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UV Window Film

Posted by on July 21st, 2013

There are a number of projects that I wish I never put off after we moved in our new home three years ago.  This is one of them.  We’re talking about UV window film.  To make matters worse, we bought the material for this project over a year ago.  This thin, cellophane like plastic wrap gets slapped onto windows and blocks out something like 99% of ultraviolet rays.  Why is this important?  Well, skin isn’t the only thing that gets sunburn.  A lot of home furnishings, fabrics and flooring can suffer some fading or discoloration due to prolonged exposure to UV rays.  The sun has already managed to slightly fade some of our hardwood floors in our entry.  Installing this window film should arrest any further fading.

The film has an added bonus of reducing the amount of heat and light that enters, reducing cooling costs.

gila window film

The window film comes in varying widths and lengths. It installs fairly simply. We’d definitely recommend picking up the application tool kit. Both items are available from Amazon.

It can be a frustrating installation and I’d recommend it only be installed with an abundance of patience. The film loves to stick to itself. The application kit comes with a spray bottle of solution that deters the self-sticking.  I thought using some scotch tape to keep the excess from falling down was extremely helpful.

Here’s what our entry looked like before we applied the film.  It doesn’t look too much dimmer afterwards.

before uv window filters

Round windows are kind of a pain.

installing uv window filters

After installed…

with uv window filters

Here’s a side by side comparison shot.

uv window filters

We still have a good amount of the film left after applying it to all the windows on the front door.  We’re going to add it to our high morning room window and the transoms in the family room.  Installation can be trying, but it’s a lot easier than replacing faded hardwood flooring.

Posted in DIY Projects. Tagged in ,,

Bug Proofing Garage Windows

Posted by on July 1st, 2013

This past weekend, between family reunions and thunderstorms, I was able to validate a new idea for keeping bugs out of my garage windows.  As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, we get a good amount of bugs in the garage.  We live in a rural area and are up against a wooded lot.  It’s one of the few downsides to this particular home site.  If you’re in a similar situation, you’re probably familiar with how gross it gets.

window sill bugs

Now the way I see it, I have two options: I can clean the window and the shade a few times a year OR I can add some sort of screen to keep the bugs out of the windows.  I can cover the inside of the window with a traditional screen, but some bugs WILL still get through and I’m not sure how to integrate the screen with the drywall.  To my knowledge, no one has invented a force field yet, so that option is out as well.  After kicking around some ideas with Lisa for a few days, here’s what we came up with and I think you’ll like it.

Here’s a great way to bug proof your garage windows:

What we started with…

garage window before

First thing I did was ditch the paper shade.  We’re going to use a slightly higher quality temporary shade made from fabric.  You could also use a more traditional faux wood blind or mini shades, but we wanted something simple that didn’t have any cords.

After giving the window a thorough cleaning and touching up the stained drywall with fresh paint, we had a nice looking view.

clean garage window

The fabric shade was next.  It has a glue strip and I held it in place with the provided clips.

temporary fabric shade

This particular solution requires a thin piece of wood to sit in the window well flush with the drywall.  I ripped a couple pieces of poplar down to 3/4″ x 3/4″ and spray painted them white to match the garage paint.

white wood

The painted wood gets a thin bead of caulk on the side facing the wall and gets nailed flush with the window well edge.  No fancy joints needed here, butt joints are fine.  The size of the wood is small enough that you’ll barely notice it.

window trim close up

window with subtle trim

Can you tell what we’re doing yet?  No?  Here’s the deal.. we’re going to cover the window opening with a clear sheet of plastic that is used to insulate single pane windows in older homes.  It uses double-sided tape to attach to the wall and it requires a wooden surface to hold onto.

Here’s what the product looks like…

window insulation

You can buy it at any hardware store.  It comes with a roll of double-sided tape that you can promptly throw out.  It’s absolute crap.  It sticks to your fingers WAY better than the painted wood, for which it’s designed.  Instead, buy a roll of heavy duty double-sided carpet tape. It’s supremely strong and comes in clear. It’s going to be wider than what you need, but you can cut the excess off with a box cutter.

