TinyHouse43's Building Blog

From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

Attention Kmart Shoppers… Aisle 13 Blue Light Special: Windows

We made a Lowe’s run with my dad in tow today both to exchange the leaking kitchen faucet we just bought for his house and to pick up the roofing drip edge, a roll of house wrap, and order the first three of 14 windows in our house. Note to self: having a family member in the military (or retired from it in our case) will save you 10% off your purchase if they shop with you. Kinda wishing I hadn’t sent the three boys to the truck to wait while I spent $1160.00 on three Jeld-Wen windows, but at least we got $30 off the $300 purchase they made on the tiny house materials and faucet.

So, about those windows. We decided to buy 3 specific windows in the house that will serve for our ventilation and lighting purposes while we’re working inside the house until we can save up enough to purchase the other 11 we still need. Dad will definitely be tagging along for that trip! 😉 Each window was a different style, though in writing this post I’ve just decided to change the single casement window back to the double hung one we’d originally planned for. That one is in the front nook that we are already removing a window from (the one by the door) to make room for a fold down desk for Brandy to use for school, but the largest window in that nook will still be a casement. I just realized that my pattern-oriented OCD will bug me not having the balance of the opposite side window to also open outward, and from the outside of the house having all double hung windows on that side would definitely be more visually appealing. I guess another trip to Lowe’s is in my morning time future.

Anyway, we bought the top back loft window (the one facing the hitch) to act as a roof vent of sorts to let the hot air escape. It’s an awning style with the prairie between-the-glass grill, low-E tempered high altitude glass (since we’ll be in CO for a while), chestnut bronze hardware, Arctic silver aluminum clad exteriors over natural pine interior, and whatever the standard screen option was. In fact, we chose ALL standard options in the Tradition Plus series from Jeld-Wen with the exception of the tempered glass (necessary for traveling @ ~$30/ea window) and high altitude treatment (apparently necessary for elevations >4000ft @ ~$5/ea window) because we didn’t want to end up paying $500 a piece like we could have with some of the other versions available. Thankfully the chestnut bronze of the hardware is essentially black, which will look just fine with the interior finishes we have in mind, and we can always paint the inside wood to match. The only other real upgrade as far as I could tell was the necessity of choosing the Tradition Plus line over the W-2500, which appear to start at lower prices but don’t include the Arctic Silver as a standard option. What can I say – I’m not a fan of white windows, or the other choices that line had to offer. Here’s a screen grab of roughly what it will look like:

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Anyway, the awning window cost $364.95, which was the middle priced of the three. The one I plan to change, the casement, cost the most at $370.95, and the double hung was $336.30. Honestly, that was a good $400 less even with tax included than I was expecting. We’ve heard how costly aluminum clad vs. vinyl is (and had a couple different people try to talk us out of our choice, too), but I was expecting $450 or more a piece instead of the ~$20-40 under $400 we spent. They’re still considerably more than other types of windows, but we’re convinced they’re worth the extra upfront cost after talking to numerous people familiar with mobile tiny house construction. My dad actually offered us 2 free all aluminum windows that had been mis-measured for his recent window replacement and upgrade, but having heard mixed but mostly negative reviews of those windows in regards to mobile tiny houses (and the fact we’d have to replace all the glass with tempered glass any way) we passed. Despite loving reclaimed materials, we both agree that we want all new structural materials in the house because we do plan to travel so much. The last thing we need is a second hand part breaking down on us after too much previous use. Yes, new products can fail, too, but the likelihood is generally considerably less. Any besides, the inside finishes are just screaming to be done with repurposed materials, like the mixed color and width hardwood and engineered wood flooring we picked up at the local Habitat ReStore we’re planning to use on the ceiling. We’ll probably do the same thing on the floors, too. Fun, but I digress…

Incidentally, I was NOT able to buy the exact Rough Opening measurement of the double hung window, which should have been essentially 24″W x 36″H. The closest that we could get was 22-1/8″W x 36-1/8″H for a RO that actually measured 24-7/8″W x 36-3/4″H. Interestingly, though, the casement window opening was the same RO measurement and DID come in that size. So, I’m guessing ALL of our other double hung windows are going to be a bit problematic like that, too. Word to the wise: be aware that not all styles of windows are created equal when you’re ordering them!! I’m sure as hell glad I found that out now while just ordering one vs. if I’d ordered all 6 at once and then had to try to make them all fit without any clue how to do that. At least this way we will get to have a test run on one (well, 2 if I do in fact change that casement to a DH tomorrow), so the rest should be easy by comparison. Things to be aware of!!

