Author Topic: Re-glaze or replace windows?  (Read 12870 times)

BarkingSquirrel

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Re-glaze or replace windows?
« on: May 21, 2014, 03:50:24 PM »
House is 1964 Colonial.  Wood siding, wood windows with storms: somewhat drafty but nice looking.

The painter says the windows need to be re-glazed, and I believe him.  The glazing is all cracked with big chunks missing.  I don't have a price-per-window yet, but he admits it will be expensive. 

Vinyl replacement windows will never look as good, and I understand from other discussions on this forum that they don't last or work terribly well anyway.  Plus, I don't want to waste all these fairly ok wood windows and ask for more toxic vinyl to be produced.

Given that there is no way we can glaze these ourselves and that this is going to be an horrible expense either way, can you help us balance the pros and cons of re-glazing vs. replacement? 

(While you're at it, feel free to expostulate on the treatment of lead paint.) 

ps -- house has about 24 windows, two or three of which are actually truly terrible.
pps -- we are probably planning to live here at least 8 more years. 

tmac

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 03:55:24 PM »
Why can't you do it yourself? I'm not at all handy (or, wasn't until I started this project), but I'm reglazing and painting the front and rear windows on our 1830s cottage. Fussy, but not hard.

Greg

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 04:30:40 PM »
You could try to do it yourself and judge the PITA factor.  A pint of DAP 33 glazing putty is cheap, you probably have a putty knife, and the old stuff might come out pretty easily.  Give it a shot.

Anyway if you have cool old windows and storms I would recommend fixing the old windows.  They are probably just in need of new glazing putty, weatherstripping, some TLC and they'll be better than most new windows.

MayDay

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 05:46:22 PM »
Fix fix fix fix fix!

Also get a few quotes as prices on window work seem to vary wildly.

But I will ditto the PP who said you can likely DIY if you are so inclined.

TomTX

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 08:02:28 PM »
House is 1964 Colonial.  Wood siding, wood windows with storms: somewhat drafty but nice looking.

The painter says the windows need to be re-glazed, and I believe him.  The glazing is all cracked with big chunks missing.  I don't have a price-per-window yet, but he admits it will be expensive. 

Vinyl replacement windows will never look as good, and I understand from other discussions on this forum that they don't last or work terribly well anyway.  Plus, I don't want to waste all these fairly ok wood windows and ask for more toxic vinyl to be produced.

Check the old paint for lead. The new vinyl windows might NOT be "more toxic."

chasesfish

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 08:23:53 PM »
I loved the replacement vinyl windows on my last house and about to put them in the new house.  It's not cheap, but it's a quality of life issue - the double pane vinyl are much quieter and there's heavy road noise outside,  I also have the lead issue mentioned above. 


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Greg

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 09:19:39 AM »
About lead paint:
http://www2.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program-do-it-yourselfers

Essentially be careful sanding it, avoid breathing dust and tracking it indoors.  Always test; I've tested paint in remodel settings that people just assumed contained lead, a cheap test showed otherwise.

About vinyl windows; they're the bottom rung of the replacement window ladder.  You can't paint them, and the seals of both the glass units and the glass unit to frame don't last as long as other options like fiberglass, wood, and combinations of the two.  For less expensive fiberglass windows look at Marvin's Integrity and Ultrex lines.

There are also sash replacement kits that replace just the moving window parts, not the frame attached to the building.  They're tricky to get right but are a nice weatherization upgrade to single pane glass.  Work well for single and double-hung windows.

Also, you may want to investigate the possibility of replacing your single pane glass with double pane glass units, if the frames have enough depth. They might, given that your glass is held in by glazing putty.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 09:22:27 AM by Greg »

stealmystapler

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 10:35:02 AM »
Based on what you've said, it sounds like you just need new glazing putty. Not new glass or anything else. The biggest cost for that project is labor. There's no reason you can't do it yourself! I've reglazed a number of wood windows, and the process is actually very zen-like. Google has tons of results for "how to glaze windows."

