Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Custom Building Windows...Part Two

In part one we showed you how the custom frames were built, from the Red Cedar exterior to the telescoping White Pine interior frame. The next step was priming and pre-painting the exterior part of the frames.

As each frame was done, they were stood along the side of the garage to dry, with runners underneath to prevent picking up and sawdust off the floor.

While the frames were drying, we started the demolition work on on the sun room. In a couple of places, we had to remove electrical outlets and turn them horizontally, and move them to the bottom of the wall. Allowing for this prevented us from going all the way to the floor with the windows, but most installations have to do this in order to put the outlets where electrical code calls for them, if there isn't enough room between the windows. All of this had to be planned ahead of time. Also, you'll notice that there is a horizontal 2 x 4 in the bottom of the wall to serve as a nailer for the base trim. This isn't exactly normal building practice, but is actually a good idea that most builders don't think of doing. In order to cut the wall stud out, we had to get creative with working around that 2 x 4, the center stud, and even the electrical box. To do that, we had to cut some notched support 2 x 4's to support the other flat 2 x 4 that would serve as the lower sill of the window. These simply dropped into the opening, and were screwed in place with deck screws.

In some places we were able to cut out entire panels of exterior wall with the studs still attached.

Each opening was completely prepped before the new frames were set in place. The picture below shows the first one in. We actually built new decks for this place before the window job, so we made sure to leave the deck railing back far enough to slip the window casing in behind it.

As each frame was set in place and secured, we used a "sandwich method" to secure temporary plywood panels to the outside. We cut 2 x 2's the width of the window opening, and then screwed the plywood to the 2 x 2's. That way, we didn't create any new holes in the exterior trim that would only have to be filled and repainted again. We like to work "smarter", not "harder".

While all this was going on, we ordered the new one-inch-thick insulated glass panels from a local glass shop, and when we were ready, they came and set them in place for us. We didn't have to lift any of them!

In part three, we'll continue with this series on custom building windows, and show you how we worked on installation from four feet off the ground to the bottom of the frames. 

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