I still can’t believe we managed to pull this off in a weekend.
Granted, it was a long weekend, but this project was completed in just two days. So definitely weekend doable.
This is our living room wall before.
And this is our living room wall now.
That’s right. We cut a hole in the wall and installed a sliding glass door into this long and windowless wall in our living room!
By “we”, really, I mean Chris and his dad installed the slider. I contributed by being in charge of the toddler all day and by giving constructive criticism when warranted ;).
Our walls are ridiculously thin. These mass-manufactured tract homes were built out of prefab wall panels and our walls are only about 2″ thick.
Chris peeled off the outer layer (after removing the electrical) so he could see what he was dealing with. Then he cut a hole just so he could step through and work.
You can really see how thin our walls are. Basically two plywood panels joined with pieces of wood and this interesting honeycomb foam insulation, which was disintegrating from age. Also, there were large gaps where there was no insulation.
Chris and his dad cut the hole to the size of the slider (which we bought from Lowe’s for about $350).
After cutting the hole they added a new header and side support beams. You can see the header above, whereas the side support beams were inserted into the walls between the plywood panels.
Because we are planning to install rigid foam insulation and siding over the walls this summer, we wrapped the window frame and surrounding walls with Tyvek, a water resistant barrier. Then Chris added flashing to the sides.
You gotta flash the windows properly to prevent leaks. Other windows in our house had not been flashed properly and in a driving rain, water leaks through. We can kind of get away with it in Southern California, but still, better to do it right. We’re hoping to flash the rest of the windows properly before we install new siding.
We were chasing the light, but we got ‘er done! All this in one day!
The next day we added the pieces of trim, partially salvaged from the board and batten (well really just the battens) we had removed with the wall.
Because our walls are so thin, the window frame was thicker than the wall. Fortunately, the board and batten thickened the wall so it came up flush against the frame, and then the extra trim we added along the top and sides finished it off. We just need to caulk the seams, patch nail holes, and add another coat of paint.
Not bad for a couple days’ work, eh?
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