Fine Homebuilding's Behind the Build: Learning to Install Windows


Students do the tricky (and sticky) work of installing windows in the ProHome’s hi-performance wall assembly

More and more cold-climate homes have exterior rigid insulation which is often needed to meet code-specified R-values and which by minimizing thermal bridging increases performance over a wall with only cavity insulation. Installing exterior insulation is quite simple, but it does complicate some details including window installation.

If this is their first experience installing windows, the students who helped on the ProHome will have learned the importance of getting it right from the right guy. Builder Mike Guertin says that he spends “… an extra 15 to 20 minutes on a window … to make sure we’re getting an excellent air seal because that’s going to give us the most bang for the buck.” And air sealing is only one of the goals of an exceptional window install. The other important actor is to manage water.

Though there are a few ways to install windows in thick walls, Mike taught the students to set them in plane with the siding and trim.

Click to see how they did it with Integrity from Marvin windows.