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“pocket” detail, for windows in a thick wall?

karlb_zone6a | Posted in General Questions on

Does anyone have a detail for a window buck “pocket”, to house screens / storm windows / thermal shutters / etc in a thick wall?

Similar to a pocket door, but for window “accessories”– perhaps exterior to the insulation and WRB, but inboard of the rainscreen?  Or similar to how a window screen and storm window slide up and out of the way, but on a REALLY extended track.

(“thick wall” = ~12 inches, so there’s room to spare)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Expert Member


    I suspect you have just thought up an idea that has never been done before, so any details we suggest are pretty speculative. My main concern would be introducing a hole or slit into a wall assembly at the window jamb, which is a fairly vulnerable area.

    It seems like an idea that might work if there was a manufactured product complete with weather-proof cover you could buy and install, but making them from scratch sounds pretty difficult.

  2. creativedestruction | | #2

    Perhaps this goes without saying but you're after a highly specific detail. Highly specific to your assembly, window selection, cladding, shutter product, etc.

    Look into roller shutters. There are products that can be wired for remote operability. They'll have a rectangular housing that can be recessed at a deep window head. Not common at all in the US but a bit with the niche crowd keen on hitting passivhaus.

  3. karlb_zone6a | | #3

    Thanks Malcolm and Jason. I figure that if people here haven't heard of anything like it, it probably doesn't exist. Maybe for good reason. Probably a bad sign.

    To Malcolm's point about introducing vulnerabilities:
    - a pocket located above the window should at least deal with the elements better.
    - a pocket located adjacent to the window would need to seal pretty well, whether the screen/storm/shutter were "out" or "stowed".
    - a pocket that's adjacent to the rainscreen should be better able to dry out, but might require a pretty convoluted insect screen.

    Jason, good point. I was imagining it for a thick wall assembly with "outie" (or "in-betweenie") windows, and a rainscreen, where giving up a couple R worth of insulation shouldn't be a big deal. Will look into roller shutters.


  4. karlb_zone6a | | #4

    A year has passed, and I'm still turning this over in my head. Cross-sectional and exploded sketches attached. If you have vertical space to spare, I think the water management details are pretty easy.

    In my case, we're about to install thick exterior insulation on an existing house, which means new windows in window bucks. Windows installed as in-betweenies. Build a 2x4 "frame" around the window buck, extending vertically above it, with the pocket/extension faced front and back with plywood. The interior of the pocket would be hard to air-seal, so air-seal behind it / from the outside. The frontmost plywood face is right behind the rainscreen. With reasonably tight tolerances, and some strategic gasketing, the "extras" that stow in the pocket shouldn't allow much access for critters. I'm mostly interested in stowing a historic storm-window up there, but if I get greedy (and honest), I'd also love to squeeze in a thermal shutter that's worth R-5, as well.

    Your thoughts?

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