Ordering Windows

Ordering Windows for a Tiny HouseThis past week I have been busy ordering the windows and the trailer.  The windows will take 4 weeks to be delivered.  It has been a lot more involved than I ever thought possible.  Even with house plans, which meant I know all the dimensions needed, there are a lot of choices to be made when it comes to the trailer, but especially with the windows!

With windows you have to decide on the style, the way the open (if they open), metal/vinyl/wood/mixed, what kind of hand crank, what color is the crank, choose from one of the 10 options for screens, but then match the screen to the screen frame color!

So for those of you who are interested in the details here is the details on the windows. Please note window sizes are approximate:

  • 4 windows: 20″ x 30″ ($321 each)
  • 2 windows: 24″ x 24″ ($279 each)
  • 2 windows: 22″ x 40″ ($460 each)
  • 4 windows: 15″ x 40″ ($177 each)
  • 1 Skylight: 21″ x 27″ ($428)

Grand total for windows and everything (taxes, flashing, etc.):  $3,962.65

That price tag might seem like a lot to many, but anyone who has purchased windows will let you know that it is an expensive proposition.  Many people use stock window sizes or windows found on craig’s list or the Re-store to save money.  While I really like the idea of re-purposing old items, you often cannot find windows that are tempered which is really important if you are building your Tiny House on wheels.  While the house goes down the road, you want it to be able to withstand the bumps in the road.  Here is a video attesting the to strength of tempered glass.

All the windows are made by Jeld-Wen and are Low-e Tempered glass, double pane and filled with Argon.  The windows are all awning style so that you can still have them open when it is raining (to compensate for small eves).  They are natural wood on the inside and metal clad on the outside (mesa red).  I chose the hide away cranks and just went with the standard metal color that they use because it saved about $800 on the whole order.

The sky light made by Velux, which is one of the biggest manufactures of skylights and I got a standard size.  This was a simple choice because they don’t give a lot of options.  You really choose size, deck mount (what I choose) or curb mount, and whether it opens ($428) or is fixed ($189).  I decided to spring for the one that opens with a crank because it is the window that is at the highest point of my house, so I wanted to be able to vent hot air out.

  • Builder’s Tip: Be sure to read up on how to properly flash a window.  Windows and doors are the most vulnerable spots on a house for the water to seep in.
  1. When you said:
    “…because it is the window that is at the highest point of my house, so I wanted to be able to vent hot air out.”
    Were you saying something about yourself?

  2. Hear! Hear! Robert!

  3. Great article and perfect timing as I went to bed dreaming about windows for my log cabin.

  4. Great post re windows, I was wondering what type of Jeld Wen divided lights you went with, if any?

    • I went with a custom “colonial” pattern called 2 by 2. The dividers are metal clad outside and natural unfinished wood on the inside. It’s not individual sections of glass between the dividers.

      • Holy moley! I’m in Australia, and received a quote of AU$6000 from a local Canberra company, for 7 small double glazed low e windows. (for the Tumbleweed XS house) it looks like it would be far more cost effective for me to purchase them from the US and have them shipped over to Aus via sea freight. Thanks for sharing your window and pricing information Ryan, you’ve just saved me thousands 😉 Based on your quotes I would be looking at AU$4000 all in including a grand to get them here. Whoo-hoo!

        • I am glad you saw this then! Do you think they would be okay going freight? I suppose you could get insurance and still come in way under.

          • Absolutely – will definitely insure them, and still come way under. As long as they’re kept upright, they will hopefully be OK.
            I still cannot get over how much cheaper they are – amazing. I’m also having difficulty in obtaining a trailer. Utility trailers aren’t common over here at all. I received a quote for an 11′ 4000 pound single axle custom made trailer last week – AU$7500. (Sigh)

  5. Are these Department of Transportation Safety Certified? We are getting close to needing windows for our Tiny House build and since it’s a trailer that will go on the road I would think you need DOT windows.

    • I spoke with the state DOT inspectors and he said there is very little in the way of rules surrounding these things. Tempered glass is key though.

