Add Window to Shed




Introduction: Add Window to Shed

About: I'm a problem solving guy from Colorado. My profession is software engineering, and my hobbies include woodworking. I want to share a lot of knowledge with instructables since I've gained so much already.

I have a simple shed that I use as a workshop. Working in my shop I realized that a window would allow me to have a breeze in the summer, and bring in sunlight in the winter. My budget is $100, and I'm not particular about insulation, building codes, or weatherproofing, which is good, because I really didn't insulate, meet any codes, or provide safety from the weather at all.

The end result is functional, and safe, but you really shouldn't follow these instructions for any structure you care about, like a home or commercial property. Proper wall strength is important, and the energy efficiency of this installation is not good at all.

Step 1: Idea/Design

Every instructable should explain the motivation behind the decisions made in the project. This project especially, because I'm guessing you can't find the same supplies, or don't have the same shed as I do.

Benefits of a window in the shed:
 - Light: a southern or eastern window will probably be a big help in the winter.
 - Breeze: A window on the opposite side from the door would create a cross breeze that will cool the shed down in the summer.
 - Space: Third benefit, If I am working on something large, there's a chance I will open the window to fit the cut.

 - Money: In this case I was thinking $100, but I got away closer to $60.
 - Structural Integrity: I won't do anything that I think has a good chance of destroying my shed, or causing major(expensive) damage.
 - Time: I want a simple, fun project. I don't want something that will take the rest of the summer to finish.

The conclusion I initially came up with was to find a small, inexpensive window, and try to fit it in between the existing frame of the structure.  Once I started shopping for a window, I changed the design to create space for the specific used window I found.

Step 2: Finding a Window. Materials. Tools.

I wanted to do this cheap, and I have lots of flexibility.  So I went to my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. [ ]

I found a window that was about 48"x41" (1.2m x 1m). I tested the opening and closing of the window. It was a nice pvc window with dual panes.  It was $42.  The price is right.  A lot of windows start out with a nail strip on the outside. That would have been great, but there weren't many used windows with them, and none in a useful size. Color didn't matter to me, but the one I found was beige.

There were two problems:
1) The 48" width meant that I couldn't fit it using the existing wall studs, because there is only 46.5" between fours studs.
2) It doesn't fit in my car.  I removed the panes, and put the window frame on my mini trailer.

This is the complete materials list I used:
 - 1x window. $42
 - 1x piece of aluminum flashing/drip edge $8
 - 5x 2"x4"x96" studs. I had several large scraps left over. $13
 - A bunch of 2.5" drywall screws. I already had them
 - 2x shims. I already had them

Complete list of tools:
 - Hammer.
 - Circular Saw
 - Compound Mitre Saw (I could have used the circular saw instead, but this is easier)
 - Hand Saw
 - Drill
 - Marker
 - Straight edge (about a 48 inch one.)
 - Clamps

Step 3: Clean Up the Used Window.

The window had some leftover silicone from the previous installation. So I used a razor to remove it. I also removed the window panes, so I could use the frame without breaking my back.

The plastic on the window is a lot stronger than the silicone, so you can put the razor at a shallow angle and it will cut through the silicone without scratching the plastic.

Step 4: Remove Studs/Demolision

Good demo starts with a good layout and plan. Ideally, the frame around the window would have 1/8" (3mm) extra room on each side, top and bottom.  You really don't want the wall to depend on the window for strength.  My shed has walls that are '16" on center' which means the centers of the studs are 16" apart.  Between 4 studs, there is 46.5", so I can only use one of the existing studs. 

I decided to use the right side, and the top of the existing wall, and move the left stud, and fasten a beam on the bottom.

Before removing three studs from the wall, I was worried that the wall would sag, so I jammed another board under a strong part of the wall.  I left this board in place until I refastened the left stud. I'm not sure if this was needed, but I don't regret it.