****UPDATE: I’ve switched tape products from double sided carpet tape to Scotch brand 3/4″ x 350″ two sided tape.****

I rolled the tape over the wood, trimmed off the extra and peeled off the backing of the tape. Now we’re ready for the plastic sheet. It’s a little tricky to hang, but I managed to attach it to the tape without many big creases. Small creases will get corrected in the next step, but bigger folds need to be fixed by un-attaching the plastic from the tape and re-attaching it.

With the plastic sheet over the window, the excess plastic around the window was cut with a box cutter to give it a cleaner look. The plastic is then tightened with a blow dryer set to high temp. The blow drier removes nearly every little wrinkle and leaves the plastic wrap tight like a drum. You may have to reapply some tape if it peels off and retighten it depending on how well the tape holds.

You’re left with a clean window well that lets all of the light in, but not a single bug.  If you look closely, you can see the reflection off the clear plastic.

window with clear insulation

clean garage window

It even looks solid from outside.

garage windows

It’s a simply solution that you can whip up with some scrap wood and it sure beats cleaning up bug guts!

So I’ve only finished the center window. Looks like I’ll be busy this week.

****Update #2:  If any of the double sided tape starts to peel off the wood, use contact cement to re-adhere it.****

Posted in Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,,

Keeping Bugs off the Windows

Posted by on June 19th, 2013

Full disclosure:  All the windows on the first floor of our home have temporary shades.  In case you were keeping count, that’s three years we’ve been here.  I guess it’s not too bad, since they’re fabric.  We still intend to replace them with something of a slightly higher quality.  In our kitchen and family room, we’re leaning toward building some plantation shutters.  Who knows when that will happen though.

The garage, on the other hand is a different story all together. The temporary shades in there are paper and they’ve taken a beating over the last few years.  The worst is the bugs.  They all seem to clamor around the windows and end up either dying on the sill or getting latched onto the shades.  I’ve cleaned them up in the past, but it’s not the type of maintenance I want to do on a regular basis, if you know what I mean.  The drywall sill is even at the point we’re I’m going to have to touch up the paint.  This is one of the few downsides of living on a wooded lot.  Great privacy… tons of bugs.

photo 2

photo 1

photo 4

photo 5

So what are we going to do about it?  Good question.  I’d like to come up with a sort of screen that’ll allow me to put a nice fabric window shade against the glass yet will be tight enough to keep the bugs out.  I’m thinking of either making it out of actual screen material or something transparent, like a clear plastic.  Ideally, the window will be nearly flush with the rest of the garage wall and bugs won’t have a ledge to land on.  Moreover, I’d like it to be semi-permanent in case we want to add an electric candle light during the Christmas season.

Really, any option will be better than the bug graveyard we have going on.

So that’s probably what I’m going to be working on this weekend.  That and theme coding.

Have any bug quandaries?  Any suggestions?

Posted in Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,, ,

How to Make a Window Sill

Posted by on August 6th, 2012

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Lisa and I were upstate in NEPA on Friday for an annual golf tournament that’s held in memory of my father.  It’s usually a great time and the proceeds are donated to a local charity.  This was the fifth year we’ve had it.  The tournament is organized and run by a committee of people that knew and worked with my father and they do a masterful job making it happen every year.  It’s a lot of work on their part and our family is deeply grateful for their efforts.  I especially enjoy seeing all those folks that knew him very well.  It’s nice to be reminded he was well liked and is still missed.

Even though golf is supposed to be a leisurely sport, it’s a long day on the course and it was pretty hot out.  We didn’t get back home until late and Saturday I was pretty sore all day (I golf like once a year).  Consequently, this weekend wasn’t that productive in terms of home projects.

