TinyHouse43's Building Blog

From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

Adieu français fenêtre psetits tissus pour rideaux. Vous êtes trop cher !

Rough translation: No French casement window for us!

Yesterday was a mixed results day in that our Sustainable Lumber Co beetle kill Ponderosa pine 1×6 tongue-and-groove siding order of 300sqft has been placed (yay!), and I finally got to talk to Vanessa from Unforgettable Fire about hunting down all the pieces for the venting kit for the Kimberly wood stove we plan to install at a later date. We thought it was smart to install the chimney in advance before we install the roofing to avoid any placement debacles like Ella had in her Little Yellow Door fireplace installation. I should be hearing back from Vanessa with the price for some supplier adjustments having to be made, and then that purchase will be completed, too.

On the not so good side, though, I also found out that French casement windows like the one we were pining for are considered “custom custom” and cost more than all 12 of our other windows combined (NOOOOooooo!!). Lamesauce in a complete sense, but I do have a couple other less aesthetically pleasing yet still functional ideas for that largest front nook window. I’m just bummed that my dream of a “Juliet window” on the front of our house is dead. C’est la vie…

The idea behind using a French casement window in the first place is that they do not have the divider bar between the two opening sides like a standard 2-wide casement window has. Images below are a Pella French casement out-swing model followed by an Andersen 2-wide casement window setup, though we actually wanted an in-swing model like the third photo also from Pella.

7009b_french_pella_crank_cm_int_opn-2400-series-casement-window-nailing-flange

7010c_french_inswing_cm_int_opn

The whole reason we are trying to avoid that bar in the middle is to allow a larger, unobstructed opening in the house besides the front door area that will only be about 18-22″ wide at completion. The rough opening for that nook window is 45-1/2″ wide by 36-3/4″ high, leaving approximately 45×36″ of unobstructed space in which to pass objects through should we need a little wider space to replace, say, that 21x24x56″ refrigerator I’m convinced is too large for our needs in order to bring in a smaller unit. With only the front door to use we’d likely be stuck with it forever or have to (unsafely) cut it down with power tools. Not a good situation to ever be in if you ask me.

The cost of a French in-swing window for that space ranged from $4800-6000 per the Pella rep I spoke with at the nearest showroom. Considering we’ve paid about $3700 for 12 other Jeld-Wen windows, there’s absolutely no way I could ever justify spending more on one window than all the others combined. Shoot, I could buy a used car for the cost of that French casement window! Eek! The rep explained that as soon as that middle support bar is removed the price skyrockets, and even the 2-wide standard casement unit I had priced out was over $1100 from Pella. That’s more manageable, but certainly still not ideal.

I do have a couple ideas that I’m kicking around that might work, however. The Pella rep suggested using an awning window because they crank out to 90 degrees. I actually didn’t know that was even possible with awnings having never seen them cranked out beyond maybe 6″ from the closed position, but I also know that Pella windows do not stay flush at the top the way the Jeld-Wen awning windows do. The Pellas start to “slide” inward as you crank the bottom out, so when it is open to 90 degrees there’s a 4″ gap at the top. That could be a problem if we wanted to open the window when it’s raining for sure. Here’s the Pella (from inside) followed by the Jeld-Wen (from outside) awning windows. See the difference?

pella-awning-windowjeld-wen-siteline-ex-awning-window

Going back to Jeld-Wen’s website, I took another look at their sizing documents that list all the standard sizes of their various window offerings. In their Custom Wood line (read: $$$$$) they have something called an Epic Casement that caught my eye (because who doesn’t want epic windows for their epic tiny house?!?!), and it turns out they offer a single casement window with almost the exact rough opening dimensions we need: 44-3/4″ x 36-3/4″. We are already having to shrink the rough openings down for all our double hung windows and the two smaller 17×17″ square awning windows we decided on for our split wet and dry baths, so what’s shrinking one more opening down by an inch to have the option for a nice wide open space??

As I mentioned, though, this is an epic casement window, which will likely have an epic price tag. I can’t imagine it being worse than the French casement or even close to that, really, but I do anticipate it will cost upwards of $1000 just because it’s in the Custom Wood line alone. I have to go to Home Depot vs. Lowe’s to get a price check on that per the Jeld-Wen reps, and after a less-than-stellar attempt at having a different Jeld-Wen custom window priced out (I was supposed to hear back on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest – it’s Friday now) at one Home Depot I think I’ll try a different location all together for this next attempt.

The other option we have should be at least a little less expensive since it’s in the Siteline EX line from Jeld-Wen at not the top-end Custom line, and that’s another double hung window. There’s unit measuring 42-1/8″W and another measuring 46-1/8″W, and both would require resizing the 45-1/2″W rough opening. Normally I’d automatically pick the smaller width since it’s always easier to “take in” a measurement than it is to “let out,” but that’s a pretty big difference in size. The double hung windows wouldn’t seem like a good choice when first thought about as an option for creating a wide open window space, but the two sashes are able to be tilted in and then removed completely for replacement and/or cleaning. If we remove both at once we’d have that big open space, though I wouldn’t want to shrink it further by choosing the 42-1/8″ wide option. If we do go this way I’m thinking we’d have to take a router or other tool to the 2×4 framing on either side and slice, sand, or otherwise thin out the inside dimensions just a bit. Not 100% sure than can even be done, but I do think it’s worth considering.

The final option would be to find out of the Jeld-Wen awning windows can crank out to 90 degrees. As I’ve said, I’ve never seen any awning window open more than a few inches (no, I take that back – the Tiny Abode had a photos of theirs open fully, though they have that gap at the top), and I’m not sure the Jeld-Wens can open that much. At the same time, though, I know Tumbleweed only uses awning windows AND has to mark their units as egress compatible with little red handles. That implies that at least one or two of the Jeld-Wen awning windows they use must at least open enough to be considered ANSI-approved egress windows. Maybe there’s hope there after all, though I’m still not totally sold on awning windows in general.

So, the next step is to get pricing on the following windows:

  • Jeld-Wen Custom Wood Epic Casement CCEC4436 <– FAVORITE!
  • Jeld-Wen Siteline EX Double Hung ECD4136 and ECD4536

And, if the awning windows open to 90 degrees:

  • Jeld-Wen Siteline EX Awning ECA4236
  • Jeld-Wen Custom Wood Awning CCA4236
  • Jeld-Wen Custom Epic Awning CCEA4436

I’ll post my findings once I get all the quotes back. I’m working a shift tonight, so tomorrow I’ll swing by both Lowe’s and Home Depot on my way home. I haven’t done any thorough research with other window companies like Marvin and Andersen, but I’ll peruse their sites for more ideas, too. I’m determined to have the big, open space at the front one way or another, and if it means having a gap in an awning window so be it. I can always fabricate an additional little “roof” directly over that window for extra drip protection when it’s raining. Er, something like that.

Have a great weekend!

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