Good, fast or cheap – pick two

I had a calculus professor in university who had an interesting take on marking exams. Even if we provided the correct answer, he would deduct points for an “inelegant solution”.  I don’t run across too many calculus problems anymore, but I like to think I understood his message. That is why this window flashing detail has been bugging me to no end. I want elegant and effective, but I am afraid I was unable to satisfy both those requirements. If I have to pick only one, effective will win every time. Is my engineer showing?

Here is how it went down. We sized the new windows to the exterior window opening which is almost six inches narrower than the interior opening. That means Martin and the guys had to build out each side of the window opening on the inside. Rather than go with layers of solid wood, I asked him to use some blocking so we could reduce the thermal bridging and insulate the air spaces. The final result is a rather messy looking arrangement of 2x4s, plywood, blocks, shims, board foam, spray foam and membrane. I am imagining the reaction of the person who has to pull this apart in 40 years wondering “what the hell?” Maybe I will take a Sharpie and write “Form follows function! Form follows function!” all over the 2x4s. “No dice,” says my calc professor, “minus 5 points”.

The interior window opening is wider and taller than the exterior opening.

We added membrane flashing and blocking.

Then board foam, 2x4, more membrane and plywood. With a sprinkling of shims.

Then spray foam liberally.

Cover with drywall. This is the bathroom window - a one-off in terms of colour, hardware, and drywall detailing.

You can't argue with results! Lookin' good.

Here's a little something for the window geeks.

Stay tuned for the living room window installation.

Front bedroom!

And the kitchen.

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1 Response to Good, fast or cheap – pick two

  1. Maggie says:

    Rachel: your prof wasn’t a creative fellow – I’ll give you points for ingenuity!
    Keep the posts coming!

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