Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Improving the Look of Your Window

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Do you wonder how to improve the appearance of your windows? Most of us may consider replacing the unit to a new one, but others chose to find ways to make what they have look better.

    I was driving down Gessner, and I saw a home with a picture window. (Or at least that is what I will call it). The homeowner has been working on their home to improve its appearance. I am not sure that I would adopt his updates, but they did make me think. Sorry, I was driving, and I did not take a picture; however, picture this situation: you have a kitchen window facing a busy street. This is a plain wall with only this window, a gate to the backyard, and a garage. Not much in the way of architectural features. My inclination would be to focus on plants to enhance this side of the house. The homeowner left the yard blank. What he did was create a “picture” by framing his window.

    The idea of framing a window had not occurred to me,  but the task is easy to accomplish. He took standard molding from his home center. This would be chair rail trim molding or coping from your wall to ceiling. He attached this molding to the wall around the window. I believe that he removed the brick sill at the base of the window to shed water away from the building. He could fill this in with a piece of wood as a sill plate. To attach this molding, you use wall anchors. The owner created a screen to fit into the full window space. The molding was cut at 45 degree angles at the corners to look like a frame for a painting. It was a different look.

    On my own home, I did change the look of my windows with simple steps. I have these older aluminum windows. I will change them eventually for energy efficiency, but that project is down the line. I painted the aluminum trim pieces of the window (inside and out). On the exterior, I painted the trim black, while the interior was painted to match the wall color. You feel like that makes the window look like a new one. I have the brick sills on my windows, which match the bricks of the exterior wall. To make the sill stand out, I bought tile grout. Tile grout is cement based, and it is already tinted. I applied a thin coat of an almond color grout over the brick. I do not mind a bit of a rustic/handmade look, so I did not work for the smoothest finish, but with the right tools, you can make this look like stone or a smooth finish.
    I am not an advocate for having a wood window sill. If not slanted well to cause the water to shed away from the home, the wood can rot. However, I remember a beautiful wood sill that was common in Bermuda. Most of the homes on that island had stucco exteriors. For the window sills, they used pieces of cedar. Not cedar planks, but a piece of cedar from the tree. The log was shaped to fit in the window sill, but it retained much of its natural appearance. The log was smoothed, stained, and had a coating like polyurethane. I liked the look.
    With a little imagination, you can find a creative look for your windows. Painting is quick, but the molding is not hard to do. Replacing the sill is not too hard. I think taking a trip to the craft center may be as helpful as going to the home improvement center. I do remember seeing a homeowner using glass paint to make a stain glass effect. That is a bit harder, but there are stencils which could help achieve a good look on the window. I would consider a few things before changing the look of my window: 1) will changes allow water to collect at the window? (this can lead to rot); 2) can my family still exit through the windows in case of an emergency? (during a fire, you need escape routes); and 3) does the change still allow the window to function as ventilation? (you may need to vent fumes from the house).  If those conditions are met, then a home inspector cannot mind.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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