A window to the west

Yesterday’s trip to Home Depot wasn’t just summed up with the letdown about Thanksgiving. It had a few bright spots. Six of them to be exact.

Rudy had been telling me that he needed the windows and siding for the exterior of the house this week — that this week would be a good week weather-wise to tackle all of that. So I’ve been hunting high and low to try and get the windows, siding, and back door that he’ll need to do all that work.

To give the complete picture of what we’re doing on the back of the house, here’s the basic task list Rudy has for the exterior:

  • we’re replacing the decrepit windows in the 2nd floor of the sleeping porch with all new framing, new windows and trim. (See picture below)
  • filling in the holes above the windows on the 1st and 2nd floors
  • putting in a new (secure) back door, closing up the hole over that door
  • replacing the porch stairs
  • painting and rehanging the basement garage doors. (They will be red!)
  • and then putting all new siding and trim on the back of the house.
The back of the house looked awful. The porch stairs are falling down, the metal siding is warped and rusted, windows are falling out, and they've painted over some openings.

With the delay in cabinets for the kitchen, that’ll pretty much halt work there. They’ll finish the pipes, the electrics are all in and waiting to be inspected, and then Rudy’s guys will finish out what they can, like the pantry wall and pocket door, drywall the ceiling and do all the finishes that don’t have anything to do with the cabinets.

But the big task starting next week will be this exterior. I had been researching windows but we hadn’t bought anything for the back of the house materials-wise yet. First stop at Lowe’s on Saturday yielded unpromising results. They had only vinyl windows in stock for new construction, and nothing in the size we were looking for. All the big building supply places we tried aren’t open on the weekends.

At Home Depot, while Rachel was waiting for help from a kitchen designer, I walked down to the windows. Lo and behold, they had 6 of the Anderson wood windows I’ve been looking at online; 6 of them in both sizes I had been deciding between. After making a final decision about size (25×40), I grabbed down all 6 that they had in stock.

They’re not actually all wood windows, but the casement and frame is wood, the interior trim is wood, and then the outer casement is vinyl along with the slider. You can see a sort of two-tone effect on the inside with the wood trim against the vinyl slides on the vertical inside of the window. The salesman told me that turned a lot of people off on these windows, since they aren’t 100% wood windows and have that two-tone effect if you want the natural wood or stained look inside. Since we’re planning on painting them white inside, that won’t be an issue.

The windows were more expensive than we would ordinarily buy, but we can thank the federal government for making this possible. (Who says Obama hasn’t done anything for us?)  There’s a 30% tax credit on the cost of new energy efficient windows, and D.C. just started a program 2 weeks ago, funded by the stimulus, that will pay us back HALF of the cost of these windows, in cash. It’s a 50% straight-up rebate. Which is why we were even looking at wood windows.

So $1300 for six windows just became $650, plus 30% credit on next year’s taxes. Not bad at all. And just like that, we’ll have much nicer, more energy-efficient windows made of wood on the back of the house instead of the cheapest vinyl ones on the market. But really, anything’s probably better than these windows that are falling out of the back of the house.

(When we get the windows installed, I’ll show you a nice new surprise later this week. Turns out we have a pretty nice view out the back of the house.)

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