Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY window sills

I moved to Arizona from the Midwest.  There all the windows were framed in wood.  Here, at least all the houses I've seen, the windows are framed in drywall.

Drywall is okay for walls.  But as a window sill, it has its limitations.  Mainly, it isn't impervious to water.  Between leaving the windows open in the rain and dog drool, 4 of my drywall sills have been pretty much destroyed.

The final straw was when a stained glass portrait fell onto the sill, denting the underlying metal and destroying the drywall.  That would have been a hassle to repair.  (The stained glass survived unscathed.)

So I decided to install bottom sills of wood.  They would be easy to refinish if they were water damaged, but with a polyurethane coating, not likely to need it.  I didn't want to do the entire window frame in wood as that would have required my blinds to be recut.

In hind sight, I wish I had thought to take pictures of the step by step process.  But before and after photos will have to do.

The lucky thing for me was the depth of the sills were exactly the width of a board.  I went with 1" boards, as it was the exact depth from the drywall to the edge of the sliding window frame.  Three sills needed 1 x 4 boards and one needed a 1 x 6 board.

(In case you don't know, a 1 x 4 is neither 1" deep nor 4" wide.  Closer to 7/8" and 3 1/2".  Don't ask me why. It just is.)

Having the boards the exact width I needed meant I didn't have to consider buying a table saw to cut the boards to width.  I also picked up a nice simple triangle-shaped molding to attach to the front that made a routered edge unnecessary.

All I had to do was cut the board and molding to the correct length.  I pre-drilled the nail holes to fasten the boards to the bottom sill and the molding to the boards.  That prevented the wood from splitting.

A little putty to fill in the nail holes.  A couple coats of polyurethane and stain combined and the sills look much, much better.

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