One thing to remember when you begin considering a new roof, siding, or windows. The replacement is only as effective as the support beneath or around it. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right?
So when you’re budgeting your remodel, don’t discount that you might also need new sheathing before installing the new materials, especially if your home has some years on it or incurred moisture damage at some point. Or maybe you were unaware shortcuts were taken with the sheathing when the house was built.
Sheathing (also called “decking” for roofs) is basically the material – often plywood or drywall – that serves as an extra layer (or layers) of protection and the base upon which you would secure something. For instance, siding on the exterior of the home would be anchored to the sheathing. If you’ve driven past a construction site and seen walls or roofs that are essentially ready to go and only seem to be missing the exterior siding or shingles – that’s the sheathing/decking.
In any case, the sheathing must be sturdy or you’re wasting your time and money with the update.
Flawed sheathing was an issue when we started this particular window replacement and siding replacement job in New Canaan. If we have a combo job like this, the window installation project goes first – this gives you a little more room to work with before the siding seals it up.
We’ll just focus on the windows part of this job as to provide more detail.
Upon arrival, our crew began clearing the area around the old windows and noticed immediately a significant amount of rot with the sheathing. As in flaking off and crumbling in your hand. At that point, you’re not securing anything to this. It’s also a red flag that this might be more prevalent than just the area you’re working on.
In this case, it was true. Most of the sheathing was in bad shape, and that extended to the insulation, some of which also had been exposed to moisture. This is a prime recipe for mold, and that’s bad news.
So we needed to re-sheath and add proper insulation to the home before we could start the windows and siding. That was our next obstacle. Plywood prices were high and supplies low because of the pandemic.
Fate was on our side, though, because we were not only able to locate and secure enough for the project, but had it delivered the same day! This could have been a major delay (as in days) just waiting for the plywood to arrive rather than just the extra time needed to do this unexpected repair (which, of course, isn’t insignificant).
Once the new sheathing was in place, our window installers got down to business. That meant, first of all, proper measurements for the window framing. For the record, the customer chose Harvey vinyl windows to be the replacements. Harvey windows, made by a company that’s been around 60 years, are an excellent choice for their energy efficiency and durability.
There are many components to measuring a window – including jamb, interior stop, length and width – in order to plumb, level, and square it to ensure proper function and fit and maximize its environmental rating. If it is installed incorrectly by even one-sixteenth of an inch, the window sash might not open and close properly.
Another tip: If you’re feeling a draft, it might be more of an insulation issue in the areas around the window rather than the window itself.
These Harvey windows look very much like the ones we replaced. But the owner will definitely save money on heating and cooling costs with these environmentally efficient windows.
Another tricky thing on this project was being careful where we stepped. As you can see from the pictures, this house is surrounded by beautiful landscaping, and our customer was rightly concerned that all this work would result in damage. After all, we’d have to walk through the garden to get to the side of the house as well as set up ladders for second-story work.
Happy to report that we were able to complete this month-long project without any damage to the landscaping. The siding and white windows look great, and even better, the home exterior is now secure and energy efficient.
City: New Canaan
Materials used (manufacturer): Harvey
Materials used (type): Vinyl Windows
Materials used (color): White
Project Cost: $43,000
Time to Complete: Three days (windows), four weeks (project total)