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Thread: Proper windows / installation methods for metal building retrofit

  1. #1

    Proper windows / installation methods for metal building retrofit

    I have a small 20x20 metal building on a slab (more of an enclosed carport really) that is currently storage space, but am strongly considering expanding my shop to include this space for sanding, finishing, photography and safe storage for finished work going out the door. I will try and edit this post soon with a few photos of the building and the “framing” inside it.

    It has no windows and 2 7’ tall roll up doors. I want to install at least a couple of windows in this building, possibly a 36” man door, and then get it spray foamed and add a small electrical subpanel.

    I have installed/flashed hundreds of high end residential (mostly flanged) windows in wooden framed buildings working as a carpenter for many years prior to my woodworking career but never in a steel building/carport like this. YouTube and Google searches are mixed and mostly filled with filler information from metal building companies that tell me nothing of substance. Flashing a window is no joke and something that sparked many a debate on construction sites especially as tapes and adhesives have improved over the last 10+ years and come into the mix of more modern window install. I am seeing no details online about flashing windows in a metal building.

    Is there a certain type of window specific to this type of metal building? Sources?

    How is it properly flashed? I‘m having a hard time wrapping my head around the proper flashing details that don’t involve massive amounts of caulk that will eventually break down and leak.

    Should I buck out a wooden frame for it inside of the metal siding to fasten the window to? I saw some videos of installers just cutting an opening into the steel siding and somehow hanging the window from just the steel siding itself??

    Also interested in hearing details about a man door and flashing details for it, though I’m sure the window details will translate to it for the most part aside from thesh hold details.

    Thanks for any help.
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    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 06-24-2022 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Photos
    Still waters run deep.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Look up RR buildings on YouTube. He builds nothing but post frame metal clad buildings and he has a lot of how to on flashing windows, roll ups, and man doors.

  3. #3
    Thanks Ralph. I’m familiar with Kyle and his content. I haven’t seen any situation in his builds that is what I have, but maybe I’ll go back and look search through his stuff again. He typically has a wooden post frame structure with wooden framing in the wall that he’s hanging the window from. Maybe I can determine proper flashing details from his videos and figure out the proper framing necessary somewhere else. I can fill in some wooden framing somehow into the existing structure if necessary, but just not sure if that’s the proper approach on such a building.

    I did see a video of his that mentioned Plyco brand windows that are made with some integrated J channel head flashing, etc and are designed specifically for metal siding install but look to be made for wood framing. My building has no wood framing at all inside and only has 2 1/2” diameter round metal (galvanized steel?) “posts” that connect at the eaves to the same type of round metal that supports the roof panels also on 5’ centers. Almost like a step down in structural rigidity / build quality than the 2 1/2” square tube metal building construction that typically have metal trusses.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 06-24-2022 at 9:57 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    You can generally get metal tubing from a carport type building manufacturer that you can use to frame out for windows and other opentings consistent with the existing framing. There are generally two sizes/weights for the tubing so measure yours first. The best way to install the window would be to frame out from the inside first, then remove a sheet or two of steel on the exterior so you can install the window (allows you to use new construction windows with the flange), install j-channel on the sides and bottom of the window, cut and reinstall the steel and then do the top j-channel like Kyle does. Doing it this way is certainly a bit of work, but you can get a better weather seal this way. Honestly, I'd do it the same way for a wood post frame building, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Yes, use a buck. Actually two. The inner buck is sized for a flange window, the outer buck is the supporting structure/framing and attached to the top and bottom plate. Do all of the framing before cutting the hole. You mark out the hole using the inner window buck, I use a grinder with a diamond blade to cut to the inner RO size. Pull the inner buck out again, attach the flange window to it as you normally would with nails and tape. Install your trim in the cut steel hole loosely with some caulk on it but no fasteners, then cut a little caulk on the flange part of the window and inner buck assembly and slip the window on the buck into the widow hole, . It's now perfectly positioned, and J is perfect but loose. Attach the inner buck to the outer buck with a few nails or screws in the window jamb extension area, then put a few small sheet metal screws through the J on the outside to hold it. That's optional really, it can't go anywhere and its solid when the caulk dries. Perfect every time! I'll try to remember to dig up a pic or two. Honestly have never seen anyone else doing it this way, most make it way more complicated, this way takes all the guesswork out of it.

    Make your inner buck as deep as the finished wall will be and you'll be ready for easy trimout later.

  6. #6
    Thank you Steve for the details. A few photos wouldn’t hurt my feelings but I’m sure I can sort it out eventually from your description.
    Still waters run deep.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Western Nebraska
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Mitchell View Post
    Thank you Steve for the details. A few photos wouldn’t hurt my feelings but I’m sure I can sort it out eventually from your description.
    Phillip, I know one of the guys took some pics of us installing this way, I'll see if I can figure out where they are. It's a pretty slick technique, fast too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    In my original reply, I completely missed that the tubing used for this structure was round. That will require a little more adaptation for connections to existing structure, but in general...still quite doable.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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