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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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Old 04-03-2018, 01:25 PM   #11
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I was also going to apply the new skin from the inside, the same way the windows were loaded. Does it make a difference whether or not you do it from the inside or on the outside? Besides having to demo part of a wall if you ever need to access it for any reason, thats the only negative i can think of
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:21 PM   #12
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I was also going to apply the new skin from the inside, the same way the windows were loaded. Does it make a difference whether or not you do it from the inside or on the outside? Besides having to demo part of a wall if you ever need to access it for any reason, thats the only negative i can think of
Maybe you could think of skinning from the outside, the way the rest of the skin is applied.

It will be easier and you can use all the original screw or rivet holes. It will look 100% better.

If you do it from the inside you will have limited surface to attach the panels with adequate sealant, and the outside will still look like it should have windows.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:40 PM   #13
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Remove the glass then fill with a "delete" in each window. It's really the only way to eliminate leaks. I went a bit overboard with mine (which I do on many things) and fitted 14 gauge sheet metal deletes into each opening. Tack welded then sealed wit OEM Seam Sealer. They will never leak again.

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Old 04-05-2018, 09:23 AM   #14
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Remove and skin. If you want to keep the windows, keep windows, but keep them AS windows. Blacking them out is the skoolie equivalent of using a bedsheet for curtains in a house. No matter how nice of a sheet you use, it looks awful.
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:18 AM   #15
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Remove and skin. If you want to keep the windows, keep windows, but keep them AS windows. Blacking them out is the skoolie equivalent of using a bedsheet for curtains in a house. No matter how nice of a sheet you use, it looks awful.
Not as bad as tin foil in the windows. lol
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:39 AM   #16
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Yea but at least tin foil keeps the aliens from getting inside yer head!
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:27 AM   #17
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Remove and skin. If you want to keep the windows, keep windows, but keep them AS windows. Blacking them out is the skoolie equivalent of using a bedsheet for curtains in a house. No matter how nice of a sheet you use, it looks awful.
This is a good point. The windows are tinted but I think you would still be able to see that they are painted.


I'm going to pull those windows and skin. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:29 AM   #18
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Remove the glass then fill with a "delete" in each window. It's really the only way to eliminate leaks. I went a bit overboard with mine (which I do on many things) and fitted 14 gauge sheet metal deletes into each opening. Tack welded then sealed wit OEM Seam Sealer. They will never leak again.

I really like how this looks. What do you mean by a "delete?" Are there any guides out there that could show me roughly how to do this?
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:33 AM   #19
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What do you mean by a "delete?"
"Delete" simply means removing the windows, either actually or effectively.

Search the forum for "window skinning", you'll get lots of info.

FWIW, I am about to delete 10 windows, 5 on each side. They will be completely removed and sheet steel added to cover the holes.

Probably going to use 18-gauge 1008 steel. It's a little heavier than necessary but should reduce the tendency of new steel skins to deform (ripple, oil can).
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:58 AM   #20
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"Delete" simply means removing the windows, either actually or effectively.

Search the forum for "window skinning", you'll get lots of info.

FWIW, I am about to delete 10 windows, 5 on each side. They will be completely removed and sheet steel added to cover the holes.

Probably going to use 18-gauge 1008 steel. It's a little heavier than necessary but should reduce the tendency of new steel skins to deform (ripple, oil can).
Thank you for clarifying. Will you be putting plywood behind the sheets as well, or will the thicker steel negate the need for that?
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