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Handyman: window replacement in difficult situation

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MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

February 15, 2010
2:20 AM

Post #7559702

I have a circa 1950 house built from cement (or is that concrete?) blocks. The windows are all original and need to be replaced. I'm okay for most rooms in that I know how I will tackle them BUT I want to move my kitchen to what was formerly a bedroom. The windows there sit lower than the proposed countertop height. I don't want to spend the money bringing in a mason to make the openings shorter since this would get very expensive very fast!
Can I install the new windows to fit the existing openings and have the counters actually sit higher than the window sills? I thought I might build some wood boxes to fill the space so things didn't fall behind the counters. Windows would still be able to be raised and lowered.

Can anyone think of any reason this would not be practical? I tried to do a web search for an answer but guess I wasn't wording it right cause I found nothing.

Thanks!
MollyD
Bubba_MoCity
Missouri City, TX

February 15, 2010
4:34 PM

Post #7561076

How many windows are involved?

If only 2 or 3, it might be worth having a brick mason give you an estimate to change out the windows to your desired location. Bet new windows will cost more than the labor. But you could get high efficiency windows.

Since the recession hit - I have noticed window prices have fallen quite a bit.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 15, 2010
5:15 PM

Post #7561208

I imagine it's going to cost quite a lot to move the kitchen into what is now a bedroom since you won't have the right plumbing, electrical, etc in the room, not to mention the cost of basically building the kitchen from scratch and buying all new windows for the whole house...so I would look into doing the windows right. You're going to spend a ton of money on the kitchen project and the cost of the new windows themselves, so I really don't think it'll add that much to get the window openings redone to the correct height, and it'll look nicer and more finished if the windows are done properly.
MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

February 15, 2010
6:05 PM

Post #7561338

I'm doing all the work for the new kitchen myself (inc electric and plumbing). This will actually centralize all the plumbing since the existing kitchen is at the opposite end of the house from the hot water heater. ecrane3 I won't be doing it all at once so no there won't be a ton of money involved in this.

Bubba_MoCity there are two very big windows (50" wide) involved. It's not the cost of the windows that I'm concerned about. It's the cost of hiring a mason to knock out the concrete window sill, block up the extra opening and then stucco the outside to match. All that would cost far more than the purchase price of the windows. I will be doing the actual work myself so my only expense is buying the windows and materials.

MollyD
Bubba_MoCity
Missouri City, TX

February 15, 2010
7:22 PM

Post #7561593

OK, we just gotta see pictures as the project advances. I admire your confidence and abilities with the electrical and plumbing. Masonry can be any harder, so hopefully you will tackle it too.
MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

February 15, 2010
8:32 PM

Post #7561809

Hi Bubba,

I've done my own electrical and plumbing out of necessity for over 20 years now. It's always been next to impossible to get anyone in for small jobs. Everyone wants to work on major remodels and that's about it so if you don't want to wait years you learn to do it yourself.

I know the basics of masonry but I can no longer lift those blocks myself which is why I want to work around that.

Thanks!
MollyD
DesertPirate
Fallbrook, CA
(Zone 10b)

February 16, 2010
5:14 PM

Post #7564103

MollyD, there's no valid reason to move the windows other than aesthetic. If you're OK with the look, it's fine to do it that way. If you have a plan for keeping things from falling down onto the sill and have a way to open and lock the windows...why not??!! If there are going to be cabinets in front of the windows, you may want to consider putting backing on them where the windows are just to keep from seeing into the cabinets from the outside. But again, as to you original question there's no reason you can't do it that way.
Randy
MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

February 16, 2010
6:36 PM

Post #7564359

Thanks Randy! That's exactly what I wanted to know. I can avoid putting any upper cabinets against the windows, just the lower ones that can't be avoided. My plan is to build a box that will fit the sill and sit as high as the countertop backsplash. That should keep things from going behind there and provide a place for plants and knicknacks.

Thank you!
MollyD
Cornfieldtradin
Beaverville, IL

June 30, 2010
5:30 PM

Post #7933991

Molly,

I stumbled onto this forum here. I included a piture of what I just did. I too have an older home, all brick, the windows were not "normal" size so had to do a bit of modification to fit them. First off, ask at Menards (or your local supplier) if there are custom sizes available. I bought custom replacements for $25 more than the stock and only had to wait a week. I also received an in store discount, a mail in discount, and a quantity discount that added up to a savings of $30 per window (are you doing the math here?). All I had to do was shrink the opening to fit the new windows in. On the inside I blended the drywall in and you can't even tell, on the outside I put flower boxes and covered up the reduced opening that way. No need to track down brick that matched. I do have to finish painting all the trim a hunter green to blend in / hide the outside modifications. Just a thought.

Semper Fi
Brian

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