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 Post subject: Casement handles--need advice fast!!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:47 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:12 am
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I'm in the middle of the installation of Sunrise vinyl casement windows. The units are all in, and Monday the installer will begin wrapping aluminum on the outside and replacing casing/trim on the inside. The handles are fold-in style. It looks like when the installation is complete, the handles will actually protrude about 1" beyond the plane of the wall. The installer installed the windows flush with the wall. This looks wrong to me, and if not wrong, unsightly and very inconvenient for the installation of blinds. (I thought fold-in handles were supposed to facilitate installation of window treatments.) The house is limestone, built in 1967, and there are no "sills" (I know that isn't the correct term, but it's the common one and I don't know the correct term.)

Does anyone have experience like this? Should the units have been recessed in the openings rather than flush with the wall? Is this an issue I am justified in challenging my installer about??? Is this an issue of pure aesthetics, or does it have other implications?

I actually chose this brand of windows because I wanted this installer. as he has a very good reputation in my small town. I was reluctant to choose a different brand and have an installer I knew less about.

Thanks for any help!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:58 pm
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Location: Northern & Central Illinois, Chicago suburbs
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The Sunrise handles are about the best design there is for casement handles. Most handles stick out as far or further.

Without assessing blame, the problem I see is not having a meeting of the minds with the installer before he started. This may be his fault for not listening to your request, or it may be a simple thing of him not realizing your intentions with your blinds. Just so you know, it is a very common thing for the blinds to hit the crank handles when they are lowered all the way. This is true because most blinds are installed inside the stops, not on the outside of the wall. It happens in almost every installation unless you have a very deep wall. Because of this, most window companies have a disclaimer on their contracts that they will take no responsibility for window treatments fitting after window installation.

My suggestion BEFORE he starts capping is to have a meeting with him on the blinds and ask that he move the windows towards the outside further, if that is possible.
It shouldn't take him all that long to move them out if he hasn't done any capping or interior trim, and if he is nice guy and a well respected pro like you say, it will probably be no big deal to him to do it for you.

One thought I just had...if he brought them flush then he probably was going to picture frame them with casing. If you now have him push them out further they will also need trim stops as well. If the meeting of the minds was to only install casing, then an extra charge for the stops might be in order.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:29 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:12 am
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Thanks, Window4U. I plan to install the blinds outside (on the wall or casing) anyway. The blinds will still hit the handles. I think this "meeting of the minds" is very hard to achieve. This is the first time I have had windows installed, and I don't know all of the decision points and options, so I didn't know even to discuss this. I assumed the handles wouln't project, since my old ones did not. And the installer didn't ask me about my plans for window treatments, so we never discussed it during ordering or prior to installation. Yes, I plan to discuss this with him before the capping begins, but I wanted to get some other opinions first. Again, thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:29 pm 
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Yes, I agree that a meeting of the minds is more difficult when one party has never dealt with many of the issues involved.
As hard as we try, many of us forget that sometimes we probably don't explain things in great enough detail to make sure our customers really do understand certain details.
I use my laptop in my consultations and show a lot of photos and try and cover all the bases with similar pictures to what we will be doing while I am explaining the process. I think this helps my customers visually see what is going to happen and helps them to ask the questions they otherwise wouldn't know to ask.
I used to carry around a big cardboard box full of photo albums in my vehicle. It was horrible having to run out to the car trying to find just the photo I wanted to show. With having 13,000 indexed picures put into albums in iPhoto on my Powerbook, I can find anything I want to show within seconds. Misunderstandings with my customers have dropped dramatically in the last several years since I incorporated this into my consultations.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:57 pm
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I'll attempt answer this question in a "brutally honest" way. If I was the installer and someone told me to move the windows out so that their blinds would close, I would probably come unglued. Maybe not verbally, but inside I would feel like someone dropped me from the top of the Golden Gate bridge.

Replacement windows are 3 1/4" wide. Including the crank mechanism, they are usually at least 4 1/2" wide. A 2x4 wall is only 4 9/16" wide. Replacement windows generally are installed against the blind stop, which is 3/4" in from the surface of the sheathing. That's just the way it is. Your installer cannot change the fact that a casement window has cranks and that the window is the way it is. He also cannot change the fact that your wall is a certain thickness, and that replacement windows are meant to go inside the jamb of the old window in a certain predetermined spot. That is just the way it is- you might call it an "industry standard".

