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Windows For a Three Season Room

jkatz2002's picture

I want to convert a 16' by 16' x  8.5'h attached screen room to a three season room and want to retain that "open" feeling.  I'm thinking of a three foot kneewall and five sets of triple windows plus a door.

My first thought was to use exterior sliding storms, but the missus wants something that better matches the Anderson double hung house windows.  I looked at the matching Anderson casement windows which will open completely, but the feedback is that casements are more prone to failure  (especially if anything moves), will become annoying to operate and are quite expensive.  On the other hand, I'm concerned that using double hungs will make it feel more like another room in the house, instead of a screen room.  Either way, it's becoming a pretty expensive conversion.

I'd appreciate any suggestions.



(post #61032, reply #1 of 24)

I'm working on a deck/screen room proposal for a customer right now. We are talking about using storm door cores. The aluminum frame will be built into the openings with nice pine trim and the storm panels and screens can be exchanged depending on the time of the year. These cores cost about $150 ea and can be made to a custom size, but it's better to design for the standard sizes (32", 36", etc.).

Al Mollitor, Sharon MA

(post #61032, reply #2 of 24)

I used sliding windows for my room. White vinyl, low maintenance, and plenty of ventilation.



                                            Salmon Falls Housewrights

(post #61032, reply #3 of 24)

The Harvey's sliders I looked at kept half half the screen covered (2 sliding lites) or two thirds of the screen covered (2 sliding lites in the same chennel and one center fixed lite).  They also have a system that uses screened patio doors, but no rain protection.  I guess I'm trying to find something that can be closed off to the weather, yet open as much screening as possible.


(post #61032, reply #9 of 24)

The ones I used were the type that opened 1/2 & 1/2. My room is 11' x 13'. 2- 4'wide x 3' high windows on 1 side, 2- 3'square windows on the front, a sliding patio door and a 2' x 5' Andersen casement on the 3rd side. I also used 1 Andersen skylight (venting) and a ceiling fan. The room has plenty of ventilation. and natural light. I'll try to post a picture if I can track down my daughters camera.



                                                    Salmon Falls Housewrights

(post #61032, reply #4 of 24)

How about combining double hungs and picture windows in combo units?

Like start off with a double hung, then a large picture window, then another double hung. That way you get large unrestricted views but don't lose out on ventilation.

Sex is like pizza. When it's good, it's really good.
When it's's still pretty good

(post #61032, reply #5 of 24)

I think it was the Feb issue of Inspired House that had an article about a home with a very nice 3 season room that really became a 4 season room. As I recall, they had fully removable storms and the room had a real open feel. Here's a link to a discussion of that room:


That said, our sun room has Marvin outswing casements and I love them.  They operate easily 4 years later. Casements, as you probably know, are also better than double hungs at keeping out the elements because they have a better seal.  While our casements probably cost more than similarly sized double hungs, for me they were worth the investment.  As to your issue with them, I don't know why casements would be worse than double hungs when it comes to movement - if you have an off-square opening I'd think any window or door would have a problem with it.

(post #61032, reply #6 of 24)

Monray makes some windows designed for porch conversions. Kind of midway between storms and regular windows. A little lightly built and a little spendy but they go in easy and look pretty nice.

Unfortunately the Monray site is pretty primitive, but here is another site that shows some "in action":

I would suspect that some other vendors have something similar.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #61032, reply #12 of 24)

I should mention that one of the big advantages of the Monrays is that they contain three bypass panels and so can be 2/3rds open.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #61032, reply #7 of 24)

Of the porch remodels I've done, the most pleasing (while being cost conscious) were those with slide-by vinyl replacement windows.  Both sides move.  Probably 4ft openings per.  Usually get with insulated glass, add a vented space heater or in a few cases, open up to the house to borrow heat.  Takes the 3 seasons a bit further.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.

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Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


(post #61032, reply #8 of 24)

Your wife is right. Design to match your house. 

If you have existing double hungs, (you don't mention light pattern), try to match them in style, but as you want a more open feel, go with cottage versions.

If you aren't familiar with "cottage" style windows, I'll try to explain. If your normal double hung has, say, a top sash that is 24" x 24" over a botom sash of equal dimensions, the cottage version would have the same top sash, but the bottom would be 24" wide, and 36" tall.  The end result is a window with much more
"daylight opening" but still matches the look and feel of the double hung.  (they are installed so that the tops are equal (justified) to each other. The extra goes to the bottom.)

Measure your double hungs, and try to get a window that is proportioned correctly.

I know Anderson and Marvin as well as Kolbe and Kolbe all have cottage windows in standard sizes, and I assume many others do as well.

