How To Cut A Window Sill?
The following image shows a typical window sill. It is made from wood and it is attached to the wall with screws.
The top part of the sill is called the sill plate or the sill band. The bottom part of the sill is called the floor board or roofing shingle.
You will notice that the sill plate is not perfectly square. That’s because there are two sides to every piece of lumber.
One side is used for framing purposes and the other side is used for finishing purposes. When you want to put something into place, you have to take one end of each piece and align them so they fit together exactly right. You cannot just use a jigsaw to cut out your pieces since it would cause warping or distortion of the finished product if done incorrectly.
In order to get the best results when cutting out windows, you need to use a table saw. However, you don’t want to go through all that trouble unless you really have no choice but to cut out windows yourself.
So what can you do instead?
If you’re like most homeowners, then your first thought might be “I’ll just buy some hardware cloth.” But why bother? Hardware cloth isn’t going to give you the exact result that a table saw could provide.
When you are cutting out the pieces of wood, you need to keep in mind that the thickness of the wood varies depending upon its intended purpose. For example, when you’re making a door, it is usually best to go with thicker pieces of wood than when you’re making a dresser or desk.
The reason why is because doors require thicker walls and sturdier materials like metal. Plus if you’re like most homeowners, you don’t own a table saw and don’t want to spend the money on one.
The solution is simple. Most any home improvement store sells plastic sheeting or something similar.
It looks like clear plastic with small holes in it to let the air and water through. It’s typically used to seal up an entire window opening from the inside when remodeling a bathroom or kitchen.
You can use this material to great effect when making a window well.
The next thing you need to do is measure the pieces of wood. The best tool for this job that isn’t expensive at all is a tape measure.
Just make sure that you buy a good one since cheap tape measures tend to go off by an inch or so. You might think it’s not a big deal now, but it will be when your desk is an inch too short and you have to start all over again. Here’s what to do
Go to your local home improvement store and look for the window well material. It should be located in the basement remodeling section.
You might also be able to find it online. Get a roll that is large enough to cover the outside edges of your window opening. Most rolls are 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. It is sold by the foot, so make sure you have enough money if you get the larger size.
When you get your tape measure, you need to measure the bottom of the inside of your window well. This is the shortest part of the wall since it is a trapezoid.
If you were able to get a table saw to cut the wood, then you can stop here since everything else will be basic carpentry. But, if you couldn’t get the tools to make the cuts properly then read on and we’ll help you out.
You will also need some wood if you don’t already have some lying around the house. The width of the wood should be 1 inch by 2 inches (2.5 centimeters by 5 centimeters).
It should be as long as your window is wide and then some. For example, if your window is 48 inches wide, then you would buy 50-inch lengths of wood.
The last thing that you will need is siding for the top part of the window well.
Once you have the right measurement, double it (since you’re doing two layers) and add 5 inches to the measurement. This is how wide you need to make the wood strips that will be the base of your window well.
Once you have the strip width, you need to measure the height. The siding will fill the gap on top of the window well.
It can be as long as you want, so just buy enough to fill in the gap.
The tools that you will need are a saw (preferably a table saw), a drill (or an electric screwdriver if you want to stay true to the project) and a measuring tape. That’s it!
If you already have these things then you’re all set to go. Measure down 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) from the top of the window frame and make a mark on all four pieces of wood. This is where you will nail the bottom layer of wood.
As for the strips that go on the inside of the window frame, have them be as long as your window is wide and then add 2 inches (5 centimeters). These are to cover up the part of the window frame that sticks out past the wooden wall around the window opening.
Here are the steps to creating your window well:
1. Measure the bottom of the inside of your window well.
2. Buy wood that is 1 inch by 2 inches and make two strips that are that size and 5 inches longer than your measurement from step 1.
You have all the measurements, now you just need to get to work.
Firstly, paint the wood if you haven’t already done so. You want it to match the color of your wall after all!
If you are able then cut the wood into strips and affix them to the window frame with nails or wood screws. If not, just nail them on since you will be trimming them later (in the next step).
Buy wood that is 1 inch by 6 inches and make two strips that are that size and as long as your window is wide and then add 2 inches.
4. Buy enough siding to fill in the space on top.
5. Use a table saw to cut all the pieces to the sizes you need (if you don’t have a table saw, then have a home improvement store do it for you or buy wood that is already the correct size).
Once you have the bottom layer in place, it’s time to make the second layer to cover up the rest of the window. Cut the remaining wood into pieces that are 1 inch by 4 inches and then trim the edges of these pieces at 45 degree angles (forming a triangle).
Nail these onto the window frame, covering up the edges of the 2 by 4 strips that are already in place and covering up the window frame (like siding). Attach the bottom layer of wood to the window frame.
7. Now you need to cut part of the top layer of wood in a way that they can be attached to the window well frames (this is why you needed the extra 2 inches in step 3).
To do this, use a measuring tape and measure down 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters) from the top of the window opening and make a mark across all the strips.
Once all the pieces are nailed in place, paint the entire window well to match your wall.
The last step is to put the siding (or finishing) on top of the window well. You’ve already cut this to size earlier, so just nail or screw it onto the 2 by 4s that you already have in place.
You’re finished! Now stand back, admire your work and think about how you want to decorate the inside of your new window well.
There are many options and you can even get really creative.
For instance, a waterfall off the side of the window well would be great! There are tutorials online for building your own and you now have the perfect receptacle for the runoff.
Now, all you have to do is make a bench or couch for the inside of the window well and place a few potted plants inside to help with the ambiance. If you’re feeling really ambitious, add a little white Christmas lighting for a night-time effect.
As for the window itself, you could leave it as is and just have a little shelf in front of it. Or, if you really want to live on the wild side, take the window out and replace it with one that opens from the top (it’s OK if it’s not fully operational).
You can then use this as a real window instead of just decoration.
You can do whatever you want, just have fun with it.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Door and window sill pan flashing with extension coupler (M Teodorovich – US Patent 8,695,293, 2014 – Google Patents)
- Window sill flashing (RP Broad, JK McDonald – US Patent 7,673,426, 2010 – Google Patents)
- Universal window sill tray (L Seelandt-Stasek, J Stasek Jr – US Patent 5,653,072, 1997 – Google Patents)
- Variable size door and window sill pan with drain (M Teodorovich – US Patent 8,443,554, 2013 – Google Patents)
- Door and window sill pan flashing with drain (M Teodorovich – US Patent 8,117,789, 2012 – Google Patents)
- Window sill flashing (R Broad, J McDonald – US Patent App. 10/871,401, 2005 – Google Patents)
- Door and window sill pan with drain (M Teodorovich – US Patent App. 10/730,414, 2005 – Google Patents)
- Prefabricated plastic window sill (PG Bordner – US Patent 3,605,356, 1971 – Google Patents)
- Window drain (SA Wark – US Patent 6,385,925, 2002 – Google Patents)