Insulating Windows and Doors

Insulating Windows and Doors

Today I am going to explain to you two different methods on how to insulate around a window, so that’s actually insulating the gap that’s left between the framework and the window frame itself. There’s basically two methods. One method involves batt insulation, they call it chinking. So you’ll actually slide this into place, in that space. The other method and the one that I prefer to use is spray foam.

You’ll have to be sure you’re using a low expanding spray foam, made for around windows and doors. You don’t want one that says filling gaps or high pressure, because it will actually bend your window jambs and door jambs our of shape. So you want the low expansion foam, one that’s made for windows and doors. We’re going to start with that one to begin with. We’ve got a window here and we got 2×6 framing, so the spray foam comes with a straw and everything, shake the can really well before you start to use it.

Insulating Windows and Doors 5I like to do my spray foam in two passes. That being said, what I mean is I want to stick the straw back into the gap about an inch from the outside edge of the window, the far side of the window, spray that opening about half-full, let it sit for a couple of hours, you don’t even have to do that, half an hour, go and do every window half-full and come back and spray again to fill that window up.

What that does is that when the foam, if are going to get some that comes outside of the opening that you need to trim off with your knife, soon that you trim it, it cuts off the outer layer that actually creates an air barrier, so by doing it in two passes, the inner one is still creating an air barrier for three quarters of the thickness of the window and this last one is giving you air value, but not necessarily an air barrier.

So I like doing it in two passes, we’re going to do this one here, I’ll just show you how to go about it, I have another one that I’ve already done one pass one, so then will switch over to that window and just show you the final pass. Again, I usually start in the bottom corner and work my way up and I want to stick the straw right back in there, just about as far as I can, like I said, about an inch or two inches from the far outside edge of the wall and start filling.

And you continue all the way up to the top, come back down to the bottom, work around any blocks or shims you have in the way. Just like so. And you continue doing that all the way around the window. And like I said, you want to fill that maybe half full or three quarters full. It will expand out a little bit, so usually if you stop at about half full, it will expand enough to about three quarters and you should be good.

Insulating Windows and Doors 3So we’ve moved to a different window and this one, like I said, I already sprayed the first pass and you can see some of the foam down in there. So what I want to do again is just insert the straw and do another bit of a pass here and up the side as well.

And you’ll continue yourself all the way around there. Once that has a chance to set, most of these will cure within a couple of hours, and you’ll find that it expands out passed the window. Just go back and trim it off with your utility knife once is fully cured. If you get some of this on your hands or your clothes, hopefully not the flooring, but if get some on there, I know it’s hard not to, but don’t try to wipe it up when it’s still wet, let it cure and then get rid of it.

If you get in on your hands, obviously you’re going to want to clean it up right away, but it’s a lot easier to clean off the flooring or the wall if it actually had a chance to cure, otherwise you just smear it and make more of a mess. So that’s spray foaming to insulate a window. Now we’re going to move back to another window that we don’t have any insulation in and we’re going to use strips of batt insulation. I’ll show you how to do that.

The second method which I really don’t recommend, I usually use the pray foam method myself, but the second method is using a fiber batt insulation to insulate the space around the windows or doors. So what you want to do is, whatever your width is, you space is here between the window jam and the framing, you want to rip off a piece of insulation about twice that thickness. So we’ve got about half inch or three quarter inch gap here, I’ve got about an inch of thickness. Then I’ve cut it into width.

Insulating Windows and Doors 2We’ve got a 2×6 wall, so I’ve cut this at about five, five and a half inches and what you really need is that insulation and some kind of flat utensil in order to help slide it and guide it back in there. I like to use a flat red bar, you could use a butter knife, a ruler, whatever fits back in that opening. First of all, what you don’t want to do is just start..I’ve seen a lot of people just ram in as much stuff as they can in there and think, ” I’ve got in full now, I can’t get anything else in, it’s good”.

That’s the worst thing you can do, because this type of insulation, once you get it too compressed, you actually lost your insulating value in it. So what we’re trying to do is actually take this piece, that’s why you’ve taken the time to make it the right size, and slide it straight back in there as much as we can. Now it does take a little bit of fiddling to get it in there, but that’t why we got the red bar. So basically, start by getting it folded on the red bar a little bit and starting in there.

Once you have it in there, unless you got it really tight spot, you can almost pinch it and just slide it right back and you can kind of tell if you’re getting it all balled or not, once you start doing it. Kind of work it from the back side, the front side, whichever way seems to work the best. Get it all in there nice and you can see it’s, I don’t know if you can see, but I’ll do the bottom to show you better, but it’s just all nicely fitting in there, does a real nice job.

Same thing on the bottom. We’re just going to start in there, we’ve got a shim on the one side here to work around, so we’re starting at that shim. I’m trying not to bunch it up, I’m just working it along there, until I can tell that I’ve got it right back to the edge and it looks good, it’s not just all rammed in there and hanging out and snagged up. Like I said, I don’t really like to use this method, if I don’t have to.

About the only time I do is if I have a really large gap in a renovation or something, we’ve changed the size of the window, because of the cost of the spray foam, it’s usually not that effective if you got a two inch gap to fill, it takes a lot of foam. What I have done is used the batt insulation to fill three quarters of that gap and then maybe spray foam to the inside, because it creates that air seal and kind of finishes it off, so it’s kind of a hybrid between the two.

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