Jake Gulick

CarriageHouse Design

Black Rock, CT

Jake Gulick   CarriageHouse Design Black Rock, CT

(post #61032, reply #10 of 24)


I completely rebuilt my 2nd story sunporch two years ago.  The original version had 10 large double hung windows that provided limited ventilation.  I replaced those windows with 10 large Andersen casement style windows (approximately 3' x 5" each).  Each side wall contains 3 windows that open in the same direction.  The longest wall is approximately 15' and the left two windows open in one direction and the right two open in the opposite direction.  We get plently of air flow from these windows.  The windows have a permanently applied simulated muntins on the outside and removable grills on the inside.  The windows were not cheap but I have never regretted the purchase.  I did find a supplier that offered to order and ship my purchase as part of a builder's package and pulled them out upon arrival.  This saved approximately $1000.00.  If you plan to remain in your home for a long time, you will never regret a quality purchase.




(post #61032, reply #11 of 24)

Just to build on what Stan said -- go for quality and you will never regret it and thank yourself for years to come -- go Andersen -------- Am doing a Garden Room now that has 2 36" fixed glass Andersen panels either side of a French door -- opposite side of the room has a very large picute window and the south roof has a large skylite

(post #61032, reply #13 of 24)

Thank you so much for the replies.  I was looking for some feedback based on personal experiences.

The deck is 16' x 16' x 8.5'h, with two 4 x 4 posts on the corners opposite the house and three 4 x 4 posts in between the three sides.  I have a 7'3" opening between every two posts and 7'9" between the house and center side posts.  There's a gable roof coming off the house with a couple of Roto opening skylights.  The entertainment room that opens onto the deck has a double inswing French door, and a narrow window on either side of the door thats 4 pane over 6 pane, plus a transom.  Everything is Anderson double hungs with Finelight grilles.  Beyond the deck on the left is a small 4 over 4 bathroom window and on the right is a small 4 over 4 kitchen window with a transom.  Not a lot of consistency.

So if money's no object (yeah, right), a set of three Anderson casements that match the style (CW155-3, 7'3"w x 5'5"h) factory mulled with screens are $1,266 each.  If I use 6' windows instead of 5'5" (CW16-3, 7'3"w x 6'h) and reduce the kneewalls from 3' to 2'6", the price is $1,392 each.  I would put five of these units into each opening and a door into the sixth opening.  A matching 6' x 8' slider is $1,810, so I'm over $8k just for the Anderson.

Any thoughts on the kneewall height?  How should I decide which direction the casements should open? The house is sided with Nailite vinyl shingle panels; is it OK to attach the nailers to the house over the siding?  Any special flashing considerations?

Thanks again for all the help.






(post #61032, reply #14 of 24)

If this is going to be a true 3 season room and you want that really open feeling, forget about matching the Andersens and check out eze-breeze windows by PGT.  These are 3 season windows made of aluminum (available in a few colors) with vinyl glazing.  They open 75% and have sashes per window.  They slide up and down and can be placed anywhere in the opening.  They come in any custom size you need and are eaisly installable by a DIYer if you have square openings.

Rob Kress

(post #61032, reply #15 of 24)

Yeah, that sounds similar to the Monrays I described earlier.

(Only the Monrays have wood outer frames.)

Edited 5/2/2004 10:02 am ET by Dan

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #61032, reply #16 of 24)

I saw the PGT ezebreeze last week, four track vertical vinyl windows with 18" aluminum kick plates.  I loved the four track system, which provided 3/4 open screen area.  I'm not so sure about the clear vinyl windows; they were a bit hazy for my liking.  I'm not sure about the weight, but I think I'd prefer glass windows.  Should I build my own kneewall to house utilities?  How high should the kneewall / kickplate be?

(post #61032, reply #17 of 24)

Yes, build your own kneewalls at what ever height you like.  Those Eze-breeze can go all the way to the floor though if you want.  Do you have a dog?  Does it like to jump up?  Maybe build the kneewall higher than he / she can reach.  Don't worry about the vinyl glazing.  It is very durable and very cheap to replace if it gets cut in some accident.  Forget about the "hazy" view.  The windows are too nice to worry about that small detail.  So they are not as clear as glass.  So what.  They are still very clear.  Good luck.

Rob Kress

(post #61032, reply #18 of 24)


No four legged pets.  I'm thinking a kneewall 12 to 18 inches high.

The local dealer came in to measure and called yesterday with a quote of $7800 installed, which struck me as quite high, although I don't know the cost of the five window panels for the 86"w by 101"h openings and a cabana door.    That's about the same cost as doing it all with the best Anderson casements and slider, without the labor.  The deck and roof are already there, so the only other trim work is covering the 4 x 4 posts holding up the roof.  Having done a lot of the house construction myself and calling in favors for most of the rest, I'm really not in touch with the current New England labor rates.  It is a nice looking new house, so some contractors automatically inflate their quotes.  My favorite example is when I decided to sub out the interior finish, I prepared a detailed spec that went to ten regional finish carpenters and got back quotes that ranged from $8k to $48k.  But I digress ....