You are looking at it from the standpoint of your blinds- he is looking at it from the standpoint of, THIS IS THE WAY IT IS. He has done nothing wrong, he's installed the window in the location and manner in which it was meant to. But now there are feelings of ill-will, you are mad at him, he feels like crap because he thought he was doing a good job, doing it right (and he was) but now suddenly that isn't good enough because of this 3rd party issue that shouldn't even concern him- your window treatments.

I don't know of too many people who would be overjoyed to rip out something they just did, for something that isn't their fault, when there isn't anything wrong with it except your blinds won't close the last two inches.

Now, if you told him that you understand that he has done nothing wrong, but that you did not envision that there would be a conflict between your blinds and the crank handle, and that you would be willing to pay any extra cost needed to relocate the windows (if he determines it's possible to move them out), then you might get somewhere.

It might be possible for the window to be moved out, but that will also cause additional problems that you can't even forsee, but HE CAN. For instance, as mentioned, replacement windows usually go in a certain predetermined location- between your exterior blind stop and your interior trim stop. If the window is moved outward, your interior trim stop will no longer meet the window. What will you do about that? Will that now be his problem to fix as well? Will he provide the extra labor and materials to retrim the window? Or match the woodwork? And is there any guarantee that you'll be happy with the way it looks when it's done? I believe they call that "opening up a can of worms."

Now I may be overreacting a little bit, but it's only with the intent of discussing the situation openly so that you can understand his feelings more fully. Perhaps the windows only need to be moved out 1/2" or so. This may not seem to be a big deal, but to him, he will need to completely remove and reinstall the window- performing twice the work he was contracted to do. It will also mean additional trimwork, which he was not contracted to do- but if you are willing to pay for it, he OUGHT to be more than willing to try to make you happy. It might be just as simple as adding an additional 3/4 round or 1/2" base shoe to the perimeter of the trim around your opening. If you will stain and finish or paint it, that would be even better because then he is not responsible for satisfying your taste in that regard.

There is nothing worse than having an unhappy customer. It's a sinking feeling. You want them to be happy and a good contractor will try everything in his power to make them happy. Occasionally, that means doing extra work for free. Whether this is one of those situations or not, it's hard to say. But hopefully you can see his side of the story and be able to come to an agreement without having friction between you. You attract more bees with honey, they always say.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:12 am
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This was a helpful response--thank you. I guess I'm trying to figure out IF the installer did something wrong. It looks wrong to me, because the handle won't be resting on anything--it will just be extending out into air, past the trim. If it is explained to me that these windows will only go into these openings this way, without causing other structural or installation problems, then I'll be reconciled to this. And I'll ask more questions next time (though it seems that one can NEVER ask enough questions and there are always surprises from the customer standpoint.)

But if the installer made a choice among options, then I would rather have discussed it with him. The installation has involved taking out EVERYTHING down to the raw opening. But I'm sure there were lots of decisions he had to make along the way, and I don't want to second-guess his expertise. But, at this point, I'm the one with the sinking feeling--afraid that I made a mistake in getting vinyl instead of wood or composite windows, or that I didn't ask enough questions about the installation process, or that the installer lacks an aesthetic sense. This discussion board is helping me sort it out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:16 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:11 am
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jenesei,
I recently had casements installed and like you this was not discussed with me as where i wanted the windows to be, but as it turned out, these windows were installed butted up against the outside trim. I took a measurement and if they were installed butted up against the inside trim instead, the crank would have been 1 1/4" closer to the vertical blinds and would have but the crank in the way even when folded. But as it now the crank when folded is 1" away from the blinds.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:57 pm
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I see. So by saying that "everything" was removed down to the raw opening, your trim was also removed. I don't think I caught that the first time.

And if you look on the outside of the house, does the window have a nailing fin around the exterior of the window, which is what he still needs to trim and clad?

The reason I ask is because if the window has a nailing fin, the position of the window cannot be changed. The window gets slapped onto the sheathing, and that is that. There is no adjustment whatsoever with a window that has a nailing fin. And like I mentioned, if the window is 3 1/4 wide, and your crank sticks out another 1 1/2" or so, your installer can't help it if your wall is only 4 9/16" wide. Windows must be installed onto the sheathing and incorporated into the building paper in order to be properly flashed. You can't build them out farther because that's against the rules, you might say.

With a "replacement" window, (where the "guts" of the window are removed, but the original jamb and trim remain in place) the window usually goes in once place only- and that is up against the interior trim where the old window used to be.

Occasionally when installing a "replacement" window the installer may have a choice in the matter, and in most cases, he goes by what is standard- the face of the window is usually a total of 2" back from the face of the exterior trim, which in most cases means the interior trim stop will be anywhere from 1/2" to 2 1/2", depending on how thick your wall is. The 2" setback from the exterior is standard. The interior trim is not.

