Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re updating a 50-plus year-old-home to give it the character it needs and its new owners crave.
It really, it didn’t have much curb appeal from the outside.
Danny Lipford: Everyone knows that location is one of the most important aspects of real estate. The couple that just bought this home, they love the location, neighborhood and the interior, but they’re not crazy about the front of this house.
Ken and Stacie Frahm bought this home about six weeks ago, shortly after relocating to Florida from Chicago.
Stacie Frahm: We moved to Pensacola about nine months ago, started the search about a year ago, and came across this house like two months before we actually bid on it. Thinking we liked the house, but the outside wasn’t very appealing to us, so we kind of looked away.
Ken Frahm: It didn’t have much curb appeal from the outside. It was left on our shortlist of houses—it wasn’t one we wrote off—but that’s kind of the reason we didn’t act on it in the fall. I’m glad we gave it a revisit and a second chance a few months later and eventually bought the home.
Well, the age of the home, we were told it was 1960 it was built, so it certainly has some age on it. It’s in reasonably good shape for being that old. There are some items that needed updating. The windows themselves looked like originals. There’s no screens on the windows, they fog up. Whenever it rains, it’s like you’re taking a shower in here, and outside needs more updating than the inside.
Danny Lipford: The place to start is the windows. Since window replacement isn’t exactly a do-it-yourself chore, Stacie has already talked with the local Window World dealer about the options that are available to them.
Window World Dealer: You can see how it has a welded frame, so it’s going to seal up nice and tight. It has a good interlocking channel here with the windows closed together so you don’t get any air or wind coming up inside there.
This is going to be your serial number for the window. With our lifetime warranty, if anything ever goes wrong with the window, if it ever loses its seal or gets broken, balances break or anything goes wrong with it you just call and give us this number. We’ll order whatever part you need for it. Come out and replace it free of charge, there’s no trip charges or labor charges.
Danny Lipford: Those vinyl replacement windows Stacie’s considering are a big improvement over the old single-pane aluminum units that are here now, and she’s obviously pretty excited about them.
Stacie Frahm: That’s one of the things we want to do right away is replace all the windows, because of the look and because of the condensation in it, and then the noise that you just heard from the airplane.
Danny Lipford: Sure. These will also have a Low-E coating.
Window World Dealer: It’s a microscopic coating made out of titanium and silver that they spray on the inner pane of glass. And it blocks out 97% of the UV rays, keeps your curtains, your carpet, your paint, all that kind of stuff from fading. But what it’s really designed to do is block the heat out. Keeps it a lot cooler inside the house, it could be 150 degrees outside and you won’t feel any heat coming through the window with this coating.
Danny Lipford: So it looks like the window problem is solved, but what about this entry way?
Stacie Frahm: It’s kind of an eyesore, it kind of leans the wrong way. So I’m very anxious to get rid of those.
Ken Frahm: This was one of the things that really kind of detracted from the house as we were looking at it at the first time.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Well, I have some ideas on this that I think that might work. We can show you some sketches and look online…
Stacie Frahm: Great.
Danny Lipford: …get a few ideas.
Ken Frahm: Oh, great. Thank you.
Danny Lipford: Another thing I wondered about are the shutters—kind of gives me a little bit of a Brady Bunch feel here.
Stacie Frahm: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: You know, it looks kind of like that, that type of a house. So would you consider maybe changing those as well?
Stacie Frahm: Yeah, absolutely.
Ken Frahm: Absolutely. That was another one of the things pulling up to the front of the house and just looking., it just doesn’t look right. They’re almost bar like up there.
Danny Lipford: Right.
Stacie Frahm: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: So, new windows, new shutters; and to bring focus to the entry, I’m planning a small arbor that seems to go over pretty well with Ken and Stacie.
Since it’s a contemporary house anyway, this gives it a little bit of a contemporary…
Stacie Frahm: That’s awesome. I’m really excited.
