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Old 08-25-2013, 12:55 AM   #1
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House Windows in A Skoolie?

I Don't like the flimsy look of RV windows. As building contractor I have good, double pane, vinyl sliding windows at my disposal. Any reason not to install them in my Tool Bus?

Comments and Ida's welcome.

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Old 08-25-2013, 01:02 AM   #2
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Nat

I am planning on doing the same thing with mine. I personally don't like a lot of windows and I HATE rv windows even more. Few things I have read and heard other people comment on....

1) Most don't use tempered glass so some type of window tinting might be needed to keep the glass from breaking in to a millions pieces in the event of a mishap.
2) Not sure if you are going to use horizontal or vertical close windows but I am planning on using horizontal sliders. I don't think they are made to take 40-70 mph winds constantly so there may be some leakage going down the road is in some type of rain.

Other than those I can think of any others. Lots of smart people on here so hopefully they will chime in. I am getting close to putting mine in soon so I will be following this to see if others add to this.

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Old 08-25-2013, 05:28 AM   #3
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Other than those 2 issues, I don't see a problem mobile houses/campers have been using them since what the teens?
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:27 AM   #4
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

I'd been wondering the same thing. My glass technology knowledge is weak.. Out of ignorance I wonder whether there's any difference between glass tempered for residential use vs glass tempered for automotive use. I do "know" that windshields are constructed of laminated glass with a layer of some kind of plastic inside, but are side windows and RV windows constructed similarly? I dunno.

So far as the potential for sliders leaking at the seals: my bus already has horizontal sliders and the seem to do alright. They leak some air, as would be expected. But recall that it's not abnormal for a house to be designed to withstand 40-70 MPH winds either.

I guess it's harder to get that sleek rounded-corner aluminum frame in a residential window. But a person might not care for that anyway!
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Family wagon....

Im sure its probably a DOT thing that deals with safety codes would be my guess? I know most people wont think they will have an incident with their bus but it does kind of set in my mind a little. Yes the windows will be up very high so a direct impact is very unlikely. Not a bus rolling well yeah its an issue but you will have a TON of other problems going on at the same time if that is happening.

I think window tinting will help take care of a lot of the issues of breakage to keep the glass together in the event it breaks. I am planning on painting my bus the color of the Texas flag so on the outside to keep the colors as uniform as possible I am going to seek out a business that makes car wraps and have them print up some materials to cover the outside of the glass. So between the 2 I will consider it not a huge breakage issue.

I think sliders leaking isn't a huge issue. I think some air infiltration is to be expected. I think in many cases you need it... yes I like fresh air. My bus is 30 years old it will not be the model air tight Im sure. What I don't want is to be screaming at 3500 rpms in a rainy day or night and have that leak in to the interior and create unwanted related issues. This is another reason why I will only have windows.

rounded or square window corners is of no issue to me. Im very practical man... just work first and for most.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:31 AM   #6
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Thanks for the input guys.

The windows I will be installing are Horizontal sliders, with double pane, low e glass to reduce interior heating / cooling.

Nat
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:40 AM   #7
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

I want to install 2 vertical sliders on the back of bus, kind of like an old caboose
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:28 PM   #8
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Windshields are laminated glass which shatters but stays in one piece. All other auto glass is tempered glass which crumbles into small bits when broken instead of becoming razor-edged shards of flying glass like most home windows do when broken. When we upgraded our home windows some of the larger ones were required to be tempered glass so a running youngster wouldn't get guillotined by falling glass if he went through.

If I was putting home style windows in my bus I'd want tempered glass or at minimum some fairly strong plastic film on the inside to hold it together in a mishap. The tint film I've used in the past wasn't very substantial and I'd be leery of it holding the broken bits together.

Maybe do a test on some scrap glass and see how well the tint film holds up.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:19 AM   #9
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

There is heavy plastic window film designed to make glass hurricane-hardened or somewhat bullet resistant. You might want to do a search for those. As previously noted, many skoolies do use residential rather than RV windows. Someone argued that if a pane should break, the nearest big box center should have a replacement, while an RV window replacement may take days or weeks waiting for it to come in the mail.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:56 AM   #10
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Solar Gard offers some safety films. The videos of the film in action are impressive. This brand is not cheap, however..
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #11
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

Now you all have me thinking. I was going to spend the money and get good thermal pane RV windows. I was told never use residential windows in an RV. The RV type is more forgiving with the flexing of the Bus. The residential window does not have a clamp ring to help hold it in place.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:30 AM   #12
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

My drivers window is a residential window. No issues yet Smitty used all residential windows in his, as well. I personally don't think it is a concern.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:46 AM   #13
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

For those who have put in residential windows.....I am planning doing them like Smitty did in his build. Just wondering how everyone put theirs in?

