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Posted by Mary in PA on 10/3/2010

The window install work was split between us and the framer. I think in our original agreement it was the framer’s job. But as we were working on site and all getting to know each other, it just seemed to work out this way. Splitting up the work kept the framer working on the siding and let us spend all the time we needed on the window flashing. I did a little research on the topic and found some decent videos – in YouTube of all places - on “best practices” for installing windows. Since we had a metal-sided building with girts, we had to adapt the process to fit our specific situation but the research still gave us many good ideas. We had to hunt our local area to find the flexible flashing and it cost a pretty penny – but the results we got were worth it.


We did run into a slight kink in the plans. When framing first began a couple of weeks back, we transported the metal doors and the two large vinyl windows to the site so they would be on hand when needed. And so the two large windows sat in the hot, hot summer sun, under the black tarp until John and I got the OK from the framer to install them. As soon as we pulled back the tarp and lifted the window, it was obvious for all to see - we had a problem. The two large windows had been set on a few 2x4s and the extreme heat had actually softened the vinyl enough to bow the frame from top to bottom. And of course it doesn’t really help much to have the framer standing behind you calling out, “I’ve never seen a window do that. Boy, I sure am glad you’re installing that and not me!” By this point in the project we had a pretty good working relationship with the crew and I actually liked their good-natured ribbing - and bowed windows – come on, they just couldn’t resist. We took the peanut gallery comments in stride, but it wasn’t really a confidence building situation, if you get my drift. So I was standing there gazing upon one of these bowed windows while my thoughts spiraled deep down into a sea of doubts: How am I going to get another window to fit this size opening? I’ll never find one in surplus stock. How long will this hold up the works to order new ones? How much more will it cost? And on and on…


Meanwhile, John quietly set about putting the other window – bow and all – into the window opening. He screwed in the bottom of the window (over my nicely-placed sill pan and flashing) and then attached some OSB scraps over the window flange. He used more OSB scraps over the top window flange. But up there he just barely screwed in the first few thread to loosely secure the window to the wood frame. Over the next several hours, John tightened up the top screws a bit at a time until the entire window was eventually flush against the window framing. It was a wacky way to start our window installs, but it seemed to work. After the two windows were fixed to the framed opening, we put the rest of the flashing on. John knows I’m not keen on heights, so I did the lower parts of the windows and he did the upper parts. John doesn’t seem bothered by heights, which is OK because my fear of heights extends to those around me! And of course, loving husband, knowing height-based-fear-trigger of cherished wife does all he can to make her feel safe and at ease… NOT. See picture below – ‘nough said.


We got the four lower windows installed and prepped the four small high windows. The framer would use his hydraulic lift rather than a ladder to install those – much easier (but still high up, IMHO). The rest of the windows were all safe and sound, not a bow or bend among them, so installing them proved to be the easier part of the job.


Plastic strip makes raised back edge of sill pan to keep any rain water that does get in from running into wall assembly.
Flexible flashing covers plastic strip and wraps around to outside of building.
First piece of flashing in place.
Do windows usually curve like that?
OSB and optimism.
Several hours to allow windows 'relax' in new (unbowed) position. OSB holds window flanges secure.
Removed OSB and windows stayed put - Hurray!
Putting up the rest of the flashing.
'Orangutan man', as he is sometimes known at work.
Wife reads aloud to husband; OSHA regulations for correct ladder use.

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