Danny Lipford: You have the windows, you have this, we’ve got a great before and after picture.
Ken Frahm: That sounds like it’s just what it needed.
Danny Lipford: The next day, Allen and I arrive with the tools to help Ken and Stacie demolish the old porch rails to get this project started.
Ken Frahm: Like you’re carving a turkey.
Stacie Frahm: Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever carved a turkey.
Danny Lipford: All right!
Stacie Frahm: Wow!
Danny Lipford: Nothing to it. Nothing to it.
Stacie Frahm: Whoo-hoo!
Ken Frahm: Good job, sweetie.
Danny Lipford: While we get our measurements for Ken and Stacie’s new arbor—forty-two and a half—why don’t you check out this week’s Simple Solution.
Joe Truini: I love finding ways to increase storage around the workshop, and here I’m going to be using an empty paint can. This is a new paint can, but you can use an old paint can as long as it’s empty. And I’m going to mount it to this column.
Then you can just attach it with—I’m just using some one inch drywall screws. You can drive—the bottom of the can is pretty thin—so you can drive it right through the can, you don’t have to drill any pilot holes or anything like that.
I’m going to put in two. Maybe I’ll put in one more, I think I might need a third one here.
And now you can use the outside of the can to hold anything like a vacuum hose, or an air hose from a compressor, extension cord—anything like that you can drape on the outside. The can itself is ideal for small hand tools. These are some air tools—toss them right in the can—pliers, screwdrivers, anything like that, there’s plenty of room.
And if you like this idea, you can not only use one, two, or three—you can stack them vertically—but you can also move up to a five gallon bucket. Screw it to the wall and gain even more storage.
Danny Lipford: Ken and Stacie Frahm recently relocated to Florida, from Chicago, and they just bought this house which they think is perfect, except for one thing.
Ken Frahm: It really, it didn’t have much curb appeal from the outside.
Danny Lipford: So we’ve identified three improvements to remedy the situation. Create a new arbor and railing to make the entry a focal point. Replace the rustic shutters with more contemporary models, and swap the old, ugly aluminum windows for new model replacement units with cleaner lines and a lot more efficiency.
The windows have been measured, ordered, and today they start going in. The first step is removing the old windows which can be a tricky proposition.
Window World Installer: Every house is different. This one might be a little on the difficult side, but I haven’t found a window that can beat me yet.
Danny Lipford: They start by removing the rubber gaskets and dividers so they can carefully remove the glass from the frame. Once they’re gone, the opening can be cleaned and prepped for the new unit, which besides being better looking is also more energy efficient.
Allen Lyle: I’ve got to ask you, Stacie, now that it’s demolition day, windows are here, how are you feeling?
Stacie Frahm: I’m excited, but how much money am I really going to save do you think, with these windows and the investment of it?
Allen Lyle: Oh, that’s, that’s a good question. Judging by the windows I’ve looked at already, I mean, you’ve got one of their better vinyl windows. The old aluminum transfers heat and cold so easily. I dare say, in fact, I’ll challenge you on this one, take to your last energy bill. After they’re in, get the next energy bill. I’m betting anywhere from 25 to 30 percent savings.
Stacie Frahm: Wow.
Allen Lyle: I mean, that’s tremendous, because these old single-pane windows are just terrible. When the new windows come in, what you’re going to notice when they bring those windows in is you’re going to see this foam gasket around, which is even additional savings.
Danny Lipford: Because these replacement units are custom made for each opening, they fit snuggly to begin with and then they’re secured with long screws driven through the side of the window frame into the framing of the house.
These units don’t have dividers in the sashes. It’s what I call a one-over-one design, and it fits the character of this house so much better. But what really makes a replacement window installation look great is attention to detail when they trim and caulk around the windows.
When it’s done right, like this, the new windows look like it’s always been there and there’s no way for moisture or air to get around it.
Allen Lyle: Oh, that’s looking good, Brian. It’s like, that’s a finished product that you got going here.