  6. Ryan
    A few questions
    1) Do you know what your R-values are for:
    a) Roof
    b) Walls
    c) Windows
    d) Floor
    2)Do you know of any prohibitions in building a house with its walls almost flush with the tires fenders (wheel wells) ? I suppose you would have to custom weld a large ‘L’ iron along the length of the trailer.
    3) What text/ book did you use as a reference in building your little house?
    Thanks Ryan
    Awaiting (eagerly) for your answers

    • You can take the walls out past the wheel wells and built a removable fender skirt when traveling. As long as you don’t exceed your State’s maximum width either 8ft or 8.5 ft depending on the State or if you don’t move it much you could go wider than the trailer and pay a small road permit fee without the need of an escort vehicle.You can see an example of a fully sided Tiny Bungalow on my Youtube video
      “the tiny bungalow” I am still within the no permit needed width.
      Have fun building your tiny house!!

    • Hello Lauren:

      The roof, walls and floor are around R-20, windows are around R 4 (double pane, low e, argon). I plan to do a skirt for the house so that should help with the floor insulation. When you build the walls flush with the outside of the trailer you then will have the wheel wells protruding into the house. You also have to consider that your eves need to extend at least a few inches beyond the wall to protect your siding and house from the bulk of moisture. I used a lot of resources to learn about the building process and I spoke to a lot of people who have done it as well, plus previous expereince.

      If you are looking for more details on building your own home, send me a message through the contact us tab and that will go right to me.

    • Also the windows are tempered, very important!

  7. Hi Ryan
    Thanks for your response. Yes you are right. If one extends the footprint too much, you sacrifice the eves which is important for rain deflection. I, too, have accessed a number of illustrated building guides and other than being married to a contractor, don’t know much about the building process. However, if I hired someone to do it, I would want to be sure they were doing according to ‘best practices’. What I appreciate about your process is your attention to detail and the security and reinforcement features. I have been reading about house wraps, rain guards and trying to separate the ‘hype’ from the ‘true. Joseph Lstiburek, Ph.D., P.Eng. of Building Sciences,talks about the newer house wraps, vapor retarders etc and maintains that a good house wrap does 2 things.
    keep water out
    let water out if it gets in
    And in his opinion, good old fashion tar paper ( felt paper?) does the best job overall. Who knew? Of course, elevating the lap siding on furring strips helps keep your plywood/OSB substrate dry too. Making sure the ‘little house’ is secure (hurricane straps,joist hangers, glue and screw etc.)and element tight is crucial. That is where I am centering my research now.
    Good note on the windows. Im sure a lot of folks don’t even think about the tempered glass part.
    I have purchased, downloaded and read most of Jay’s, Dan’s and Dee’s materials. The approach and philosophy of each is interesting. I still think you should do your own outline. I would purchase it if available. It seems like you really did your homework and for me it would be an extra resource in addition to the wonderful examples I mentioned.
    Are you at liberty to mention where you purchased your windows?

  8. Ryan
    Oops-didn’t see your note at the top of the post on the windows. Jeld Wen brand
    Never mind

  9. There are a lot of considerations you had in choosing your window, did you also consider security windows?

  10. Hey, I’m building a tiny house myself and the window pricing has been kind of scary. But your prices seem to be a good deal lower than I’ve been quoted. Would you mind sharing the exact window models you purchased and where you purchased them?

    Thanks a ton!

    • I ended up going with Pella direct, and ordering the Pervia fiberglass windows to keep the weight down. I’m very happy with the choice. Pella’s service was so good that is part of the reason I choose them. But, you have to go to Pella direct, not through Lowe’s or a distributor. I ended spending about $3000. on them. Definitely one of my bigger expenses after the trailer.

  11. I am so confused by this- i went to home depot last night to price out my jeld-wen windows (recommended by tumbleweed and included in all their builds) and i was quoted $800 a window! where do you live and can i ask who you bought the windows from??

  12. Buying replacement windows is a great way to improve the beauty value.

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