First off, I never noticed there was such a thing as an “Ohio” accent. I grew up here and never noticed it. Moved to and lived in Philadelphia for 7 years, but didn’t think I had to transition to any other way of talking. After moving back though, there is an undeniable accent in us northeastern Ohio folk.
Hence our new favorite Ohio word – windas (pronounced win-da-s), better known as windows. And we got them in!
For those interested in building a tiny house but don’t have much construction background – like ourselves. There’s some terminology to pick up on when ordering your own windows.
The most important of all is Rough In size (R.O.). This is the rough area of opening you have between your studs for the actual window to sit in. Make sure you’re measuring your rough opening correctly and that the salesperson knows you’re talking about rough openings when it comes to the measurements. Otherwise you could have some windows that are too small or too big for your openings. Which we definitely did. And by we I mean me. Cause I ordered the windows.
But an early misconception about windows in general – I thought there was some kind of standard sizing in windows. I thought most windows were X by Y size and to get them otherwise would not be avaiable outside of Home Depot, Lowes and such. But I soon learned that’s almost completely wrong. Major home improvement stores will give you a free quote on whatever the heck window size you’re looking for.
Types of Windows
Just like there are genres of music, there are types of windows:
- Single Hung – your typical pull up window
- Double Hung – your typical pull up window, but the top portion can be moved so you don’t have to go all the way outside and around the house to clean it. Apparently this is a big deal when your house isn’t 200 sq. ft.
- Casement – The type of window that has a little handle at the bottom you can spin to open. Super technical definition I know.
- Awning – Like a casement, but instead of opening left-to-right or right-to-left, it opens down-to-up.
- Picture Frame – Also known as “Fixed”, these windows do not have any means of opening
I did that all from memory too. I should reconsider my career path.
Making the Cuts
Anyways, ordered 7 windows of different sizes and shapes and it took about 2 weeks for the windows to arrive. In the meantime we got really sick of working on the electric rough-in without any light. We saw’d out all of the window openings and covered them with roof felt stapled outside at the end of the workday. That was a pretty good solution for rain.
We had a system to make these openings for these windows:
1. Make 5 small drill holes from the inside of the house to the outside. 1 for each of the corners of the window and the final hole in the dead center of the to-be-window space
2. Using these drill holes as a guide, outside we used a utilty knife to cut a giant X and fold the flaps back. Turns out you need these flaps later for flashing.
3. After taping the flaps back, we could drill a 1″ hole in each of the 4 corners.
4. Using these 1″ inch holes, we would saw each side of the window opening
5. This rough opening was super rough – to make it more exact we used a router to make a cut into the plywood without damaging the sill or jambs.
An experienced construction worker would probably just chalk and rip with a circular saw, but we didn’t even hear of that concept till after we did all 7.
Flashing is the name of the material/process to make your windows and doors waterproof. It turns out there’s many opinions on the best way to flash your windows. It’s super boring and I won’t do into detail but we did use DuPont FlexWrap for the sills and used regular DuPont tape for the sides.
After all of that, installing is actually the easiest part. You just need to screw in your window into the studs after leveling.
The funniest thing about windows is that they are these crazy expensive investments. There’s so much technology to make them double pane, waterproof for 3 lifetimes, noise resistant and all this engineering – but when it comes to installing them, you end up using pieces of scrap wood to level them out.
It feels wrong but that’s what you do.
Anyway, it was a whole weekend of work but are we proud of these windows. It even rained shortly after and not a drip came through these bad boys. Perfectly plumb you might say.
Now we don’t have to build in the dark, just after the sun goes down.