You could certainly ask for quotes if you don't have the time, or don't want to deal with the learning curve. But when considering replacement, consider the cost of maintaining/repairing against the cost of new wood windows. Not new vinyl ones. If the window sash itself isn't rotted, why waste a perfectly good window?


BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 07:58:54 PM »
Thank you all.  We will start with a lead test.  I guess that will affect the cost of the overall paint job and go into the calculations (painter says, yes, all older, oil-based paint is lead -- without testing).  As for doing it ourselves, I do kind of enjoy picking crappy crap off windows, but not up on a ladder.  And I kind of took on extra summer work to compensate for the paint job.  I'll think about maybe doing the downstairs ones. 

Argyle

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 09:27:18 PM »
You can reglaze the reachable windows yourselves; that will save some $$.

Vinyl windows: just no.  I spend a lot of time on a house restoration forum and they react to the question "Should I get vinyl windows?" as the MMM forum reacts to "Should I commit to a five-year lease on this nice brand new Cadillac?"  They also have many, many tales of vinyl windows that needed replacing again after 10-15 years.  Vinyl windows are cleverly made to degrade.  They do not last centuries the way wood windows do.  If you reglaze, you're getting windows you won't have to attend to again soon.

Note that if you replace the windows with vinyl, there will still be the same issues with being careful of the lead paint.  Taking windows out disturbs the lead as much as reglazing.


stealmystapler

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 06:50:04 AM »
Don't forget you can remove a window from the house and then reglaze it! I'd suggest doing just one at a time. You should be able to carefully remove the trim boards around the window on the inside, and if you are dealing with a sash window (I suspect) you will be able to just take out the two pieces.

This will leave you with a gaping hole in your house - I'd suggest covering it with a blanket to keep out bugs, birds, the neighbor's kids, etc. Removing the old glazing, sanding the window, and reglazing shouldn't take more than a couple of hours (and less once you get the hang of it). The glazing will need to dry for a few weeks or so, and it can dry just as well hanging on the wall. Put all the pieces back together, and move on to the next! You could have your painter paint the windows in situ after the glazing is dry, but I find you get better (and more even) results from removing them again to paint.

Best of luck!

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 09:30:50 AM »
Quote
remove a window from the house  . . . remove the trim boards around the window . . . a gaping hole in your house . . . Put all the pieces back together

OP clutches heart and falls to floor.


BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2014, 04:03:04 PM »
Oh dear.  I did a lead test, and yes, the whole under-coat of the house is lead, with crappy, flaky latex peeling off over it. 

What do we do?!  What do we do?! And what's it going to cost? !!

Can we get non-vinyl siding over the existing clapboards to encapsulate it?  Then what about the windows? 


Argyle

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2014, 07:16:21 PM »
I had exactly this situation.  Exactly.

Is the lead paint on your siding peeling?  If not, just paint over it.  It is irrelevant to the windows.

If it is peeling, there are two options.  1) Get the siding scraped and remediated by a company that is lead-certified and experienced.  2) Get the siding removed and replaced by a company that is lead-certified and experienced.

I'm sorry to tell you than in the case of my house -- which admittedly is a large two-story house -- both these options came in at around $40,000.  I chose the second option -- replace siding -- because the only company that said they would do the first option was a shady company with a lot of complaints in their history.  Otherwise I would have gone with option 1 because wooden siding is longer-lasting than many kinds of artificial siding.

In either case, if the paint is peeling, you get the company to scrape the windows in their lead-certified way.  It involves big covers that keep the lead from drifting over the yard.

I'm afraid there is no mustachian way to get this done.  (Unless the siding paint is not peeling.)  If you were to scrape and deal with the lead yourself, you run into two dangers.  The first is that the pulverized lead can easily get into your lungs and lead to very real problems, as well as into the lungs of others, especially children.  The second is that if you're not remediating properly, neighbors can complain and what is more, sue you for endangering them (even if no bad effects from the lead have yet shown up).  I thought this was a silly theoretical danger until a lawsuit for just this reason happened a few blocks away from me.  The person who was improperly remediating lost the lawsuit.  This is when I knew I was going to be out $40,000.  Actually I know a person who's gone through the lead-inspector training, and she has thoroughly convinced me that you don't want to be taking silly chances with lead, even apart from the dangers of a lawsuit.

