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ChrisJJ 02-09-2011 12:10 PM

framing two windows very close together
First a little background: We're fixing up our attached double garage to make it a usable workshop all year around (so far have upgraded electrical and installed insulation, sheet-rock and heat). We were planning to nail one garage door shut and seal around but just learned that's a no-go with the code unless we're willing to put up a big honking "This door is blocked" sign on the exterior side. We're not keen on that and so decided we will remove the door and infill the opening instead. We figured if we have to frame out a real wall anyway why not install a window while we're at it.

My SO and I have played around with velum overlays on photos of the garage and have figured out that two 24" x 36" double hung windows, side -by-side would look the best.

The question that then came up is how best to do this. I know we can order a custom job with the two windows joined together at the factory. (btw, what is it called when two windows are joined together as a unit? So far in my google search for window enlightenment, I've seen them called combination, composite, double wide, double wide vent, and twin windows.)

I suspect a factory made two window combo would probably work the best but I like to be educated on my other options.

So if we decided to install two individual windows right beside each other, as close as possible, how would that be done in terms of framing? Well, unless I'm mistaken the basic framing is the same as for any other sort of window or door (right?) but the part I'm not sure about is in between the windows. Would each window get its own stud or can they share one? If each window has to have it's own stud, can the studs be right against each other or do they have to be spaced apart? What are the downfalls to doing it this way? Would it look stupid?

Disclaimer: Yes, we have a building permit and will be taking our infill plans to the local building department to get the code officer's blessing. I'm running this past you guys so I'm not totally clueless when presenting our plans.

Jackofall1 02-09-2011 12:23 PM

I would order the windows joined with a mullion, I say this to make it first easier to frame, one big opening as opposed to 2 seperate.

Putting 2 studs directly together would allow for some interesting finishing on the outside, something I don't believe you mentioned, how are you finishing the outside, that might be key to answering the question.

Studs spread apart would allow for better insulation, but really you will still be seeing the same area for telegraphing, by the studs themselves.

I guess my second choice would be to put them together with a single stud between, that way you could easily install a single cap flashing.

As the existing structure is already designed to carry the load of the span to openning is pretty much sized to the window without to much other considerations for structural integrity.


Ron6519 02-09-2011 12:48 PM

I refer to a multi unit window as a, "mulled window".
The simplest way to get this done is to either have it mulled at the manufacturer or mull it on site.

troubleseeker 02-09-2011 12:58 PM

Agree with replies. Order the two windows mulled together form the factory. It is a very common setup and should not be called "custom" or incurr a big upcharge for such. It makes for the simpliest framing, a better visual than two individual windows side by side, and eliminates added exterior trim that could be prone to leaks.

Just for your question; if you opt for two individual windows, you will need at least a double stud between them to have enough room for both nailing flanges, and a bit of width to trim out between them.

iamrfixit 02-09-2011 01:02 PM

Depends on the windows you choose. If you are planning to use vinyl windows that have a nailing flange all the way around you are going to need at least 2, maybe 3 studs between them. If you go with a clad wood window, many of those have the ability to be joined on site with a few screws and some optional trim pieces.

Personally I would just install a one piece unit and be done with it. I have 4'x4' vinyl sliders in my shop and they are great. The glass space is fairly large offering a good view out of them, they are double pane and the glass is Low E, one entire pane opens so you have a large opening for fresh air, they don't leak like the cheap wood windows originally installed, and best of all for a shop they were dirt cheap! I think I paid about $140 each. As long as you don't need something exotic most building centers keep several standard sizes and styles of vinyl or clad windows in stock, You can probably go to Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, or whatever and pick up a window to suit your needs without custom ordering.

Gary in WA 02-09-2011 04:27 PM

If there is a "man" door out for egress from the new living space, the windows could be any combo you desire. If no man door, the windows would be the required egress, which you probably already know, just pointing out to other readers...... Keep the character of the house in mind when choosing, may look odd if the only double glazed unit is on the garage...


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