Container home end cap receives windows (finally)

As was alluded to in a previous post, the last of the windows have been installed in the container home end cap. It’s a highly satisfying finishing touch that makes the interior look and feel bigger while also adding a touch of class to the curb appeal.

Interior acoustics have improved, too, versus the previous metal doors, and it’s warmer on the couch now that there’s less thermal transfer between the outside air and the interior surface of the end cap.

Last, replacing the industrial look of the natural cargo doors with sleek glazing from Thermal Windows definitely brings the project into the 21st century of modern design aesthetics.

(For the technically minded, these are Comfort Select 36 low-E argon gas-filled dual-pane windows. Much like the Pella windows throughout the rest of the container home, they were selected for their energy efficiency.)

Here’s how the process went down last week:

First panel for the container home end cap

container home windows

It was a crew of three led by John (kneeling behind window above, obscured), who has 15 years of experience installing windows. His young crew members were attentive and efficient in working as a team to steady the heavy glass panels during a rather windy afternoon.

Second panel

With the first panel tenuously held into place with one screw on the left-hand side, the second panel was brought in to butt up against it. A strip of vinyl known as snap trim was later hammered into the thin channel between the two panels and would eventually fill all the gaps between panels and the end-cap frame.

Third panel

This weld in the end cap’s frame, as well as its counterpart on the other side, threatened to be troublesome for the installation of the third panel. The original measurements had allotted for some expansion of the frames, but all three panels would need to be raised simultaneously to make a proper fit.

Through the use of shims and a pry bar, the crew was able to work around the welds and slide the third panel up and into place.

From there it was just a matter of installing the rest of the snap trim, drilling the remaining screw holes and inserting screws through the window frames and into the end-cap frame. Last, a bead of caulk was run along the interior and exterior borders of the window frame, and the glass was cleaned with a spray solution and paper towels.

Of course, the next thing to do is get some curtains. It feels a little like living in a fishbowl or some kind of weird performance-art piece at the moment, especially at night when the lights are on inside but it’s dark outside.

I hope to get some that can be raised UP from the floor instead of DOWN from the ceiling. That way I can get the benefit of the light, sky and trees without exposing myself to the neighbors.

One last note: As was planned, the cargo doors remain operable. Although I intend to leave them both wide open 99 percent of the time, I will have the option to close the end cap in case of extreme weather or extended absence.

Container home windows coming soon…

From the get-go, the plan had been to fill the opening where the standard container doors go with floor-to-ceiling windows. Unfortunately, budgeting issues caused me to delay that mostly aesthetic aspect (or so I thought) in favor of paying for more practical things that I could actually afford.

The unexpected snafu caused by that delay only became apparent as the weather grew colder. Because the natural doors have no insulation and are essentially one sheet of metal, the inside of the doors basically gets as cold as the outside of the doors. When the weather sank into the teens in Oklahoma City during December, I was getting massive amounts of condensation on the interior of those doors, which is right behind my couch. Further, that condensation was eventually freezing, so it was like I had a big block of ice right in my living room.

So much for thermal efficiency.

Through a combination of determined miserliness and motivation borne from being uncomfortable at home, I finally pulled the trigger on calling a regional company’s OKC offices, Thermal Windows, and getting a quote on floor-to-ceiling glazing for that much-neglected yet highly costly aspect of the project.

Decisions, decisions

I was struck with a bit of deja vu upon being presented the options for solving my end-cap problems. Looking at the image of computer renderings above, the models on the left and right sides were quoted far cheaper than the one in the middle. At the same time, the one in the middle was the one I really liked. After some hem and hawing, I decided to go with what would make me happiest, and soon enough a representative came out to get the measurements exactly right.

These will be similar to the Pella windows installed throughout the rest of the container: dual-paned and thermally efficient, with a layer of argon gas filling the inside space between the panes.

Hiccups in the process

I was told from the time I ordered the windows (late December) that they would not be available for install until sometime in mid-February. Once again my ignorance with regard to lead times in contracting for residential construction needs was laid bare, but at least I had my foot in the door.

Or so I thought.

There was some confusion as to the color of the window trim I had chosen. I forget the specifics, but it was something like the color I had selected originally wound up being unavailable in that particular material. So, I had to re-submit a signed order form. Then, I received a phone call one Friday morning in January from the install guy who had originally came out to do the initial measurements. He told me he was notified earlier that week that the factory had “lost” the measurements, which had “never happened before.” Although he could not properly explain why he waited several days to tell me of this delay, I advised him to come out right then to redo the measurements.

Waiting game

Today is Feb. 10, and I haven’t heard a peep from Thermal Windows. I expect they could be coming to install any day now, and I can’t wait to take those pictures, but dang: not a very professional company so far. We’ll just have to wait and see how their final install works out and if they’re willing to give me a discount should the delays add up to a significantly longer than expected install date.