As you may know we’re building our own off grid cabin on the Canadian East Coast where temperatures can range from +38 degrees Celsius in the middle of summer to -40 degrees Celsius in the dead of winter.
The Good News
Installing windows and doors is a straightforward and simple process given that you’ve constructed the openings correctly during the framing process. Once you’ve installed your first window, the rest will take far less time. Installing vinyl windows, say ten or less, can be done in less than a day and with very few tools.
We’ll teach you everything you need to know right here.
Windows come in a vast range of types, sizes, shapes and costs. Traditionally, most windows were comprised of a wooden frame, single pane and were either single-hinged or sliding. As new improvements were made, pivot hinges and friction mechanisms became the norm. Single panes became double, triple and more. The wooden frame gave way to lighter, less bulky aluminum. Today vinyl windows are the most common here in North America.
Styles range from a simple non-sliding window, to elaborate double hung picture windows with colonial inserts.
When living in off grid environments we found that vinyl is the best choice when compared to the other types of window materials because of its low cost and energy efficiency. Because it’s made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) it has a high R-value, which means it provides a significant amount of insulation. Price and energy efficiency are just a few advantages of vinyl windows.
Like windows, doors come in a plethora of styles, colors, materials and features.
Some things to consider when choosing your door are…
- How much weather will your door be exposed to?
- What level of security do you need?
- Do you want the door to provide additional light?
- Do you want to paint or stain your door?
The majority of exterior doors today are constructed of steel, fiberglass, or wood.
Steel doors have an energy efficient core and are weather stripped by the manufacturer. They are resistant to swelling/warping and relatively maintenance free. Often a steel door comes predrilled for hardware and a pre-hung door makes installation a breeze.
Fiberglass doors offer the same energy saving qualities of a steel door, resistant to weather, but are more resistant to scratches and dents. They come pre-drilled and are available pre-hung. They can also have a wood like textured finish, which when painted looks like the real thing.
Wood doors offer the most traditional look. Wood doors can be painted oR stained to accentuate their natural wood grain. Wooden doors are often built using a frame and panel construction to increase their resistance to climate and seasonal changes
Most steel and fiberglass doors have an R-value of R-5 to R-6 (not including the effects of a window). A 1 1/2 inch thick steel door, with polyurethane foam core, offers more than five times the insulating value of a solid wood door of the same size (energy.gov).