Posts Tagged With: windows

Mysterious Leak

Last Wednesday I drove home from work during a fierce thunder storm. I was wondering how Arborion was doing since I had left the windows open on either end to allow for a little airflow while I was gone for the day. These particular windows are below a one foot overhang so they are fairly protected from the weather, except when it is windy. I was nervous because this storm was gusting heavily from the south as it plowed through.

I arrived home safely glad to be out of the traffic and dashed from my big house through the rain and standing water to the cozy tiny house and jumped inside trying to let as little water in as I could. I was pretty wet at this point, but there was cardboard on the floor to catch the drips.

I checked the interior and closed the windows. And that’s when I saw water all over the window casing beside the door. It appeared that it was the result of the rain being blown in through the previously open window, but I caught sight of a trickle of water from the top of the window frame. I opened the door and stood on the front landing and checked outside on top of the window, but that was well protected under the foot overhang directly above.

I jumped back inside, shut the door, and calmed myself. I tried to think about this as clearly as I could. I figured the water was making it’s way through the siding, then the storm guard, the plywood sheathing, and the waterproof closed cell spray foam insulation in order to find it’s way to the top of the window frame.

At this time the wind shifted and the rain came in from the north. I noticed that water was beginning to seep past one end of the threshold under the door. The rain was now blowing directly at the porch landing and front door. I grabbed a towel and mopped it up and  left it along the length of the threshold to hold back water. Then turned my attention back to the window frame leak.

The leak was much slower now. Barely a drip. This was a clue that the leak was on the south side of something as it all but stopped once the wind shifted. I then saw that the interior maple wall was dark along a seam directly above the window. I marked it with painter’s tape and followed the ‘line’ vertically up until I saw that it lined up with the south side of the awning window up in the storage loft. That was the moment when I knew I had it right. Rain must be getting in around the awning window in the loft.

I had never noticed this issue in the past even during many days of rain, but this was no ordinary storm. This was a wind driven thunder storm coming from just the right angle. Once I got over the shock, I was glad to have been there to witness the leak and identify the problem before it got any worse. I also recognize that if the weather had not been as fierce, or if I had not gone out into Arborion at that time then I may not have found this leak and it may have resulted in a bigger problem down the road.

The next day I carefully removed the window and added a generous dose of caulking to the window frame. I also recaulked around the threshold. Withing twenty-four hours I experienced another serious rain storm and I’m happy to report that it appears the window and threshold are both properly sealed. No more leaks.

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Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Gable Awning Windows

I grew up in a house that my Dad designed and built almost entirely by himself. One of the features I remembered as a child were the many ratcheting awning windows that he built by hand and used throughout the house. I really wanted to incorporate a similar design into my tiny house. However, my awning windows posed unique challenges due to its smaller size, tighter operating spaces and leaving room in the window frame for the future addition of stained glass art.

We started with the outer window frames since we had those starting dimensions. Constructed from marine-grade plywood and covered with cypress, these little windows are built to last.

Gable window outer frame construction

Gable window outer frame construction

Then we followed up with the inner window frame (which will hold the stained glass and protective Plexiglas layer) and screen frame.

Inner window frame

Inner window frame

Chiseling out the corners of the inner window frame

Chiseling out the corners of the inner window frame

Bug screen frame construction

Bug screen frame construction

Gable window

Gable windows

By far the most technical portion of these windows are the custom ratcheting gears that allow the window to be opened at different angles, shut completely and locked. In the original designs my Dad created incorporated a horizontal wooden bar, used as a handle, connecting the ratcheting mechanisms on either side of the window. I did not want to have a bar block the visibility of the stained glass especially in the closed position. We chose to solve this by leaving out the bar and instead operate the window with two separate ratcheting handles. These wooden gears are made from 3/8″ Baltic birch plywood.

Wooden window gears

Wooden window gears

The installation had a few hiccups, but here they are installed.

Gable awning window open

Gable awning window open

Front of tiny house

Front of tiny house

Gable awning window closed

Gable awning window closed

Front of trailer view

Front of trailer view

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Window Installation

Let there be light…in this tiny house.