Out of curiousity, are your casement windows similar to the ones pictured at http://www.sunrisewindows.com/cocpiawn.html ?

In the illustrations on the web site, the crank does not rest on anything. That's the way vinyl casement crank handles are. They're nothing like the old wood windows where the crank is screwed down to the frame of the window. It sounds like you are comparing your new windows to your old windows which is almost like comparing apples to oranges- they aren't the same.

The solution to your problem may simply be installing your blinds onto your trim. Or possibly extending the blinds somehow so that they clear the crank. I wasn't clear what kind of blinds you have, but vertical blinds usually can be adjusted in and out depending on what type of bracket is used. Miniblinds can be mounted on the widest part of your casing, which moves them out past the surface of the wall. They may even have brackets that can move them out even farther- i'm not sure about that.

If your installer has a good reputation in town, it's likely that there's a reason for that, and it's likely that he knows what he's doing. It's also reasonable to conclude that he won't blow up if you ask him a few questions, doing so in an unaccusing way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:12 am
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XSleeper, I appreciate the time you're taking. To answer your questions, no fins, and yes, all trim was removed. I checked the Sunrise web site for pictures before posting a question on this site. The problem with the pictures are that the windows are shown with what I call a "sill" (I know that's not the right term), and that the handle has been replaced with a new design since the pictures. Also, the pictures don't show detail of the handle in relation to trim. Neither do other manufacturers' sites I checked. I did find pictures of Marvin Integrity windows in their brochure showing the handle sitting on a ledge of sorts, not projecting into air.

My plans are for 2 1/2" wide slat wood blinds in the master b-room and horizontal aluminum blinds in the office. The blind salesman is coming to take a look on Mon. and assures me that he can make it work (I assume by using extending brackets to bring the rail out from the wall or trim.) But for the amount of money this all costs, I hate to just make it work--I want it to look great.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:57 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:57 pm
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People commonly call it a window sill, but the proper term is really "window stool". At any rate, the very first picture on the web site is of a 3 lite window with casements on each end. In that picture, the window trim does not have a stool, it has mitered casing on all 4 sides with a thin interior trim stop that looks to be only 1 1/8" or so, which is pretty normal. It's hard to see the cranks- they kind of have the chairs placed right in front of them.

I'm surprised to hear that there are no nailing fins. It sounds to me like you'd need to take some digital pictures in order for me to actually see what it looks like. You don't just stick replacement windows into a rough opening without a nailing fin. Do you have a digital camera?

And regarding the marvin integrity window, that's a wood window, not a vinyl window. So the cranks on it would be nothing like a vinyl window. Wood windows are usually ordered to fit a particular wall thickness, vinyl windows are usually 3 1/4" wide, and come with the crank attached to that 3 1/4" frame.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 9:06 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:12 am
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XSleeper, I looked closely at the outside of one of the windows. There is new wood on all 4 sides of the raw opening (is this "reframing"?) and the window is screwed into the wood. The window unit is inset about 3" from the outside edge of the new wood, and the sheathing is about 1 1/4" in from the outside edge. No fins. So it looks to me like there is room to move the windows out. I will be discussing all of this with the installer tomorrow. I understand that additional charge may be involved, since new "trim stops" (Is that is the term?) will be involved, as well as more labor. So, thanks for your help so far.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 9:30 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:57 pm
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Yes, from the way you have described it, it does sound like there is room to move the window out. It sounds like the way he is doing it, it would be fairly easy to move the window out.

Rather than using a nailing fin to install and flash the new windows, he must be using his trim coil to provide the flashing. When you look at the window from the outside, can you see the window edge, or does he already have that covered? Is there a sloped sill on the bottom of the window?

Your description was great- I can picture what he's doing a lot better now. And if there is 3" of new wood on the outside of the window, then I can believe that the windows are in too far... as I think I said earlier, 2" is the normal width for windows to be set back from the face trim. This is because most older houses had a 5/4 face trim, (which is about 1 1/4" thick, and then the exterior blind stop was 3/4" or 7/8".)

It sounds like hopefully you will have success in getting him to move the windows out since the trim isn't clad (capped) yet. I think you may be right that he just decided where to center the windows on his own. You can explain that you're sorry that he has to move them, but that it's very important that your blinds stay inside the surface of the wall, since it sounds like they're going to be extra thick. If he works with you on this, reward him by praising his work, and let him know that you'll recommend him to all your friends because of this. (That'll make him feel like his extra work will be worth it, and maybe he won't charge you extra this way!) ;)


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