Windows and Doors


This weekend I completed the installation of windows and doors on the Bodega.  I even have a front door key for my key chain!

Window Installation

Here is a flashing diagram to give you a rough idea what we need to do:


You will need some self adhesive window flashing material for this job.  I used Grace Vycor in 9, 6, and 4 inch sizes to install my windows.  You will also need a tube of goo to seal behind the window, I like the Lexel product but anything will work.  Some composite shims and a strip of composite (plastic) material 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick by an inch wide is needed to a backstop.

Under normal circumstances water leaks into your window.  This water will collect in the cavity under the window.  You must install a “drain pan” to gather this water and let it drain away and/or evaporate without rotting the wood.

The First part of the “drain pan” is the backer which makes a little dam to prevent water from flowing into the house.  This piece is applied across the width of the rough window sill about 4.5 inches back but will vary depending on the thickness of your window.  On top of the backer you will install a 9 inch piece of vycor window flashing.  You want to form this into a tray that will capture all the water.  You need to pay special attention to the corners as these are difficult to form.  I cut several small strips for my corners, but there are products that allow you to form the pan in one single piece.  There are also PVC molded drain pans available.


Once the drain pan is installed I wrapped 6 inch vycor flashing around each side and the top.  This is not really needed, however I wanted to seal the air gap between the foam insulation and the plywood window boxes.  Also its important to note that the Lexel sealant I use contains solvents which can “eat” rigid foam.  I apply the sealant to the vycor rather than the foam.

When you are ready to install the window you need to insert 2 composite shims on the drain pan to hold the window off the bottom of the window opening.  You also need to apply a thick bead or sealant to the top and sides of the window opening.  DONT EVER apply sealant to the bottom.  You want any water collected in the drain pan to drain out the bottom of the window.  If you seal up the bottom who knows what will be growing in there in six months!

The next step is to place the window unit into the opening.  My windows are very small and were 100% square when installed.  I had to insert a shim or two on a bottom corner to level the unit otherwise they just dropped in and were perfect.  I attached the metal window tabs to the edges of the plywood boxes.  I will install shims on all sides and install trim screws thru the window frame into the window boxes for additional support.  Larger windows may require more robust mounting than mine.  After shimming, I will apply spray foam to the gap between the window box and window unit.  At that point it’s not coming out ever except with a sawsall.




I installed the doors exactly the same as the windows but had to do quite a bit more shimming to make the doors work properly.  The front door is very “sticky” on the bottom as the adjustable wiper seems to just be tight.  The back door works very nicely with just a small amount of resistance on the bottom.  Overall I am 100% not impressed with the doors I bought.  I only paid about $250 per door and maybe its just a case of getting what I paid for.  The doors are flexible and just don’t seem that solid.  I will be sure to install the trim in a manner that makes door replacement easy since I think its likely to happen.


Next steps

I still need to shim and insulate the windows.  There is also a number of odds and ends that need to be taken care of to complete the exterior installation.  Next weekend I will complete these and add floor joists to the front porch so I can begin framing it.

Insulation Nearing Completion

Another weekend of Bodega building is in the books and I have a few things to share.  I have been taking it easy the past weeks to recover from the roofing ordeal.  I went to a couple of gun shows, and to the range to get in some bang therapy.  Now I’m back at it again…just in time for arctic weather ;).

At this point I have three sides insulated with 4 inch foam.  I even installed one window to get my process down.  I’m posting a video tour so you can see the progress in person.  Just ignore my babbling…I just started shooting and thought very little about what I was going to say:


I completed the left side of the house and the upper section of the end which involved quite a bit of cutting.  The straight sections make use of the tongue and groove built into the foam product I am using.  The upper triangle section wound up with a lot of pieces with no tongue and groove.  For these pieces I made them a nice tight fit and applied a liberal amount of foam from the foam gun.  naturally, the seams are taped using Zip tape.

The pro-pak foam I am using has not worked very well in cold temps.  I had to run the heater and heat the cans to make them flow very well.  When warm they work great.


The corners are a bit tricky since you need to get the 8 inch headlok fasteners into studs and there is 4 inches of foam in the way.  I took 1×8 pine boards and made corners (I said 2×8 in the video that is wrong).  I wished I could have found a lesser grade of pine as this stuff cost me an arm and a leg but sometime time is worth more than money.


