The Attic Window: Blockormore

Have you ever heard the term blockormore? (Or as Kim would call it, the Monet?) Looks good from far, but far from good? We’re trying to avoid that syndrome as much as possible around the new digs, but there are certain projects where looking good from street-level is all we’re striving for.

Let me explain.

When we had our big, beautiful new windows installed a few weeks back, the first thing I noticed when I pulled up to the house was how disgustingly horrible they made the remaining two front windows look. Yuck. The third window there on the left is scheduled for a proper replacement, but that little octagonal guy at the peak of the attic was a whole different story.

Enter the blockormore…

From the beginning, I knew that this window didn’t have to look perfect since no one will ever see it up close, but replacing the few rotten planks seemed like a pretty pesky undertaking at this point in our remodel. (You know, since we don’t have a ceiling and all.)

So wandering the aisles one day at the orange toy store, I spotted Elmer’s Structural Wood Repair – a two-part epoxy putty specifically formulated for repairing rotten, cracked wood. I got started by sanding and scraping away all of the loose bits then just followed the instructions from there.

Here’s the stuff. We used the plastic top of a foil carry-out bread stick pan to mix the two parts, which, FYI: John’s Pizza in Chicago has the best garlic breadsticks known to man – and arguably the best non-deep dish ‘za (think: thin, floppy squares). This is a fact. Also, is it just me, or can you judge how great a pizza place will be by how terrible their website is?

The combined mixture is actually pretty difficult to work with, but be patient. It’s a little too thick and crumbly to apply easily with a putty knife like you would with spackle or wood putty, but is pretty easy to smoosh into gaps with your fingers. I found that a pair of latex gloves worked well to protect my mitts as I rolled it into little balls and worms and pressed it into the gaps of the rotten boards.

It looked like this after… super-ugly, right? I wasn’t too worried about the appearance of the epoxy, since I knew I’d ultimately sand it down to a smooth finish.

The box wanted us to let the epoxy cure over night, so we let things sit and got back after it the following morning. The putty cured to a very dense, almost cement-like consistency, and I was really happy with the results after the difficulty applying it the day before. It seemed as strong, if not stronger than the wood around it.

After a lot of sanding with a course grit paper on our electric mouse sander, we were ready for paint. (Side note: If you’re not planning on using an electric sander for finishing, I’d highly recommend taking the time to make things as perfect as possible while the putty is still flexible. Or you could just skip working your arms at the gym that week, because this stuff is dense and will require quite a bit of finish work – but your guns will be super buff, so take it as you will.)

This sparkly little spaceman was holding down the fort up in the attic (I found it while clearing some junk for our new furnace – which we’re getting this week!), so I figured he’d be a perfect neighborhood watch-dog from his lofty perch. Also, how great will it be to put an old Jason-esque goalie mask up there in a month?

So, our little blockormore project is complete. The window looks great from the street, and we were done with all of the actual work in an hour or two (if you take out the set-up and dry time). We’ll still probably rebuild the whole structure in a couple of years, but the epoxy definitely bought us some much needed time.

The front of the house obviously has a ton of work in store for us, but every little bit helps. Oddly enough, Jack and the spaceman don’t seem to mind that a lot of this work will end up happening next spring. One small step for our house, one giant step for our sparkly new buddy.

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  • Kate9.24.13 - 6:57 AM

    just thinking about that ladder on the roof and scott perched on it gave me an anxiety attack of epic proportions…scary!ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.24.13 - 8:00 AM

      Kate, same here! I sat on the roof with him because I was so scared (and to take photos)… but it’s not so bad after a minute or two.ReplyCancel

  • K9.24.13 - 7:10 AM

    Ha, the spaceman made me chuckle but I think the mask might be terrifying! Maybe perfect for Halloween though!ReplyCancel

  • Jaimie9.24.13 - 8:44 AM

    I’m jealous of your new windows. We still have the original sixties single-pane aluminum windows on our new house. Got a quote for replacement and it wasn’t ridiculous, but it is a little out of reach right now with the other things we’ve got going on.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah@Eriesistibull9.24.13 - 8:56 AM

    I have windows like yours installed a couple years ago in my house — I love the sliders!

    The blockormore approach is EXACTLY what I have taken for 90% of the projects around the house — focus on what i can actually afford and just make everything else look “good enough.”ReplyCancel

  • Nice update!
    Sometimes those ‘this will work for now’ projects are so nice to knock of the list so you can focus on bigger/more pressing things.ReplyCancel

  • ann9.24.13 - 9:18 AM

    What an improvement! But this mom of yours is glad she didn’t know you were up on a ladder on the second floor roof.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon9.24.13 - 9:51 AM

    I literally thought for a second “Why would they sell epoxy putty at a toy store? Sounds hazardous!!” Then I felt like an idiot and contemplated sharing this. HAHAHAHAReplyCancel

  • Jess Lively9.24.13 - 10:11 AM

    Can I tell you how much I like the sparkly space man? Have you considered naming him? Or is Sparkly Space Man his new name?

    Or… can I name him?ReplyCancel

  • Kim9.24.13 - 10:47 AM

    Ann, it was the only way!

    Shannon, too funny! It is our toy store though :)

    Jess, yes! Please do! I know how much you love doing that…ReplyCancel

  • Cait9.24.13 - 11:58 AM

    Oh my gosh! I agree with Kate (and Kim!) about the ladder! I’m sure you were on top of things as far as safety, but after reading a few recent posts at Old Town Home about falls/near falls from their roof, I’m paranoid! (Or maybe to some extent I always was?)

    Anyway, the attic window looks great! (And your other new windows, of course. hehe) Love the Spaceman & Jack-attack photo-bombing, too!ReplyCancel

  • dave9.24.13 - 7:30 PM

    Always remember when doing a project that far from your eye that, “your eye won’t go there!” You will only pick up that window if it looks as it did before the project. When working on a ladder that high off planet earth, safety first! A rough edge,here or there, will never be noticed from below. This is not to say that you should cut corners, but be realistic. Great job on restoring rather than replacing. $10 vs. $300, great trade!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design9.25.13 - 6:28 AM

    What a great fix! So much better.ReplyCancel

  • hena tayeb9.25.13 - 9:15 AM

    Nicely done.ReplyCancel

  • ashley @ sunnysideshlee.com9.25.13 - 10:42 AM

    Looking great! What are your plans (if any) to continue sprucing up the exterior? Those columns look like they will be awesome to work with and bring back to life!ReplyCancel

  • Kim9.25.13 - 10:48 AM

    Hi Ashley! We can’t wait to paint the porch, stain the floors, add a tongue and groove ceiling, replace the front door and lights… not to mention, plant some flowers and get some grass growing again! The whole thing needs the pressure washing of its life, too.ReplyCancel


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