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Old 04-02-2018, 04:26 PM   #1
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Remove windows and skin with steel, or paint glass and frame over?

Hi all, been doing some window research and I'd like to gather some opinions.

I've narrowed my two options down to this:

1. Paint the inside of my existing windows black, spray foam over the windows and frame from the inside.

2. Pull the window and skin with 18 or 20g galvanized steel, glued to plywood. Spray foam and frame.


Option 2, as I understand it, is the preferred way to go as far as insulation goes. But, I just don't know if I like the look of it, and the added cost is a detractor. Will replacing my windows with steel really be that much more effective, insulation wise? Is there any way to replace a window-pane from the outside should one break and I have it framed over?

Thanks, - L
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Old 04-02-2018, 04:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lowkee View Post
Hi all, been doing some window research and I'd like to gather some opinions.

I've narrowed my two options down to this:

1. Paint the inside of my existing windows black, spray foam over the windows and frame from the inside.

2. Pull the window and skin with 18 or 20g galvanized steel, glued to plywood. Spray foam and frame.


Option 2, as I understand it, is the preferred way to go as far as insulation goes. But, I just don't know if I like the look of it, and the added cost is a detractor. Will replacing my windows with steel really be that much more effective, insulation wise? Is there any way to replace a window-pane from the outside should one break and I have it framed over?

Thanks, - L
For the longest time I've been thinking that I would paint the windows black, or at least paint the insulation black to delete windows. Mostly this was to retain the School Bus appearance.

However, I'm reconsidering.

That method would work, until a window started to leak or was broken. In that situation it would become a major job to fix it.

I have 10 windows to delete, 5 on each side in the initial phase of conversion.

So I am now considering skinning over the windows, a row of five on one side and a three and two on the other. I've looked carefully at the outside of the bus and it's not a hard thing to do.

I'll use 18-gauge and there is no need to use plywood in there. Prime the steel, screw or rivet in place, with a sealant, and spray-foam inside.
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:07 PM   #3
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For the longest time I've been thinking that I would paint the windows black, or at least paint the insulation black to delete windows. Mostly this was to retain the School Bus appearance.

However, I'm reconsidering.

That method would work, until a window started to leak or was broken. In that situation it would become a major job to fix it.

I have 10 windows to delete, 5 on each side in the initial phase of conversion.

So I am now considering skinning over the windows, a row of five on one side and a three and two on the other. I've looked carefully at the outside of the bus and it's not a hard thing to do.

I'll use 18-gauge and there is no need to use plywood in there. Prime the steel, screw or rivet in place, with a sealant, and spray-foam inside.

This is my exact problem. I have 8 windows I need to replace. Have you figured the cost out yet? I got a sheet of 18G galvanized for $220. It was 4x8 I believe. It might just be worth it for the peace of mind of not having to worry about broken glass. I already resealed my windows and it's going to be a nightmare.... heh
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:14 PM   #4
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I'm personally skinning over my windows, but instead of just tacking it to the outside I'm going to brake up some 18ga steel to the dimensions of the old windows and install them like the windows had been.

However, I have seen a bus used wood that was painted to match and it looked nice. You could probably use some composite or fiberglass-reinforced material, like T1-11. It'd cost more than leaving the windows but less than steel.

Either way, I wouldn't leave the windows because they'll most likely leak, and that could ruin your hard work down the road. They're not good for insulation either.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:43 PM   #5
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At 40' my bus has a lot of windows. I plan a more or less centralized section of tall framing, close to equal on both sides. I see no advantage, other than slight price difference, in keeping windows behind anything that can't access the windows. My plan is to remove all the windows, skin the whole side and then probably get appropriately sized, energy efficient RV windows, weld in the frames and cut the openings and fit the windows. I think is the most efficient way to maximize the insulation factor. It's possible it might not be symetrical side to side, but who sees both sides at once.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:28 AM   #6
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This is my exact problem. I have 8 windows I need to replace. Have you figured the cost out yet? I got a sheet of 18G galvanized for $220. It was 4x8 I believe. It might just be worth it for the peace of mind of not having to worry about broken glass. I already resealed my windows and it's going to be a nightmare.... heh

at $220 a sheet, thats a little spendy. I'd go for 18-20g cold rolled sheet metal. $20-$30 for a 4'x8' panel and then just paint. it'd be significantly less, and no reason to add galvanized on the outside unless you do not plan on painting it at all. use a rivet gun and just pop them over the windows in place from the outside, dont forget a seam sealer around the edges where the rivets go. then your spray foam after the steel on the inside, then close it up with plywood.
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:26 AM   #7
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I got a sheet of 18G galvanized for $220. It was 4x8 I believe.

That's.... really expensive. I'd return it if you haven't cut it up yet. I can get a 4x10 of satin-coated 18 gauge sheet steel for between $50-$70 depending on metal prices.
Galvanized is a good choice if you don't plan on painting it. Otherwise you can get away with untreated or satin coated (which is a zinc coating lesser than full on galvanized, but easier to paint).
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:36 AM   #8
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That's.... really expensive. I'd return it if you haven't cut it up yet. I can get a 4x10 of satin-coated 18 gauge sheet steel for between $50-$70 depending on metal prices.
Galvanized is a good choice if you don't plan on painting it. Otherwise, you can get away with untreated or satin coated (which is a zinc coating lesser than full on galvanized, but easier to paint).
Yeah that's what I thought too... If I'm going to skin over, I think I'll pop the window out rather than try and to skin over. Does anyone have close up pictures of this install?
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:37 AM   #9
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I got a sheet of 18G galvanized for $220. It was 4x8 I believe.
That's crazy high.. I priced some 18g - 20g the other week for windows and it was much less expensive..

I was planning on doing a few of my windows and my ball park math was under $100. for metal and rivets.

Painting the windows would be cheap and easy, I have seen a few buses with that done. It is sort of a temp solution.
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:39 AM   #10
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Yes, I would say to get rid of the glass. Skinning over with steel is the way to go. As was mentioned, breaking a window after building over the inside of it would be a huge pain in the arse.

But you can find much cheaper, easier to work with sheet steel.
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