DEAR SAM: Would you please send me instructions for removing broken ropes and installing new ones in my windows?
ANSWER: Without experience in removing double-hung sash, the work may be difficult for a novice. If there are several windows requiring new ropes, it would be advantageous to call a specialist who supplies labor and materials for a minimum charge per window.
The instructions for replacing ropes of one sash (lower half) are as follows:
Remove the inside stops on each side of the sash; these stops are the rails against which the lower sash slides. They may be nailed or screwed to the frame, screws being visible on the stops and easily removed; if nailed, insert a putty knife carefully between the stop and the frame at the midpoint and wedge it outward. You will detect the finish nails which are holding it in place. Be careful not to damage the stops, since they will be re-installed later in a similar manner.
The lower sash can now be lifted out and the knotted or nailed cords pulled free from the sash on both sides. The unbroken cord is still attached to a weight. Therefore, be careful in releasing the cord to hold it with one hand, while the other hand holds the sash, and to permit it to slide slowly into the hollow cavity of the frame. The pulley at the top will hold the knotted end of the cord from going further. To reach the concealed weights, open a box-like pocket on the bottom side of the frame.
A new cord of the same size as the broken one should be attached by a knot to the weight on one end; also, the other end is tied to a string which has been dropped over the pulley and will be pulled over the pulley and then fitted into the side of the sash with similar knot and or nails.
If repairs concern the upper sash likewise, then the lower sash must first be removed and also the parting bead, an insert measuring about 1/2 by 1 inch. Similar procedures are followed in renewing the cord(s) as with the lower sash.
DEAR SAM: About eight years ago, the trimmings of my house were painted but not the brick, Now I need your advice on how to paint the red brick. Should the bricks be sealed? What kind of paint? Is one coat enought?
ANSWER: If your house is built of natural red brick, I am wondering why you are desirous of painting it. Are you planning to change the color to white? If so, you do not need a sealer. But do clean dirt and dust from the brick. Also, any needed repairs to the mortar joints should be made.
The type of paint recommended is exterior acrylic latex and should consist of two coats. Although latex dries very quickly, I suggest that you wait at least 24 hours before having the second coat applied.
Since the trimming has not been painted for eight years, it is advisable to do it simultaneously. Preparatory work, such as sanding and scraping, should be completed before the painter does any brick painting. Use exterior acrylic latex, semi-gloss.
Remember to obtain at least two estimates, listing the same specifications, which should be incorporated into a contract form. These forms are available at some stationery stores.