For demo, I needed to cut two studs, and remove the leftmost stud. All the studs were nailed in from the top, and from the outside (to fasten the siding), and from the bottom. The top and bottom nails were a real problem because there was another stud above, so I couldn't pry them out.  If I had a Sawzall, it would have been possible to just cut through the nails, but I don't have one of those.  I cut the leftmost stud a foot (0.3m) or so from the top, and pried each piece off of the nails.  I then had to cut the nails with a dremel cutting tool.

The two studs I shortened, I cut above the final cut, and pried out the top piece.  Then cut the nails again. 

All the nails holding the siding from the outside were removed with the claw part of the hammer.

Step 5: Reframe

Cutting the bottom studs to length means measuring the height of the window, adding the width of the stud (1.5"), and the gap then measuring from the top of the wall. Measure twice, cut once! I also like to make the mark, then hold the window frame up to make sure it makes sense. 

I cut the two new pieces to length.  You could use nails to put the new pieces in place, but screws are easier, and more precise. I used pocket screws for the vertical stud. That's not necessary, you could just angle some screws. Make sure every joint gets two screws.

Note: This is really the minimum framing, which is fine for my shed.  In a more important structure, the side studs would be doubled up, and the top and bottom studs would be lots stronger (2x6 or more).

Step 6: Cut the Hole

Wait until you have enough time to finish the window.  After you cut the opening, any weather can cause a lot of problems until you finish. 

Throughout this process, keep placing the window frame in the opening to make sure you are not doing anything crazy. During one of these tests, I noticed the right stud is not straight.  I don't want to fix it, but I don't want to cut the hole to follow the stud, so I marked where I wanted that corner of the hole to be.

For each of the four corners, drill a 1/2" (1 cm) hole through to the outside. These just mark the corners so I can find them on the outside.  The material on the outside of my shed is 1/2" OSB siding, which caused a lot of chipout when I pushed the drill through. I should have been more careful, but it's going to be covered.

Go outside, and use a straight edge and marker to mark the cuts. Just connect the dots.

From the outside, use a saw to cut out the hole. A jigsaw could do the job, and is probably the safest choice. I chose a circular saw, because it was quick.

I couldn't get all the way to the corners without overcutting, so I finished up with a hand saw. If you are not sure of your cutting skills, or you are worried about your layout marks, cut an inch or so in, to remove most of the wall, but leave enough to easily cut to the desired size.

Step 7: Seal the Opening, Sort Of...

I added a piece of flashing to the bottom, just to keep standing water from accumulating on the bottom of the window. I am confident I don't need more sealing because the door has nothing, and all the wood has held up for years.

I just cut the piece to length, and nailed it in. I didn't bother to use silicon or anything here or anywhere.

Step 8: Install the Window.

The window can now fall out, because there's a hole in the wall.  Get some help, someone to stand outside so you don't knock the window out.

I want the window to operate properly, and be square, so I put the window panes back in.  It's really important to have help because it definitely moved around a lot, and having someone on the other side of the wall helped a lot.

Put shims on all sides to make the window stay put.  You want to have a shim on every place you are going to put a screw from the window frame into the studs.  If you don't have room for a shim, then it had better be flush with the stud.  The side with the crooked stud meant I couldn't use a single shim to fill the gap, so I used a scrap piece of hardwood.

I chose to make the outermost part of the window to be flush with the siding.  Before I fastened the window, I made sure the window was flush all the way around. I also made sure the windows opened and closed properly. 

Once the screws were in place, I trimmed the shims.

Note: Again, this is just for my shed, in a real window situation, you might care a lot more about things like sealing the window, or making sure it's plum/level.

Step 9: Add the Trim

I didn't take a picture from the outside at this step, but there is still a gap around the window. I want to cover this with trim that matches the other features of the shed.

I used 2x4s to create the trim. I covered part of the window with this trim, and all of the gap. I started with the bottom, then attached both sides, and then finished with the top.

I had to be careful to hit the stud on the other side of the wall.  This was especially tricky on the side with the crooked stud, but I made the measurements, and marks, and made the holes in the right place.

The screws I have are only long enough to get about a half inch into the stud if they stopped flush with the trim, so I used a larger bit to countersink each screw by another half inch. That window is not falling to the outside!

