Friday, September 26, 2008

Random questions

In my house research, many restoration questions have come to mind, for which I've either been unable to locate answers or simply failed to take the time to do so. These are those questions. If you have any answers or insight, I'd love to hear it.

Does anyone make wood windows to fit in the existing openings, without the additional tracks and junk associated with sash replacement kits? Ideally, these would be exact duplicates of the original windows, although perhaps additional provisions for weatherstripping might be in order.

Is it really important to have the top half of a double-hung window be operational? I've been considering the spring loaded pulleys that eliminate sash weights, which would allow insulating the area where the sash weights used to be. The problem is, said pulleys are rather expensive, and if I could fix the top halves of the windows in place and just have the bottom halves be functional, it would provide for considerable savings.

Is it possible to cut off a chunk of a concrete or asphalt driveway? Some of the houses that we've looked at have three car carages, and the driveway often encompasses a large part of the back yard. If we got one of these houses, A. would get one of the three garage spots, while the remainder would be used for my workshop. If I could remove part of the driveway in front of the workshop portion of the garage, it would make for more garden and green space.

Are there any decent looking GFI outlets? I could handle a GFI outlet that came with a custom cover, if that meant that there wasn't the ugly rectangle around it that is common with most GFI outlets. Alternately, one that is significantly less ugly than usual would do, too.


ashke9 said...

Does anyone make wood windows to fit in the existing openings
No idea, as we have not yet looked into replacing our (non-original, very ugly) windows. I would think, though, that you could just order "new" windows, if you're willing to be getting into the walls (i.e. have access to framing).

Is it really important to have the top half of a double-hung window be operational?
We officially have double-hung windows, but I've not once opened the top half. Take that for what it's worth :)

Is it possible to cut off a chunk of a concrete or asphalt driveway?
Never done it, but I don't see why not. They make concrete/cement saws (basically, enormous circular saws with diamond-tipped blades) that you use to cut the expansion grooves, so it seems like you could just cut a line and break off the part you don't want. The resulting edge wouldn't have the nice finished look that a poured edge does, but that's unlikely to be noticed by anyone!

Are there any decent looking GFI outlets?
I have only seen the square ones, and suspect that's deliberate (i.e. to make them obvious that they're GFI). They do come in a couple of colors, and I have heard you can paint them with latex paint (knowing that it will wear off if you do a lot of plugging/unplugging). There are an assortment of cover plate options, too, including ones that can be painted to match the wall color. I agree that they're ugly, but this is one of those areas where there don't seem to be many options.

Kurt said...

There are many woodworkers who will produce a sash only that you can install using the original pulleys and new ropes of course. It is important to have both sashes hung on pulleys because it allows you to clean the windows from the inside by moving both sashes around. It is also important for cross-ventilation. If you have a really tall window, opening the top only will vent better than opening the bottom.

StuccoHouse said...

I think your best bet regarding repalcement sash is to look locally for a carpenter that can make one to your specs. That will give you what you want and most likely be your most economical route too. Once I started look for wood storms in my area, I started to see all of these small shops that worked w/ windows. I had custom made wood frame storms made by a guy my local hardware store knew.

They only benefit of a working top sash comes when you have the old style full screens. Then when you open the top & bottom sash, you have full air movement. That said, even with the half screens it is nice to open a top sash a get some top air movement (in, say, a bathroom).

A lot of the old house suppliers make ok looking GFI outlets. Take a look a Rejuvenation, Crown Hardware, Kilian Hardware, House of Antique Hardware.