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Question DetailsAsked on 1/22/2015

I have a wooden bay window fixture encasing my 3rd floor brownstone windows. The wood needs to be refurbished.

The house is over 100 years old and in good condition short of this wooden bay window thing encasing the front two 3rd floor windows. The wood has rotted from weather and age and is starting to splinter and deteriorate. So far there's no water coming into the house but the bay window looks bad and needs to be restored, repainted and made new. Who does this kind of work (carpenter, general contractor) and how much should I expect to pay?

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Depends an awful lot on the condition - and of course, going to cost more for a third story job unless there is a balcony or roof right below it tht one can reasonably work off of.

If just surficial splitting and deterioration, it might be it can be scraped and sanded down, bad areas resstored with a wood restorer, then primed and painted to good condition. If the wood is actually rotting or punky at depth, then unless this is just exterior trim or brickmold - not part of the window frame itself, it would probably be cheaper to just replace the entire unit. Of course, the larger the unit the more effort it is worth putting into it rather than replace.

Finding someone who is good at this and is going to give an honest opinion on repair versus replace cost is going to be tough - an old-time finish carpenter (Search the List category Carpenter - Woodworking) or a Window contractor who rehabs as well as replaces windows is the type of person you need - or an old-time Handyman with good wood rehab skills, if you can find one who comes highly recommended for that. One other possibility would be a contractor who specializes in historic type restorations, whose work might be best but probably higher cost too.

Just off the cuff I would say, assuming you are talking maybe a 4 foot wide by 4-6 foot high window unit, I would expect it to run in the ROUGH ballpark of $300-600 depending on how much has to be restored and how much can just be easily replaced with new (much cheaper to do that) without taking the window out. If the unit has to come out for frame damage to be repaired, then likely $500-1000 range for that general size of window and possibly more if it needs scaffolding and you cannot put scaffolding there (due to sidewalk, etc) - which at the upper end would probably be getting into or approaching the cost range of a factory replacement unit. If there is not working space on a reasonable slope roof or balcony, then that would up both rehab and replacement cost, but would tend to push in favor of replacement.

Of course, if these are 100 year old windows, then the energy efficiency is going to be quite poor, so if you are in a high heating or air conditioning demand area that also weighs in favor of replacement unless it is just a scraping and painting or trim replacement job, as opposed to having to replace/rehab actual parts of the window framing.

The thing to do is try to find a few good contractors who do window rehabs/replacements and get opinions on rehab versus replacement, and bids for both (though some types of contractors will of course bid only one of the two options, depending on their expertise) - then look at cost and energy efficiency issues and decide from there.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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