Here are screen grabs of the other two windows I ordered. Again, the casement may be exchanged for another double hung, but you’ll get the idea. In case you’re wondering why they have a different grill pattern from the awning window above, it’s because the Prairie pattern has a really beautiful symmetric look to it that looked way better on the single span of glass of the awning window but not so great on the double hung window. We both really liked how the “colonial top down” divided the double hung window into three “sizes” or “patterns” of glass, but it just looked odd on the awning window. Since all the awnings are in the loft we figured we could aesthetically get away with having one pattern up there and a different one on the first floor without too much head scratching. I chose the top down pattern for the casement simply to keep the 1st floor windows uniform, but it still looks funny to me. In fact, that’s another reason I’m going to switch the single one on the side back to the double hung, and I’m still hoping I can find a French casement window vs. a standard split casement for the large front nook window. That one might not have a grill at all, or I might spice things up a bit and use the prairie pattern there since it’s the only window facing that side. No other patterns to compete with at least!

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I’m also including the first sheet of the window order that specifies all the options we chose. Thankfully the lady placing the order was pretty familiar with what we needed at the minimum, so she walked me through the differences with the jamb depths and nailing fins, two things that weren’t even on my radar.

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Incidentally, the window guy that was supposed to come measure for us on Thursday never showed up at 10am, and after a call to Lowe’s 2 hours later they sent another guy at 1:45pm that said we would have to measure the RO ourselves and take the measurements to the desk to order. They also can’t install them for you in your tiny house (he didn’t specify why, but if I had to guess it would be because it’s not a “real” house and insurance issues are probably at play), but that wasn’t a problem since we planned to do that ourselves anyway. Just be aware that the big box stores probably aren’t the way to go if you want professional help with projects like these, but I’m betting you could find a local window company that might be willing to help out and might be worth asking about sponsoring your build, too. We aren’t actively seeking sponsorships (we do have a link on the blog, but I never mention it when contacting suppliers because I couldn’t sell melt-proof ice cubes in hell let alone convince someone to give me free stuff!), but those who are savvy at selling their vision to others would do well to seek out local businesses for opportunities at free advertising for their products and discounts or free products for you. There are a couple great sites from folks who’ve secured sponsorships for their builds that would be great resources for tips, and there are even a few e-books on the subject you can find if that interests you.

Our windows are due to arrive in about 21 days, so when they come in I’ll get some photos posted. I also made arrangements to visit the roofing contractor on Monday to place our DaVinci order for 306sqft of roofing. We also decided after seeing examples in person today that we will be using the Onduvilla Spruce Green 3-D shingles that look like Spanish tile on our dormers as accents. Jenna and Guillaume from Tiny House Giant Journey have used a different color of the Onduvilla on their house, and after we looked closely at pieces of standing seam steel, corrugated steel, and the Ondura corrugated panel (Ondura makes Onduvilla, which come in much smaller “strips” for easier installation vs. the Ondura basically being a corrugated steel replacements), Brandy was set on the Onduvilla. Lowe’s doesn’t carry the Spruce Green in stock, so we’ll have to find another place to buy them. Still the color is going to look great with out 4-color DaVinci Bellaforte Shake shingles in Light Purple, Dark Gray (which has a lot of blue in it), Light Green, and Light Violet. Actually, if the Onduvilla came in a blue shade I’d choose that to pull out the blue in the DaVinci Dark gray, but I do love green, too.

So, progress however slow, however pricey it may be! Tomorrow we’re installing the drip edge and house wrap, so photos of that project coming soon!

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