First we drilled holes from the inside to locate the four corners for each window. Then came the rough cut with a saber saw. A router is the perfect tool to clean up the edges and even add a roundover on the outer edge. With some cutting and routing through the plywood we now have window openings.

Rough cutting dormer window openings

Rough cutting dormer window openings

Letting the light inside

Letting the light inside

Cleaning up the dormer window opening with a router

Cleaning up the dormer window opening with a router

Dormer window openings

Dormer window openings

I placed underlayment on the walls and over the window openings. I cut and folded it in and added window flashing for a water tight seal.

First piece of underlayment on the walls

First piece of underlayment on the walls

Underlayment is cut and folded inside the window openings and rubberized flashing is added to the corners

Underlayment is cut and folded inside the window openings and rubberized flashing is added to the corners

Adding rubberized flashing to the window opening corners

Adding rubberized flashing to the window opening corners

We inserted each window with shims to keep it level and screwed them in place.

First dormer window is in place

First dormer window is in place

Then we added the flexible window flashing to the outside of the window frame for extra protection.

For more information on the windows I chose: Top Notch Windows

Dormer windows in place and flashed

Dormer windows in place and flashed

We continued with installing the rest of the dormer windows, but forgot to cut out for the other two windows on this side.

We continued with installing the rest of the dormer windows, but forgot to cut out for the other two windows on this side.

Wall is prepped for surgery

Wall is prepped for surgery

Wall surgery in progress on the kitchen window

Wall surgery in progress on the kitchen window

Rough trimming the kitchen window opening

Rough trimming the kitchen window opening

All aluminum windows are in place

All aluminum windows are in place

All aluminum windows are in place

All aluminum windows are in place

It’s just amazing how this step takes a dark plywood box and transforms it into a sun lit sanctuary. I’d say it’s feeling a little more like home.

Inside view toward front door

Inside view toward front door

Inside view toward dining and kitchen windows

Inside view toward dining and kitchen windows

Inside view of sleeping loft

Inside view of sleeping loft

Scout watches over the construction site for renegade squirrels

Scout watches over the construction site for renegade squirrels

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Personal Touches: Stained Glass

I am fortunate to have gained much of my Mother’s artistic nature. While I stick to more traditional forms of art including graphite, color pencil, ink, marker and digital media, my Mom is a wonder with stained glass and sewing of any kind. So naturally, when looking at adding color to Arborion, I sought my Mom’s help create three stained-glass window inserts for the smaller windows in my tiny home.

Each window is based on the theme of “Arborion: Spirit of Trees”. Also, the colors of the windows are each centered around the secondary colors of orange, green and violet. Below are preliminary designs for each of the windows.

Fixed window in the door.

Fixed window in the door.

Awning window in the gable end above the storage loft.

Awning window in the gable end above the storage loft.

Awning window in the gable end above the sleeping loft.

Awning window in the gable end above the sleeping loft.

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Top Notch Windows

For a while now, I’ve had Arborion’s eight main windows purchased. I have them stored in the corner of a large room in my house just waiting for the day I can install them into their new home. The three remaining small windows will be custom stained-glass pieces of my own design.

Eight main windows awaiting installation.

Eight main windows awaiting installation.

Kitchen window: outside.

Kitchen window: outside.

Kitchen window: inside.

Kitchen window: inside.

Kitchen window: outside opened

Kitchen window: inside opened

I had these windows custom ordered through Home Depot. It took about two weeks to have them fabricated and delivered to the store where I picked them up. After much researching, designing, measuring, pricing and more researching I chose to go with the Jeld-Wen’s Atlantic Premium Aluminum line of windows. They are offered in two colors, white and bronze. The windows are heavy due to the double-panes and beefy aluminum frames, but super rigid and durable. I also had the window panes tempered since Arborion will be built on a trailer and at some point be taken out on the highway.

I chose the full aluminum frames over wood because of the superior durability and lack of maintenance required. The eight windows averaged about $250 a piece for a total of just over $2000 after a seasonal sale offer of 15% off the total purchase. I recommend checking with Home Depot in the Spring for the biggest saving on windows and doors. I understand that Lowes has their window and door sale just afterward in the late Spring. If you miss the sale then you may still be able to save around 10% by applying for their credit card and using it for your first purchase.

Categories: Green Building, Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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