My next move is to contact other PGT dealers to try to get prices for the materials only.  It doesn't sound like PGT sells directly or to anyone besides small installers (no Loews, Home Depot, etc).   I'll let you know what happens.


(post #61032, reply #19 of 24)

I apologize in advance that I haven't read the whole thread in detail yet, so if this was covered, excuse me.

If your knee-wall is only 18" high and this is an elevated deck, you might have a problem with saftey. Someone could push through a screen and fall. Some type of railing might be required. Also, if the glass is too close to the floor, it might have to be tempered.

Al Mollitor, Sharon MA

(post #61032, reply #21 of 24)

Ditto on the railing and tempered glass issues.  

If you have the space, you could add some depth to the kneewall so that it becomes a window seat around the perimeter of the room.  You can put utilities and/or storage under the window seats.  Or bump out some of the windows so that they become bays and build window seats into the bays.  Building bays does raise the cost though.


(post #61032, reply #20 of 24)

Whoa!!!!  That's a lot of money!

You are going to do the installation yourself.  Aren't you?  You should.... it's really that easy.  Listen, for five windows and a door in existing openings that are square and no other impediments, we could probably install in about 2 hours.  In fact, it would probably take us longer to caulk (we do it just for aesthetics around the inside of the window frame) than it would to install.

Furthermore, I just measured up some windows last night that were near 55 x 68.  These should go for somewhere near $275 each.  You can extrapolate from there.  Gee, I wish we could get a few thousand dollars an hour labor rate.

So let me understand very clearly..... did you ask this contractor for just windows or window walls?  Meaning, is he giving you windows installed in an aluminum wall section that goes floor to ceiling?  Is that what you want? 

I was thinking that you had or would make yourself window openings with "other" framing material (not PGT aluminum wall section) and trim it out in fancy wood type stuff.  Then you would just buy the windows and stick them in the openings that you made.  If that is not the case and you are trying to get entire wall sections, of course the price is higher.

Don't let this guy come in and wrap your posts with aluminum.  We do it on just about every job and it just looks like crap.  And Lee is pretty good at aluminum work.  But in the end, it's really just square post wrapped in aluminum and like I said, it just looks like crap.

Rob Kress

(post #61032, reply #22 of 24)


Going in, I intended to construct low kneewalls to house AC, coax and cat5 wiring, then do whatever trim framing necessary to establish the rough openings I needed.  The local PGT dealer wanted to see the application, then told me that framed kneewalls would look like crap.  His demo unit had 18" white aluminum kickplates at the bottom and small white aluminum filler panels at the top.  I wanted to just buy the panels, but got the whole "we know exactly the best way to do the job" speech.  I figured I'd let him quote the whole job, then, based on the price, decide to just let him do it all or try to just buy the panels.  They did leave me a message this morning that, based on my reaction to their quote, they were willing to drop the price to $7,575.

By the way, with my desire for a high quality zero maintenance exterior, I used Nailite Perfection-Plus vinyl cedar panels for siding and white Synboard for all trim.  Not cheap.  The only aluminum on the house are the gutters and downspouts.  I agree with you 100 percent, that using aluminum to cover structural pieces would look cheap.  I know I'm going to build kneewalls and cover the outside with leftover Perfection-Plus and Synboard, but I don't yet know how I'm going to cover the inside of the kneewalls and  gable roof.  I was just going to use sheet rock, but I may switch to wood, especially if I need to be concerned about moisture.  I also need to decide the best way to flash out the kneewall.

I'm new to this forum, so I don't really know the rules.  Is it OK to have public discussions about pricing?  How about buying products?  Otherwise, can I email you?

Thanks for all your help.


(post #61032, reply #23 of 24)

As far as I know, there is no problem having duscussion about price here.  And since you got a price on installed wall panels, it sounds a little more like the right mark.  And for the record, installing the wall panels is also monkey work.  There's a top track and a bottom track.  You set them plum between your posts.  Then set in the side tracks.  Put wall sections in top track, push up, and let into bottom track.  The side track come in two pieces so you can get the whole assembly in from post to post.  Plum all panels together and screw the whole assembly with a million screws.  There that's the whole installation procedure.  Oh I forgot about caulk... caulk the whole thing with 20 tubes or so.

Don't do wall panels.  They look like patio room stuff.  If that's your thing, then sure get the PGT stuff.  It's good stuff and goes together really easily.  If patio room look is not your thing, build your own wall section out of wood and other regular construction materials.  Use green board on the inside of the walls (at least that's probably what I would do).  Don't worry too much about window flashing or flashing the kneewall.  These eze-breexe windows are very water tight.  Just caulk the flange before you put them in.  Make your openings perfectly square though.  That's how the windows come from PGT.

Am I being helpful?  Ask more questions if you need to.  If you would rather email, that's fine.  Please no viruses.  I get enough already.

Rob Kress

(post #61032, reply #24 of 24)


Did you get the email I sent you?