Throughout the fall months, we stayed busy completing several exterior carpentry projects. One of our Clients in Falls Church Virginia had a bay window with a very unique look that was designed with many architectural elements from the 1800’s. This bay window had some extensive wood deterioration that fortunately did not extend into the house framing. Additionally, the old double-hung windows that were part of the bay window were very drafty and not insulated, which contributed to a lot of cold air coming into the house.
The side of the house where this bay window is located is right next to the watershed of the entire townhouse development. The area has a lot of trees with little sun, animals and critters, water, and tons of mud everywhere. Unfortunately for the homeowner, what had happened was that nature and the elements had started to re-claim his house. Although we could see many issues from the ground, a complete Power wash cleaning and thorough carpentry inspection was required before we could provide him with an estimate.
There were several places within the bay window cornice work that were so completely deteriorated that there were holes exposing the house framing. All three window sills were entirely shot, and it felt like a sponge when you pressed down on it. The panels were also constructed with MDF which is sort-of a cardboard composite. All of these panels were warped. And on top of all of that, carpenter bees had bored-out several holes within the trim and had been hibernating inside when we found them.
We carefully removed all of the cornice trim and rotted wood and unsalvageable parts of the bay window. After dismantling everything, we were left with about 15% of the original trim. The windows themselves were replaced with Marvin double-pane tempered glass. The remaining 85% of the trim was replaced with complete sections of PVC up to 12” in width. Even the corbels and some detail soffit sections that had been protected from the elements, needed to be replaced with custom-milled sections.
The type of PVC that was used is called Azek and it is basically plastic that will never deteriorate. This product is not inexpensive and they only sell 18 foot sections. These particular horizontal replacements were slightly more than 9 feet, which basically means that we had to purchase an entire 18 foot section for each horizontal. The PVC caulk to seal the expensive PVC cost about $11.00 a tube. Needless to say, the caulk and paint will deteriorate and crack, however the PVC will literally last forever!
I'm very happy with the finished bay window and I enjoyed helping to recreate a bit of 19th Century craftsmanship. We used the most advanced materials for the job to bring back the character of the home’s exterior. When spring comes around and everything warms-up, we will return to apply the paint! In addition to museum quality painting, we also specialize in wood trim replacement and structural repairs. Please call or click Davinci’s Painting for more information and a free carpentry consultation.