Where to start..

Old 05-26-09, 01:19 PM
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Where to start..

I was trying to plan how to insulate an exterior wall in the bathroom. There is a window in the wall. Underneath the window frame there was a piece of wood stuck into the wall. This piece of wood was not attached to anything; it was just there in place of missing bricks. It was not mortared in or anything. I could see daylight behind it and I pulled it out with my bare hands. I then saw more damage to bricks, mortar and wood inside the wall. There are many cracks where the elements can get in. After struggling with the storm window and removing a pane, I climbed out on the roof. There were patches of ugly clapboard siding on the outside. Some of the clapboard had already fallen off over the years. Still trying to get to the root of the problem, I ripped off the aluminum flashing which was holding the (rusted) aluminum storm window into the frame, and found a large log which had been roughly shaved to fit into a hole and replace some missing bricks.
Where am I going with this? Not completely sure. There are a lot of problems here and I don't really know what to do about them. I guess I'm trying to explain that I am screwed because now I have a missing window, I have torn off the siding and whatever inadequate protection the storm window and falling-down siding was providing. I'm looking for some advice as to what I'm supposed to do next, other than coordinating several different contractors and paying them $15000 to fix this set of problems, or selling the house at a loss.
The window frame and window itself are badly deteriorated.
Based upon what I know, which is not much, I think I have to:
1. Replace the wooden log and the other piece of wood with new brick.
2. Remove the window frame and replace it with new wood which is not rotten and deteriorated.
3. Clean up the window or replace it. But even if I can make it look respectable again, the window isn't suitable for a bathroom shower. The glass isn't safety glass and it would be in the shower. And I've read that wooden windows don't last long in showers.
4. Try to make the fixed-up window or the new window fit into the new frame.
5. Do something outside, around the window at least, so the spalling, deteriorated, broken brick won't keep deteriorating and letting water into the house. This solution should look better than what is there now so my neighbors don't have to look at an ugly mess like they have been doing for years.

I know basically how to work with bricks and mortar. I can work with wood and I know how to cut sheet metal/aluminum. I just don't know if I'm on the right track. What am I supposed to do to deal with this window and make it so it works properly, it's safe, the area around the window is not letting water and insects into the house, and it's not ugly on the inside or outside?

Window before I started taking it apart.

Deterioration of window

You can see the piece of wood below the window which is filling in for some missing bricks.

The piece of wood just comes out with no effort.

Another piece of wood taking the place of bricks, on the outside. Also notice the deterioration of the outside window frame despite a storm window and siding and flashing (partially removed)

I hate everything about this picture. The flashing, the spalling brick, the holes in the mortar, the clapboard, and the appearance of the windows. I should apologize to my neighbors.
Old 05-26-09, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Wilmington
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Not an expert on masonary, but I have worked on a number of houses with this type of construction, built 1920's to 1950's. It is a full thick brick wall. Two rows of brick connected thru with a brick. Every 4-6 bricks you will see what appears to be a half brick, that goes thru and connects the two rows together. The "log" is probably a redwood 4x8, and is likely a supporting piece.

Remove the window frame but don't remove the 'log'. Is that window in the bathroom or actually in the shower?? If in the shower, I would close up part of the opening, either with brick(may need a mason) or framing. Install a vinyl window with tempered obscure glass. Or eliminate the window altogether. Either way, I would install a good fan exhausting to the outside.

For the exterior, use tapcons to secure furring strips to the brick and install vinyl or other siding. It sounds like restoring the brickwork would be VERY expensive, but might be worth investigating.

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