Shakespeare knew where it was at; windows really are making all the difference to the house. It’s starting to feel like an indoor space now. Surprisingly we found the windows super easy and satisfying once we had all the right components. At the beginning, as with each stage of the house, it took a while to get our heads around it, and of course things weren’t standard because it’s a straw bale build! Despite the fact that everything else on the house is non standard, we decided to use standard, off-the-shelf windows and frames which made assembling the two together quite taxing at first, mainly due to the window ledges.
The ledges needed to be doubled up and also incorporate as many twists and turns as possible to discourage water ingress. It turned out that we had plenty of Douglas Fir left over from the box and roof beams to create our ledges. So, setting up a jig, Dan cut the correct angles and ensured a snug fit against the subframe. We also exchanged the off-the-shelf ledges for larger ones to enable greater water protection.
Packing the subframe to meet the actual window frame was relatively easy, we used our trusty left over lath wood from the roof as well as some chiseled shards from the window and door post shortening.
Once fitted, each window required rendering in, and once again we used the hessian sacking stuffed with straw to create the pretty curved reveal, so iconic of straw bale houses. We ensured the render had a tight finish around the window edges, giving us the best chance of sleep during a rainy night!
Rendering took the same shape as the rest of the house, with three layers; a key coat, body coat + chopped up straw fibres, and a finishing coat. The windows really do look smart when the plastering is completed. Finally, after rendering, we used linseed mastic to finish off any edges we felt may need a helping hand.
It will take a few more months to finish all of our windows and doors, meaning the house won’t be officially weather-proofed until they are all in. We currently have five windows in place and rendered, with two more to go along with three doors. We have been getting on with other bits and pieces too, including skirting along the box beam, soffit fitting, making a start on the internal electric placement as well as internal plastering.