Installing a Marvin Palladian Window

Project: Bob's Shingle Style Home, Episode 8, Part 3

Framing has begun on the new backyard deck, and brickmasons repair the chimney on the third floor. The custom Palladian window from Marvin is installed in the third floor family room.

Part 1: Laying Out and Framing the Deck
Part 2: Brick Chimney Repair
Part 3: Installing a Marvin Palladian Window
Michael Roche from Marvin Windows joins Bob in examining the house's existing windows and determining which to keep or replace. A new Palladian window will create a great look for the family room. This style of window has a round arched top with a flanking flat-top window on each side. Carpenters Bob Ryley and Danny Ruffini install the new window. Architect Gregory Rochlin explains how the space has been reinforced to handle the load.
This project centers around the remodel of Bob Vila's own gracious Shingle Style home in Cambridge, MA. It's a house with a lot of history and beautiful architectural details, many of which were obliterated in remodels of the 50s and the 70s. On the centennial of the house's construction, Bob gets together the best talents in the business to recreate and renew it to its former glory, making some important modifications along the way that will transform this into a dream house for today.

Also from Bob's Shingle Style Home

Hi, I'm Bob Vila. Welcome home again.

Its an exciting day around here. My windows have arrived from Marvin.

We're going to be showing you how to install a big Palladian window up on the third floor in the family room. And I've also got some replacement windows for the shed dormer.

And we've got a husband and wife masonry contracting team who are doing some repairs on some of the old chimneys on the third floor.

And the backyard, we've re-constructed the backyard deck. We'll show you how to reframe that.

Stick around. It's good to have you home again.

Alright, we're going to get started today on the backyard deck. Which is really a deck area that was existing in the house right off of the kitchen.

And we decided to rebuild it.

Because, what was here started out, I think originally, as the back door stoop and then it kind of grew and there was a jumble of broken up rocks and concrete underneath .

We've cleaned everything out. We've put in our foundation. piers, which are twelve inch diameter concrete poured into cardboard tubes. And they go down four feet, which is really a critical thing when you live in a very cold climate where the ground will freeze up in the winter because you don't want your footings to heave up when the ground freezes. That'll cause the whole deck to kind of move and get lopsided.

The entire structure, as you can see, is all pressure treated lumber. We've used two by twelves, a pair of them here which are basically the girt for the deck and then we got a two by eight joists on top of that girt and cantilevered over an extra foot and a half . And we're just sticking to the dimension of the deck that was here because we don't really want to change anything because that would cause us to have to get a variance and I'll show you why. The original deck was built out right to of the property line and it butted right into a fence.

We've stopped the cantilever here because this is Where we'll have a nice broad set of steps leading down towards the grade.

Hi, Bob Riley.

Hi Bob. How's it going?

Pretty good.

Well, it looks like you and Danny have a lot of the work already accomplished. Why don't we talk first about what this diagonal doubler is all about. Why is this framed like that?

Well, what we have is a wraparound deck, which is gonna turn the corner. So we wanna pitch the water away from the house. And in order to do that...

In two directions.

In two directions, right. So in order to do that, what we've got, essentially, is sort of a hip.

Like on a hip roof.

Comin' through at a 45, so when you put put all of our decking on, it will all meet here. This will turn.

So all the one by four decking , which is gonna be redwood, will be coming in this direction up to here.


And they'll all have a mitered cut on them.

Exactly, and then they'll take off in the other direction. Going around the house.

Okay. And that's the best way to do it, in order to, to have the water shed appropriately.

If you wanna shed it on a wrap-around, that's really about the only way you can do it.

How much of a pitch do you give the deck? We've got a twelve foot deck so we're pitching one inch.

About an inch. And what's Danny up to over here?

We're just putting our last bolt on the on the band joist here.

Hi Danny, how you doing?

Hi, Bob.

So the band joist is the, the piece of wood that get's attached directly to the foundation. And all the deck joists are all hung off it, right? They don't sit on top of it?

