The Cross House

A Sill Happy Ending

So, bad sill. 


VERY bad sill.


No sill. 


New sill. And not JUST a new sill, but a sill with rabbets and subtle beveled edges.


Painted new sill. ZOUNDS! And a painted sash. WOW! The difference amazes even me.


And…can you guess what my next project is? 



18 Responses to A Sill Happy Ending

  1. LOOK at that new window sill made out of pressure-treated lumber with four rabbets and beautiful subtle beveled edges. It is rot-and-termite-free and painted a gorgeous olive green. Everyone here who sees it is impressed!

    The Cross House is coyly swishing her skirts and showing off her green slippers.

    The left basement window is half-way to fixed. It is pea-green with envy! Hope you can fit it into your schedule at some point… 😉

    • I was going to mention this, too. It astonishes me how the smallest changes can make such a big difference in appearance.

      And I’m betting that the sill to the left is the next project. Hoping you find NO termites in that area.

      • Me too with being going to mention! But what REALLY ties it all together for me is the black frames, Ross was so right about those. The green and the black need each other though, on the lefthand window everything’s all wan and washed out.

        To use a parallel, it reminds me of the ladies who bleach the heck out of their hair and then wear harsh black eyeliner to try and return some definition to their face. So is the Cross House saying these ladies need to be wearing olive green eye-shadow?

        I think I prefer Celeste’s analogy, I LOVE the idea of the house shyly showing off her pretty new slippers.

  2. -It really does look great!
    -As usual, I have a few questions.
    1. Did the concrete walk to the window formerly go to the door that you took out above?
    2. If so, why does it go all of the way to the window?
    3. Did the stairs to the door that you removed and are restoring to a window like that on the original plans end there?
    4. Is removing that walk or the section near the house a part of the plan?
    -I wonder because I am under the impression that concrete against a foundation is the perfect nesting place for termites and fear that there may be a nest under the walk. As I understand it, termites must be able to go to the ground on a regular basis or go to some other regular source of water to survive.
    I once heard from the owner of an old frame house that they couldn’t get rid of the termites. The house had had numerous additions with weird roof lines. This resulted in the rain water sitting at the bases of the valleys where debris had accumulated. Eventually slow leaks developed. Water didn’t show on the interior walls, but it was pretty much always damp with slowly rotting wood in the joists and studs below those places. There was a termite infestation, that, after the house was treated, continued because they had reached those water sources didn’t need to go to the ground for it. I believe that the extermination of termites is largely done by putting pesticides in the ground surrounding the foundation and not in the house itself.
    -I seriously doubt that there is any chance of this having occurred in the Cross House, I am putting it out there for those who read this blog that have old additions where the roof lines were poorly thought out.

    • Hi, Stewart!

      The concrete stops short of the foundation by several feet. The concrete was installed in the 1960s when the dining window was converted into a door. Whatever stair was built at the time was gone by the time I purchased the house.

      The house used to be RIDDLED with termites, causing extensive damage. But after having the gutters fixed, and downspouts installed, I have not found a single termite…until this sill.

      • I am so grateful for the way you take the time to answer questions of mine and those of others like the varying siding width one. It makes your blog so much better than most others.

  3. Ross, as usual it’s looking great! I am curious though, in the last image the siding on the right appears as though it is a bit smaller than the siding on the left side. It becomes most apparent after about the fifth board going up. I was just wondering if this is just an optical illusion, and if not is it because it is newer siding on one side, or would this be typical imperfections in the original siding?

    • Hi, Jonus!

      The siding on the left is original. Mostly.

      The siding on the right is new.

      They never did align in the corner, and I repeated this oddity when replacing the siding.

      Also, the “height” of each board is inconsistent all over the house. I have found this to be true on every old house I have worked on.

      • In my experience, clapboard siding installers would start their layout with the desired reveal, and then make adjustments to minimize cuts above and below windows. Since the elevation of window header drip edges and sills on the each wall likely vary, I would wager that’s the reason here. For typical bevel lap siding, you can generally adjust the reveal/overlap by +/- 1/4″ without detrimental impact on performance, and if blended over multiple rows, it’s hardly visible.

        It’s actually a clever and elegant method, as it results in the siding aligning with the window elements, which is more visible to the eye than fractions of an inch variation in reveal, or changes around a corner. It’s one more thing you can do with wood siding that you cannot with vinyl!

        This technique can’t be followed as extensively for clapboards installed with mitered outside corners, since the clapboards have to align around each outside corner. In that case, the installers would compile a sketch or story pole of all windows/doors on sides that have to wrap continuous and develop their arrangement based on multiple walls, rather than one wall at a time.

  4. Daayum! That might be the best looking basement window I’ve ever seen. 💚 Painting it makes it look like an actual part of the house and not just a basement. That’s a bit of a trick in Kansas – some of us don’t bother to venture into the basement, except to retrieve something stored there or if there’s a tornado.
    Next time I do my windows… think I’ma steal that shiny black sash trick. It’s such a clean, sleek, sharp look – positively ✨gorgeous!✨

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