A couple months ago we ordered our new windows for the first floor. Since then I’ve been mulling over how we’ll install them. One of the challenges of our house remodel is the order we chose to do it. Rather than do it the “right” way, we complicated things in two ways. First, we’re living in the house while we’re rehabbing, which complicates things like our plumbing and HVAC. Second, we’re doing the inside first, the outside second, and the basement last, which complicates things like our mechanical room in the basement and the windows.

Window removed

Existing window framing

When our house was built, they put up the stud walls, put on the sheathing, then came back and cut holes in the wall and put windows into them. This is a strange way to go about things. It means that there is no structural support that carries the load around the windows. In order to put in new windows we have to re-build the opening with proper modern framing. That means a header, king studs, jack studs, the whole works.

Window framing (new framing in white)

Window framing (new framing in white)

In addition, we’re planning to put two inches of rigid foam insulation on the outside of the house, which means we’re building out plywood window boxes to align with that future edge. In order to install the window properly and make it weather-tight, we need to flash it properly by adding a sill pan and taping it to the foam (that isn’t there yet) then installing the window and taping that to the foam. In short, there needs to be foam.

This means in addition to removing and re-framing the window opening, we need to remove six inches to a foot of siding around the windows, add house wrap and two inches of foam, then install the sill pan and window and flash it all properly. In a few years when we re-side the outside, we’ll tape the house wrap and foam around the windows to the rest as we go.

Rigid insulation around window opening

Rigid insulation and house wrap around window opening (existing siding not shown)

We’ll be picking up the windows this Saturday, along with some of the materials we need. We’ll probably be sitting on them for a little bit while we work on the mechanical room, but we do want to get them in while the weather is still nice.

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