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Old 06-04-2020, 01:14 PM   #1
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Some thoughts on windows

Windows were a big factor in my heating difficulties of this past winter, and they are figuring prominently in my struggle to keep cool this spring. so I thought I would take a look and see what was available from among the latest offerings in the residential home construction world. Many years ago some manufacturers began to offer windows with fiberglass frames, but these were boutique offerings. now I see that a major window manufacturer offers them. They are typically stronger than vinyl, more rot resistant than wood and of better insulating qualities than aluminum. today I took a look to see what the Pella window company had to offer and I noticed that they have a fiberglass framed window, available as a horizontal slider. Of course these are double pane thermal glazed windows with options for low E and tempered safety glass.Interestingly enough they do not offer pre-installed jam extensions like many windows I have worked with, so what you get is a window that will fit in a cavity as little as 2 1/2 inches deep, which I thought might be interesting to bus hackers. I would need a window roughly 54 inches wide and 28 inches tall to fill-in the openings that currently exist in my bus. They would run roughly $600 apiece. I also noticed that they offer windows in this horizontal slider configuration for hurricane prone areas. These windows have stronger frames and seals to resist pressure differentials and possibly laminated glass to resist impacts. I didn’t price these hurricane windows, but they look to be more expensive than the fiberglass ones that I mentioned above. that I mentioned above.

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Old 06-05-2020, 01:16 AM   #2
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I am finding that building a bus for comfortable living in extreme climates can be a relatively expensive proposition. The windows I described above would cost about $5000 for eight, Which is what I would need, and which is only slightly less than I paid for my entire bus.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:01 AM   #3
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Why not just go with RV windows? Can even find them for cheap on Ebay and even cheaper at junk yards. RVs are use in every climate around and they have far less insulation than most bus conversions out there. You can even get them with tinting.
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Old 06-07-2020, 03:07 AM   #4
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I think we’re talking about two different concepts here.. The first being how to make a livable space out of a bus for the least amount of money possible, which is what I think you’re talking about.. What I’m talking about is how to make a livable space out of a bus while incorporating as much of the efficiency and comfort of a well-built, well engineered home as possible,. It would be a shame to have to heat my bus with a 70% efficient 40,000 BTU RV furnace when a modern conventional home, with five times as much interior space, can be heated with a 98% efficient 15,000 BTU unit..I am not going to be able to get anywhere near those kind of numbers with salvaged RV windows.
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Old 06-07-2020, 03:39 AM   #5
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Could you post a link to the windows you have in mind? I'm curious to see how they might integrate


You might also want to check out Arctic Tern. They sell european style double paned windows aimed at the overland and RV industry
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:18 AM   #6
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Wrenchtech, you got my curiosity up about fiberglass frame windows so I did a little Google work as I'm sure you have. While I don't know what it costs to have these windows custom made, Marvin-Integrity brand (Marvin.com) can fabricate horizontal sliders to within 1/16" of required dimensions. They can also provide dual glazing, tempered double strength e coated glass. Had this product been available when I built my bus it is the way I would have gone.

That said, I ended up with aluminum frame horizontal sliders with dual glazing, tempered glass, screens and e coating. I ordered "shed" or block wall configuration so I wouldn't have to deal with the nail flange. They fit perfectly in the original bus opening. While I recognize aluminum has heat gain/loss problems, I've been well pleased with their performance. By example while I do get condensation on the inside of the windshield from time to time I have never found condensation on the sliders-frame or glass and I have camped in freezing cold to 100 degree humid to dry environments.

Here in California we were all forced to go to vinyl window window frames in new construction because they demonstrate less heat loss. Now there is a move afoot to ban them because the materials are somewhat volatile and may cause cancer!?! My concern in using them in a bus application is their lack of rigidity.

Just for comparison sake I'll include a couple pics of my horizontal slide windows and a copy of how to reach the manufacturer by phone etc.
Jack

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Old 06-10-2020, 11:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
Could you post a link to the windows you have in mind? I'm curious to see how they might integrate


You might also want to check out Arctic Tern. They sell european style double paned windows aimed at the overland and RV industry

Here you go:

https://www.pella.com/ideas/windows/pella-impervia/
https://www.pella.com/ideas/windows/...iding-windows/

