Sidelight window replacement


Old 11-13-12, 09:34 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Sidelight window replacement

We were unexpectedly catapulted into yet another project in our new house. There are sidelight windows around our front door, 4 12x17.5in on each side. The house is 44yrs old and I would not be surprised if what's in place is original... except for the window that my husband shattered when he "slid" down the un-carpeted steps. The placement of stairs and window isn't good. We want to put tempered glass in all eight. As a temporary bandage, there is plexiglass in the one window now.

We learned a few things while removing the broken window. There is exterior molding. I've read that this is a bad idea since it won't hold up to the weather. What we removed was rotten but it was also very old...and sealed by an excessive amount of paint. The front entry is covered, but the region will still experience weather. My first question: What alternatives do we have?

Second do we have any options for the glass? I'm having hard enough time finding tempered glass in the size we need. Any energy efficient improvement? And where might I find it?

Maybe I'm talking to the wrong professionals. I keep being told that I should replace my whole front door. Moreover, that I should get rid of this solid wood door to replace it with the "much better" fiberglass look-a-likes. All I have is a broken window next to the door! I can quickly spot the differences between all the fiberglass doors I've seen. And my wood door appears in great condition, sealing well, fitting well. I'm new to this, so I will ask again is there any reason besides wood doors are too expensive --I have the door already -- or wood doors require some maintenance -- I wouldn't be on these forums if I were afraid of maintenance.

Finally, I am concerned about the possibility of lead. The house was built in 1968. We do not know the history or age of the paint on the windows. What safety measures should we take? Also we have two young children in the home, 27m and 6m; hence even greater concern for lead in the lower layers of paint.

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Old 11-13-12, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Have you considered glass block?
Old 11-13-12, 02:03 PM
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Testing for Lead Paint

They sell lead paint test kits in the big box stores in the paint department. To test a home where there are multiple layers of paint you need to do the following - Look for an inconspicuous spot where you can test. Take a razor knife and make a slit in the paint holding the blade at a slight angle so the cut makes 1/2 of a "V" groove. Make the other cut on the other 1/2 of the "V" groove. If done correctly, you will have lifted a thin wedge off the surface. The groove should expose all layers of paint down to the wood. Now utilize the test kit and follow those instructions on the package.

If you discover lead paint, consult the EPA website for safe practice working with lead paint to protect your kids. If you hire out the work, make sure that the contractor is lead certified (he should have a certificate to show you). All contractors are required to obtain certification in order to work on homes older than 1977.
Old 11-13-12, 02:33 PM
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Tempered glass will only be available from a glass shop. They will order it in the size you need since it can't be worked after tempering. I'd guess about $40-50 each? Just a guess.

As to the exterior wood that all that holds the glass in? Is the exterior molding mitered on the corners and held in with brads? Is the interior molding all one piece and not removable? If so, you would need to remove the exterior stuff, bed the glass in something like an acrylic latex caulk, hold it place with glazing points, then re-attach the new exterior molding. All exterior exposed wood should be primed and painted on all sides before should any bare wood of the window frame before install of the glass. I believe an oil based primer is recommended. Top coat can be latex.
Old 11-13-12, 09:20 PM
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Yes. The exterior wood molding is all that holds the glass in. It is mitered on the corners and held in with either brads or nails. I wasn't paying too much attention to note which of the two while removing the molding, and I'm not experienced enough to readily distinguish.

The interior is not easily removable. If I wanted to convert it to one large window, I suspect that the interior could be removed without damaging the frame or interfering with the door. While I like that idea, I am far too nervous, inexperienced, and busy to tackle a project of that magnitude. I'm not sure I could call the interior molding even; it's not what I typically think of as moulding; it looks like small shelves, one for each window.
Old 11-14-12, 04:20 AM
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Hard to say without some detailed pictures.

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