What to Do With This Attic Window?

ruandduMay 7, 2012


We have an old 1925 single story. When we moved in there was an old window that got boarded up in our attic. It doesn't look pleasing to the eye, being that they used a piece of plywood and painted it to match house color.

I attached a picture. I would appreciate any advice on what to do with this window frame? Insert a window, fill in with siding, put a air vent, etc? One consideration is the attic is not a livable space so putting a window up there could be a bit misleading but maybe it doesn't matter?

Thanks much!

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I think you've hit on the most likely options: put in a window (do you want/need the light up there?); insert a louvered vent screened on the backside (do you need a vent that large up there?

Or how about a dovecote?

Here is a link that might be useful: wall-mounted dovecote

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Thanks so much for replying. I didn't know about a dovecote until you mentioned so thank you.

If I go with the vent, I would likely remove current vent and either re-use and center it where the plywood is now, or buy a new vent that is more attractive.

There is no need for window, as I don't need light up in attic. Though, it might cosmetically be a good choice?

If it was your house, what would you do?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I'm not sure what I'd do. I'd probably try to learn photoshop and do some mock-ups of the options! I think the cleanest way to go would be to remove the other small vents and replace the sideing there, and put a nice big louvered vent where the window was. I also might lose the shutters (or replace them with some larger ones that are to proper sale and will actually swing), but you didn't ask about that ;)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 4:03PM
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I think I would leave it pretty much as it is - if it is not a functional problem, then I don't perceive an aesthetic problem worth going up a ladder for either - and certainly not one worth disrupting the existing vents for, given that that would mess up the siding.

It may offer an opportunity for a bit of a creative outlet - say, a place for an old grate or something decorative. A trompe l'oeil maybe, though that wouldn't really suit your style.

The only thing that would put this anywhere near the top of my to-do list (in case yours is a typical old house!) would be the question of fire egress, and that's only an issue if anyone is ever IN the attic. But there is a flip side to this, which is that a window actually creates a falling danger if anyone ever spends any time up there.

We have a half-height attic space above our back addition, and it has a little window. My husband finished and carpeted the space, I'm wallpapering, and it's really quite cozy and pretty. It's being used for storage now but was often a popular spot for kids to play as they were growing up. The window is thus alternatingly a source of comfort and anxiety :-) I put a bookrack across it to make it less accessible. By the way, the other thing that happens is the sun really pounds in there as it's south facing; creates a problem keeping the house cool in summer. Just a thought.

Karin L

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:14PM
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A traditional way to finish a "ghost" window, which is what you have, is with a closed louvered shutter, making appear that there is a working window temporarily covered by an operable shutter. To do that you would need to put back more realistic shutters on your other windows.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Thanks for all the tips, everyone. I really appreciate it. Like the closed shutter idea, though we just put those fake shutters up a few years ago! :)

Good point on installing attic window being that the house faces the south.

At this point vent seems like logical choice but also could just leave it alone.

Though, any other opinions are greatly appreciated!


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Those wall-mounted dove cotes attract house sparrows, and you will have bird poop all over the place.

I'd replace it with an attic fan if you are in a climate that needs one. Those windows were used for ventilation before AC became common.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Thanks. We're in a pretty mild NW climate so an attic fan while nice isn't necessarily a must. A vent might be best choice. Appreciate all the responses.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:42PM
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