That's correct.

Ok. And you're only coming out six or eight inches there, right?

Right. We're only comin' out six to eight inches. This is an epoxy system, anchor bolt system.

So, we're not using an expansion bolt?

No. This is a, we drill a hole into solid stone and we inject the epoxy into there and then we set a piece of rod into the epoxy. And we have.

I see. So, all we're using is a threaded rod. Go ahead and cut that, cause you've only got a couple minutes grace for that.

So, we're just. Using threaded rod and then by putting epoxy in the back of the hole, there's really no chance of movement and I guess that's better than an expansion joint cause you don't have to worry about cracking the stone.

No. This is pretty good. You've got four minutes to work with it, and once you set the bolt, you've got fifteen minutes later and you can.

It mixes itself on its way in.

Okay, and now we to just take it in, and wait fifteen.

That's right.



With a little bit of spill out.

Just thread it in.

And of course we're only using galvanized fasteners, right?


I think wherever possible, if you can avoid nailing some of the structural timber and putting it together with carriage bolts and stuff you're better off, right?

Oh definitely. Yeah.

Now what's that in your hand? Is that just a regular door stand?

It's just a regular hanger. But we have to hang this first one on this, the end of this.

Just take it out and flatten out the flange.

Oh, so you flatten one of the flanges out so that in fact it will wrap around the corner.

Yeah, it just right on the side.

And we'll just position that and put a nail on it.

OK. How does that look, Danny?

Looks good.

And then we'll put the joist hanger on after the fact.

Alright is there a top and a bottom to these joist stands?

Yes, but like to top with an arrow going to the top.

But how do you determine? Is there a crown?

There's a crown to the joist itself.

So that you've looked at it and the whole purpose of that is that, if the two by eight has just a slight crown to it No, you want to put that crown facing up towards the top of the deck.

So that when the weight of the deck goes on, it evens out eventually.

OK. So you've just got some kind of position there but we still have to put the joist hangers in place .

Yes, we usually do that after we've got them on.

After we got them on. And then we'll cut off the ends right, so they're all line up.


Good. OK. But we've to break for some messages and when we come back.

We're going to be up on the third floor, doing a little masonry work.

Don't go away. Okay. We're back and right now we're gonna meet Ed and Lisa Zuwisco who are in the masonry contracting business. Hi.

How are you doing?

Good. Hi.

And you actually called your company Easy Mason because your last name is a little bit difficult to pronounce.



How long have you been working together?

About 10 years.


Have you been married that long?

Nope, just about four now.


Always together.

Do you enjoy doing masonry work?

Yes I do. I get to meet a lot of new people every day, so that makes me a little bit happier.

But, how is it working together every day, then going home together and start graphic. And who cooks when you get home?

Fast food.

Fast food.

Fast food, all summer.


Yeah, I enjoy it because this way we get to go away together. I don't have to ask somebody different, you know...

Yeah. Sure.

Can we get away? So, it's a lot easier.

It's neat. And you are. not the apprentice, but certainly the mason's helper at this point.


That's the impression you gave me.


Now let's talk a minute about where we are in the house. We're up on the third right underneath the roof rafters and we got a shingling crew still working up there and we're looking at a masonry mass here it was all broken up at some point in an earlier remodel.

I think that we had maybe a corbel chimney going that way, don't you?

Yes, there was a chimney or a fireplace or something below here and somewhere in a future remodeling, they did have to removed it for some reason and


And underneath the wall, we did find this so we are kind of.

So what they did was they, poured some cement some concrete up here to plug up the rest of the flues that went up, but we have three existing fire places

Yup, still.

On the other side of this masonry. One at this level one in the master bedroom on the second floor and one in the dining room down on the ground floor. So, what was your concern in terms of holding this together?

This area right here behind us is the existing flues for the other fire places and because it's going to be a new stud wall here, we are worried about the temperature, considering before this was not this close.

