As I write this there is an $1802.00 receipt for 9 brand new windows sitting next to me. Here is how we got to this point.
With minimal luck scrounging through local bone yard piles a glimmer of hope came when a friend of ours connected us with a family friend of hers that worked at a window distributor a few hours away. He sent us a list of their current boneyard windows that were just sitting waiting for someone like us to come along and he recommended the left over Anderson 100 series as a good product. I noticed that 3-5 windows on the list looked like they could work for our project but we decided to hold off until we were a little further along on the project before committing to windows.
Fast forward to late January when we are ready to seriously consider windows and those black exterior with white interior fibrex Anderson 100 series windows sitting in that West side bone yard pile were sounding like a really great deal. When I emailed our contact back to inquire about an updated list, my heart dropped when he told me “the owner had gone on a cleaning spree last week and threw them all out.” Thirty one windows, smashed in a dumpster. Our frustration was less about missing out on a great deal and more due to the fact that a perfectly good product was discarded to a landfill.
We started back at square 1 and on the way back from the project site one day we decided to stop into Home Depot just to get a base line quote. I had spent enough time in various Home Depots chasing after unhelpful orange apron clad employees to know that it was not the place we planned on making our large important purchases that required expert help. Hungry and tired we walked back to the Window & Door counter hoping for a quick encounter, estimate and exit.
That is when we sat down with Don Hamett. Don is an easily approachable older man who is kind and professional. He has built more than 1 house from the ground up with his own hands and was intrigued by a few kids who looked to do the same, albeit on a much smaller scale. He introduced himself as a window expert and proved it, leaving no detail un-explained from the function of high altitude breathing tubes (in windows!?) to the fact that it DOES matter which orientation a fixed window is installed due to weep hole location (it may not be as simple as finding a deal on a window and turning it sideways, and even worse of an idea to do this with single hung window in an attempt to turn them into sliders). He insisted that we compare prices between all of the window brands and provided valuable insight into the different options based on years of feedback from customers. He had an answer for every specific question we asked and insightful advice that covered ventilation, operability options, glass choice, security concerns, and installation methods. I got a sense that Don gained satisfaction in helping problem solve a rather unique project and it can be rare to find such a genuine and interested stranger willing to forget time and dive into another’s dream so whole heartedly for as long as it takes. Our conversation often shifted from the technical details and our own project indecision to the larger inspirations that led us to take on not only the construction of such a project but the alternative and even experimental living circumstances that would follow. We shared amicable feelings for our city and region and a smattering of hobbies including PNW hot springs before wrapping up business almost two hours later.
The last thing that Don informed us of before we left was a way to save an extra 15% on our windows called a “closed quote promo.” It sounds as though at any given time, those working in the Window & Door department may be told by corporate that for an upcoming period of time they can offer a 15% discount as a way to sweeten the deal and close on a sale. In our instance, with the promo about to expire, we had 48 hours to commit. As we walked towards the exit, a surge of positive energy left us both feeling thankful and fortunate to be building our tiny foreseeable future in this community which continues to offer up genuine, supportive and educational interactions and connections. We returned home with our quote and window selections in hand to double check sizes, take a deep breath and decide if we were ready and able to purchase all of our windows.
We settled on the Anderson 100 series windows with a black exterior and matte white interior. Jeld-Wen windows were a little bit cheaper but did not meet all of our criteria. The Anderson 100 series comes in 2 interior color options and 6 exterior color options with a plethora of operability choices (except double hung) and low-e glass standard with upgrades available. Certainly the most interesting and we think beneficial advantage of the 100 series is the fibrex material that is used in its construction. Fibrex is a combination of Polymer (vinyl) and wood, much of which is recycled from the production of Anderson’s other vinyl and wood window lines. The fibrex material claims to be twice as strong, twice as rigid and twice as stable as vinyl. The stronger and more stable the window frame is, the less stress you will have on the glass panes and the better chance you have of keeping a weather tight seal on your windows. Because the fibrex material cuts the co-efficient of thermal expansion in half, there will be far less expansion and contraction of the window frame components which becomes a legitimate benefit for our home in particular as daily summer temperatures in the Yakima Valley regularly exceed 100 degrees. You can read a little more about the product and watch a quick video HERE.
Below is a list of the windows we have ordered:
 2’-0” x 2’-6” Awning window
 1’-6” x 1’-6” Awning window
 1’-6” x 5’-0” Single Hung window
 1’-6” x 4’-0” Single Hung window obscure
 1’-6” x 6’-0” Fixed window
 6’-0” x 4’-0” Fixed window
 4’-0” x 1’-6” Slider window
 4’-0” x 1’-6” Fixed Window
We haven’t started building vertical but it feels like we are cruising along! Siding, CHECK. Windows, CHECK. And if you have read this far you might as well see a few preliminary plans, sections and elevations of our little habitat that show window locations.