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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
Big picture view of the header sitting on the A23Z angles:
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:
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:
The dowel is tapped into the pocket hole and cut even with flush cut 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.
At this point I’ve installed all the 4×4 windows headers:
Interior view of the cedar porch framing and 4×4 headers:
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:
Close-up of the sill plate and pocket holes:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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