Is it possible to remove a kitchen window, that is fifty seven inches high by fifty four wide, and replace it with a much smaller size and style? My reason is that it takes up almost three quarters of the kitchen wall, from the baseboard up. No shelf can go beneath the window frame. The neighbour’s house is a two storey home and ours is an older bungalow, so not a lot of sunlight shines in, anyway.
I would like to do a complete kitchen update. I believe this window is what’s stopping my plans. Would this be a safe procedure? Would it be very costly? Can I put a sink underneath the new window? Is there a specific company or contractor to call? I would also like to put the stove, with an exhaust fan hood, in one corner of the wall. I would also like to do the same thing with the window in my bathroom.
I’m new to this renovating and I’m driving my husband nuts, but I am willing to even do what work I can, myself.
Removing an older window and replacing it with a newer, more efficient unit is a very common part of many kitchen renovations. There is no reason to prevent you from doing this, as long as the window is smaller than the original. If the window is larger, then structural modifications may be required to the exterior wall, but not if the window is smaller than what already exists. I will try to answer most of your questions and offer some guidance for your planned upgrades.
Windows in exterior walls in older homes have a fairly simple design. They are normally built to suit a rough opening in the framing below a header or lintel, which carries the load of the cut joists where the window is installed. As long as the new window is smaller, and installed no higher at the top than the old one, this header should not normally require any modifications to carry the load of the wall and roof above this area. However, the excess area between the new window and the surrounding framing will have to be properly finished to accommodate the smaller unit. This may involve additional framing, exterior sheathing and siding, and interior drywall and casing installation. Insulation will also have to be added in this area along with a proper air-vapour barrier, depending on the type of insulation used.
The most difficult part of retrofitting a smaller window in an existing wall is finishing the interior and exterior surfaces to match the existing. Because you are planning to do major renovations to the kitchen, the interior should not be difficult as long as your walls are old plaster or drywall. Patching small sections of interior walls with drywall, patching compound and paint is a relatively simple process, which may differ greatly from the exterior job requirements. The degree of complexity of the exterior repairs will largely depend on the exterior siding on the home. If the outside walls are stucco, matching new material to the older finish will require an experienced individual, especially if the old walls have been painted.
If the siding is wood or brick veneer, the challenge may be even greater. Many older wood siding styles have long since been discontinued and may not be easy to find. It may require customization by a skilled carpenter to match these profiles, or use of different siding materials to cover the opening. Similarly, brick or brick veneer repairs will require a trained mason who may have access to reclaimed bricks, from other older buildings, to make a good match.
Moving the kitchen sink underneath the new window is certainly a possibility, but again the degree of difficulty will depend on several factors. Is the ceiling in the basement under the kitchen finished and is there access to the floor joists and the plumbing drains and supply pipes? If the area in the basement below is unfinished, moving the sink may be fairly easy. Otherwise, cutting large holes in this area may be required. Also, proper drain venting may be difficult without cutting further holes in the kitchen walls, but that may not be much of an issue in a total kitchen renovation.
Moving the range, on the other hand, should be much less of a problem. The only requirement is moving the large electrical receptacle required for the range. Once again, if the floor space below is not encumbered by a ceiling, this should be a simple job. Installation of new kitchen cupboards and counters to accommodate the new sink, range, and other components will be much easier if the old ones are completely removed to allow for a barrier-free installation. This will also allow for much easier installation and venting of the desired range hood.
To answer two of your later questions, a complete kitchen renovation will be costly and hiring a reputable general contractor to complete the entire project, or oversee the renovations and sub-trades, is the right way to go. Major kitchen renovations are a complex procedure involving many individual trades including plumbers, electricians, finishing carpenters, flooring contractors and others. Building codes are quite specific on requirements for kitchens, particularly in the plumbing and electrical areas and the proper permits and inspections will be required. You may be able to cut some costs by doing various tasks like demolition and removal of the old kitchen components and drywall taping and painting, but the major work should be done by professionals, including installation of the your new window. Kitchen cupboards, counters, windows, and floor coverings can be quite costly and ensuring they are not damaged or improperly installed by inexperienced homeowners will be worth the cost of the pros.