They are building the biggest bathroom when they can, so this temperature here can get kinda warm. And there was nothing supporting this.

We wanted to make sure there was something there.

Ok, so you were gonna leave these jagged ones sticking out until everything is set up?

Yep, yep, they had used this to hold it up. So we're going to use it for now until we get our new walls up, and then we'll just remove it to where we need to.


And Lisa, you're in charge of mixing, are you?


So what have you got here? Tell us what kind of a mixture you have prepared for.

Well this is a type S mortar and it's just.

Two parts.

Two parts of sand for which is the eight shovels of sand, and I mix it in the wheelbarrow, and I just bring it up and then just got to make sure it's to the right consistency for him to just lay the brick. Let's watch you install some of the brick layer, some of the break. Now what's the first thing you do in terms of

I always want to get a good trail of mortar the first thing that always keep it all in one size.

You don't want to just

You do not want that,

No, you don't want too much of that, you always want just enough it. So might from the end of the brick first, make sure the full head joint, a full trail, go up.

So you buttered up one hand,

Just get your fingers.

You buttered up one hand and that's going to butt up against the one that's already in place.

Just make sure, most of the time you use your fingers to do all the feeling, you don't want to be doing too much tapping once the bricks in place, that's it, if you move it after the brick has set it does kind of break loose. There's no sense in moving it twice. So the best thing to do is get it right the first time and.

Get the right amount in.

Get the right amount in.

Or more than the right amount. So you could always remove it.

Yup. Definitely a little bit more but if you have to put more, you can always take the brick out but it is nice to...

Now this one over here you gotta gotta actually some on the bottom right?

Yeah, that one there would goes in a little bit differently. Because we don't have anything on the top side of the brick, we need to put it on all three sides and in the hole. Squeeze it right in there.

There's no getting around getting your hands dirty when you're working with masonry.

No, not at all. Make sure everything's filled up solid, and work on the next.

OK, now give me that trowel. I want to see if I can... give me one of those bricks.

Because you just dig right into it, and you go right for the end Put it right on the end right? And then this ones going way back in the corner.

You can go right back in the corner, probably right here.

So I would take a whole trowel load like this and try to get it on right like that, right?

And then with the end that's already got some on it , bring that up against the existing.

Yep, there we go.

And see the trick is getting the right amount in there because you can always squeeze it and get it flat, right?


Good. Well Ed, Lisa lots a lot to you.

Thank you.

And it's great to see a husband and wife working together. Thanks for helping us out here.

We gotta break for some messages. When we get back we're going to be dealing with windows right on this floor.

Don't go away. All right, let's start talking windows with my friend Michael Roach from Marvin who, well you really helped us figure out how to put together the whole window order for this particular 100 year old house and we do have some old windows that we're preserving with the beautiful ripple glimmery.


Down below.

And then we have other windows like this one, right?

That's correct.

OK. I'm not sure that this is the hundred year old window.

I think, I don't know you, you probably. It's an old one.

It's an old one, but I think it's more like a 40 or 50-year-old window that was added right into this dormer at some point during the last forty or fifty years and when you have some something like this, it's almost not worth trying to repair it.

Right. It's very difficult.

And you've got broken panes of glass in many places, you've got a fair amount of damage to the wood fill, some rot and a lot of built up putty and paint and even if you went to great lengths to restore it and make it look pretty you still Have a very low technology product.

Very much so.

Let's talk about the technology of this window.

Yes what we've been able to do is kind of keep the architectural integrity and restore what looks like an original unit but put a lot of high technology into the glass.

Which basically enhance the performance of this probably four times based on the glasses.

So we just have one pane of glass.

Is that like a one hour already?

That's a good, it's a general way of looking at it. Yes.

And what if got here.

We've got two panes of glass, plus we also put what's called a low impassivity coating on it which helps reflect the heat back so more like a mirror reflects your, the image.

Image, right. And of course, then we also have Orgon gas in the airspace which also affects the heat and cold transfer.

So what we have with these is an R 4.