As I probably already said, I first saw Fiberglass windows 30 years ago. They seemed like a great innovation but we really only available as a boutique item fromAs I probably already said, I first saw Fiberglass windows 30 years ago. They seemed like a great innovation but were really only available as a boutique item from small manufacturers. Now it looks like you can get them from a number of mainstream suppliers. I just looked at Pella because I could call my local Lowes store to get a price.
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:04 AM   #8
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Wow! It is great to see the way you installed your windows. They look great and you say the perform well. What more could you ask for. I will look into the Marvine/Integrity line.
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:44 AM   #9
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I have several RV windows, but now you have me thinking about how inefficient they will be. So, if I decide to go with something more in line with what you guys are talking about, what do I need to be aware of as far as sliders? Horizontal, vertical, left side and right side of bus, which place should the slider be, inside or outside, if vertical, up or down? I certainly don't want to do it wrong.
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I have several RV windows, but now you have me thinking about how inefficient they will be. So, if I decide to go with something more in line with what you guys are talking about, what do I need to be aware of as far as sliders? Horizontal, vertical, left side and right side of bus, which place should the slider be, inside or outside, if vertical, up or down? I certainly don't want to do it wrong.
I am by no means an expert. I'm just gathering information now, but I have installed some windows as a residential construction worker and as a remodeling contractor. One of the things to consider is that the windows are available in double-hung or single-hung configurations, meaning that you can get them with either both panels sliding or one fixed panel and one sliding panel. All the windows I have ever worked with have a top side and a bottom side and are required to be installed with that orientation because they're built to shed water with the help of gravity. So what does that mean for horizontal sliders going on either side of your vehicle? You might want to have the outer sliding panel facing forward on the vehicle and the inner panel to the rear so that the forward motion of the bus wouldn't force water into the overlapping juncture of the two panels. Can you specify the orientation when you order the windows? Good question and probably not something that a homebuilder would be concerned about. When I ask the salesman at the lumberyard, I am guessing that it might be the first time he's heard such a question asked. I got a quote from Lowes, who are dealers of the Pella window brand, for $600 per window, for a 54 x 28" horizontal slider. I found out that one of my favorite local lumberyards can get me a similar window from, Marvin Window and Door's, Integrity line for $550. I might get two of them to plug into my sleeping area at the rear of the bus to test the concept. If it works out, I would get another six to finish up. I intend to eliminate roughly 1/3 of the window area from the sides of the bus. No need for windows where the bathroom and floor to ceiling storage will be built, that and an insulated wall is always better than the best window when you're trying to control your indoor climate.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:31 AM   #11
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all vehicle sliders in RV's and transit busses are generally installed this way.. with the sliding panel being the Outer panel and toward the front..



if you plan to drive with the windows closed you might consider Casement windows.. ive seen them made in steel-reinforced vinyl and in fiber glass.. a triple casement window with 2 moveable panels allows for a nice ability to catch the breeze when parked from different directions.. I have some of these in my house and they are great.. you cant drive with them open..



I would steer away from wood windows as they require a thicker wall and are finicky about alignment.. they look nice and are excellent insulators but wont stand up to mobile use.



I have in the past questioned fixed-building windows of any kind in an RV however people are using them with good luck so my fears about them are unfounded..



-Christopher
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:04 AM   #12
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Another possible window configuration could be the awning style, hinged at the top and swinging out at the bottom. Like a casement window, it could have a crank mechanism that opens and closes it. One benefit of an awning window is that the whole window opens instead of half of the window at a time, as you would get with a slider. You get a lot of open window space and fresh air (when you want it) and a full screen mounted inside on the window frame, as with casement windows.

Pictured here is my bus with a slider window doing an imitation of an awning window. It is also hinged at the top and releases from the bottom for emergency, use (or when you need more air). One of the main drawbacks to this window is that it has a frame within a frame with possibilities for air leakage at both the slider panels and the tilt out frame.

Also, thanks to the aluminum construction the frames act as heaters during the summer and cooling coils during the winter. A few days ago, this being mid June in Wisconsin, it was about 79° at mid day and sunny. I took some temperatures in the bus with my infrared no contact thermometer and found that the floor was about 86°, the ceiling was about 96° in the window frames inside the bus were 110° on the side of the bus getting the most sun.

And last but not least, with 200,000 miles on the bus, these windows have an assortment of problems. The frames within the frames that open up when you want to use the window as an emergency escape route don't latch well and tend to open much too easily, like when trying to open the slider panels, many of which are quite difficult to open. And I am likely not the first person to have had trouble opening them because the handles, which also act as the window slider locks, are coming apart or becoming detached from the window, from what I imagine is people pushing and pulling on them while struggling to open or close the window. Because the frames are not properly closed much of the time they tend to leak vast amounts of air, which makes the already difficult job of heating and cooling these buses even more difficult.

