Light Townhouse Rehab - Project #6, Weeks #10 and #11

In week #10, a "window of opportunity" presented itself. You see, one of the windows on the front of the townhouse was cracked and fogged up. I had been ignoring for a while, figuring I would deal with it later. Considering that the house was built in 1985, the chances of finding a single replacement sash was slim. If this was a single-pane window, it would not be a big deal - just head to the local hardware store, get a new piece cut to fit and set it in place. But these windows are the newer and more energy efficient dual-paned versions. I was thinking that I would have to find a company that could re-glass a double-paned window and send it out for repair.

Well, this week I got it taken care of. There was another house two doors down that was getting all new windows, so I asked the crew what they were doing with the old ones. When they said that they were hauling them to the dump, I asked if they minded if I helped myself to a few sashes. A few minutes and a $10 thank-you gesture later, I had a replacement sash and several spares! Here's how I went about installing the replacement sash:

First, I noticed that the jamb liner (which is the plastic channel the window slides in) was made in two pieces, with the seam just above halfway up the frame. There were a few Phillips screws that I could access with the lower sash all the way down, so I removed them first.

Next, the lower sash (with the cracked glass) was raised to expose the remainder of the jamb liner. The dark spots are the Phillips-head screws that are removed to detach the liner from the jamb.

With all the screws removed, the liner slid right out of the frame. By lowering the window sash down, I was able to swing it out and free from the frame. Note that it was only necessary to remove the jamb liner from one side of the window frame to get the sash out.

The new sash was installed and slid to the upper position:

And the jamb liner was re-installed. The replacement took all of 10 minutes, and the only way you can tell that anything was done is that some paint on the casing peeled up when the liner was pulled. A little caulk and touch-up, and we are back in business!

Looking through the window in the picture above, you can see some of the flowers that we planted a few weeks ago. They are really taking off and looking good! Here's a picture from the outside.

Inside, we have been continuing with the painting. The ceilings upstairs have been painted with ceiling paint, which is a very bright, flat white paint. Painting the ceilings white and the walls a little bit darker give the illusion of a more spacious room.

In the kitchen, two coats of semi-gloss white were rolled out on the walls and ceiling. While flat paint is used on the ceiling in most rooms, in bathrooms and kitchens I use semi-gloss. The semi-gloss holds up better against the moisture and is washable if it gets dirty. With the painting done, I started laying out laminated flooring. The flooring I chose cost about $1.50 per square foot, and has the foam underlayment already attached to the backside.

Laying down the laminate is very straightforward. Simply click the panels together in a row, and work across the room until a full strip can't fit. Take that plank and turn it upside down and backwards to scribe the length, as seen below. Be sure to leave a small (1/4 to 3/8") gap between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion and movement.

I used a small table saw to cut the strip, and the cutting is done with the finsihed side down to prevent chipping. If you use a chop-saw or hand saw, you would cut with the finished side up. After cutting, install the stip to finsish the course up to the wall. Then take the remainder of that strip and use it to start the second course of flooring. In the picture below, you might also notice that I needed to notch one of the strips for the HVAC floor vent.

After a few hours of cutting and fitting, I had enough done to drag the appliances in from the dining room and re-set them in the kitchen. There a few small spots that still need to be filled in (look under the fridge), but to minimize waste I will wait until the flooring is nearly complete and use filler material from any partially used planks.

With the dining room all cleared out, it didn't take long at all to get the laminate laid down!

Notice in the picture above that I have not installed the filler drywall strips or the base trim - there is a reason for this. Remember I mentioned that a small gap must be left around the edge of the room for movement and expansion? This gap is normally covered by "quarter-round" or "base shoe" moulding for a finished appearance. In my case, by waiting to install the drywall filler strips and base trim, I will let those go over the no quarter round will be needed.

Below is an example of what I am talking about. To the left of the corner, I have already installed the drywall filler strip. To the right is another strip waiting to go in. Look closely, and you will see the gap I leave is between the flooring and the toe plate (the horizontal 2x4 stud at the bottom) of the wall.

With both of the filler strips installed and a scrap piece of base trim as an example, you can see how there is no need for the quarter round moulding - it's already a clean install! Also, the extra-tall trim covers the seam from where I cut out the old trim and the lower few inches of the drywall.

That's it for weeks 10 and 11. The house is really coming together and I plan on showing it starting next week. I estimate that there will be two more updates on this project, so come again soon to see how it turns out!

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