We don’t have a lot of work left to do on our dining room wainscoting project.  We were able to squeeze in some time this weekend to get some painting done and if you’re following me on Instagram (john_ohfs), you were able to catch a sneak peek of the current progress.  We still have to do some touch up painting, wire the outlets and add the shoe molding (which we’ll be staining ourselves to save money).

Right before we added the cap and started painting, I made a new window sill since the old one was too small with the paneling on the wall.   When I told Lisa that I needed to make a new sill, she asked me if we could just buy one at Lowe’s.  If you didn’t know, you can’t really buy window sills.  You may be able to find some online, but the best way to get a window sill is to make them.  I’ll show you how we made ours and you’ll see it’s not terribly difficult.  It took me all of about 30 minutes to make ours.

Here’s how to make a window sill.

Once the paneling was completed under the window, I put this old sill back in.  I kept it and didn’t throw it out because I wanted to use it as a template for the new one.

You can see that the old one is too short on the back edge.  No problem.  I’ll just measure from the front of the old window sill to the window.  That’s how wide the new window sill will need to be.  For material, I bought some poplar.  The piece was a 1x6x8′ and cost around $20.  I almost always use poplar for painting projects.  It’s the same wood that’s all over the wainscoting.  It’s only slightly more expensive than first select pine, but it’s a hardwood, whereas pine is a softwood.  Does that make a difference?  I think so.  Over time, pine will be more prone to showing dings and dents and poplar may not.

To begin the replacement, I used my window sill router bit and routed a window sill profile on the entire front edge of that new poplar 1×6 I bought.  It’s better to put the sill profile on the entire board first before cutting out the shape of the sill.  You can cut the board first and then route it, but if you make a small mistake while routing it, you pretty much need to buy a new board.  If you make the mistake early, you can flip the board over and route the other side.

Once the profile was on the new board, I laid the old window sill over the new board.

I lined up the edges of the old sill with the edges of the new board and traced out the profile of the old sill onto the new board.  To make sure the new board would be the right size, I added some additional width to the back of the poplar piece.

Then I just cut along the lines I drew.  I used my table saw for the long straight cut along the back and my hand held jigsaw for the shorter cuts.  Once it was cut out, it installed with some shims, construction glue and finish nails.

I made sure to shoot at least one nail through each shim.  To remove the unused portion of the shim, I scored it with a box cutter and then cracked them off.

The gaps against the window will be resealed with painter’s caulk.  This new one actually sits a little lower than the old one.  You can tell by looking at the old caulk marks on the window.  Not sure why.  Don’t really care.

We’ll show you it painted along with the rest of the room very soon.

Ever install a window sill?  Do you need to replace any?  Get anything done this weekend?

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , ,

Sliding Door Curtains

Posted by on February 24th, 2012

Hey kiddos.  I am super excited to share our new window treatments for our Morning Room!  I have been thinking about covering up our sliding glass door since we moved in!  Originally we put up paper shades (which are great!) and we just recently replaced them with the fabric temporary shades for the Birthday Party.  I have been concerned about the sunlight fading our hardwood floors, so eventually I would love to have UV filters on all the windows, but for now a curtain will do.

I have been looking at curtains for a while, and I found these bad boys at that bath and bed (and more) store.  They’re perfect – and match my kitchen/family room record perfect.  I also picked up this cool rod that wraps around the door to block sunlight on the sides as well.

I do love the light coming in from the windows and the sliding glass doors, but I usually keep the shades down to protect the hardwood.  This is why I would like to put the UV filters up.

Here is what the sliding glass door looked like before – paper shades.

AND here are my new sliding door curtains:

(see what I’m talking about – the fabric shades do not go all the way to the floor and on sunny days there is major sunlight coming through on the floors.)

The curtains closed:

Here are two close-ups of the rod I purchased:

So what do you think? What do you have to cover your sliding glass door or other really sunny spot in your house?  Anyone have UV Filters? How do they work?

Posted in Home Decor. Tagged in ,, ,