, I started by carefully removing the trim from around the window so that I could reuse it in it's new place.

 Once the interior was clear, I grabbed my ladder and headed outside.

Once again I carefully stripped the molding, first the siding trim and aluminum casing:

And then the brick molding:

With everything clear, I could run my reciprocating saw with a metal blade around the edges to cut any of the nails holding it in.  To be honest, it was way easier than I thought, and then the window just tipped in for a quick and easy removal.  

Then I cut 2x4 studs to the length of my opening, and installed them into my new hole, (16 inches on center.)

I covered my new hole with scrap plywood on the inside:

And on the outside filled the hole with a plastic vapor barrier, insulation, and then another piece of scrap plywood:

It didn't look pretty yet, but I felt pretty accomplished for Day 1, which was just a half day.
  • Window and molding removed without destroying any of it- Check!
  • Hole filled in and insulated- Check!

On Day 2 I couldn't get started tearing out this door fast enough.  Take one last look at my brown, gross wall.


Then I started by removing the interior trim, and Little Man helped. (Don't worry, those exposed wires in the wire box above him are all completely dead.)

Again, I went back outside, and first removed the screen door:

And then the trim:

Same as the window, with the trim removed I could take my reciprocating saw around the edges and cut any nails attaching the door to the frame. With the nails removed, I could carefully tip back the door.

Cue the forth, "Well, now I've done it.  I have a hole in the side of my house" moment that I've had in 2014.  (Here's the first and the second.)

In order to install the old window in this new spot, I needed to build out the frame work.  After triple checking my rough opening measurements (which is 1/2" wider and taller than the outside of your window), I started to build my wall.

Not a bad day of work when you're looking out at a glorious day like this and your kiddos playing in the lawn.
Surprisingly, I tipped the window in and it was a perfect fit! We used shims around the edges and checked a thousand times to make sure it was square and the the window went up and down smoothly before we nailed it in.

Once the window was in I could measure exactly how much paneling I needed to cover the wall.  I carefully removed the old paneling, as to save money I would need to put some of it back up again in a slightly different spot. (And I'm nothing it not cheap thrifty.)  I also moved my electrical box to get rid of the old switches and add an outlet along this wall.  

Here's what it looked like from the outside, with just the plastic vapor barrier in below the window.

It was getting late though, so I filled the studs with insulation, sprayed expandable foam in small gaps around the window, closed the window and called it a night. 

Believe it or not, that's what a successful Day 2 looks like.
  • Door out- Check!
  • Window where the door used to be- Check!
  • Wall insulated- Check! 
I mean- there is a window in the bedroom people! A human can only do so much in a day, and this human was also watching her two little boys, cooking three meals for us, changing diapers, fulfilling snack requests and taking breaks to put together puzzles, play tag, draw with sidewalk chalk and throw bean bags.  Truthfully, I was lucky that it was an epically beautiful day outside, and my boys seem to have just reached the age where they can entertain themselves by playing together.  I spent most of the day in the doorway watching them drive the Power Wheels and racing for my camera when they were giggling together, jumping in the leaves.  It was about as good as it could get, one of those days that makes me realize how incredibly lucky we are to have this beautiful place, even if it is a lot of work.
I don't want to leave you hanging, so I'll be back soon with how I put this Humpty-Dumpty back together again!