This stage is one that I have been most confident in, as I had helped a construction friend install windows the previous month and so felt I had a good grasp of what was needed.
This didnt’ stop me thoroughly researching again though and making sure I was doing everything in the best way possible.
I managed to get the main lower part of the building wrapped and all but one ground floor window installed in just two days.
One of those days was 11.5 hours long though.
I receive a little help from my wife installing the bigger windows, which went very smoothly, the rest I was able to fit by myself.
There’s so many resources out there for fitting windows, so I won’t go into any details here, but I will explain the materials I used.
I decided to use 30# (aka 30 minute) tar paper, doubled up, as this is what many people use out here on the West Coast.
As we live in a rain forest, I feel that the walls need to breath a little and whilst their is newer, more technical products on the market being used, I’m not sure how much I really trust the breathability of plastic wrap, despite their claims.
We intend to use sheep wool as insulation in the walls too, which I feel will interact better with paper, than plastic, just seems a little more natural, despite the tar.
Working with the stuff wasn’t all that pleasant as the sun quickly causes the paper to give off that tar smell, but this did send me reminiscing back to the days of playing on my Grandmother’s driveway as a child on a hot summers day .
There are so many options out there, none of them are wrong, it’s all down to your own preference and what feels right for you and what job you want it to perform.
Impossible to be eco-friendly?
This build was intended to be as environmentally friendly as possible, but realising the amount of building products that are ‘needed’, or perhaps ‘recommended’, that contain bitumin, it was impossible to be completely natural. It might be easier if building a cob house, but I just don’t know if the building industry has it fully locked in yet!
To seal the windows, many people use the term ‘blue skin’, this is the name of the product and one that I was going to use. My local hardware store at which I have an account set up, recently changed to another product called ‘Red-Zone’. I know, kinda funny right. I haven’t read anything bad about it, so decided to just break the mold and go with it.
So far, it seems fine. I don’t like that they advertise their name all over it, I am not one for being branded, but hey, it’ll get covered up soon enough with the siding.
These types of sealants are made of bitumin, that nasty stuff that is proposed to be exported from the Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada. Something I have been fighting against for the last few years! It kinda hurts to use these products, but as I’m fully into the build, I don’t know if I have the time to research alternatives and I don’t even know if there is?
If anyone out there knows of some excellent, proven ways to seal a window in that ISN’T toxic, please drop a line in the comments below and help the world out!
Getting the windows in seems like a huge step, it happened fast and it feels good. I’m excited to get the dormer windows in, but decided to work on the skylight curb and sealing that in first. It just seemed to make sense in the order of things when laying out the paper and sealing up the internal corners of the dormers.
I might have said it before, but it’s like a game of chess, trying to think a few moves ahead, so that you don’t have to undo something later on.
A lot of talking out loud and chin stroking has occured the last few days, but things are rolling on.
Throughout this stage I was very reliant on resources found in Fine Home Building Magazine. I can thoroughly recommend you sign up for the online monthly subscription to get you through your build. There’s some invaluable advice in their PDFs. It’s only $6.99a month and I wouldn’t have been able to get to this stage without it.
The roofing material is here and I’m super nervous about this stage. I want to make sure I get it right. More on that in the next blog post.