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Installing European Windows

June 11, 2015

These triple-glazed vinyl windows use brackets to secure the window to the framing. A "flashing flange" helps align the window

The first step to installing any window is to prep the rough opening. This includes patching the sheathing, double-checking the measurements, and making sure that water can drain out.

David Joyce: "We like to install windows over a sloped sill, so we use beveled siding."

After the opening is flashed for protection against water leaks, prep the window.

These are European triple-glazed vinyl windows. They use brackets to secure the window to the framing.

They also have optional flashing flanges which help align the windows in the opening.

[Editor's note: the flanges are not nailing flanges. They are an option for North American builders because we are used to flashing windows to the nailing flange. If anyone has video of flashing a European window without flanges, please share.]

With the brackets in and the flanges on, it’s time to put the window in the hole.

Triple glazed units are heavy; for large windows, it makes sense to remove the sash before installing.

The bottom of the window is slipped into the opening … and the top is angled in.

In the case of this large bank of windows, it is important that the windows are in line with adjacent windows.

So the crew makes sure the numbers are consistent.

But alignment is also important for windows that are spaced farther apart. Siding and trim boards will have to line up with the sills and heads, so its worth getting them aligned correctly now.

And to double-check with a laser.

When the windows are plumb, level, square, and perfectly aligned with other elements, they are fastened in the opening.

The flashing flanges do a good job of helping to hold the window in place … while the brackets are fastened.

Dave shims between the bracket and the framing to keep the bracket at a right angle to the window.
The shims also allow for a little bit of adjustment if one of the brackets is installed too snug.

Now it's time to install the hardware.

David: "The handle is really simple. A little piece of plastic covers the screws, turn it to the side and the screws are there. Slide it right in, feel where they start. You could do it with an impact driver or a drill, but then, you might end up stripping a screw or breaking a little plastic clip because you don't feel the snugness of it. Whenever you're installing a door handle or a window handle, it should probably be done by hand.

The opening mechanism has a pin in here, you just push it over, and it opens up the rest of the way."

—Thanks to David Joyce and Synergy Construction for letting us shoot video on their jobsite.

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