Custom windows

I need to replace some old sliding windows in my home and thought I may just build a single, fixed unit that is 35 x 53. Hopefully, with a better quality glass -- maybe even double insulated etc.
I would imagine (depending on the glass) that I'll need some sort of reinforcement from the frame in the middle of the window as well.
I was wondering if you can buy a premade frame material that you can cut to size and simply attach the glass?
Like a picture frame kit for example.
Is there anything like that on the market?
Not that I couldn't do all the joints myself etc. -- but a time saver would be nice.
Thanks.
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Would you happen to conveniently be somewhat near Lafayette, La.? A few years ago, I salvaged quite a few sash units and have them stashed in the back of the shop. I'd give you one or 2. All are relatively recent modeled high-end Kolbe & Kolbe custom made units. Some are double paned/insulated, some single panes, different sizes, few half round transom-like, i.e., an assortment. I probably have 30 units of varying sizes, small to 5' X 6', multi-light and single light.... just a bunch of them stashed away. They were free, so I got while the getting was good. There are a few (double paned) with the vaccuum seal compromised (excellent for someone's camp, shop, or the like), but most of them are in good shape for home application.
Sonny
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mkr5000 wrote:

Not that I'm trying to talk you out of building them yourself. But you can get really really good quality double pane windows for a fairly cheap price these days. Easy installation and look good. I doubt you can build them for as cheap as you can buy them. Rich
--
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but you can't make them THINK"
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Another point, in reference to Rich's reply: A purchased unit, whether just the sash or the whole window unit (frame and all), will come with a warranty. Top producers like JelWen, Pella, Kolbe, etc. have good warranties, some up to 10 years and not just for the sash unit.... the woodwork or vinyl or aluminum, the finish and/or the cladding is warrantied, also.
I wouldn't think an individual can properly make a double paned, vaccuum sealed, argon filled sash without special equipment.
A local window company should be able to make the sash or whole window for you and have some kind of warranty, also. A local Pella, JelWen, Kolbe, etc. rep/outlet can order either (sash or whole unit) for you. Get prices vs making your own. Those folks will come out and measrue for you, also, i.e., the burden of correctness is on them, but may be dependent on proper installation by you! If you go this route, follow installation instructions and, maybe, take pics during installation, just in case.
Sonny
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On 6/8/2011 8:13 AM, mkr5000 wrote:

Window openings are framed with a header to support the structure above it. If what you are removing is one window unit, you will not need any additional support. The new window unit should slide into the old opening. A photo would help.
You will need to determine the size of the rough opening. Then shop around for a good price.
If you want to build your own then go for it. People have been building windows for hundreds of years. What's to stop you.
Others have advised against it but if you noticed, their reasoning was based on what is the cheapest alternative. I find that to be strange advice in a woodworking group. When someone wants to build a jewelry box they are all over the place with advice how to build one but in reality you could buy one in Walmart for the price of the hardware. Dual standards?
You can get a single pane of glass cut any size you want. You can also get dual or triple pane window units made any size. Just build a frame to fit.
I made a sealed dual pane window twenty five years ago. I used two sheets of glass and made the sealed unit myself. It's still in place in my old house and has never leaked.
If you think you can do it youself then by all means do it. I built the house I'm living in. All the interior woodwork is done with sawmill lumber that most around here use for firewood, including the cupboards. Bet some of those people would have advised against it.
LdB
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LdB wrote:

Not sure thats what I wrote. Cheap is not what I was referring to. I have never bought anything at Walmart and doubt I ever will. All I said was if you buy am Andersen Window I doubt you will be able to create its finer points in your shop. I would look at both alternatives before jumping in.
Rich
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
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thanks for offer sonny but I'm way up north -- anyway, just want to replace the sliding windows, not the sills and "one bys" etc that are attached to my brick house.
i thought there might be a premade frame i could cut to size then simply insert glass to make a fixed (non opening) unit.
perhaps not.
i want to do something custom for a precise fit.
just the top, bottom, sides and i suppose a middle piece.
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On 6/8/2011 6:00 PM, mkr5000 wrote:

the sliding windows, not the sills and "one bys" etc that are attached to my brick house.

You need to talk to glass companies that does aluminum windows for commercial applications. They have stock molding that can be cut and made to fit any size opening. They would also have the glass to fit the new opening.
There are also "many" replacement window companies that will have what you need.
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I hate to be a party-pooper but you are getting into a job that window manufacturers know how to do; and they are set up and tooled to do it.
I have installed some thermopanes to make simple unmovable cased solar room windows and they leaked until I metal clad the exterior surfaces. I have a friend who made some really neat trapezoidal windows with exterior pine and interior hardwood for his new house. Looked good for a year until they started leaking. In both cases caulk was temporary because the glass gets quite hot around the rims. You can buy metal clad windows with internal pine surfaces fairly reasonably.
RonB
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If you want to make your own windows for asthetic reasons, such as style or type of wood, go for it. I've seen some made with exotic wood species that belong in a magazine they looked so good! If it's to save money . . . It's hard to beat a company that already has the tooling and techniques ironed out, plus you get a warranty. Considering that asthetics are the goal.... Get the panes themselves made up by a professional. That way you will get the modern coatings, the proper gas filling (ussually argon), and a frame that will hold the panes together properly to keep the inert gas intact. It is really important to the efficiency of the total window. Then all you have to do is set them in the frames and sash you made, and you will have the look you want, and the advantage of a totally modern window system to a great extent. Good luck with the project . . . I just had the window guy do mine, and they look OK for what they are. I can see where a really nice wooden sash and frame could have improved the overall job though. Post a photo of them when your done . . . I'm still liable to canabalize my new windows and make nice wooden frames.
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Offered in the spirit of friendship and respect :)

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