USing gorilla glue and epoxy coated screws I glued and screwed the boards together.  The corners were then attached using 8 inch headlok fasteners.  You can see from the pics that the headloks are pretty far from the corners.  These corners will allow me to attach the finish corner trim and leave a place to nail siding on.


I will do an entire post with pics on the window install.  I just wanted to do one so I could refine the technique.  There is an error on the one I installed (DO NOT COPY WHAT I DID) you will see that I got carried away with the Vycor flashing and put a piece on the bottom…this is incorrect and I will be removing it.



From my window installing session I learned that its better to have 2 people.  At one point the wind came along and knocked the window out of its opening almost taking out Ajax in the process.  Fortunately for Ajax and the window, neither were injured.  All the shipping hardware came dislodged which made the window a bit more difficult to install.

Wrap Up

This week we’re expected to get bitter cold and snow.  Hopefully the really cold weather will pass by next weekend so I can install the windows.  I’m also going door shopping this week, hope to find something rejected or returned to save some cash.


Sad Day for New York

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” — Ayn Rand


Exterior Insulation


Been taking a bit of time off to clear my head after getting the roof on.  I’ve just been puttering around with the wall insulation and cleaning up the job site.


Since I have 4 inches of insulation going on the walls, the window installation is a bit tricky.  The openings are framed to be 1.5 inches larger than the required rough opening called for by the window manufacturer.  This 1.5 inches get occupied with a box made from 3/4 plywood that sticks out 4 inches past the window opening.

photo 1

You install insulation around this opening and the window will attach over the foam.  I will post pics with the details of the window install since its going to be complicated.  I have selected 24×38 inch windows for my project….a bit small, but they are cheap ($127), energy efficient, and in stock at Lowes.


The doors get a similar treatment as the windows except 3/4 plywood is not strong enough IMO.  So I built a frame from 2x material and attached it using headlock fasteners to the door opening.

photo 2

I am not 100% sure how the door and trim will be attached, but its likely that the door will be installed flush with the inside of the wall.  The door frame will be extended to fill the width of the wall cavity.  The storm door will cover the opening on the outside.  I will have nearly 9 inches of space between my storm door and main door….nice for package deliveries I guess.


It is very important to maintain the integrity of the air sealing applied to the walls.  I used a generous amount of Lexel caulking around the window and door boxes.  I also applied the remainder of the Grace Ice and Water that I had left to the outside of each box.  When I ran out of that, I switched over to 6 inch Grace Vycor plus window sealing tape.

I highly recommend the Grace Vycor plus.  It sticks well even in freezing temps and is easier to form compared to the ice and water material.

Working With Foam

Cutting foam sheets can be done with any kind of saw but it makes an awful mess!  Think foam sawdust that sticks to everything and gets everywhere.  I found this knife at Lowes:


Using a straight edge and this knife locked with about 3 inches of the blade sticking out I was able to make nice clean cuts without any mess at all.  There are two models of this knife (large and small).  I found that the small version does a better job since the blade is thinner.  I think the secret to success is the thinnest longest blade you can find.  You will also need some spares as the foam does wear out the edge fairly quick.

Holding the foam in place

Before you start it’s really important to mark the studs so you can screw into them with your strapping.  I mark the tops of each stud with a 2 inch screw from the inside.  Then I go to the outside with a sharpie marker and hammer to mark the spot and hammer the screw back in.
I am applying 2 layers of 2 inch thick foam.  The first layer you can tack in place with 3 inch roofing nails.  Be warned:  the roofing nails will “sweat” since they are on the cold side.  Before you insulate inside, you need to cut them flush and put a dab of foam on them.  If you go nuts with them this will become a lot of work later on.  You only need one nail per sheet…just to hold it in place.

photo 3

The second layer you can use a piece of scrap plywood (see triangles in pics) with a 6 inch screw to hold the sheets together.  When you have enough sheets on, tape the seams and screw your strapping on.  I use five 8 inch headlok fasteners per 8ft of strapping.  The building gods recommend every 2 feet for most normal wooded siding (heavier siding needs more).  In case you are wondering, the siding will attach directly to the strapping leaving a 3/4 inch air gap.

photo 4

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By Sunday afternoon I had the left side and the lower section of the back completed.  I started on the right side, but ran out of vycor plus and called it a day.  Insulation goes pretty fast and i’m hoping to get the right side finished during this week after work.