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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:16 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 30
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Mikey, AAMA standards are best practices. I like many window contractors have taken classes to become AAMA certified installers. While simply attending the classes and passing the test does not mean you are an expert installer, it does mean that you have a knowledge of proper techniques for a vast majority of installs. Check to see if your contractor is AAMA certified


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:09 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Alabama
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mikey105 wrote:
You would think by now a single "best practice" would emerge that would provide a long life to the window, guarantee no wind or water leaks and look presentable to the owner, inside and out. How hard can that be?


I hear you, brother. Some variation in construction/installation is understandable, for example, to account for significant weather differences in some regions of the country. After all, the amount of insulation typically required or desired in walls and attics varies quite a bit between the Northeast and South. And using hurricane hangars on joists is recommended (if not required) along the Gulf Coast but would be overkill in some areas. That, however, doesn't explain why some installers would caulk certain portions of the window/frame and some would caulk others (except to avoid covering weep holes, perhaps). And while there certainly are "best practices" out there, such as those used in AAMA standards, that's no guarantee that they'll be used. About all you can do is find a reputable contractor and expect that he garnered his reputation because he does use those types of practices. As the old expression goes, "There's more than one way to skin a cat." Best of luck with your installer selection and the install itself.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:36 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:10 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
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I wouldn't look solely at highering only certified installers to do your job. It most definitely is a good thing to have but there are a lot of good installers out there that don't carry the stamp. There are some window manufacturers who don't support their program and have their own, such as Marvin & Pella. They don't condone the programs. They just feel their own method is more complete. So the most important thing in any window installation is following the manufacturers recommended procedure. The InstallationMasters program developed by the AAMA is a great program. It's only been the past couple years that an independent installer or contractor could pay to take the course. Before that you could only get certified if you were sent by the manufacturer or got your certification from a certified trainer employed by the manufacturer. The classes were cost around $2500 per person back in the day. Today I think they are a couple hundred bucks at most local facilities. Most of the manufacturers have their own person certified to teach the classes in house now.

Mikey's quote on "Best Practices" is really the bottom line when it all comes down to it. The physical appearance is really a no brainer that can be seen by everyone. It's what they can't see or know that causes a lot of the issues. Insulation is really easy anywhere in the Nation. If you use the low expansion foam properly it does a couple things that the good old fiberglass or "chinked" insulation can. First off the chinked insulation does not stop air infiltration. The rolled fiberglass or wool insulation is only made to work to it's full potential when it's 3.5" thick. Ounce you compress the stuff it looses all it's protecting abilities. Where the low expansion foam stops all of this and also expands to fill spots the glass can't get to or the installer can't see. Like around shims and in corners. The low expansion foam also acts as an adhesive to hold the window in place. Some of the Southern states are setting new construction windows with a couple nails and then foaming them in place. Most the time you could remove the nails and never physically push the window out of the hole ounce the foam sets up. I wouldn't recommend this though! The low expansion foaming method works the same in all climates and protects the home from all the various elements.

There are many theories on all the caulking issues as Alacoyote was talking about. My personal take on the matter is you should caulk all four sides of the window no matter what. The theory of not caulking the bottom really is saying you don't think your installation process is good enough to trust. So your supposedly leaving an escape plan behind just in case. I think a good installer should feel confident enough to caulk it shut knowing water & air have no chance of breaching the window. When someone caulks over the weep holes, that's just pure stupidity.

Todays biggest problem is the common installer isn't getting paid what they're really worth. So in order for them to make any good wages they have to move extremely fast to make the job pay off. Unfortunately many mistakes are made or over looked going at that pace. There are some installers out there who really get paid well and do a great job. There are some that get paid well and make mistakes. The biggest problem is really most of the installers out there really have no clue how to put a window in. So when you get that low ball quote keep in mind your possibly getting the installer who is under paid and moving at the speed of light.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
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Guy - I feel a bit more re-assured from your comments about good installers that don't necessarily have the school ticket / diploma hanging off the rear view mirror in the truck. I also appreciate your comments on low expansion foam and fiberglas losing its R value when all wadded up. I am certainly going to ask about using the foam.

I watched an install across the street 3 weeks ago of some new Certainteed windows. The used a skill saw to cut out the old wood windows, pounded the pulleys back into the wood that operated the sash weights, then caulked the 3 sides of the retrofits in a rather haphazard manner and shoved them in the hole. They did take care not to screw the sides of the windows into the wood framwork with full force, and had to back one out a bit because it was pulling the frame out of vertical alignment. They finished each window by putting caulk over the outer (face) edge of the window, and then covering that with half inch squre wood strips on 3 sides, tacked into the wood frame. The bottoms were on tapered wood blocks to match the slope of the wood sill, and a front panel that hangs below the bottom edge of the glass was trimmed to hit the top of the wood sill. A little caulk along the meeting edge and the window was done.

