Window installation with full-thickness masonry: planning for eventual replacement?
Basic question: what is the best way to design a window installation behind a masonry full-thickness veneer wall such that eventual window replacement is possible while maintaining the integrity of the drainage plane?
I’m building a new house with full-thickness (5″) natural stone veneer walls, and am trying to design for durability. Windows will have to be replaced eventually, that is a given. The drainage plane behind masonry is critical to the durability of the wall system. Replacing windows typically involves tearing open the WRB/drainage plane to get at the nailing fins. Yet masonry, typically installed after the window is flashed in, often covers up the nailing fins. How is window replacement even possible, let alone restoration of the drainage plane?
It would seem prudent to back off the perimeter of the masonry and install a brickmold, which would cover the nailing fins and provide access to them in the future. Even this is a very narrow space (about 2 inches) in which to work. Plus, wouldn’t the job be complicated by the tapes or mastics used to seal the original installation? Plus, the brickmold would be attached by screws or nails which would punch the drainage plane full of holes!
Any advice would be appreciated!