TinyHouse43's Building Blog

From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

Word To The Wise: Windows

So, fun fact: double hung windows have different standard sizes than casement windows, at least where Jeld-Wen Tradition Plus aluminum clad wood windows are concerned.

Yesterday I thought it might have been an ordering fluke when I bought a casement, a double hung, and an awning window at Lowe’s and had to choose a slightly smaller size double hung than the rough openings we had while the other two styles had exact to 1/8″ accuracy with our measurements. The gal helping me had just transferred back to the windows section, so she admitted she was rusty with ordering. C’est la vie – we were going to make that one work since we were going to be reframing that window, the one for the kitchen, any way.

When I went to cancel the casement window and get another double hung one, however, I thought I’d have the gentleman helping me today see if he could fix the dimensional difference to the correct RO we have vs. the smaller size I ordered yesterday. Well, he was able to get the same RO as I provided him (24-3/4″w x 37″h for the nook and 24-7/8″w x 36-3/4″h for the kitchen = 24-3/4″w x 36-3/4″h RO), but that $336.30 STANDARD window I bought yesterday suddenly became a $421.57 CUSTOM window today. ACK! Look at the price comparison of these identical options with the 2 different rough opening measurements:

20140802-143152-52312134.jpg

Anyway, I didn’t want to pony up the extra $85.27 per window (especially with the knowledge that I would be buying four more of them!), so I called Brandy to ask how difficult it would be to shrink our rough openings to accommodate the narrower windows. My thought would be to put a 1×4 piece of lumber on each side of the current 24-3/4″ RO to shrink them to 22-3/4″, which is within the parameters of fitting a 22-1/8″ RO window. He agreed that it was worth saving the $511.62 (!!!) we would pay to get an exact fit to the ROs we currently have by going slightly smaller and adjusting the ROs manually. I couldn’t agree more (that’s like getting a free window for Pete’s sake!), so I had the guy switch both double hung windows back to the standard RO size of 22-1/8″w x 36-3/4″h for $336.30 each.

Now, interestingly the casement window standard RO size is 24-3/4″ w x 36-3/4″h – precisely what ALL the main level windows on each side of the house are designed for (excludes the front nook and tongue side wall window, because those two are larger egress windows). I also had no trouble getting the awning window in the loft on the tongue side to match our RO measurements (30-7/8″w x 24-7/8″h) with a standard 30-3/4″w x 24-3/4″h window. Check this out:

20140802-143258-52378595.jpg

For whatever reason the double hung windows just don’t have the same standard RO choices as the casement and awning style windows have, so be aware of that if you choose to use them in your Tumbleweed Tiny House, whether you build it yourself from their plans or have an Amish Barn Raiser built for you. If you’re building your house yourself you can always adjust the window openings to fit whatever size windows you want, though, so that’s always an option. I know on Tumbleweed’s house-to-go models they use mostly if not all awning windows, so I’m betting they haven’t run into this problem themselves. They do use aluminum clad Jeld-Wen windows, but I don’t know which version (there are 4 different options). We chose to use double hung ones so we could do two things: 1) open the top sash on one side of the house and the bottom sash on the opposite side for high quality and free cross ventilation and 2) so we could fit a small window a/c unit in one for the very hot months and store it out of sight in the winter, thus saving us the cost of a permanently affixed mini-split unit and allowing more room on the trailer tongue for our shed vs. the outside portion of the mini-split.

The moral of the story, folks, is that whichever type of window you choose make sure you know the standard sizes before you frame your rough openings if you’re building it yourself. If you choose a Barn Raiser just know that the vast majority of your windows on the main level will be designed for 24×36″ windows, which are apparently not universally standard to every type of window after all. Thankfully it isn’t a terribly hard thing to shrink a rough opening to fit a smaller window, but you can’t (easily) make a too-large window fit a too-small opening. You will save a considerable amount of money buying in standard sizes vs. custom ones, so we think it’s worth it to adjust your window size downward accordingly. That $500+ we just saved can go to a LOT of far more important things – like that a/c unit, a ceiling fan, and maybe even all the window coverings! 😉

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