Sunroom Renovation – Week 3

We’ve arrived at Week 3, pals. This week was stressful. Our entire house was a construction zone, and there were two curveballs thrown at our west wall of windows that set us back a bit schedule-wise.

The first setback was that a special Marvin part needed to connect the brick moulding that went around our giant window frame was nowhere to be found. It was a very small part in a big order, so it’s possible it got thrown away, or it may not have been included in the shipment. The latter seems more likely because the crew unpacked and inspected everything carefully upon delivery. Not a big deal, but it meant we had to wait for a replacement part to arrive.

The second setback was that our stretch of windows was designed and ordered with 4″ mulls. Mulls are the metal strips between each window; here’s an image from a Marvin manual.

The stretch of windows was factory assembled with the 4″ mulls and shipped in two parts (3 windows each), as planned.

Once the window opening was framed out to accommodate all the wonkiness of our 104-year-old sunroom, we wound up needing to slightly reduce the width of this stretch of windows. We needed 3″ mulls. That meant we had to rush order new mulls and tear apart this stretch of windows. Chris took this all in stride – onsite assembly (AKA field assembly) is just as common and as sturdy as factory assembly. I think I was the only one who was stressed about it! Here’s what the windows looked like with the mulls removed.

Both of these setbacks were minor: we were fortunate that these were the only hiccups we encountered during a complicated job in an old house. I mention them only because I don’t want to give the impression everything went flawlessly – nothing ever does. What was important was that the crew continued to push forward on the job while we waited for the parts, and that Chris had the experience necessary to expertly resize the stretch of windows. Onward!

Day 9 saw windows installed in the south wall.

Day 10 saw interior window trim.

On Day 11, the 3″ mulls had arrived and the crew assembled the west window in preparation for installation. The other window part, however, had not yet arrived.

So on Day 12 they were officially stalled out. The crew worked at a different jobsite because they couldn’t make another inch of progress at our place without the magical Marvin piece. The painter squeezed in a few hours at the end of his workday to mud the drywall.

I joked that this was like four opening bands before the headliner finally goes on.

But we had a stroke of luck: the part arrived on Thursday, so we could have a full workday on Friday! Hallelujah!

All the stress of the week was washed away on Day 13. So was a lot of the sawdust: after weeks of great weather, it was a rainy day. I was glad we were able to offer this pop-up canopy for the crew.

Over our three weeks together, Chris worked everyone super hard: he was demanding of his crew and the sub-contractors, and worked just as hard himself. There wasn’t a minute wasted when they were onsite – definitely something I appreciated both because I was paying by the hour and because it felt rather vulnerable having our house opened up like this. There wasn’t any real risk (the tarp kept out the rain and the plywood kept out the thieves/squirrels), but Jarrod and I were eager to get the sunroom closed up before the weekend. Chris, Adam, and Corey went into beast mode to make that happen.

This 20″ unwieldy stretch of wood and metal was manually lifted and set into place. It fit! It was perfectly square! It didn’t crush anyone to death! We all breathed a sigh of relief.

And then they were off to the races. The final tasks included the installation of trim on the west wall, AZEK trim on the exterior, and lifts/handles on the windows. By 5pm, they had packed up all their gear and were out – this phase of renovation was complete!

I helped by standing on the sidewalk and staring at our house.

That evening, we enjoyed our first rainstorm with the new windows. Here you can see how much work there is left to do. Wood floors were up next. Installing crown and baseboard moulding was on my to-do list, as was painting the walls. Painting the trim and the windows was not on my to-do list – I’m smart enough to know my limits. I’ll cover all of this in my next posts.

After the storm, there was a literal rainbow over our bungalow. Such a good ending to the week.

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