build storm windows?


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Old 10-01-08, 03:06 PM
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build storm windows?

Is it within reason to think that I might be able to figure out how to build storm windows myself? I'm on a tight budget, and haven't priced it out to have them custom made, but am curious if this is an option. I'm pretty sure that plexiglass would be much cheaper than large panes of glass. Can anyone either start me on the right track or squish my idea from the get-go with a reasonable why or why not?

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-01-08, 03:36 PM
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You'd be surprized at the price of Plexi in the larger sizes. Regular plexi can also crack very easily around screw holes and when cutting to size. Plexi also gets fogged, crazed and brittle when exposed to the sun. If you are talking about one piece to cover an entire window, then you also have to put them up and take them down for ventilation if desired.

If you're really that tight on funds, then consider either a few at a time in the locations that receive the most wind and weather exposure, or the Stick and seal interior film type .
 
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Old 10-01-08, 03:43 PM
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Okay, I see your point. We've been doing the plastic stick-up kind over the past few years, and I'd like to consider something more permanent and sturdy. So if I did decide to do a couple in key spots, how would I go about building them? (And please don't use fancy lingo, I'm not totally stupid, but at the same time, I may not understand fancy terminology)

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it, and I love this site! I look forward to some more advice.
 
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Old 10-01-08, 03:54 PM
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I'm sure there are others more knowledgable in this kind of thing. I just can't imagine building them, unless the windows were really small and non-operable. You'd probably need a tablesaw and/or router to build wooden frames to support the clear material you decide on.

I know costs on materials have gone up, but a basic storm window in many common sizes was less than $40 a few years ago. They may not be stocked on the shelf, but they can be ordered by Big Box and hardware stores.

Maybe if you posted approx sizes of what you are trying to cover, some folks will weigh in with options.
 
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Old 10-01-08, 06:18 PM
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Thanks so much for the input! I'll check the price of ordering them. I just assumed it would be much higher than that. I'll be happy if that number is anywhere in the ballpark. Thanks again for the advice!
 
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Old 10-01-08, 06:21 PM
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One more thing, what is Big Box? Never heard of it. I didn't really have any idea who makes storm windows, a glass shop? Any pointers on where to start would be great. I guess I'd go to Home Depot, ask some questions and go from there. But someone smart can save me some gas money and put me on the right track!
 
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Old 10-01-08, 06:41 PM
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*IF* you were to build your own, you'd probably base them on how wooden storm windows were designed years ago.

Storm windows rest against the blind stop (an exterior stop that is usually about 1/2" x 3/4") and wooden storm windows are flush with the face trim once they are installed. You would measure the distance from the blind stop to the surface of the face trim to determine the thickness you would need your storm windows to be. (usually 1" or 1 1/8" thick.)

Once you've determined the thickness, you'd get wood that is the correct thickness. You're best bet would be to go to a local saw mill, if you have one around, and tell them what you are doing, and that you'd like a bunch of clear lumber that is X" thick, as discussed above.

Otherwise, you'd probably need to pick out some very nice dry cedar 2x4 and 2x6 that doesn't have very many knots, rip it down to a rough size, then run it all through a thickness planer in order to get yourself the custom dimension lumber that you need.

Once you have all the lumber needed, you'd rip all your material to width- Each storm window would need 2 stiles (vertical pieces) which would be about 3" wide. The top rail (rails are horizontal) would also be about 3" wide. The center mullion that divides the glass into equal parts would also be about 3" wide. The bottom rail would be about 5" wide.

You would join these pieces together to form a divided frame. Mortise and tenon was the joinery of choice years ago, so that's an option. You could also use butt joints and glue, then join everything together using pocket screws (Kreg makes a nice jig that is fairly inexpensive).

Once the frames are made, you would need to router a rabbet (a 3/8"x3/8" notch) around the perimeter of each pane for the glass to set into. A rabbeting bit with a pilot bearing will do this nicely. You'll just have to chisel out the corners because the router will leave a rounded corner.

Once you've made a notch for the glass to set in, you'll measure each pane, go get the glass cut (each pane of s.s. glass that is roughly 24x24 will be about $10-$15) and then set the glass using glazing points and glazing putty.

It would be a good idea to prime all your pieces prior to assembling using oil based primer. After the glass is glazed, the putty will be soft for quite a while- at least a month or two. It's a good idea to prime the glazing putty before topcoating with your final coat of paint.

Wooden storms usually need to be adjusted slightly to fit the openings they go in. So be prepared to do a little belt sanding or planing on the edges. The bottom rail gets a bevel cut to match the angle of the sill it sits on.

The window also usually needs some vent holes near the bottom. The exact look and location varied, but there were usually about three holes (roughly 1 1/8") in the bottom rail. Screen covered the inside so bugs couldn't get in, and a pivoting wooden flapper fashioned over the vent holes could be opened and closed as needed.

So if you have a table saw, router, thickness planer, sanders, chisels, and so on... and are ready to spend at least $50 in materials per window plus a lot of labor... you're all set. I'm just guessing that all the above is beyond the average DIY'ers ability, and that it's going to be much more cost effective for you to order some aluminum storms from one of the big box stores, as Gunguy mentioned.

If so, maybe this info will help someone else a few months or years from now.
 
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Old 10-01-08, 07:40 PM
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Thank you very much, that was very informative and very understandable. I appreciate the help!
 
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Old 10-02-08, 07:23 AM
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See, I knew someone would weigh in with more specific info.

btw...Big Box stores are places like HomeDepot, Lowes, Menard's, etc. Warehouse style home improvement centers.
 
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Old 10-05-08, 03:28 PM
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Building your own storm windows

I posted to another thread, but this may also help you. We are on a tight budget as well, so looked at a bunch of options. I built a couple of wood frames, which work great (I used the shrink plastic first as a test and for budget, but will change to plexi later), but time is short so I looked at other options.
You can easily do storms for much less than a new window, depending on your handiman skills. They will be fairly expensive to buy new, especially triple track, but will last for years. Or a local woodworker can make wood storms, some with clips to allow the glass to be removed and screen inset, if you need screens.

If current cash is the issue, try a simple 1x2 wood frame screwed together with plastic stapled around the frame (follow the very nice instruction on the other reply for the frame). For a better look, use the kind that shrinks clear and tight with a hair dryer. You may need a middle strut to keep the sides from bowing in. Or get a piece of plexiglass and silicone (or wood trim) it to the outside of the frame (not very attractive). If you have the tools, make a rabbett grove and inset the plexi or glass with caulk or glazing putty. You now have a traditional storm window, and could probably find the hanging hardware for it at a local hardware sstore.


I ran into the idea of using the DIY screen frame kits, only using the heat-shrink plastic instead of screening, and tried it. Works pretty well, need the middle strut to keep it from bowing in. Cost &16 total. I also found a supplier for the aluminum framing similar to the screen kits, but made to hold glass or plexiglass (Apex Products). The real cost here will be the plexiglass, but since it will last longer than the plastic, it is pennies per year. Do one window or room at a time.

Or just staple the plastic over the window per the Home Depot kits. Ugly but effective.

Have fun!
 
 

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