Sometime around late last Spring, Martin removed the storm windows from most of the windows on our house. For those of you who don't live out here on the West Coast of Canada, storm windows aren't really the norm out here. Here they are in fact known as the "poor man's double glazing" as really we don't need storm windows given our climate any more than maybe 2 or 3 days a year, but if they're up all year round they do help insulate the house. Especially if you have old crappy windows.
We have old crappy windows.
Anyway. Our old crappy windows are almost all painted shut and have storm windows outside of them making house ventilation inside the house a bit of a problem. And so, as we began a project to unstick our windows we also started removing the storm windows. And in one case, the case of one of the livingroom windows, upon removing the storm window Martin managed to nudge/touch/break off half of one of the window sills which was pretty much disintegrating all on its own due to dry rot. A stream of explitaves issued forth and we carried on with a sinking nagging feeling. You see to fix something like a window sill, that is pretty much a hotbed of dry rot, one is really best to remove the whole window and rebuild the whole frame. Which, I'm sure it goes without saying is a pretty big project, and to make it worthwhile you'd really be wise to install a new window while you were at it. Now we had a quote for having new windows installed and discovered that replacing even half the windows in our house would cost significantly more than triple the value of our car. Which says a lot about our car perhaps, but also should give you the strong sense that we're in no rush to replace the windows.
And so, it was, that one day this summer I found myself searching online for a DIY way to fix dry rot on window sills that did NOT involve dismantling the whole window and frame. And that was how I found out about "penetrator" products. And, on a Sunday morning around 7am, while Martin slumbered on, I read web site after blog about applying wood penetrators to dry rot. Hot stuff. Wood penetrator is almost certainly a toxic chemical soup that seaps into your rotty wood structure and hardens the heck out of it. Magic. And so, on that same day, though several hours later Martin and I roamed the aisles of a mega-hardware store until someone finally helped us locate some wood penetrator (which was a frustratingly difficult venture) and I subsequently set about repairing our rotty window sills, because I figured if nothing else we'd be back where we'd started: starring down the face of dismantling our entire windows.
And so, on a day that seems very, very far off now, sometime mid summer we came home from said big hardware store and set about cutting away the rot (almost all of the sill) and then applying wood penetrator to the remaining wood, while we installed a carved out bit of wood to fit into the new hole where the sill had been. Martin did most of the refitting, I applied the wood penetrator and then a wood patching compound. And then, we left it. For months. Between Martin's father's passing this summer, little Miss P breaking her arm and then the rush to get ready to go away for the second half of September, things like this fell to the wayside. And our front corner window has sat with a piece of exposed wood, some wood patch and plenty of wood penetrator coating it all since then.
And while October has so far been strangely sunny and clear, the weather all week has been telling a tale of impending rain. Rain, which when it does come, is likely to stay until sometime in oh maybe March. So today, after work, I came home and went straight out with a pot of paint to try to provide somekind of protective coating for our very patchwork fix for our dry rot problem. Unfortunately conditions didn't allow for any kind of attempt at matching colours so that sill -- unlike the rest of the house -- is now white. Of course, we had planned to try to paint the house this summer which this dry rot repair was a part of the preparation for, but with our summer taking the personal twists and turns it did a full paint job was definitely not in the cards. And so, if you should happen by our house, don't spend too long wondering if we're colour blind or if we totally eschew aesthetic details, with our mostly green trim and one white sill, we're just in the middle of a project that is not likely to finish up for a good 9 or 10 months. Welcome to the DIY schedule of renovating. Stay tuned.