How to Install 4×4 Framing for Eze-Breeze Porch Windows

This project shows how to install 4×4 window headers and sill plates to mount Eze-Breeze windows to complete the screened porch. This series is continued from Screen Porch Window Framing with Kreg Pocket Hole Jig.

The window headers and sills are the 4×4 horizontal cross members between the vertical support posts in this photo:

Screened Porch 4x4 Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screened Porch 4×4 Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows

How to Install 4×4 Framing for Eze-Breeze Porch Windows

I bought kiln dried 4×4 inch by 8 feet long Western Red Cedar S4S (Sawn 4 Sides) Clear grade lumber to match the Cedar porch framing, carefully measured the width between the porch support posts at the header and sill plate locations, then cut each piece to length with my DeWALT miter saw.

Drill Pocket Screw Holes

The 4×4 window headers and sill plates will be attached to the porch support posts using the Kreg Jig HD and Kreg Heavy Duty 2-1/2 inch pocket hole screws for concealed fasteners that won’t interfere with the Eze-Breeze window frame. (See the Screen Porch Window Framing with Kreg Pocket Hole Jig project for details.) Three pocket holes are drilled – two one one side equally spaced as shown in the following photo and a 3rd hole centered on the other side of the beam:

Drill Pocket Hole in 4x4 Header with Kreg HD Jig

Drill Pocket Hole in 4×4 Header with Kreg HD Jig

The pocket holes and ends of the 4×4 are coated with clear exterior wood sealer before mounting, otherwise it would be difficult or impossible to reach these areas. The rest of the beam will be sealed later but before the windows are installed.

Pocket Holes Sealed in 4x4 Header

Pocket Holes Sealed in 4×4 Header

4×4 Porch Window Header Installation

The 4×4 window headers will be set at the same height as the Eze-Breeze Cabana door header (left side of the next photo) for a matching appearance. I used a chalk line and line bubble level to snap the blue chalk line across the vertical support posts on this side of the porch, then temporarily fastened two Simpson Strong-Tie A23Z with two wood screws on the inside of both posts to rest the 4×4 header on until the pocket hole screws are driven. Take care to also level the A23Z angle left-to-right before driving the 2nd wood screw:

Simpson Strong-Tie A23Z Angle Temporarily Installed on Level Mark

Simpson Strong-Tie A23Z Angle Temporarily Installed on Level Mark

Small wood blocks can be used instead of the Simpson A23Z angles for temporary supports but I had several A23Z’s left over from a prior project. (If you’ve read my other carpentry and wood deck projects then you know how much I dislike nails and am a fan of Simpson Strong-Tie metal/wood connector products and wood screws.)

Close-up of the 4×4 window header resting on the Simpson Strong-Tie A23Z angle:

4x4 Header Set on Metal Angle for Pocket Hole Fastening

4×4 Header Set on Metal Angle for Pocket Hole Fastening

Big picture view of the header sitting on the A23Z angles:

Screened Porch - 4x4 Header Level and Ready for Fastening with Pocket Hole Screws

Screened Porch – 4×4 Header Level and Ready for Fastening with Pocket Hole Screws

The Kreg heavy duty 2-1/2 inch pocket hole screws are now driven to fasten the header. Pull down on the 4×4 header as the pocket hole screws are driven to prevent the header from lifting or drifting. Two screws are set in the bottom and one centered on top. The side with two pocket holes is on the bottom because these will be left exposed and it won’t collect dirt and rainwater this way:

Screened Porch - Fasten 4x4 Header to Post with Pocket Hole Screws

Screened Porch – Fasten 4×4 Header to Post with Pocket Hole Screws

The Simpson Strong-Tie A23Z angles are unscrewed and used for mounting the next 4×4 header.

Plug the Pocket Holes

The single pocket hole on top of the header will be plugged with a hardwood dowel to keep out dirt and rain water that could promote wood rot. I bought 4 feet long by 1/2 inch diameter dowel rods and cut it to ~4 inch lengths:

Wood Dowel for Filling Pocket Hole in 4x4 Header

Wood Dowel for Filling Pocket Hole in 4×4 Header

The dowel is tapped into the pocket hole and cut even with flush cut pull saw:

Plug Pocket Hole with Wood Dowel and Cut Flush with Pull Saw

Plug Pocket Hole with Wood Dowel and Cut Flush with Pull Saw

I’m used a Lowes Kobalt 3-in-1 Multi Saw which is low quality and broke on me because none of the local hardware stores carried a real flush cut saw. Do yourself a favor a buy quality flush cut pull saw:

Here’s the pocket screw holes plugged with flush cut wood dowels. Two coats of clear exterior wood sealer will be brushed on then the wood joints sealed with non-paintable exterior silicone caulk to prevent rainwater wicking between the headers and support posts. Non-paintable caulk is important because it’s not tacky when cured and doesn’t pick up mildew and dirt.

