We finally got our side windows installed in the Headquarters building! These side windows have probably been the biggest challenge yet of our Quonset hut build. We were at the property for a long weekend, with four full work days, just Eric and me. We must be getting better at this, because every time we go work on the buildings for a few days by ourselves, we come away amazed at our productivity!
Preparing the rough openings.
Our previous trip (read all about it here), we had installed all six of the metal boxes that create the window openings in the metal Quonset hut shell. Our building has three windows on each side. Each window is two arch panels wide, with two arches in between them. Here’s the interior view of the window openings, waiting for the sliding aluminum and glass windows to be put in:
Last time out, once we got the metal boxes installed, we had big problems getting them prepped for the window installation. The 3M flashing we tried was extremely difficult to work with, and we had problems related to its incompatibility with the silicone sealant we were also using. (It turns out almost nothing plays nicely with silicone.)
On this trip, when we went to peel the 3M tape off the one window where we had started installing it, we were horrified to discover that water had gotten behind the tape! We figured it could have only gotten in through vulnerable corners where the silicone and 3M tape refused to stick to each other. If you look closely you can see beads of water on the metal in the second photo below. The water had collected in the crevice where the wood and metal meet, where I’m peeling off the flashing tape in the photo. Boy were we glad we had abandoned that method! It was already setting itself up for a rotten moldy nightmare.
After abandoning that method, we came home and did more research. We found some good sources recommending liquid applied flashing for conditions like ours, where there are multiple inside corners that require coverage. We settled on Zip System Liquid Flashing, which was easy to get on Amazon.com. It worked really well, and I recommend it if you have a Quonset hut window situation similar to ours. We plan on using it again. It comes in a tube like regular caulking, except that the tubes are larger at 29 oz. than the typical caulking tubes you see in the paint department at Home Depot. It uses larger size caulking gun, which was not a big deal. They sell those on Amazon, too.
It was pretty easy to apply the liquid flashing, and although it was time consuming, it wasn’t as tedious and time consuming as the 3M tape. You just squeeze it onto your surface and then use a putty/spackling knife to work it into the surface and smooth it out. Getting it into the corners is a relatively trivial matter – you just squeeze a bead into the corner directly before you start working it with the putty knife. We used blue painter’s tape to ensure we would get a clean edge, which worked well, too. The manufacturer recommends around 4 hours for the liquid flashing to cure, so we kept track of the time as we went.
Once the wood bucking was installed and the liquid flashing applied and cured, installing the windows themselves was straightforward. We ordered our windows with a nailing fin, and we just used the type of screws specified by the window manufacturer to screw them into place. (Theoretically we could have used nails but there wasn’t really enough working room to make nails a viable option.)
The cured flashing made a very tough, rubbery coating that gave us plenty of confidence that we had found the right product for what we were doing. We now have up to 6 months to cover it up, before UV exposure will begin degrading it. We plan to have some metal trim pieces made to cover the exposed flashing, filling in the space between the window frame and the metal box. Before that happens we will put a second coat of liquid flashing over the window nailing fin and screw heads.
Constructing the Front Wall
With the windows installed, we still had the better part of two days to work on the front wall. Originally, our front wall was going to be rather run-of-the-mill, with a 16-foot wide garage door. However, after falling in love with the asymmetrical facade of our workshop building, we decided to copy it instead, with a few minor variations. One variation will be that the Workshop will have a 12-foot garage door, whereas Headquarters will have a fixed window wall of matching proportions. Yes, we’re going a little window crazy here, but we can’t help ourselves! Anyway, the 12-foot window wall will be divided into a grid with wood posts, with the windows installed to the openings.
In other news,
…we finally have water pressure in the building! Now that the wood framing was in place, our plumber could come hook up the pressure tank and get our pump all connected. We had been getting our water by gravity feed, made possible by the fact that our cistern is several feet higher than the building. The tank is huge! But, we eventually hope to have a main house and guest house all running off of it, so we asked our plumber to size it accordingly. Thus we have a tank that is somewhat out of proportion to our little building.
Normally, when I’m photographing the project, I’m trying to get the clearest photos of the buildings with as few distractions as possible. This past trip, it occurred to me that there are probably some good views of the buildings from out around the property. I am going to try and get more of these photos as we move forward. Of course I’ll share them with you here! Until then…
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