There’s a single 3rd story window in the attic.
It’s charming. As in, I think dormers are cute.
But from a curb appeal standpoint, the paned glass window itself looked creepy – it was painted black and then covered with a screen. For no obvious reason, when the windows on the house were updated a decade or so ago, the attic window received no special treatment.
I didn’t even know that it could be removed easily (it appeared to have been painted in place the other time I checked into it), but several months ago I heard a crash and noticed it had been blown inwards to the attic floor during an impressive wind storm. Glad I checked right away, because we fixed the situation quickly and didn’t lose too much in the sense of heat efficiency. Considering I hadn’t been in the attic for about 7 months, I was glad I sucked it up and ventured into the dark space. Anyone else still scared that someone lives in their attic?
The fear factor isn’t helped by the huge snowsuit or work suit or something that Pete hung up that looks similar to a dark shadowed body next to the window. I scare easily. As far as I’m concerned, it looks like something out of Criminal Minds. Body bags. Creepy attic folk. Ax murderers.
The solution for securing the window at the time was to affix a wooden block to the frame to pin the loosened window in place – you can see it right at the top in the previous photo, and again in this next one. It worked well; there’s no easy way for the window to come free now.
But the real thing I noticed when the window was out of place is that it was filthy, with chipping paint and glazing, and desperately needed some love. The screen was messed up too, torn in one corner, and it’s not actually the screen you’d expect to see on a window – just a piece of mesh stretched and stapled to the window opening. Classy. And dirty. Hard to clean a screen that’s been stapled in place for decades.
Only just this past weekend amidst warmer weather did I disassemble the window again to take some time to clean it up.
I left the screen in place for the time being so that I could try and keep buggers out of the house while I was repairing the paned glass. Sidenote: This is actually the most bug-free house I’ve ever lived in (knock on wood).
I was able to remove the window from it’s encasement by unscrewing the blockade that had been installed, and then spent an hour sanding and scraping most of the loose paint and glazing away on the porch in the sun (I love working at home). New glazing went on in the same day. Luckily, Pete had some; the man has everything; he also taught me everything I needed to know about glazing – he can teach you too, because he actually wrote a bit about the DIY process over on his blog today.
When it came to painting, I ended up doing something that I wasn’t planning on. While the painted chipping side was getting repaired, it was still nowhere near as pretty a condition as the unpainted, unweathered side of the pane that had forever faced inward. Instead of spending more time hand-sanding and carefully scraping, I decided to flip flop the pane and paint the better side white. That side was now going to face outside, and the damaged side could face inward.
I’m not sure if you’re allowed to do that or not, but I’ll tell you, it worked for me.
Once it had painted and dried (for days! It was so humid!) I took extra efforts to insulate the inside of the window with some transparent shrink film and the window sill with self-stick vinyl foam weatherseal. These products were actually something I had gotten for free at the Buffalo Home Show that I visited and wrote about this past spring.
The reinstall was a snap. I completely removed the dirty screen from the window, along with as many staples as I could detect, and slid the freshly painted window into place snug against the weatherseal.
For added security (never know when a gust of wind is going to blow it out of the window, apparently) I reinstalled the original wood block and a secondary one along the bottom to hold the window in place.
The change from the curb is still quite minimal and probably only noticed on a day-to-day basis by yours truly, but I’m quite happy with the dormer now that it doesn’t look like a creepy Criminal Minds hideaway from the curb (no such improvement on the inside yet).