Window World Installer: Thank you.
Allen Lyle: Now, let me ask this, as good as this looks on the outside, what about inside? Anything that Ken and Stacie need to be prepared to do themselves?
Window World Installer: Well, my whole goal is to have zero damage, so, therefore, the homeowners shouldn’t have to do anything. Now in certain circumstances, unforeseen things happen, but it’s very rare.
Allen Lyle: When you say certain things what kind of things are we talking about?
Window World Installer: Pieces of drywall or paint might get scratched.
Allen Lyle: Right.
Window World Installer: Something along those lines—nothing major.
Allen Lyle: You’ve done a great job, they’re going to be very pleased.
Window World Installer: Thank you.
Danny Lipford: While Brian and Rudy move on to the installation of the upstairs windows, Allen gets Stacie set up to pressure wash the porch.
Allen Lyle: I want you to write on the steps, “Stacie loves,” and then to really mess with him, put “Allen.”
Stacie Frahm: All right.
Allen Lyle: I’m going to get the cleaner.
Stacie Frahm: Oh, my gosh!
Danny Lipford: Stacie really seems to get the hang of the pressure washer quickly, but more importantly she has also figured out how to effectively mess with Allen. I knew I liked her for some reason.
Allen Lyle: “Stacie loves working with Allen.” Okay.
Stacie Frahm: I ran out of steps!
Danny Lipford: Now that Allen’s pressure wash calligraphy class is complete, they can really clean the steps. And what a difference that makes. These things are really looking great.
Meanwhile all the new windows are in, and Brian and Rudy have moved on to installing storm protection. Because this house is so close to the coast, the building codes in this area require storm protection when more than 25% of a home’s windows are replaced.
These threaded studs they’re installing in the wall will be used to secure protective panels over the windows the next time a hurricane threatens the area. The larger openings get a coated fabric panel, while the smaller openings can simply be covered with plywood.
Hopefully these panels can stay stored so Ken and Stacie don’t have to use them anytime soon.
Jodi Marks: Well, I’m standing right at the top of the plumbing aisle, and if you look you could see all the materials that are necessary for your plumbing projects.
You can also see all of the tools that are necessary for your plumbing projects. But HDX has come out with a plumbing tool gadget here that’s got all these tools in one. Actually it’s got 10 tools in one to do all your plumbing projects.
Look at this, it’s got a blade here so that you can cut your PVC pipe, it also has—here in the handle—seating wrenches, you know, your faucet seat wrenches, also has a Phillips screwdriver. Got a couple of knives over here—serrated, smooth. It also has a deburring and a flathead. This is what I like best about it, look at this, it’s got a little flashlight on the end.
But this is just a great way to kind of keep all of your plumbing tools right here, right at your fingertips. You fold it back up, you put it in a little carrying case and you’ll be ready to go for your next plumbing project.
Danny Lipford: We’re busy updating the front facade of Ken and Stacie Frahm’s Florida home, and we’re entering the home stretch. The crew from Window World has completed the installation of the new windows that will make the house more comfortable in addition to improving its appearance.
We’ve cleared off the front porch to make way for a feature arbor, and I’m going over the design details with Ken and Stacie before we start building.
Don’t be scared, I build a lot better than I draw. It’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Ken Frahm: A lot better than I could draw.
Danny Lipford: The columns will sit, you know, right on the corner. And right where that caulk line is, I think is where my two-by-six will go. And then the two-by-sixes on top will go just directly above it. So, it’ll give it a little more height, which is what we want, but it won’t be too vertical looking.
So we should be in pretty good shape. So if that looks good to you guys, I’ll go get some lumber.
Stacie Frahm: Looks great.
Ken Frahm: Looks great, I think it works really well.
Danny Lipford: So Allen and I start setting up our tools, making measurements, and cutting the lumber. We’re using select grade pressure treated pine from YellaWood for the frame. But before we start assembly we’re going to coat these parts with stain.