But I hope your siding is not peeling.  In that case, just paint over it and deal with the windows.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2014, 06:10:34 AM »
Peeling badly. 

We had it painted only 8 years ago by a low-bid yahoo who barely scraped and put latex over what we now know to be oil. 

"I was young and foolish then, I feel old and foolish now."

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2014, 06:23:30 AM »
Not counting modest-but-solid retirement accounts, we have about 90K saved and 50% equity in the house.  The first kid goes to college in 3 years.  I was hoping to have 120 saved by then.  This is going to chop our savings in half.  I can't wrap my head around this.  I guess I'm glad we have it; it could be worse, but it's still a blow. 

worms

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2014, 01:32:46 PM »
Whoa, there! It's a little lead paint, not the Black Death! Yes, you need to take precautions and be sensible with it but do not blow all your savings on the first company that scares you into submission!

You are in no different a position than everyone else with a house that is older than about 30 years.  It can still be a DIY task if you wish, or a local tradesman if you don't.  The old windows will outlast anything newer that you put in.  Traditional linseed putty is cheap and easy to use (DAP 33 seems to be linseed putty with a few extras that change it's performance).

But the bottom line is that the house is not about to fall down tonight, so relax, read up on old house maintenance and don't rush into any big expenditure!

Greg

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2014, 02:40:38 PM »
I'm lead-safe renovation certified, it's not rocket science.  Read the EPA information at the link I provided, and you'll be able to handle it yourself or find someone who can.  It's not like asbestos.  And, if your exterior housepaint contains lead, it's also in the soil around your house.  You can live with it if you don't eat, drink, or breathe it in. 

crusher

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2014, 05:58:14 AM »
Find an old-school hardware store that repairs windows and screens. I use one that reglazes for about $10 per window sash. I think thatís a good price to get an experienced hand doing the work and a bargain compared to replacing windows.

Iíd encourage you to try rehabbing one window and see what you think before deciding to replace them. Removing a window may sound intimidating, but mine have been pretty easy. Whether to cover the window opening during the repair will depend on the window location, weather, neighborhood safety, etc. Iíve been able to coordinate with the hardware store for a quick turnaround.

A few resources:
How to remove old-fashioned windows from Old House Journal
http://www.oldhousejournal.com/magazine/2006/april/sash-windows.shtml
Preservationist John Leeke has a website dedicated to saving old windows, including a discussion board for help. 
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/index.htm

starbuck

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2014, 06:59:09 AM »
Preservationist John Leeke has a website dedicated to saving old windows, including a discussion board for help. 
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/index.htm

Oooh, my husband is going up to Maine for Leeke's exterior woodwork repairs workshop this summer! We also got Leeke's window repair book to help us with the antique windows of our own house. That guy knows his stuff.

OP, like other said this is not a scenario where you have a hole in your roof that needs plugging ASAP. Your windows have probably needed repair for some time now, so deep breath and do your research before committing. My personal preference is preservation instead of replacement. In the meantime, don't gnaw on your windows.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2014, 06:19:27 AM »
Just to follow up: the painters start tomorrow.  We hired the guy who told us about the lead.  Turns out he is certified and his license is valid.  $11,500 includes the lead prep, painting, and reglazing.  With the lead, I decided not to take on any reglazing myself. 

usmarine1975

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2014, 07:51:10 AM »
Spent 15 years in the Construction trade as a carpenter.

First not all replacement windows are the same.  Cheap ones are horrible old adage rings true that sometimes you do get what you pay for.  So if replacing is what someone is wanting to do take time and do research on the windows available.  Some good ones do exist.  And some even will come close to matching to a degree what you have now.

