Building My House

I have always wanted to build my own house. I am retired now, so I have the time. I found some land, designed a house that would fit the land and my needs and got started. I am doing all the work myself, so progress will be fairly slow. To read this blog from the beginning, start with the oldest archive and read posts from last to first.

Monday, June 22, 2009

61: Window Install

After checking around for where I could buy my windows, I came across a replacement window factory. These guys make the windows that people buy (and have professionally installed) when they want to upgrade their old, single pane windows. The factory has a “mis-measure” cage where they store and sell these windows at significantly reduced price ($75 each). These windows are all vinyl, double hung, low-E, argon filled, and best of all Energy Star approved in all 50 states. Comparable windows in Lowes and Home Depot sell for about $250 each (before installation).

I had gone to this window factory once before to look at their windows, and was disappointed to find no two windows the same size, or even same color. However, on the second visit, I found 13 windows in exactly the size and color I wanted. The sales rep accepted my offer of $50 each, so all my windows cost me $650. All the windows were still in their new plastic protecto-wrap, so I feel like I got a real bargain.

One characteristic of replacement windows is that they don’t have a nailing flange like “new construction” windows. You couldn’t install them (with a flange) unless you removed some house siding, which would make the install cost prohibitive. So, with no flange to nail through, you install them by running screws through the window jambs into the wall studs, and then caulk the snot out of the joint between the window and the rough opening. It helps that they make caulk in the same color as the window frame, so you won't notice it's there. My girlfriend had 12 windows replaced this way and the finished work looks good, even though I know there is a lot of caulk on each window.

Still, I don’t like the idea of having to depend on caulk to keep the rain out. Even if you use the fifty year (warranty) all silicone caulk, (like they did) I still don’t like depending on it. So, I needed/wanted a better install method to make me happy. What I “wanted” was a nailing flange like new construction windows.

One of the girlfriend’s windows is a bay window that has a center picture window flanked by two smaller windows. Where the windows join they used some type of “extender flange” to cover the joint. I asked the window factory rep and found out the flange comes in several widths, the widest being two inches. It has a feature on the back that allows it to lock into a groove on the edge of the window frame. I bought some and tried it out on one of the windows. It works beautifully. I am very confident it will yield a good, waterproof joint. Best of all, it gives me the flange I was looking for. It costs about $10 a window, so now I’m up to $60 per window.

I don’t nail through the flange; that would void the warranty on the windows. But, I do use it to seal and waterproof the joint between window and wall. Best of all, I don’t have to depend on caulk.

Pic one shows the flange. Notice how the flange goes “under” the Tyvek at the top of the window. Pic two shows the Tamko flashing material installed on the sides. The top piece of flashing hasn’t been installed yet.
I have decided to finish each outside wall (housewrap, window prep and install, exterior trim and siding) before moving on to the next wall so that I don’t have to spend all my time moving scaffolds.


At 12:55 PM, Blogger Rusty UL said...


I'm sorry for the delay in the post. I'm the guy who is the ultralight pilot also building my own house.

It's too late obviously, but I used three different house wraps on my exterior. I'm sorry to see that you used the wrap from Lowes. I have had housewrap up on my house since March 2008. Three different types. The Lowes wrap has performed the worst. The Tyvek (from Home Depot) has performed the best.

As for my windows, they are American Craftsman vinyl widows from Home Depot. The are new construction windows, which you will probably wish you would have used. The particular type that I'm using are LowE coated with argon between the paynes. I hope your's are as well. In Arizona, it will cut down on interior heating by a bunch.

Once again, sorry for the delay. I just noticed your comment. Please feel free to look some more and I will do the same.

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Windows, Siding, Roofing and more... said...

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