This project shows how to install Eze-Breeze gable windows on a screened porch.
The Eze-Breeze Fixed Lite LF20 gable windows are called-out in this photo:
Triangle versus Trapezoid Windows
The gable window rough opening is a triangle shape (3 sided) however a triangle Eze-Breeze window is not manufactured. Therefore a trapezoid shape (4 sides of unequal length) is used. The shortest side of an Eze-Breeze trapezoid window must be least 4 inches long and I’ll install blocking at the narrow end of the gable rough opening to mount the window. This is a “Standard” (as opposed to Heavy Duty) Fixed Lite Lip Frame LF20 trapezoid window:
And the interior side – the mounting flange has a gray foam gasket (which is still covered with a white peel-off backer strip) and is 1/2 inch wide for fastening to the porch framing with screws:
Eze-Breeze Fixed Lite Lip Frame windows can be installed as Inside or Outside mount because the design is identical for both applications.
How to Install Eze-Breeze Gable Windows
The Eze-Breeze Fixed Lite windows are easy to install – set the window in the rough opening and fasten the flange with screws. The problem I ran into was reworking the Cedar trim so the window fit the rough opening with all surfaces flush.
Gable Window Rough Opening Alignment Problems
I hired a builder to construct the porch on the wood deck but decided to purchase the install the Eze-Breeze windows myself saving about 40% versus the builder’s estimate. However when I took a close look at the gable framing it was apparent the Cedar trim and porch framing wasn’t flush (i.e. aligned in a flat vertical plane) and I had rework to do before it would be possible to install the gable windows.
The first problem is the 4×4 gable post extends 1/4 inch past the face of the 2×10 beams. A 4×4 post is actually 3 1/2 inches wide while the double 2×10 beam is 3+ inches total thickness. The gap is only 1/4 inch instead of 1/2 inch due to the Western Red Cedar 2×10’s being slightly thicker than the 1 1/2 inch standard for 2x lumber. Had I foreseen this problem I would have asked the carpenter to install the 4×4 gable post flush with the exterior face of the 2×10 beam:
The Cedar trim block on the gable post is uneven on all sides as noted by the red arrows in the following photo. A flush surface is needed to support the Eze-Breeze window without warping, twisting and leaking:
The Cedar 1×2 inch trim board extends about 3/4 inch past the 2×10 beam and must be corrected:
Same problem at the other side of the gable:
I corrected the gable trim misalignment problems by:
- Brad-nailed a 1/4 inch thick x 3/4 inch wide vinyl moulding strip along the top edge of the 2×10 beam so it was flush with the 1/4 inch gap at bottom of 4×4 gable post. See the 2nd photo below.
- Dry fit each Eze-Breeze gable window in the rough opening and traced the window outline in pencil on the exterior wood trim and interior on the window frame. The exterior trace line told me where to cut a groove to seat the window flange, the interior pencil line on the Eze-Breeze window frame (frame not the flange) told me where I needed cut the board skinnier lengthwise so the window would fit the rough opening.
- I discovered the Cedar trim boards along the gable rake had a different slope compared to the windows, therefore the windows were too large (tall) to fit inside the rough opening! The window fit fine at the 4×4 gable post but the rough opening sloped maybe 1/2 inch steeper than the top of the window.
- I then pulled off the two Cedar 1×2 trim boards and gable post trim block.
- Used a table saw to cut the 1×2 trim boards along my pencil lines to align the slope with window frame; note this is the main window frame and not the 1/2 wide flange.
- Cut groove (or rabbet) with the table saw along the exterior bottom edge of the Cedar 1×2’s to allow the Eze-Breeze 1/2 wide flange to set flush with the 4×4 post. This was some trial & error, cut a 3/8 inch groove, dry fit and cut a bit more as needed. Cutting the groove requires several passes with the table saw adjusting the fence a bit at a time. I cut too much on one of the original 1×2 trim boards but fortunately I had extra boards on hand, now knew how deep to cut the groove and sawed the replacement piece correctly.