Basically typically the center of glass would be more like a little over an R4.

Great and they look as you said they look identical .

What was here in the first place?


But for really, really great looks, we're talking Paladin window. Let's go in the in the


in the family room. Now, the idea with this family room was that even when your kids are gone to college it's nice to have one big room in the house that's going to draw them back.

And this is meant to be both an entertainment center, as well as a place for a pool table.

And this is really going to make the room spectacular.

Now, the origin of a palladium window.

You probably know more about this than I do.

I don't know about that.

Well, it has to do with Andrea Palladio . . .

who was a 16th-century Italian architect.

And he designed a lot of neoclassical palaces around Venice, Italy. The Veneto.

But one of the things he liked to do was to very prominently place a round-topped window flanked by two flat ones.

Kind of in these proportions.

In a very important part of a gable.


Or a house. And this is a beautiful window.

Now, I think the guys have got it all. You know, there's so much prep work involved in this, right?

That's correct.

We've basically custom-sized some windows and we're going to custom fit some sill nosing and casings onto it. And they've got it all mocked up, but essentially it's three different windows that go in independently, right?

That's correct.

OK. Now do you have to take the sash out before you install them?

It'll be the easiest in this application because we don't have any existing casing, where you would typically nail through the casing on an installation. We're going to take the sash out in the jam liners and screw through frames.

OK, how do you take the sash out?

Very simply, we could tilt the window up and press against the jam liners, and our sash will tilt in.

And you pivot them out like that?


OK, well while you're taking all the sash out, I think I'm going to check in with architect Greg Rockland whose joining for a minute.

Very Good.

Hi fellas.

Hi Bob.

Looks like a little medical caucus over here. I wanted to talk about the structure of the frame because this is an unusual situation, right Greg?

Well it is. There are two problems here. One, we removed the ceiling which was bracing this outside wall.


So the wall was never designed for this clear span. So the first time we increase the thickness. 5 and a half inches.

But you don't really have a big roof load here. It's a gable end.

It's a wind problem. Which actually the wind load is almost as great as the roof load it's about 50 pounds a square foot, which is almost the same as a snow load.


And this high up off the ground as you can see you've got. You' re not protected by other buildings. You have a severe wind problem.

There's no real wind break. There's no taller building next to us.

That's right.

And so, the way you've addressed it is with braces here.

These are leadened braces that are holding against the wind and then this big heavy header actually its not a load problem, but it stiffens the wall and it brings this load out to where the braces are.

Okay, so basically its stiffening it. And then we've framed independently for each of the three windows. Now are you guys ready to install this?
We think you are.

We think you are.

And what's the first one. Come in, let's grab it.


And first one is a centerpiece.

Alright , up with it. You got it?

Yeah, here you go.

OK, now this has to get plumbed from the outside?

Danny will get it from the outside and I'll handle it from the inside.

There you go.

Is this next?



OK, how's this side? Is that up where you want it?

It seems close.

OK. So you got that one?

Yes, I'll get the side trim pieces.

OK. Well, this is going to take a little bit of finagling, but we're going to have to break for some messages. Don't go away.

That's the last shim to trim down.


But there's still a couple more pieces to put up there.

And we're going to have to move pipe staging around, aren't we, in order to get you up there?We 'll have to get some, we'll have to get some more planks. Hopefully we don't have to move the stages.

I'll help you carry the planks.

All right.

Hey listen, we are running short of time. I want to thank you for your help.

Thank you.

They are absolutely beautiful windows, and... I think that one closes.


Thanks a lot Michael, OK. We're running short on time. I hope you can join us next time when we'll be insulating this house using different types of insulation in different parts of the house.

We're also gonna be spending a little time doing paint removal; deletting, particularly in some of the areas that still have some of the old original trim work. And we'll be back to work on the kitchen deck, putting down some redwood one by four decking material, as well as working on the fencing.

That's it for now. Until next time I'm Bob Vila, and it's good to have you home again.



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