Allen Lyle: Got some good penetrating stain here for you.
Ken Frahm: Okay.
Allen Lyle: A little bit of sandpaper. You’re not going to have to, really the only thing… Yeah, where it was cut, so you want to get the whiskers off of there.
Allen Lyle: What I’ll do is I’ll turn this over to you, maybe you’d get Stacie to help you out?
Ken Frahm: Yeah, I think that’s a great idea.
Allen Lyle: All right.
Ken Frahm: She’d be disappointed if I didn’t have her come help with this.
Allen Lyle: According to her pressure washing handwriting, she loves working.
Ken Frahm: Yes, I heard about that.
Allen Lyle: So, I think she needs to be working.
Danny Lipford: This stain is a redwood tint from Flood Wood Care. And besides coloring the wood, it will protect it from moisture and the damaging effects of the sun UV rays.
As the stain dries, Stacie wipes off the excess so that we can put these pieces to work quickly. Meanwhile…
I started to do a 45.
Allen Lyle: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: But you know, you look at the 45 on this thing… Let me show you how this works. You look at the 45 on it and it’s too much.
Allen Lyle: It’s too much, yeah.
Danny Lipford: So I slanted it back at little bit. Actually, I’m hanging out 11 inches, and that’s half the 11 inches.
Allen Lyle: Oh, OK.
Danny Lipford: So that gives it some proportion there.
Allen Lyle: Well, it’s a lazier angle, I like it.
Danny Lipford: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: As soon as I can cut them, Allen is delivering them to the staining crew.
Allen Lyle: So you’re still happy with the color?
Stacie Frahm: Yes.
Allen Lyle: Good.
Ken Frahm: Yeah, I think…
Stacie Frahm: Can we change our minds now?
Allen Lyle: Not now. You are set! It’s done.
Ken Frahm: We’re looking at it against the color of the brick there, and it’s matching pretty nicely.
Danny Lipford: And it’s a good thing it works with the bricks, because the first piece we’re putting up is the ledger board that attaches to the brick wall. We’re drilling the wall for lead anchors.
Oops, hit the crown molding inside. Man!
Allen Lyle: That’s a good one, isn’t it? It is what we want, right there.
Danny Lipford: We’re also adding some epoxy for an extra measure of security.
Looks beautiful, man.
Allen Lyle: Thank you. I went to epoxy school.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, that was good.
Allen Lyle: Yeah, it was a 14-hour class.
Danny Lipford: Really?
Allen Lyle: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Boy, did it stick with you?
Allen Lyle: How long did you work on that one?
Danny Lipford: It just came to me.
Allen Lyle: Oh, man!
Danny Lipford: Then we use some heavy duty construction adhesive to bond the wood to the brick before we tighten up the lag bolts. The rest of the arbor frame attaches to this piece with long decking screws.
The posts we’re using are actually YellaWood columns. They’re lighter than solid beams, and because they laminate high-grade pieces of kiln dried lumber together to make them. The columns will be secured to the porch with metal brackets and more lead anchors coated with epoxy.
When each column is perfectly plumb and secured, we can add the decorative wings to the horizontal pieces that will give this arbor some character.
So you got all my blocks there? All right. Pretty lucky they all ended up being the same size, huh? Hey, that wasn’t luck. That wasn’t luck.
Allen Lyle: Don’t attribute it to luck.
Danny Lipford: That’s good math.
Danny Lipford: Meanwhile, Brian is busy removing the old rustic shutters.
Hey, what do you think about the shutters over there?
Allen Lyle: They’re looking good. Looking good over there, Brian!
Window World Installer: Yeah. Thank you.
Danny Lipford: That’ll be great, it’s coming together here.
Now it’s just a matter of installing these last few spacers to complete the arbor, while Brian hangs shutter after shutter.
Ken and Stacie’s son, Tyler, has joined the stain crew in the carport to prep the lumber we’ll need for the handrails. I’m laying those out of the ground and partially assembling them before they go into the arbor, but here’s a tip.