- Notched the gable post trim block with a wood chisel along the traced pencil marks so the window corners set flush with the 4×4 post and 1×2 trim boards.
- Re-installed the trim boards and gable block.
- Sealed the trim boards and all cuts/notches with clear exterior wood sealer.
It was tedious work due to the awkward position leaning outside the porch framing and height of the porch! The trim rework took me the better part of an afternoon.
Rope Safety Harness to Install High Gable Windows
The house is on a hillside with a walk out basement. The wood deck is about 22 feet above the backyard and the 2×10 porch beams are almost 11 feet high for a total height of 33 feet above ground. The contractor needed 40 foot ladders to build the porch:
I don’t have a 40 ladder or a truck to transport such a long ladder. 40 foot ladders are expensive, heavy and tend to be springy with lot’s of unnerving flexing. I needed another way to safely install the gable windows. My solution was to install three (3) 1/2 inch eyebolts through the double 2×10 beam with washers on both sides and a nut. The eyebolts are installed left, right and center in the beam so I can rope myself off and move along the gable:
Caution: The 1/2 inch eye-bolts are rated for a safe working load of 300 lbs. Be sure to orient the eye loop joint up to minimize the chance of it bending open in case of a fall or better weld the eye loop shut. The eye-bolt solution doesn’t comply with OSHA Part 1915 – Personal Fall Arrest Systems regulation 1915.159(a)(9):
“Anchorages shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.24 Kn) per employee attached”
but I felt it was sufficient for my purpose.
I purchased a Guardian Fall Protection 00815 BOS-T50 Bucket of Safe-Tie full body harness from Amazon.com to secure myself to the eye-bolts and install the gable windows. The harness is designed to limit free fall to not more than 6 feet:
Note the blue & white 5/8 inch braided hollow-core polypropylene rope in the above photo. I tied a Bowline Knot to make a loop large enough to fit under my arms and around my chest, then clipped on a 3/8 inch Spring Link. (Recall the Bowline Knot is often used for rescuing people.) The purpose of the blue & white rope loop and spring link is to clip myself to the eyebolt and lean backward or scoot side-to-side a foot or so to reach both ends of the window.
I installed the Eze-Breeze gable windows by:
- Climb the step ladder inside the porch.
- Clip the Fall Safety Harness Snap Hook to the eye-bolt.
- Step off the ladder onto the 4×4 horizontal window header while hugging the 4×4 vertical support post.
- Clip the 3/8 inch Spring Link on the blue/white braided rope to the eye-bolt.
- Stand up and lean back! (Enjoy the adrenaline rush!)
Now I have both hands free to install the Eze-Breeze windows:
Most of my weight is on my feet with the remainder on the blue & white rope looped under my arms as I lean back. The Guardian Fall Arrest Safety Harness is slack and takes no load… unless I fall! Wear work boots with heels because the boot heel will prevent your feet from slipping over the edge of the 4×4 framing.
Seems like a long wall down! A leather tool belt with large pockets is a must to hold the screws, cordless drill/driver and other tools:
It’s a long way down on this side too!
Mount the Eze-Breeze Trapezoid Fixed Lite Gable Windows
Now that I’m in position hanging off the end of the porch, installing the two Eze-Breeze gable windows simple:
- My helper standing inside the porch peeled off the protective white backing from the window flange foam gasket, then climbed the step ladder and handed the window to me. The windows are lightweight and easy to handle.
- Do not caulk because the factory installed foam gasket will seal against rain and leaks.
- Set the window in the gable rough opening.
- Fasten the window with #8 x 1 1/4 inch hex washer head screws driven in the 1/2 inch wide mounting flange.
I had enough freedom of movement on the rope to step sideways and reach both ends of the gable window to install the screws while fastened to the left and right eye-bolts, respectively. Turns out I didn’t need the eye-bolt in the middle of the beam.
The gable fixed lite windows turned out really nice and bring in a lot of daylight:
This project is continued in How to Install Eze-Breeze Outside Mount Windows.
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