Avoiding leaks when installing vinyl retrofit windowsWritten by John Rocco
Avoiding leaks when installing vinyl retrofit windows These days a lot of homeowners are replacing their old windows with vinyl windows using retrofit style of window frame. This is particularly true in west, and specifically, in California. The number one arguement that I have heard against using retrofit method, is that it is susceptible to water leaks. Well, that's true if you don't do it properly. But, if you do a complete tearout of your old window down to studs, you're going to have water leak issues there as well if you don't install new window properly. So I think that arguement is, well, all wet. So, let me tell you best way to install your retrofit windows that will ensure that water cannot get in.
There is an old song that goes, "It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya, it pours, man it pours". For those of you in California, you know how true this is. While California doesn't get a lot of annual rainfall, when it does rain, it can come down in buckets due to close proximity to ocean. So, you want to be sure that your windows are well sealed. If you are installing retrofit frames against a stucco house, you want to put a thick bead of sealant right on outside face of old window frame, all way around. Latex caulk should work fine, but if you want to spend a little more to get best sealant available, use 100% silicone. Depending on number of windows you will be doing, this extra cost can add up. You pay approximately $1 for a tube of acrylic latex caulk, and $4 or more for a tube of 100% silicone. You are going to use 1-3 tubes per window, depending on size. So you can see how it could add up. Here is a trick that I used to do to save a little money; The most vulnerable part of your installation is top of window, because gravity will have water running down from roof to ground. It's not likely that water is going to find it's way through sides or bottom. So, I used to carry two caulking guns, and load one with silicone, and other with acrylic caulk. I would run silicone accross top of old frame, and caulk sides and bottom. Then, put your new window into opening and have a helper hold it firmly in place while you plumb and level it, then screw it into place. After you have window completely installed, your final step should be to caulk where retrofit lip meets stucco. Here again, I used to use white silicone on top, and caulk on sides and bottom. You now have a double barrier against water infiltration. After about a week, check sealant around each window for signs of cracking. Because stucco is usually uneven, there could have been gaps that were larger in some areas than in others. If you don't force caulk into gap to completely fill it, caulk can sag before drying, causing a crack to form. Simply recaulk over any cracks that you see. You can check silicone on top as well, but because silicone dries like a rubber substance, you shouldn't see any cracks there.
Designing a Good Lighting PlanWritten by Paul Forte
You are doing a remodel and know that you want to add some lighting to room, but your stumped. Where do I start is most common question I get asked. There are some basic guidelines and factors that can help you determine where to start and how to proceed.
First let's take room and it's needs. Different rooms require different lighting solutions. Rooms like bedrooms, living rooms, dens and basements can be properly illuminated with a simple general lighting plan. In rooms up to about 12' x 12', one ceiling light that can hold bulbs that combined equal about 120 watts is sufficient. For a better and more evenly disbursed light, 4 recessed lights about 40" off each corner works wonderfully.
A living room or den may be a rectangle as opposed to a square. A room that is 15' x 12' would be more evenly lit with 6 recessed cans. In these rooms lighting can be supplemented with wall sconces and or table or floor lamps.
Kitchens and bathrooms require much more thought. In these rooms, where tasks are performed, it is important that lighting level be high enough to perform these tasks safely and comfortably. In a good kitchen lighting plan all work areas will be well lit. Placing cans so that centers line up directly above outside edge of cabinets is best solution. This provides ample light and avoids shadows while working at counters. Spacing in a kitchen is also very important. Keeping recessed lights about 4 feet apart and no more than 5 feet, will assure you have even spread of light.