If you are re-glazing repairing take a window at a time or a section at a time.  Nothing says you have to do them all at once.  (your price does not seem out of line with the work being done)

If you are using a Contractor get referrals (the good guys usually don't advertise)  No need to because word of mouth is cheap and the best form of advertisement for a craftsman.  Google search them and have a conversation with them.  If they talk to you in a way that makes you feel like they are giving you straight answers and explaining things.  You got a good one.  If they are just trying to sell you on a process RUUUUNNNN.

I have repaired and replaced windows it just depends on the situation and what you are trying to do.  I am having this same debate with our front porch.  It was enclosed with single pane windows that pull in and screens that push out.  It's our front porch so I am thinking I may take one at a time and repair renew them.  The rest of the windows I have yet to decide.  I have contemplated making my own replacement double pane sashes.  We shall see.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2014, 08:48:57 PM »
O Helpful People,

The lead paint project is maybe not going so well.

The painter is EPA-lead-certified, and his license is current.  He has laid tarps on the ground and suspended them from the roof.  He has a HEPA vac and space suits (that some of the guys don't actually wear) and face masks.  But, he is power-sanding the boards down to bare wood.  I can't really tell if the vac is attached to the sander, but I don't think so.  A zillion chips fall onto the tarps and then they suck them up at the end of the day.  Truly 99% of the stuff is contained.

But . . . first, he said he would tape plastic over the interiors of the windows, but he didn't.  We wound up taping some of the windows when I found a little dust on the sills.  Then, there is a light layer of dust that does get out and falls on the cars.  Also, when he did the garage, he did pull down the door, but I guess he didn't tape around it, so everything in the garage got coated with a layer of lead paint dust.  We started pulling things out and hosing them down, but it's a real mess.

My questions for you are: (1) how off-base is he?  Is this within the minimum standards for lead paint guys?  and (2) given that he has already made this mess, what must we absolutely do.  Is it enough, do you think, to hose and wipe it all down?  Will the kids ever be able to play safely out in the yard?  I read all the warnings and guidance online, and I still can't decide if this is a big catastrophe or really just part of the process.   

usmarine1975

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2014, 09:13:20 AM »
From my own experience regarding sanding things down or doing remodeling work in homes in which people live.  I always used a plastic curtain when I could.  I can not say for certain that in any one instance dust did not find it's way outside the barriers.  I also worked on a large project in which Lead remediation took place.  They sealed off the home's cleaned them and the General Contractor basically told me that as soon as they open the homes the lead enters back in and would actually fail the lead test.  But they do the test with it sealed.  The truth is that lead is everywhere.  We have lived with it for years.  Is it good or bad? You will find opinion's on both sides of the aisle.  My own opinion with your situation is that your kid's will be able to play in the yard.  Common sense should prevail.  I would first raise your concerns with your contractor if your discussion with him does not satisfy you seek outside advice.  Another contractor or Government agency in your area concerning lead remediation.  And most importantly don't let your kids eat the paint chips or suck on the dust. 

I didn't study lead remediation other then to do google searches.  I do know that many contractors in my state are actually taking a lot of courses regarding it.  And you should seek out someone that can give you good information.  Hopefully it is your own contractor but as always get a 2nd opinion.

tomytay90

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2014, 03:22:15 AM »
I loved the replacement vinyl windows on my last house and about to put them in the new house.  It's not cheap, but it's a quality of life issue - the double pane vinyl are much quieter and there's heavy road noise outside,  I also have the lead issue mentioned above. 


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+1 to vinyl windows replacement. I believe they are much more reliable and their look is really nice. I got them at affordable price and they are really of a high quality. Moreover, they also help in controlling temperature condition in room. They are effective in every season of the year.

Greg

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2014, 08:43:49 AM »
The method of sanding lead paint is contrary to the prescribed methods of lead-safe renovation.  I'd stop work and ask for a plan to rectify. You have a bad situation if lead paint dust is going anywhere besides into a HEPA filtered vacuum.  Did you read the EPA methods for lead-safe practices?  They specifically state not to sand, and certainly not to allow dust anywhere. 

