There’s no denying that large expanses of glass are one of the residential construction industry’s hottest trends. The trends brings together remarkable looks, open sightlines and a blurred connection from indoors to out.
Careful installation is crucial with any window and door project to ensure long-term performance of both the products and the structure. But the need only grows with unit size. Last month, we presented nine areas of consideration when installing large windows. This month, we’re checking in with Rufty Homes, whose experience includes installing several large banks of windows and sliding doors for a home under construction in North Carolina.
The Blue Dog house set on nine acres outside Durham, features 8- to 10-foot JELD-WEN Siteline windows. This includes multiple vertically mulled units wrapping much of the second-floor master bedroom, kitchen and great room. The effect lends a contemporary feel to the country setting while providing ample views of the rolling property and its pond and woods.
On the ground level, which emerges from the site’s slope, wide sliding doors provide the family with easy access to the outdoors.
Along with envelope best practices, Rufty kept several other things in mind when installing the large units on the Durham house. Due to the windows’ size, the crew supplemented the wood framing with steel columns around the window openings, notes Business Manager Kelly Nicholson. With zero room for error, the openings were measured and re-measured, including by the manufacturer, prior to ordering. The second-floor location of many of the larger units also required craning into place and related coordination.
Nicholson cautions, “Larger windows may require upgrades to HVAC systems to make up for the greater glass exposure.” In addition, she advises, “builders to consider how much room is available to stage products.” Though not an issue for this project’s large lot, other jobs without storage space require careful delivery coordination with dealers and the flexibility to install windows out of order if that coordination falls through.
The extra preparation and careful installation are well worth the result. “It took a lot of effort, but turned out great,” Nicholson says. “The windows are beautiful and express the architects’ and homeowners’ vision.”