4x4 Header Pocket Holes Plugged with Wood Dowels and Sawed Flush

4×4 Header Pocket Holes Plugged with Wood Dowels and Sawed Flush

At this point I’ve installed all the 4×4 windows headers:

Screened Porch - 4x4 Headers Installed between Post for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screened Porch – 4×4 Headers Installed between Post for Eze-Breeze Windows

Interior view of the cedar porch framing and 4×4 headers:

Screened Porch - 4x4 Headers between Posts for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screened Porch – 4×4 Headers between Posts for Eze-Breeze Windows

Install Screened Porch Window Sill Plates

The Eze-Breeze windows will sit on 4×4 sill plates set on the wood deck between the vertical posts. The 4×4 lumber raises the bottom of the windows well clear of the deck with plenty of room for the window mounting flange.

Only two pocket holes are drilled in the 4×4 sill plates because it’s lying on the wood deck:

Screen Porch 4x4 Header and Sill for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screen Porch 4×4 Header and Sill for Eze-Breeze Windows

Close-up of the sill plate and pocket holes:

Screen Porch 4x4 Corner Framing Details for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screen Porch 4×4 Corner Framing Details for Eze-Breeze Windows

I’ll explain the purpose of the 2×4 jack studs in the above photo momentarily.

Eze-Breeze Window – Screened Porch Corner Framing

The Eze-Breeze Vertical Four-Track and Fixed-Lite windows – both inside and outside mount – require a wood framing member to mount the aluminum frame flanges. The minor challenge is the corner porch support posts can’t provide a mounting surface because it’s blocked by the 4×4 headers and sills. The solution is simple: install a 2×4 jack stud (also known as a “window trimmer stud”) on the side faces of the 4×4 corner posts. The 2×4 trimmer provides a 1-1/2 inch wide surface to fasten the Eze-Breeze window flange:

Screen Porch 4x4 Corner Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screen Porch 4×4 Corner Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows

Note the jack/trimmer studs are installed AFTER the 4×4 headers and sills.

View of the outside corner post, jack/trimmer studs and support post-to-deck mounting. You can see how the 2×4 Cedar jack studs provide a mounting surface for the Eze-Breeze window flange. I used Simpson Strong-Tie SD #9 1-1/2 hex head structural screws to fasten the 2×4 jack studs to the 4×4 corner post:

Screened Porch - 4x4 Sill and Jack Stud Detail for Eze-Breeze Windows

Screened Porch – 4×4 Sill and Jack Stud Detail for Eze-Breeze Windows

Aside: The 4×4 porch support posts are fastened to the wood deck with Simpson Strong-Tie BC40Z Half Post Bases. The BC40Z is fastened with 2-1/2 inch long screws through the deck planks to a doubled 2x deck joist, or if the post is located between the joist bays to a 4×4 pressure treated 12 inch long block that is fastened with two 1/2 inch galvanized bolts, washers and nuts to the deck rim joists. Simpson Strong-Tie SD #9 2-1/2 wood screws were used to fasten the BC40Z Half Post Base. This method for fastening the porch support posts to the wood deck is so much better and stronger than toe-nailing and doesn’t split the bottom of the post.

Jack studs are required only on the right side of the opposite 4×4 porch support post where the Eze-Breeze inside mount windows will be installed. Outside mount windows will be installed on the left side of photo because it’s not obstructed by the deck rail – a jack stud isn’t required on this side of the corner post because the window flange will overlap the post:

4x4 Porch Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows - Header Sill and Jack Studs

4×4 Porch Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows – Header Sill and Jack Studs

I’ve finished installing the 4×4 window headers and sill plates. The window headers are set at the same height as the door rough opening:

4x4 Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows on Deck Screened Porch

4×4 Framing for Eze-Breeze Windows on Deck Screened Porch

After brushing on two coats of exterior wood sealer on the cedar framing the porch will be ready for the Eze-Breeze windows.

This project is continued in Eze-Breeze Porch Windows Installation Overview.

Best,

Bob Jackson

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