This is very serious!  Lawyers may be needed, and if the cleanup exceeds the painter's bond you will be liable for any contamination of neighbors' property.

O Helpful People,

The lead paint project is maybe not going so well.

The painter is EPA-lead-certified, and his license is current.  He has laid tarps on the ground and suspended them from the roof.  He has a HEPA vac and space suits (that some of the guys don't actually wear) and face masks.  But, he is power-sanding the boards down to bare wood.  I can't really tell if the vac is attached to the sander, but I don't think so.  A zillion chips fall onto the tarps and then they suck them up at the end of the day.  Truly 99% of the stuff is contained.

But . . . first, he said he would tape plastic over the interiors of the windows, but he didn't.  We wound up taping some of the windows when I found a little dust on the sills.  Then, there is a light layer of dust that does get out and falls on the cars.  Also, when he did the garage, he did pull down the door, but I guess he didn't tape around it, so everything in the garage got coated with a layer of lead paint dust.  We started pulling things out and hosing them down, but it's a real mess.

My questions for you are: (1) how off-base is he?  Is this within the minimum standards for lead paint guys?  and (2) given that he has already made this mess, what must we absolutely do.  Is it enough, do you think, to hose and wipe it all down?  Will the kids ever be able to play safely out in the yard?  I read all the warnings and guidance online, and I still can't decide if this is a big catastrophe or really just part of the process.

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G-dog

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2014, 06:56:39 PM »
I also need to re glaze. We have crank-out windows. I wonder, do you have or remove the window? Do you think you could leave the window hanging and do 2 sides, wait a day, do the other 2 sides...

I used to follow my dad around when he did chores, this one is easy (he removed the window to replace the glass), but even almost 40 years later I remember (at least generally) what to do.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2014, 08:08:33 PM »
Quote
The method of sanding lead paint is contrary to the prescribed methods of lead-safe renovation.  I'd stop work and ask for a plan to rectify. You have a bad situation if lead paint dust is going anywhere besides into a HEPA filtered vacuum.  Did you read the EPA methods for lead-safe practices?  They specifically state not to sand, and certainly not to allow dust anywhere.

This is very serious!  Lawyers may be needed, and if the cleanup exceeds the painter's bond you will be liable for any contamination of neighbors' property.

I know.  The dust did not go into neighbors' yards.  They are fairly far away, and he did tent everything.  It went into our garage and porch and a bit went onto the ground around the foundation (though he laid down tarps). 

We really did wash every damned thing.  Then we got blood tests (good result) and soil tests (surprisingly not too bad).    The painter does not speak English well, and something legal/technical like "plan to rectify" we could never communicate.  Besides, it's already done; the worst is over.  But, I do wish we'd known earlier that painters have bonds (his business card says "fully insured" -- I assumed that was in case he fell off the ladder).  I was so afraid that we'd wind up paying for a professional cleanup. 

Greg

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2014, 09:41:22 AM »
There's a whole process for checking for dust that involves wet wipes and swifter type mops... please make sure you've wet-wiped anything, even outside.

I mention the neighbor angle because in one case in Seattle lead contamination from one house being worked on to the next house cost $10,000 plus to clean up.

I hope the worst is over.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2014, 03:35:40 PM »
Thanks, I have been using the special wipes on things and surfaces, but just flooding the porch and garage floors and mopping with a mop I intend to throw out.  Also keeping indoor and outdoor shoes strictly separate and wiping off the cat when he comes in.  I still have to wash all the storm windows and screens, currently in garbage bags to prevent spreading their dust.   

The internets are full of info on paint prep, etc., but I haven't found any cleaning guidelines.  Do you have a resource? 

Greg

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Re: Re-glaze or replace windows?
« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2014, 10:10:58 AM »
Internet search result:
https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2502/

If you email me I can send you some additional info in PDF form. Nothing fancy but what certified firms are required to do re: cleanup.