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post #1 of 10 Old 04-27-2010, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Old house new windows

I'm older than dirt (well, some dirt). I have been asked to do the interior trim around some new windows in a very old house with plank walls. Common, wood, slide-by windows. The window jambs are, naturally, not flush or parallel with the walls. There is also a gap (variable) between the jamb and the wall itself. My question is this-The last time I did stuff like this, (I mostly built my own house in 1964) I had some gaps here and there, and used drywall compound if they weren't real big. Is there a new space age compound that I can use to bring the existing wall flush with the jamb, and how thick can I put it on? There is thin drywall (half inch?) on the planks and wallpaper on that.

I have a jig for cutting tapers on my radial arm saw, I may have to cut wedges a lot. -- Any help would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-27-2010, 10:55 PM
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I'm not smart enough to understand your question. Are you filling gaps and cracks or making walls flush with the face of the trim? Or all three?
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-27-2010, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to have to do all 3. My main problem is that ordinary drywall compound can't be put on very thick, or it cracks. For example, thin coats need to be put on joints in drywall, then sanded and so on. I would like something that I can build up easier, maybe up to 3/4" or even an inch. With the new building materials coming out now, I thought there may be something like that.
Thanks for the reply.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-28-2010, 12:46 AM
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If I have one inch I might fill it with wood. If I have to fill a void like renter's wall damage, I use plaster. I keep it low because it's not very sandable. Then I use Durabond 90. If I'm in a real hurry I use bondo. It'll fill voids, it's fast, and it's sandable. If I had a real uneven mess, I might hire a pro plasterer to come in and fix it all up real nice. I've worked with those guys on commercial jobs and they can make a wall so straight that I've installed 12' counter tops behind them with no scribing for a tight fit. They lay a long straight edge tight on a wet plaster wall and work it so straight I couldn't believe it on the first job I was on with them.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-28-2010, 10:15 AM
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What would be nice is a pic or 2 of what you have, I have the feeling we may be speaking apples to oranges.

Windows come cut for 2X4, 2X6 and some special order 2X8 houses. If your jambs stick too deep into the house maybe the windows are wrong.

When there is a conflict, I always go for the smaller window and add ext jambs to make up the dif. barn board and plaster and lath walls are the worst. In that case I always cut the ext. jamb to the deepest part, (can often vary up to 3/8" from most narrow to widest. When that happens I go with paintable geosil to fill, it's flexible and moves with the 2 planes.

If you're saying the extension/jambs stick out past the wall boards 3/4"+ in some areas and in some its flush or close to flush. I don't suppose the wall boards have pulled away from the studs?
If the WBs have pulled away how thick are they and can they be screwed back into the studs to flatten them out some?

A gap between the window and wall is correct and any space from 1/4" to 3/4" is acceptable if the ext. and int. trim is wide enough. The gap is a free move zone to prevent a settling house from pressing the window. Old counter balance windows had up to 3" of space.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-28-2010, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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I'm impressed by the helpful answers here. I need to go Lowes and HD and do some research on geosil and Durabond 90. I had considered bondo, it might work for putting a final surface in place for the casing. Plaster could work too. I'll be at the house in the next day or two so I'll try some pics for my "little" project.
Thanks to all.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-30-2010, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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I got some pic's uploaded. There are more windows, probably with other challenges. The house is in western NY State and I live in Texas. I'll have to use my late brother's tools, including a Sears chop saw, never used. I hope I can rip stock with it; I never used one. It is under a lot of "garage stuff" -- I'll dig it out and look at it next.

As kids, we were raised to use our heads and solve our problems. "You gotta dance with who brung ya."

Many thanks -- Les

Last edited by staysharp; 04-30-2010 at 02:18 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-01-2010, 12:28 PM
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Staysharp,
I'm afraid you have a serious structural issue here that needs to be addressed ASAP! In pic 005 you have "NO CONTINUOUS HEADER!" That's a 5' plus wide sliding window, a 2X on the flat "WILL NOT SUPPORT" the ceiling and roof above let alone any 2nd and or 3rd floors.

In the old days, (up to mid 70s) you were allowed non structural headers, (2X on flat) on non load bearing walls, (gabel ends) never load bearing walls.

Since Ma.began state code in 1975, (municipal codes existed since mid to late 60s) all spans require continuous structural members, (headers) on non and load bearing walls. Header size and conformation is calculated by span and floors above and all must be supported by jack studs at each end.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-02-2010, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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This obviously needs more attention!

Thanks Ghidrah -- I'm afraid that this is going to take more time and equipment than I can provide. All my tools are in Texas where our son is having an addition to his house built for my wife and me. I don't want to get into a situation with structural issues here. My sister-in law has sons that need to be involved etc. etc.

If the basic structure of the house is post and beam, the second story (there is one) may have the support it needs, right? However, finding that out, along with all the details included, is more than I can do.
(although I would enjoy doing it with some qualified help.)

I'm very pleased with this forum, and I'm thankful that I asked for help from people more knowledgeable than I am.

Les
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-03-2010, 01:48 PM
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Staysharp,
Ever seen sagging roofs? Think swayback. Eventually the material sags under its own weight for lack of support, cracking shtrk, pressing down on the window and prevent it from working and likely crack it from pressure. If drastic enough will also pull material from the side possibly wracking doors and cracking wall and ceiling drywall radiating out from the window.

In all the "OLD" P&Bs and balloon frames I've worked on, built from 1787 to 1940s, the largest top plate was a fir 4X4. Today this won't qualify for a Case 1 structure let alone Case 2.
Case 1 = Ranch or Cape with roof above no 2nd fl..
Case 2 = Any structure with 1 floor above supporting roof.

The minimum for a 5' foot span in a case 1 structure is 2/2X6 with spacer, (nominal hdr. dim. of 5-1/2"X3-1/2" + top plate and tie in plate = 8-1/2").

In general regarding spans on any structure architects err on the side of caution and always bump up to the next larger hdr. whether it be steel, engeneered or common framing lumber. Today a 1st fl. 8' pic wind on a case 2 would require a 2/2X10" or 2/2X12" with 1/2" steel flitch plate. Smaller hdrs would require an engineer stamp for appropriate steel I beams.

All 1st fl. hdrs would be the same, (possibly excluding the front and side doors unless sliders, French or w/side lights). This is done for strength and sidewall continuity, it looks nicer when siding follows all winds and doors at the same hgt.

Many states/towns have "Home Owners Exemption Clauses" where the owners are responsible for following the code and calling for rough, intermediate and finish inspections, (DIY). Cutting out contrsactors and labor does save money but then you have the stress of not knowing the building code and not having all the skills, tools and subs, (plumbers, elects, insul and dry wall) required to complete the project.

New frames are simpler to create, you start at the bottom and work your way up. Remodeling requires structural knowledge beyond a common need, e.g., load bearing walls and how and when to support during reconstruction. Too often one reads about a death do to a floor collapsing on a home owner doing their own work.
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