Ordering Windows for my Tiny House

After weeks and weeks of gathering information, hemming and hawing and trying to figure out what I really wanted, I finally managed to order windows for the tiny house today. The final trick was to go over to the Argonaut Window & Door in Cupertino so I could actually look at the different types of windows. As soon as I did that, it became clear what I wanted.

I ended up ordering the more expensive aluminum clad wooden windows, the same ones specified in my tumbleweed tiny house plans. They are the only ones with a natural wood finish on the interior which means that they are the only ones that will really match the wood theme I’m going to have in the interior of the house. They were more expensive, but in the long run I think I will be very happy to have them. I also considered vinyl windows which would have been much less expensive and even had a better warranty. However, they were not nearly as attractive. When I was in the store, it was striking how much prettier the interior woodwork was on the aluminum clad windows than the plastic looking vinyl windows that were full of obvious seams.

The downside of my windows is that they were pretty expensive. Here’s the total price tag:

  • 24 x 36 windows for left and right side of house: 4 x $462
  • 30 x 24 windows for rear of house: 2 x $405
  • 17 x 36 windows for front of house: 2 x $409
  • 12 x 24 pentagon shaped window for front gable: $567
  • 17 x 36 sash to build into my front door: $285

Total with tax: $4707

I pretty much followed all of the specs in the tumbleweed plans:

  • Jeld-Wen Tradition Plus Clad Awning style windows (open out, hinged at the top)
  • Pine interior
  • Aluminum exterior in Mesa Red.
  • Folding handle.
  • Interior hardware in the Desert Sand color.
  • Bettervue interior screen that were both in the Desert Sand color.
  • Insulated low-E tempered double pane glass
  • Rated for high altitude.

I also received a quote from Sunnyvale lumber which was jaw dropping to say the least. They wanted $7300 for the exact same thing I got for $4700 at Argonaut. This was actually the first quote I got. Luckily, their quote was so ridiculous that I knew to look elsewhere.

Prior to getting in touch with Argonaut, I actually attempted to order windows through Home Depot. I think I went to Home Depot at least half a dozen times. Half of those times, there was nobody even available in the window department to help me. When somebody was available, I got help but I also got a lot of misinformation. When it comes to windows, there are simply too many things to understand and too many decisions to make. Unless you really know what you’re doing or you’re talking to somebody who really knows what they they’re doing, the process will at best be difficult and at worst will result in something that is not what you wanted or doesn’t even work. The quotes I did receive from Home Depot were about 5-6% lower than Argonaut. However, the service and support at Argonaut were well worth such a small premium in final cost.

One other thing worth mentioning here is the specialty window in the front gable. Tumbleweed specified a gothic style window that looked like this:

Gothic Window

Gothic Window

I actually love the way that window looks. Unfortunately, it was simply unaffordable. That one single window costs $2100. $2100!! Had I known how expensive this window would be before I built the gable, I might have created a different opening size for a more reasonably priced window. I’m actually somewhat surprised that Tumbleweed thinks anybody would put such an expensive window in a $20,000 tiny house. In my opinion, such an expensive window kind of defeats the purpose of building an economical tiny house. However, the window is very pretty. Maybe some people will really want it.

I ended up compromising and getting something that I think will look almost just as good and be only a fraction of the cost ($567 instead of $2444). Instead of the gothic, rounded top window, I ordered a direct set, pentagon shaped window that will look something like this:

Pentagon Window

Pentagon Window

My only hope now is that I didn’t make a mistake with any of the dimensions. Now that I have ordered the windows, there’s no going back. If I made a mistake, it can’t be fixed. I would have to order a new window to replace anything that is the wrong size. At this point, I’m thinking if I made a mistake, I will just go with it and find a way to make it work. I’m starting to learn that half the battle in building this tiny house is just making a decision and moving forward. Today, I made one more step forward on that process.

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4 Responses to Ordering Windows for my Tiny House

  1. Adam Weinrich says:

    Hi I love your little house. I found your page by searching about the same problem of gothic windows being way more expensive than pentagon. I have an old victorian im restoring and Im still on the fence about the gothic window replacement. You didnt say what brand you used for the pentagon? HD Jeldwin windows dont have the fancy grills you have that compensate for the straight lines of the pentagon.

    • Hi Adam,

      I got the window from Jeldwen. It might be hard to get at Home Depot. However, it should be available if you go to your local Jeldwen dealer. That’s how I ordered all of my windows. Mine is a tradition plus clad geometric direct set pentagon, frame size 12×24 with leg height of 16. The grillwork does not always show up in the drawings, so talk to an experienced sales rep to make sure you’re getting what you want.

  2. Adam Weinrich says:

    Yeah like you said Home Depot is not the best source. I spoke to Jeldwin directly and they said I would need to design my own custom grid to duplicate what you did and it would be a bit time consuming and obviously cost extra. You didnt say anything about a custom design of the grid and you said price was a premium so did you do your own design and pay extra for it? I really think your grids make the window look so much more authentically gothic.
    Cheers,
    Adam.

  3. Adam,

    I don’t know what is going on with Jeldwen. I never did any kind of custom design for the grid work on my window. I didn’t even specify any kind of grid. It just came that way. I am going to send you an e-mail with a copy of my order and the contact information for Justin, the Jeldwen representative that I worked with in Cupertino, California. My hope is that he can work with the Jeldwen wrapped in your area to make sure you order the same thing. If they made it for me, they can make it for you.

    Russ

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