Usonian house restoration - sunroom window replacement (direct set double pane or single pane)
We are currently restoring a Usonian style house built in 1962 here in Northern Illinois. The sunroom is currently being restored to its original design with a few exceptions:
1. Originally the design called for floor to ceiling windows in the sunroom which allowed for snow buildup along the window framing since that area is not protected by the 4ft eaves that protect the cedar framing/limestone walls on the rest of the house. We've built an approximately 3ft high double wall out of concrete (exterior wall) and limestone (interior wall) which the window framing can sit on top of and be protected from snow buildup. A sloped concrete ledge on top of the two walls will shed water away from the window framing.
2. We were hoping to replace the original single pane windows with direct set insulated units but I'm not clear on how the joint between the ceiling window and wall windows can be done in a weathertight/durable way that will prevent leaks and/or window seal failure. Attached is a drawing of the house and a detail of the sunroom. Originally the single pane windows were just caulked together at the joint - just as the corner windows were done on the rest of the house. I've spoken with some contractors/window installers and I've heard many opinions about how this design could be modified with double pane windows, but I still do not see how a ceiling double pane window could be securely framed while also preventing water from collecting around the bottom edge of the window.
In this case would it be better to stick to single pane laminated windows on the exterior and maybe build some custom interior storm windows to help with heat loss in the winter? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I'm not comfortable with the suggestions I've been getting from local window installers. Thank you!
Posted Sun, 04/13/2014 - 11:00
Edited Sun, 04/13/2014 - 11:00
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