I am planning on cutting out some of the factory window dividers (only where needed) and welding in some square tubing and then securing wood to that square tubing then framing out normally like you would on a house.

Let us know any pit falls or issues if you would.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:22 AM   #14
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Re: House Windows in A Skoolie?

I am also considering putting residential windows in my bus. I looked at getting RV windows and was shocked to find out they would cost me about $300 each. Then I was at Lowe's a few days ago and I found some windows that would work perfectly for my bus. They are 24 X 24 double pane sliding windows and have tempered glass, all for only $84. I will probably end up tinting them too, so it being tempered glass and tinted, I am not worried about breaking issues. What I am concerned about is how it will handle elevation changes, these being double pane windows. I would hate to be driving through the Colorado mountains at 10.000ft and have them blow out. Does anyone have any experience with this? I see Smitty has used residential windows, is there anyone else that has done so? If so, how did they held up and how did you mount them. Hopefully you guys can give me some advise. Thanks inn advance!
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Old 03-26-2015, 07:37 PM   #15
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Windows

This link Architectural Record's Continuing Education Center | Earn AIA Continuing Education Credits Online

has a lot of information about windows and window glass options, including detailed descriptions of all component materials, construction and manufacturing details, with E-rating comparisons and links to various standard-setting and certifying organizations. Be sure to scroll through the multiple pages for all the details.

Here are a couple snippets to answer a few comments/questions I saw asked:

Re: multi panes windows:
"...Argon or krypton (colorless and odorless gases naturally occurring in the atmosphere), is used to fill the airspace between layers of insulating low-E glass... Breather tubes are required on insulating units that will be installed at high altitudes. The breather tubes allow the unit to adjust to changes in pressure. Argon gas is not an option when breather tubes are specified."

Re: framing material
"*Aluminum is light, strong and durable, making it ideal for custom window design. Aluminum frames also require low maintenance. One disadvantage is that they cause conductive heat loss, which affects the U-Factor and decreases energy efficiency. They also allow for condensation buildup..."

"...vinyl offers less structural rigidity or strength by itself and expands and contracts at a rate eight times that of pultruded fiberglass. This leaves vinyl products susceptible to seal failures, stress cracks, fading, chalking and cracking."

"...Pultruded fiberglass frames offer superior energy efficiency because fiberglass incorporates insulating air pockets... The physical properties of pultruded fiberglass do not change through the full temperature cycle up to 350 F. (PVC resins become unstable at 155 F)...However, the rigid make-up of fiberglass may limit design flexibility because curved surfaces are more difficult to produce."

Fwiw, it is dated 2006 and is an advertorial, but I think it is a solid starting point for a good understanding of options. Just keep in mind there is probably newer technology out there too.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:22 AM   #16
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Id say go for it! I bought my windows from an RV wholesaler off ebay for no more than 150 each (that was a 44 x 43 inch window). Shipping can be expensive, but if you buy multiples, you can save big on it. I like all the ones I got. I thought about home windows but felt better using RV models because it was a cleaner install for my design and I didnt have a good price on home units. I prefer the looks of home units.
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Old 03-27-2015, 12:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey View Post
The residential window does not have a clamp ring to help hold it in place.
The residential windows have a nailing flange the stays on the inside skin of the bus. I used two strips of 14 ga, one on the inside, one on the outside, and clamped them down with the install bolts / rivets.

I will add pics when I get them organized.

Nat
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:34 AM   #18
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Window films and tinting are just great! I tinted the windows in my car to protect the upholstery from cracking and fading and as UV protection. But, what more, after tinting windows you really experience more than 60% drop in the temperature inside the car. (Well, depends on VLT% limit set by tint law in your state, and location, of course - here in sunny California itd differ from Alaska, right?). In my case tinting (88% CA legal limit) cuts down on air conditioning costs/oil consumption by 5% (hatchback). Did someone here measure this effect for vans/campers/buses - somewhere? Id love to hear some numbers/details.. thanks!
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:05 AM   #19
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I would recommend using a vinyl window. I used to fit up vinyl windows from landmark home solution in my bus. Vinyl window keeps the bus cool even during the summer. It saves a lot on energy cost thus reducing the need for air conditioning. If you would also like to have window film installed then it is better if you get a sun control window film. It only allows up to 50% of visible light and 59% of the heat coming through the window.
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