Insulating New Vinyl Windows

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Old 01-17-05, 07:08 AM
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Insulating New Vinyl Windows

I'll be installing new vinyl windows in my home soon. What's the best method of insulating around the window frame to the rough opening? Fiberglass or some type of spray foam? Thanks!
 
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Old 01-18-05, 05:19 AM
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bump........
 
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Old 01-18-05, 09:01 AM
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I've installed thousands of vinyl repalcement windows and have always used fiberglass batt that I cut into strips and stuff with a putty knife to insulate them. In all my years and installs I've never been called back once for air coming around the window. Another benefit is that the sashes in the vinyl frames will fit kind of loose once you screw it into place and the weather stripping around the sash will not make a sufficent bond with the frame and air can come around the sash itself. By using the fiberglass batt you can in essence shim the jambs in so they contact and seal against sashes. Keep in mind you dont want it so tight they're difficult to rasie or lower, you just want them to seal.

On a different note, we just bought a new home (to us) that was built in 80'. We did the roof, siding, windows all at once so I opted for new construct vinyl windows with the fin and used shims to raise the window off the sill about a 1/4" and shimmed the sides of the jamb to make good contact with the sashes. Back then I had just bought an expensive foam gun applicator and accessories and wanted to try it out on my home instead of a home owners. Since I was dealing with the houses actual rough opening I had alot more room between the window and homes rough opening to inisert the foam gun tips. I used low expansion foam so it did'nt bid on the window anywhere and it will expand outward instead of sideways when the pressure gets too much. I've got 1 summer and now this winter with every opening in the house foamed-doors included. Air tight as well so I'm happy.

One thing to think about is cost, it's cheaper to insulate with batt than foam. 1 small roll of 3.5 x15 unfaced will go A LONG WAYS!!! I lay out the insulation on a peice of plywood and slice in into 1.5-2" wide strips so each peice will be 2" wide 15" tall and 3.5" thick (hope that makes sense) and then when it's time to insulate I'll pull off sections of these strips and stuff it with putty knife. You'll see what I mean if you choose this route.
Also foam is VERY messy so you have to be on your toes not to get it on other things. When doing retro fit replacment windows, if measured correctly you wont have much room to install the foams applicator tube between the old window jamb and the new replacement frame, so again it will be time consuming and chances of a mess are alot higher.
 
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Old 01-18-05, 06:31 PM
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foam

I agree, foam is very messy! and it stains your clothes and fingers and walls!
 
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Old 01-19-05, 09:55 PM
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Foam can also cause the window to bow due to the pressure of the foam expanding
 
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Old 01-20-05, 05:16 PM
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stick with the pink batts. depending on your climate there can be expansion and contraction, if you use the foam you may not have the proper room for this. it becomes too rigid and doesn't let the new window respond to the temperatures. good luck...think pink!
-Bob
 
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Old 01-20-05, 06:16 PM
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FWIW, for anybody else (mainly contractors) thatrip the batt into strips to insulate windows/doors, I've found the new white formeldahyde free (John Mansville) to be really good for stuffing and does'nt let your putty knife push through it like the Johns Manville (yellow) does. Used Certainteed or Owens Corning (pink) for years with no trouble, but once in awhile I'd get a bad roll that would separate really bad and was'nt worth a chit for stuffing. So far with the new Johns Mansville) white stuff it seems to be pretty consistent and works really well, plus here it's cheaper per roll compared to Certainteed or Ownes Corning.

Again, FWIW
 
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Old 01-22-05, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ghumphri
I'll be installing new vinyl windows in my home soon. What's the best method of insulating around the window frame to the rough opening? Fiberglass or some type of spray foam? Thanks!
Dear friend,

I've been installing vinyl replacement windows since 1991. The best thing to use is a product called DAP latex expanding foam. It will not overexpand and distort your windows as many polyurethane expanding foams (such as Great Stuff) will do.

Running 2 continuous beads of foam works extremely well. Place one bead of foam toward the exterior (against the nailing fin) and run a second bead around the interior perimeter of the window. At roughly $4 a can, expect to use 1 can per window as an estimate. If you are working in cold weather, be sure to keep the cans warm before using them.

This product works well for gaps that are 1/4" to 3/4" wide. A 1/2" gap is best. You may be able to resize your rough opening with various thicknesses of plywood or OSB in order to achieve an even gap around your replacement window. When adding fillers to a rough opening, be sure to caulk or glue down any additional framing you add, so that air does not infiltrate behind it.

It is also a good idea to caulk behind the nailing fins if the sheathing is suitable for caulking. We use a product called OSI Quad. Not all caulkings stick to vinyl very well. Additionally, you may wish to flash your nailing fins with a product such as Tyvek flash wrap, to ensure there is no future water infiltration.
 
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Old 01-22-05, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by XSleeper
Additionally, you may wish to flash your nailing fins with a product such as Tyvek flash wrap, to ensure there is no future water infiltration.
Not sure what area your from, but here it's not a "may wish to" but a requirment when installing windows with nailing fin to use adhesive based flashing that extends 9" past the window edge. I've seen guy get away using Tyvek tape only to tape over the flange onto the house wrap for flashing and I've seen guys use roofing starter strip also-but most roof starter is only 6" so it would boil down to what the inspector will let you get away with. Either way, flashing the fin is a must not a option for a proper install that you want long life and no problems with down the road.

my personal opinon on the DAP latex based low expansion foam, it's overpriced and VERY runny. Not the "best stuff" out there for the money as far as insulating windows with foam IMO.
 