Next week I meet with the Home Depot foreman that will set up the order and crew so we shall see what he has in mind.

I'll track along on this thread or wherever I see you guys on the board and let you know how this one goes.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 8:21 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:10 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
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I'd be interested in hearing how things progress for you. I'm not quite sure if Simonton is letting installers use the low expansion foam yet. Maybe if Bill is out there he can chime in on that one.

The window application you watched across the street is what we call an "Outside - In" application. Meaning the outside stops (Blind Stops) are cut away and the insert is pushed in from the outside. It's usually done because the inside stops have a lot of paint on them or the staining is very nice. I'm a bit baffled at the installers knocking the weight pulleys back in the cavity without insulation though. The weight cavity behind each pulley should be insulated or putting new windows in isn't really going to help the cause. They will leak air like a chimney if left open. So make sure your weight cavities are filled if you have them. We've found that removing the inside mullion covers or trim will get us into the cavity the fastest. It's sometimes a bear removing that old trim but we have it some what down to a science. The customer is usually going to have to do a little touch up around the trim, but it's well worth it. Otherwise if the windows are going to be capped with aluminum we drill a 2 1/2" hole in the exterior trim and blow it in with an attic blower. This can be a big mess if not done right. We carry some plywood covers for the inside of the windows and set it in place before we blow in the insulation. So the inside man holds the board tight while the outside man shouts the insulation in. Anything that blows out stays outside of the home pretty much. We'll have to do some extra vacuuming during clean up in most cases.
I feel most double hungs with weights are better done from the inside -out. Usually the inside stop pieces were only held in with screws. If there's not 50 years of paint covering each screw they are very easily removed. But every installer has their own reasons why they do things a certain way. I tell all my installers that I really don't care how they do it as long is it looks professionally installed when they're done. All my installers know what things have to look like upon completion. If not they are flogged and stretched on the rack until they say uncle (like I do to FeneX when he gets out of hand) hehe.

Hope things go well for you and let us know how they turn out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 21
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Guy -
Thanks for all the new information, and answering my installation question on the other thread. Much appreciated!

My last piece of information gap seems to be concerning the "cap" on windows. Just what is that? You mentioned putting an aluminum cap on the window...?

I hate to tell my neighbor that he has two sets of weight chambers with a good chance for losing heat that way in all his double hungs. These were "buddies" of his that "work in construction" so they worked for a "good price." My windows are all picture windows and replacing them with same dimension picture windows.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:48 pm
Posts: 323
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Very good posts. My only add is on the insulation of the weight cavity. In areas not in Minnisota where you do not have the extreme cold climate in the winter remember what my father taught me. You install an R2 or R3 window into a wall with an R5-R7 wall, why would you spend a half hour per window to make the weight cavity an R13? Plus the mess in opening up the cavity and disturbance of lead paint.
If I lived in Minnisota I would want my cavities filled yes in deed. In KY it is not a routine step for any company. Each region of the US has specific details that should be followed depending on the environmental conditions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:37 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:10 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
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I agree with you jscott on that issue. Although there have been many studies done on air infiltration and heat loss after insert windows are installed. From the reports I read around 40% of this is lost through the gap between the RO and the existing frame. So the weight cavity would most definitely fall into that category. Your absolutely right about those leaks popping out up here in the cold Winter (kind of wish we had some snow now. It's been hotter than the hubs of hell the past month here). In our case we've done it so many times we have it down to a science. It may create issues for the novice. Also keep in mind the insulation in the weight cavity also keeps the AC more efficient for the warmer climate. No matter what climate your in it can only help you more than not.

Mikey,

The capping (or wrapping) is the aluminum flat stock that we custom bend to fit around your exterior brickmould or trim. If your getting inserts the installer would cap over any existing wood left on the outside. It usually matches the window or the houses trim. The windows then become maintenance free, no more painting!!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 21
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Guy,

This capping has my interest. I have fluted wood molding around the exterior of each window, plus a wood sill. The dining room window is 12 ft wide which will be broken into 3 sections of picture windows. On each end of that is another 36 x 47 picture window at a 90 degree angle, so from the top it would look like the letter "C" Where the side windows join each end of the 12 ft width window, in those corners is a piece of 3/4 round, so we have a rounded exterior edge.

The Home Depot salesman did not mention anything about capping anything and I specifically asked him about the top surface of the sill which will be exposed, and he said they would cover the top side, but the front edge would not be covered.

How would you recommend doing this??


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