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Old 06-20-2020, 04:29 PM   #13
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We froze our butts off in our Skoolie- until foil-bubble-foil insulating wrap was installed. I glued the heavy magnets onto the FBF and set them against the WIndow panels. Cheers
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrenchtech View Post
Another possible window configuration could be the awning style, hinged at the top and swinging out at the bottom. Like a casement window, it could have a crank mechanism that opens and closes it. One benefit of an awning window is that the whole window opens instead of half of the window at a time, as you would get with a slider. You get a lot of open window space and fresh air (when you want it) and a full screen mounted inside on the window frame, as with casement windows.

Pictured here is my bus with a slider window doing an imitation of an awning window. It is also hinged at the top and releases from the bottom for emergency, use (or when you need more air). One of the main drawbacks to this window is that it has a frame within a frame with possibilities for air leakage at both the slider panels and the tilt out frame.

Also, thanks to the aluminum construction the frames act as heaters during the summer and cooling coils during the winter. A few days ago, this being mid June in Wisconsin, it was about 79° at mid day and sunny. I took some temperatures in the bus with my infrared no contact thermometer and found that the floor was about 86°, the ceiling was about 96° in the window frames inside the bus were 110° on the side of the bus getting the most sun.

And last but not least, with 200,000 miles on the bus, these windows have an assortment of problems. The frames within the frames that open up when you want to use the window as an emergency escape route don't latch well and tend to open much too easily, like when trying to open the slider panels, many of which are quite difficult to open. And I am likely not the first person to have had trouble opening them because the handles, which also act as the window slider locks, are coming apart or becoming detached from the window, from what I imagine is people pushing and pulling on them while struggling to open or close the window. Because the frames are not properly closed much of the time they tend to leak vast amounts of air, which makes the already difficult job of heating and cooling these buses even more difficult.
Hi

Ive got a bus with those windows too. I think they look good but they sure are tough to operate. Im afraid im going to have to remove/reseal mine. That frame within a frame is maddening, and i can only imagine how they have been damaged by people yanking and pulling and prying over the years. Don't even get me started on the leaks, which i have yet to track down.

Have you had to reseal any of yours? What about straightening the frames, or repairing the emergency latches? If you have any wisdom to share i would appreciate it.

when i got the bus none of the windows opened at all, sometimes i wish i had just left them that way. They are going to be a real project.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:19 PM   #15
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Hi there Stlthe. Your situation sounds familiar. When I got my bus I thought that the windows were a real positive point, but now I don’t think so. The other day it was 85° outdoors and the frames of my windows inside the bus were 126°. That’s because they’re black and they’re made of aluminum, and have no thermal break between the inner and outer sections, so they transmit heat (and also cold) like crazy. My solution is going to be to get rid of about 1/3 of all my windows and replace the rest. I hope to live in my bus full-time and to be able to live in climates that experience both extremes of hot and cold weather. I have realized that my goal is not attainable with the windows that came with the bus.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtdoctor View Post
We froze our butts off in our Skoolie- until foil-bubble-foil insulating wrap was installed. I glued the heavy magnets onto the FBF and set them against the WIndow panels. Cheers
I am going to look into that foil insulation as a temporary measure, but in the end nothing short of window replacement will get me to my goal. It’s expensive, but the expense is relative compared to paying rent or a mortgage.
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:35 PM   #17
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The only "issue" I know of with double or triple pane windows is if you're traveling to high places (8k to 10k feet above sea level) Windows for those regions have capillary or weeping holes to regulate pressure. Which means if you get gas filled windows, the gas will eventually leak out. Casement windows provide the best insulation. If I can find them at a decent price, this is what I plan on installing.
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Old 06-10-2021, 12:31 AM   #18
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We installed 36x12 (3' wide by a foot tall) dual-pane sliders.
.
We established their placement after building cardboard mock-ups of our furniture and cabinets, then experimenting with interior configurations for access and traffic.
After our semi-permanent holdings were (mostly) finalized, we cut our window holes for natural light and ventilation.
To mimic sunlight, our windows are at our eye-level while standing inside... about eight-feet above pavement to discourage peepers.
.
We think tiny windows offer better resistance to temperature swings.
We think tiny windows discourage prowlers.
.
2003, we invested about us$60 apiece for three, a total of a couple hundred smackaroos.
After nearly two decades full-time live-aboard, we think this's the ideal combination of natural light and ventilation.
I must stipulate:
* we are inside to sleep, our daylight hours are invested outside exploring... and holding hands watching the sunrise.
.
I hope this helps.
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