The trim just needs a good waterproof paint, or some primer and paint. 

Step 10: Clean Up/Finished.

I then cleaned up. I think it worked out great, and I'd like to encourage ambitious folks to take on this project themselves. It was pretty simple. I managed to finish it all in a weekend, without ruining my weekend fun. I am really looking forward to enjoying this new light, and breeze in my workshop while I work, making furniture, toys and tools out of wood.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    That's a good job & I plan to do the same one day for my bandsaw. But, long ago I put a hinged hatch in the wall of my shop to take care of all the wood that came off the outfeed of my thickness planer. Using the same idea that you did for the window, I used for the hatch. Plus I insulated the hatch with 2" foam board.

    Mary Ellen Waithe
    Mary Ellen Waithe

    2 years ago on Step 10

    Thanks not only for the basic instructions, but for the helpful hints, like watching out for the flimsiness of the wall board, using thicker, wider lumber for framing, etc. I'm about to reuse windows taken from my home when I replaced basement windows with escape windows. and create some lighting/ventilation for my shed. Just have to wait for the temps to go above freezing!


    3 years ago on Step 4

    Instead of removing the studs it’s easier if you measure where you want the window you have a 48” window so say you have a 72” door and you want the window to be the same height as the door. Take 48 subtract it from 72” gives you 24 measure up to 24” from the floor that’s the bottom of your window , measure up to 72 that’s the top , to prevent the chip out mark the outside cut make your pencil lines not marker it makes a wide line. Then take a chisel and hammer and mark your corners and drill from outside to inside and then make your cut cutting through studs and siding windows never have a 2x6 sill or stud unless the wall does. The header should be 2x6 at least. But since you have studs already there you just have to add your jack studs which go from bottom plate to the header one on each side of windo and the cripple stud one on top from the top of header to the top plate and one on bottom from sill to bottom plate then your sill goes from jack to jack resting on the cripple


    3 years ago on Step 2

    A nail strip comes on construction windows and no nail strip is a remodel window. For future reference a 24”x24” new window is only $33.


    4 years ago

    That's nice. The only thing I would have done differently would be bringing the trim in closer so it covers the frame of the window unit. That way only the sashes (moving frames) would be visible inside the trim. It's just a nice aesthetic touch.


    6 years ago on Step 10

    Very good job & instructions on how to do it myself. Looks great also. Once again, good job and thanx for sharing with us. this is very helpful to me. Jim


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Down here (Australia..), the exterior/outside moulding/trim around doors and windows is normally mitred on the corner joins, when made from timber - at least on the two top corners, even on modest garages and sheds. Mitred corners will better protect the end-grains from the weather ~ and they look much better and are stronger..

    I noticed you had a mitre saw among the tools, so it wouldn't have been any extra work ~ and uses less material. A shorter piece of 4"x1" moulding would suffice...

    For my local conditions, I would also consider using flashing on all four sides..


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I absolutely agree with you, when I saw first time not mitred corners at windows and doors trim I was surprised and started asking why, why? I was explained that it is up to the owner to decide what to do at corners. I don't ask any more. :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yeh !!! You have to appreciate (or not..) the way some people say those things like "... it is up to the owner to decide what to do.." ~ this rather reminds me of those types who try to shut a discussion down by stating such lame homages as "There's more than one way to skin a cat.." ~ while at the same time ignoring the fact that most of the time, one particular way will usually be greatly superior to their other ways..   ;-P

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    In this case, it was because whoever built my shed in the first place, did the non-mitred frame around the door, and I decided to make it consistent.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job. I like the idea of being able to temporarily extend my workable space to fit in long things.

    I already have one window in my shed, but I cannot add another as the other three wall are dedicated to storage.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction


    This wall had a bench on it, but I removed it in favor of some mobile tables. I definitely need more storage (who doesn't) but I think the next step is figuring out what I actually need in the shed, and what I need elsewhere.

    DIY  Dave
    DIY Dave

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great job. Once my dad had a shed built, and the builders forgot to put the windows in.