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Green Building Blog

Installing Flangeless Windows

European style windows sit within the rough opening and require a face-sealed approach to water and air management

Some of you may have taken the time to watch my video series with Fine Homebuilding about properly installing flanged windows in multiple assemblies. Those methods apply to most windows installed in the USA. However, they don’t apply to flangeless or “European style” windows, including the triple-glazed, tilt/turn windows preferred by many high-performance builders.

Of course, some of the fundamental principles are the same, shingle-style lapping for example, is the only way to detail any window flashing, as well as using a back dam and creating a slope at the sill of the rough opening. In this article I will share how we are installing flangeless windows in the wall assembly that we utilize most commonly. On the project shown here the windows are from Schuco, though many European-style windows install similarly. I would refer to this install as a face-sealed system.

Over the past five years we have not built a home with a finished wall thickness less than 7 ½ inches. Most likely on our builds that includes 2×6 framing (5 ½ inches) plus ½ inch drywall inside and 1 ½ inch ZIP R-sheathing outside. Warming the wall with the insulated sheathing has become a standard detail in our homes. Having this thick wall gives us an opportunity to make choices about how our Euro-style, flangeless windows are installed.

The window could be pushed outward in the assembly. Like a flanged window, this presents more challenges for water management because the window is closer to the weather. Moving the unit to the interior face of the wall better protects the unit from the elements, but in doing so, also moves the unit away from the sunlight and the breeze, two reasons why we have windows in our houses in the first place.

The other factor that must be considered when positioning a window unit…

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6 Comments

  1. Rick Evans | | #1

    Jake, this is a great resource- Thank You!

    1. Jake Bruton | | #2

      Thank you Rick!

      1. Malcolm Taylor | | #4

        The whole series is excellent.

  2. User avater
    Eric Whetzel | | #3

    There's a YouTube video from Hammer and Hand covering the same install process with some alternative tweaks to what Jake's outlined above. Karuna PH Window Install Demo: https://youtu.be/mmUJQHN7ALw

    One of the favorite things about our house is the innie, or technically "in-between", center of wall assembly placement of our windows. It provides a substantial sill area both on the interior and the exterior, and it nicely accentuates the thickness of the overall wall assembly. On the exterior it also provides some nice shadow lines on the facade throughout the day, particularly on the south side, which sees a lot of sun.

    We used Hannoband expanding black foam tape around our windows and doors and were extremely pleased with how it performs (it's available from Small Planet Supply). This could be an alternative to spray can foam, or the Tremco product noted in the video.

    For our basement windows I applied Prosoco Air Dam sealant on the interior of the window frames as a final air barrier. For the rest of our windows I used Profil tape from 475HPBS. The Profil tape has a split backing that makes using it very easy. It has a cloth-like face and is easy to cut with a razor blade as you move around the window frame setting strips of tape.

    Excellent summary, Jake!

  3. Robert Swinburne | | #5

    Thanks Jake. I can refer builders who haven't done this before to this article and save a lot of effort. I'm glad you pointed out that setting the window in a bit from the outside creates a little roof. I view this as simplifying the flashing. The head flashing now has a much simpler job to do in effect.

  4. Whitestone_Builder | | #6

    Thank you for the write-up. I am installing European Windows on a new construction for the first time. The window will sit in the middle third of the wall, similar to above. Can you recommend the canned spray foam used?

    Do you have any instructions on how to install a Lift and Slide slider?

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