Don’t put the ones in the middle, because we’re going to need to drill this way with deck screws into the wood and then the Tapcon screws that I can put straight into the mortar joint from this side. Leaving it open gives you a lot more room to work, I learned that one the hard way.
So while I’m attaching the rail sections, Allen’s wrapping the base and top of the columns with some one-by-six to trim them out. And Ken and Stacie sneak out of the carport to check out our progress.
Stacie Frahm: Wow!
Ken Frahm: That looks really good.
Stacie Frahm: It is a little bit better than your drawing.
Allen Lyle: Just a little?
Stacie Frahm: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: That’s a compliment, I think.
Stacie Frahm: No, your drawing was good.
Danny Lipford: Ken and Stacie finish staining everything that’s gone up today. And it’s a good thing, because the new day brings rain.
Hey, this is just like camping out, every time I put up a tent it seems like it rains.
Allen Lyle: Quit putting up a tent, will you?
Danny Lipford: OK. You got both of them cut?
Allen Lyle: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Good, good. It won’t take long at all to put those in place. Hey, we’re so close to completing this little project, we need just a couple of hours, so, got a little rain here is not going to keep us from completing this. We’ve got the tent up, we’re ready to secure the newel post, tie in the handrails, and put a nice little cap right on top.
These posts are attached just like the others with brackets and lead anchors. Then we connect them to the arbor with the diagonal supports, making sure the post is plumb as we go.
The finish nails hold the rails in position, but we’re following those with long deck screws to really tighten it up. Then we start filling in the balusters. Making a spacer block like this one really simplifies the job and delivers more consistent results.
It looks like we may finally wrap this project up, just another detail or two, and we’ll be done.
Danny Lipford: Franklin would like to know, “How do I decide whether to get a portable generator or a whole house standby generator?”
You know, it really boils down to cost and convenience. If you’re looking for a very convenient situation where the power from a standby generator provides all of the power you need inside your house automatically after a storm, then this is the way to go. As soon as it detects any power outage you’re good for power throughout the entire house.
Now, a portable generator is a lot less convenient, because you have to wheel it out, you have to gas it up, and then you have to crank it—either buy a key start or pulling the cord—in order to run all of the cords inside to power the essential items that you need after a storm.
Cost wise, of course, a portable generator will be less expensive; but you really have to weigh the convenience against the cost.
You, also, whether you have a portable generator or a standby generator, you have to make sure that it’s sized properly for your home. That’s when you really need the help of a professional.
Danny Lipford: Ken and Stacie already loved their new home, but it simply lacked curb appeal. The improvements we made this week should pay big dividends in the years ahead.
The old windows were so inefficient and tired looking, but their new windows enhance the home’s appearance and its comfort.
The shutters they inherited didn’t suit the home style, but the new ones have a simple clean look that fits the house perfectly.
Before the house seemed to be missing something, now the new arbor creates the focal point that Ken and Stacie’s house needed to give it character.
What do you think over all? I mean, there’s a lot of differences here.
Ken Frahm: Wow, there is.
Stacie Frahm: Great.
Ken Frahm: I mean, really, from the outside the windows and the shutters look so much better, such an improvement from before. And we’re already seeing and feeling on the inside the difference with the new windows.
Danny Lipford: Perfect. That’s great.
Allen Lyle: And you’re in love with the arbor, right?
Stacie Frahm: Love the arbor, love the color, love the invitingness of it.
Danny Lipford: It just needs one little finishing touch here, and I happen to have it right here for you. One for you.
Stacie Frahm: Nice.
Ken Frahm: Thank you.
Danny Lipford: So we’ll let you guys have the privilege of topping it off as we say.
We’ve had fun this week, hope you have, too. Thanks for joining us, I’m Danny Lipford and hope to see you next week right here on Today’s Homeowner.
Right in place.
Stacie Frahm: Perfect.