View Full Version : 13 windows - build or buy?

Eduard Nemirovsky
05-21-2018, 7:02 PM
I have a big barn in the good shape except windows, I am planning to convert to shop before retirement. All windows same size -36 by 36", aluminum single glass, leaking, not easy to open plus, if I am going to insulate whole barn - it will be a huge leak from outside.
Thinking to build, window at the time - no rush, ten more year before retirement :(((.
I have all tools, for sure would need shaper tooling for windows.
What you will do - build or buy?
If build, where can I get info how to do it. In the past I build one window in my garage - ten years still good. But it was very small window.
If you will go for buying - where to buy? I don't want to buy a few here and few there, I would like to have same look for all windows.
Awaiting for advice.
Thank you,


Tom M King
05-21-2018, 7:18 PM
Ride up to Community Forklift in Hyattsville, and check out what they have before you decide to make them.

Eduard Nemirovsky
05-21-2018, 7:40 PM
Tom, never heard about this place. Do you think I have a chance to find 13 windows there?
Thank you,

Jamie Buxton
05-21-2018, 8:02 PM
The usual answer... If you value your labor at $0 per hour, you'll do okay making them. If you value your labor at some non-zero value, like $20/hr, you'll do better buying them.

Eduard Nemirovsky
05-21-2018, 8:36 PM
Jamie, I did expect answer like yours. I value my labor much higher then $20, at least 10-15 times higher, but on my regular job. Woodworking - hobby, and I like work in my shop.
If I am going to buy, it will be approximately 13 by $150-170 with total $2000-2400, problem I did not see windows with this low price yet.
If I am going to build - wood plus some tooling and enjoinment to build, Probably same money? I don't know. But for sure I am not adding to this my labor cost.
Thank you, Ed.

Bryan Lisowski
05-21-2018, 8:52 PM
This is a tough decision. You build yourself and quality would probably be better, but buying may actually end up cheaper. The glass will probably cost the most. I guess your decision should come down to how much other work will be needed to get the barn to your liking. The good thing is time is on your side. I would probably buy if they are a standard size. I would go to an Andersen store or similar and then go to the box store with the quote and generally they will beat by 10%.

Bill Dufour
05-21-2018, 8:54 PM
In your climate do you need double pane? If so it is probably no cheaper to buy just the glass unit then a complete window. If they are a standard off the shelf size they will cost 1/2 of a made to fit unit. I do not like single hung windows as the 1/2 screen looks cheap to me. And the top does not open to allow airflow of hot air. Depending on your plans you may want to convert one or more windows to a door. A door just for the dust collecter bin is nice.
Bill D.

Tom M King
05-21-2018, 9:52 PM
Tom, never heard about this place. Do you think I have a chance to find 13 windows there?
Thank you,

They get stuff in all the time, and you never know what they're going to have. It's worth a trip to see what it's like. I've pulled truck and trailer loads of stuff out of there. I found some Marvin windows, that had never been installed anywhere, for pennies on the dollar, when I built the last addition on our house.

13 exactly alike will lower the odds, but I won't say it's impossible. 13 total won't put a small dent in what they have. You might see something you like, and change your design.

When builders up there remodel some place, they take the remains there to get a tax deduction, rather than having to pay a disposal fee, and you will be surprised what shows up there. You can kill hours there looking around.

Peter Kelly
05-21-2018, 10:38 PM
Have the sashes made and produce the casings, jambs, stops, and install yourself: http://shop.americanwindowsonline.com/wood-barn-sash-windows
Tooling, materials, glass would probably cost the same to completely DIY it.

Eduard Nemirovsky
05-22-2018, 7:09 AM
Peter thank you for the link. I like it.

Lee Schierer
05-22-2018, 9:28 AM
IMHO you are wasting your time and money making your own windows. Wood windows require constant maintenance, can be difficult to open and close, generally don't seal well, single pane glass is as bad as having aluminum frames. Life expectancy for a wood window is about 10-15 years vinyl windows from a quality company will last 50 years and require little if any maintenance other than occasional cleaning if you want to see out. I replaced 25 Anderson wood windows in my house over 15 years ago withe vinyl windows by Great Lakes and have had zero problems and no maintenance other than cleaning the glass once year. Oh, yeah, they also came with a lifetime glass warranty even if my lawn mower throws a rock.

lowell holmes
05-22-2018, 10:42 AM
Google "wooden sash windows for sale", you will find several places to buy them.

Tom M King
05-22-2018, 11:14 AM
If you end up with single pane windows, they need to be painted on the inside with exterior paint. Glass itself, is pretty cheap. I put ten custom skylights in a standing seam roof last fall. We folded the curbs up from the panels, but needed the bare glass for them. 2x4 foot insulated glass, with 1/4" safety glass for the inside, and 1/4" bronze tempered on the outside, with 1/2" gap filled with the proper inert gas, were $200 a piece, which I didn't think was too bad.

Rick Potter
05-22-2018, 12:16 PM
If you plan to do real double pane windows, you should investigate the process first. It is a big deal ..hermetically sealed..draw a vacuum... insert argon (?) gas...

Anything less is just storm windows (I think they still call them that).

Tom M King
05-22-2018, 12:18 PM
The units I was talking about were made up to my specifications. I wouldn't think anyone would consider making the insulated glass units themselves.

Bill Dufour
05-22-2018, 12:22 PM
AFAIK California does not allow new single pane windows. At least no stores have them in stock. You can replace the glass in old single pane but not replace with new single pane windows.
Bill D

Larry Edgerton
05-26-2018, 7:19 PM
You can buy precut single strength in several sizes cheap and design the sash around the glass rather than having the glass cut to your sash.

If you want a nice window that will last as long as you need look at Marvin All-Ultrex. It is a reinforced synthetic, looks like wood but much stronger, cheaper than wood in standard sizes, and they seal very nicely indeed, and will never rot. Miles better than a vinyl window. I have been using them on Lake Michigan for the last few years because of the fierce winds, and they have fared very well resisting the wind driven rains wonderfully.

Eduard Nemirovsky
05-28-2018, 7:20 PM
Larry, thank you for advice. Will check Marvin All-Ultrex. Looks like I am going to buy. :((

Alex Tonin
05-29-2018, 12:10 PM
I thought I'd mention that the company I work for (Rangate (https://rangate.com)) supports Alpine Technical Workshop (https://alpineworkshops.com/), a specialized wood window joinery school that runs sessions a few times a year. If you do end up considering making wood windows regularly, it's a great experience.

Our instructor Joe Calhoon has been making wood windows for over 30 years now. He's pretty active on forums and the like so you might know him; I can tell you there's nobody I'd rather have teach me about window joinery. It might be overkill for your project, but IMO it's a must for anyone seriously looking at making wood windows well (too much alliteration....).

Osvaldo Cristo
06-01-2018, 5:13 AM
If you will enjoy the construction process, go and make them by yourself otherwise purchase them.

All the best!