The previous "idiot owners" and I'm sorry but that is the"kindest word I can find, had the original windows replaced on our house. They called some window company and a day later had new thermopane windows which I am sure they believed would save them thousands on their heating bill. One of the "little projects" I have to look forward too is removing and reinstalling some of these windows as they were not installed properly.
In our front parlor however we are actually making a configuration change in that we are adding a 16 inch 'bump out square bay" on the front elevation of the house and instead of the double hung window , we will have a large window with a stained glass "transom" over it. This will accomplish a couple of things. One, this room faces North and doesn't get much direct sun, a larger window will allow more light into this space and two. we can add architectural interest to the front facade of the house.
One of the biggest problem with "replacement window contractors" is they don't fix the things you can't see. Case in point, our Parlor window. Basically what they did was stick a window in and covered the rotted sill with some bended aluminum. It didn't make the house any warmer because they didn't seal the window opening and didn't even caulk around it. This is very common and any homeowner who thinks of window replacement must always ask just exactly what window replacement means. Will they rebuild any rotted structural element? Will they use a vapor seal membrane around the window opening? Will they replace a rotted sill or simply cover it? If they can't answer these kinds of questions you should look for another contractor. Usually most windows can be rebuilt and with the addition of storm windows will be as cost effective as thermo units.
This weekend was demo of the front wall plaster for the new bump out. As expected we learned some things. The window was not installed properly, we had serious rot that should have been fixed before they put the window in and to our amazement out actual house sill plate was in remarkably good condition.
We were able to save our plaster walls by carefully cutting the plaster with a saws all at the new window bump out opening. Once we got away from the window area the walls are in remarkably good condition with no rot whatsoever, so that was good thing.
The bump out "cantilever" constriction consists of a 2x12 that goes into the house 22 inches past the 16 inch thick stone wall and is attached to the interior 2x10 floor joist with Metal brackets and screws. This will support the weight of the cantilevered bump out structure. We further reinforced this with a 2x10 sistered to it with screws and construction adhesive. Three of these "floor beams' will support the 55 inch wide bump out floor. On the inside we will cut back the flooring and install tongue and groove flooring to extend the floor out to the end of the bump out. We will also be Insulating the bump out completely and with new windows properly installed should have a warm and toasty front parlor.