Ruined Window

An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

June was not too much of a success. I finished off the window in the small bedroom which I got in at the end of May but then had problems doing the similar one in the main bedroom resulting in a window with enough damage that it'll be better just to get a new one.

First I squared up the window. With the slightly wider opening I arranged for this one it was much simpler than for the vertical window in the main bedroom, I just used a clamp as a spreader to push it into place. Then I taped round the outside as a bit of belt-and-braces protection…

…then put its bib on for more “official” protection of that sort.

Something which was surprisingly difficult was opening the sash far enough to engage the springs. This is a top-hung window which means that the sash can be opened either as pivoting at the top (to give a large opening, needed as a means of escape) or it can centre pivot as is typical of Velux roof windows. Accordingly the sash hinges on arms which rest on the frame when centre pivoting but which go up, on springs, when top-hung opening. With the floor still lower than it'll eventually be it was awkward to find somewhere to stand to have both the strength and reach to lift the sash high enough to initially click those springs into operation.

The second surprise was that the springs were too strong for my use. You can get windows with weaker springs for when the roof slope is greater than 55° - I should have got those but didn't bother as my slope isn't that much higher and I didn't think it was that critical but it seems it is. The result is when you try to centre-pivot this window the arms go up as if it was opening in top-hung mode.

On Monday the 10th I cut the hole for the window on the south side of the main bedroom, dug through the sarking to the tops of the brackets for its frame and nailed those.

Squirted in some foam.

Cut some membrane while the foam went off, cut the foam flush to the roof and fitted the membrane…

…then stuck in the insulating collar and frame.

The rest of the week was a bit too breezy (and mostly too wet) until Saturday the 15th when I followed the previous plan of using the scaffold tower to lift the sash into place. That initially went fine and I got the right-hand hinge engaged nicely.

However the one on the left was a bit out of line. It looked like if I rotated the window as you need to to click it all into place properly it would pull itself into line so I tried that. It didn't, it made things much worse:

Both the hinge on the sash and the bracket it fits into on the frame are bent and were then less well connected than before I started the rotation.

To rotate the window I had, of course, to get the scaffold tower out of the way and I now had a somewhat precariously fitted window to get down. I carefully put the tower back up but having to feed it up past the window I left off the pulley blocks, just putting the rope directly over the tower rungs. I also couldn't reach the top of the window to tie the lifting strops fully so I just used one rope then fed the strops round the window carefully.

Previously I'd used one rope but doubled up and tied in a way that meant that unless there was a failure in the actual end knot there was some redundancy.

I got the sash out and lowered most of the way to the floor when the one rope snapped. From the look of the result I think a weak point in the rope must have snagged on the ribs on the scaffold tower rung at the bottom.

The sash didn't fall very far and the glass didn't break but bits of the aluminium surround and the frame of the sash itself were quite badly dented. Also, after that I wonder how long the seals on the glazing unit will last. Combining those points with the damaged hinge bits (which look difficult to replace sealing everything back up nicely) I don't think it's worth trying to get spare parts or whatever for this window, particularly as it would be better to have one with the right spring strength.

Since then I've been a bit depressed and haven't done much on the house other than sort out a lot of rubbish in the container and other minor fiddling around. That's missed a few good days but not quite as many as they've had at the southern end of the island.