Long Term Home Remodel Project

Phase II - Add Front Gable / New Front Window

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Since we were undertaking such a major renovation inside, it seemed only appropriate that we should update the exterior also. This is a typical '50s ranch style where the roof is low pitch and the front is just a straight slab. In the front of the living room, there was a 10 foot wide, nearly floor to ceiling, quite ugly and very inefficient casement window. In winter, ice would form nearly 1/3 of the way up and Old window the drapes would dance around almost as if there were no glass. It had always been an eyesore and nuisance. This photo shows the window and at least an idea of the flat look of a '50s ranch. This is after construction started so isn't ideal. The brick below the window has already been removed and the new slab extension poured, the outline for the new gable is on the roof and some of the siding has been removed. We designed and had custom built, a rather unusual double-pane front window to replace it. We checked several manufacturers, from builders quality to absolutely unaffordable and finally selected Thermal Windows of Oklahoma, a mid-priced, quality window. They have been exceptional and I can highly recommend them to anyone wanting quality windows. Also, to break up the slab Footing look, we designed an extension and gable to supplement the new window. the building code would not allow the floor to extend beyond the existing roof overhang so the bump out was limited to 10 feet wide by 2 feet deep. That 20 square feet, along with the beautiful new window and gable does wonders for the curb appeal though.

As it turned out that there was quite a lot of construction going on in Oklahoma City in 1999 and we were unable to find concrete contractors willing to tackle such a small job. We purchased 6 bags of cement and a half ton each of sand and gravel. The latter two were estimates as they measure tons by the front loader full. I got more than I paid for. This is the trench for the footing for the slab extension. At the far end, you can see the rebar to tie it into the existing foundation. It is attached to the old concrete by holes drilled at an angle the filled with epoxy as was specified by our building inspector. We picked what promised to be a good weekend in August to pour the concrete, over a cubic yard of it. I took Friday off from work and rented a trailer to retrieve the materials then had to shovel it out onto the driveway. That was one manual handling of over 2 tons of materials. Then to mix it, I shoveled it into 5 gallon buckets for measuring then dumped those buckets into the mixer. That was 2 more handlings. After dumping from the mixer into Gable framed the wheelbarrow, I had to move it to the site then again shovel it into the forms. That was 2 more handlings. All total, I figure I moved something over 10 tons of materials those two days. I was totally used up. In fact by the last couple of mixer loads, I couldn't lift the 5 gallon bucket all the way up to the mixer so had to cut back to half-bucket loads.

Sheathing With that slab extension done, we removed that old ugly window and built the walls and new gable in preparation for the new window. This first photo is with the gable and roof finished and the window framed in but leaving the sides open for access to remove the old window, after the new one is installed. Way back when I ordered it, the Felt applied salesman insisted on measuring the opening to ensure the window would fit properly. Well, the opening had not been built yet and since they wanted six weeks to build the window, Finished I was not willing to have the front of the house open that long. I insisted on waiting until the window was ready to ship from the factory in Tulsa before actually opening the house. He finally agreed after I agreed that I would be responsible if it did not Glass block window fit. When the installers came, they swore it was the squarest and best fit opening they ever worked with. The next one is after the window installation, the framing finished and sheathing installed. The final one in this group is after installation of the tar paper and brick. We saved and carefully cleaned the brick removed from under the old window then reinstalled it under the new one. It is now ready for siding.

So, here it is finished. I found some pre-primed finger-jointed redwood 1x12 and 1x2 locally and used them to match the original board and batten siding on the rest of the house front. It has not been painted yet and the battens were a much darker primer than the boards. This also shows the glass block window w3e added to the east side of the extension. The final photo is the almost identical glass block added to the west end.

We were so pleased with the new window that we shortly contracted Thermal to replace all the other windows in the house. It is hard to imagine the difference these windows have made in comfort and temperature control as well as noise throughout the house.