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Old 01-22-05, 06:51 PM
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Dear IHI,

I agree with you, DAP latex is overpriced. And yes, it is runny unless you shake the can vigorously, as the instructions suggest. I've used various low-expansion foams, and some work well, some do not. Many of them are only low-expanding when the temperature and humidity are just right. Actually, I prefer poly-foams for large gaps, 1/2-1", and DAP for 1/2" and smaller. It works the best for small gaps, far better than trying to cram fiberglass into a tight 1/4" gap, which is pretty much counterproductive. Fiberglass must remain loose in order to work efficiently as an insulator.

People have been using fiberglass for years and it works okay. If it worked perfectly, people wouldn't complain so much about drafty windows. Fiberglass merely slows air infiltration, it doesn't stop it. I guess that is one reason that I prefer to use foam products over fiberglass. But admittedly, I use a combination of products when the situation warrants it.

Regarding the use of flash wraps, and window installation codes, there are no window inspectors in my area, and I am suprised to hear that you have them in yours. Flash wraps are great to use in new construction installations, but usually are not practical in the replacement window industry, since generally, you would have to remove all the siding on a house in order to flash every window the way you suggest.

The jist of my statement was encouraging the use of flash wraps wherever it is possible, which acknowledges that in some instances, it's use is just not practical.

What would you suggest when you remove a window that has a wood brickmould, and replace it with a window whose nailing fin is exactly the same size as the O.S. brickmould measurement?

Maybe you could tell me how it would be done in your area? I'd love to learn!
 
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Old 01-22-05, 08:03 PM
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I would love to have every replacement window that had a 1/4" gap for insulation!! When I measure for replacement windows I shoot for a 1/4" total gap so when I install it there's approximately 1/8" on both sides of the new window to stuff the fiberglass batt. When the batt is cut into the narrow strips like I mentioned then peeled off in layer it's easily stuffed into place witha putty knife, as mentioned this not only serves to keep air out but also to shim up the jambs of the new window so the sash seals against the frame for total sealing. I've personally always used batt on all my installs and have never once in all these years had a call back for any wind.air infiltration. I have however been called out to repair other jobs when the installers have tried to just shoot a tube of silicone around a window, reinstall the inside stop and call it a day. That is not the way to properly seal a new window and after all the repairs I've been to over the years with the silicone answer it only proves TO ME my method works. This is for replacement windows.

On new construct windows with nailing fins there is always alot more room around the window and if the RO is framed speced by window manufacturer yes there will typically be a 1/4" gap all the way around the new unit. For this reason I decided to buy the "high tech" foam insualting gun set-up and used it for a trial run on my personal house, so if it did'nt work out I had to deal with and not get a call back. With my new construct windows, the cost of the foam and gun cleaner with saved labor for speed of install outweighs the money saved by stuffing with batt, and I agree it does a great job of sealing out the elements-we've had some wicked winds here this winter and I could'nt be happier with the seal.

Here we have to have a permit and inspection to blow your nose!! I have always tried to push replacement windows (inserts) on an existing home to kep the cost down for the homeowner. When trying to install new construct type windows in an existing home you run into having to replace/redo interior trim work, add up the material, stain and labor to install on the inside along with proper flashing outside depending on type of siding it gets real costly real fast and most homeowners easily see the advantage and reason replacement windows were produced in the first place-better window than they have at an affordible cost.

Now when I'm doing a garage, remodel, or addition depending on exterior look of existing home and the customers willingness we opt for new construct for ease of installation and finishing both interiopr and exterior. But other factors play into it as well especially when we try to match up an existing look and using a wood type replacement window so it flows with what's already in the home-I push the fluid look whenever possible since i personally hate seeing an addition that you can tell was an addition-just looks "cheap" and a easy out for the contractor, but again budget and homeowner have the ultimate say so I have to work within their means.

So, when a homie wants a "new construct" window installed where we have to remove the entire wood frame existing unit, we do have to remove siding for proper flashing. PITA-yes, required here by code-yes. But I get paid for it, so in the big picture I could care less about the extra material/labor needed since I make out better at the end of the day than a wham bam replacment window.

Reasoning for such close watch over contractors, in the past there were alot of wannabe's that thought they knew what they were doing and costing insurance companies alot of money so now the city requires us to pass a national standard test to get a licsence with many different catagories-roofer, remodeler, or like I have builder. When appling for a permit they first look my company up in their computer to make sure my insurance is upto date and carrying the minimum amount required($600,00 but I carry $1million to cover my hid and ability to bid on other projects given by city or outside building contractor that would hire me to control a certain aspect of a job), they then make sure the permit I'm applying for fits within my licsense catagory, am registered with local INRCOG. Once that checks out, then we move onto what's being done, price of work, address work being performed at, homeowners name/address, etc... and finally getting the permit. We even have to pull permits to install storm doors-that's how fussie it is!! I had an inspector drive by a job I was unloading my trialer at getting set-up for the next days initial start and try to tell me I could'nt do that until a permit ws posted LOL. Had to laugh at him and kept unloading since I was getting the permit the next morning before we started, but inspector's in our area are like mosquitoes-they're everywhere, so trying to get by with out a permit will only lead to getting your licsense pulled-happened to my first electrician!!
 
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Old 03-30-05, 05:10 AM
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Has anyone used Dow's Great Stuff in the blue can for windows and doors?
 
 

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