• Stephanie Gillett

My Hubby's Huge Achievement in 2020: Windows


Last winter was, for the record, neither terribly cold or too snowy by Rogers City standards. I remember a few nights it got down into single digits, but otherwise, not terrible. Still, our house was freezing. Cold air poured in through the windows and window frames. In our bedroom, the curtains would actually move when it was windy, and in Rogers City, the wind blows hard off the lake every night.


I was miserable, but Mitch was optimistic. He’d tried his hand at building a couple of storm windows last year and they worked pretty well, so he was convinced that he could fully renovate our 90+-year-old wood windows and make the house warm again. I thought we could not do much worse than what we’d experienced from December 2019 to March 2020, so I told him to go for it.


He did. Let me describe to you how this generally went down:

· He removed an inside window

· He put up a storm window in its place

· He deglazed and removed the panes from the window and marked which went where

· He removed all the paint from the pane using a scraper and heat gun

· He primed it

· He put the panes of glass back in (replacing broken ones)

· He re-glazed the windows

· He waited a week for that glaze to dry

· He put on the final coats of paint

· He added weather stripping

· He re-roped the weights in the sash so we could open and close it

· He reinstalled the window

· He added new hardware

· He went on to the next window


And he did this for four windows. Four windows so grimy, dirty, and water damaged that I didn’t want to touch them. Four windows that, if I’d tried to clean them, the glass would have popped out, that’s how gingerly they rested in their frames. And in those four windows, he actually did twelve – there was an upper window with six panes of glass, a lower window that was one solid pane, and a storm window.


He also built and/or renovated the screens. Check out this slide show of start-to-finish pics:



In the meantime, we had our new friend and favorite handyman Brian come in and address the five vinyl windows we have in the house. They are probably 60 years newer, and yet they were really no better. The condition of the windows was fairly decent, but the way they were installed was another matter.


As Brian took everything apart, we could see how bad the situation was. Not only was there no insulation around them, but they were also poorly mounted, fitted to one side instead of adding shims to center them. If the window was shoved over to the left side, cold air came barreling through the right side, unimpeded by pesky insulation.


Brian removed the trim, took the windows out, cleaned them up, centered and reshimmed them, then added insulation and reinstalled them. He did an amazing job, as always. We absolutely love him!


Finally, we had four wood windows upstairs that were in terrible shape. We’d put plastic over them last winter to keep the cold out, but it was like putting our finger in the hole of a dam. Because they were on the second floor and all the more dangerous to tackle, we called in the professionals. Nowak Window, Door & Cabinet came out and gave us an estimate for four new vinyl windows that matched the look of the originals – six panes on top over one solid on the bottom. They came out right before the Fourth of July and installed those for us.


This window improvement endeavor took from the end of May through the beginning of October. Mitch worked straight through, incorporating the week-long glaze drying time into the schedule and ensuring that we only had one screened window out of operation all summer. At this point, only the bathroom window is not redone, and only one kitchen window didn't need some sort of help. Every other one of our 15 total first- and second-floor windows has been addressed.


Did it work? Absolutely! It’s about 24 degrees right now and we are much warmer than we were last year this time. No more condensation on the windows, no more frozen-over windows. And it's even quieter in the house! It’s been fantastic, and I couldn’t be more pleased.


I’m so proud of Mitch for teaching himself how to do this and taking the initiative to renovate our windows the right way! I can't wait to see what he tackles in 2021!

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