Windows, and Battens, and Trim–Oh, My!

Some things I’m pumped about: the one-eyed Black African queen Amanirenas who stole a bronze bust of her enemy, Augustus Caesar, and stashed it under her palace for all to tread on (true story—see the PBS special), my favorite recent score from the Free Store (psychedelic-colored sunglasses), and a thrice-weekly meal-share some friends have started on The Blackberry Farm. What do these things have to do with the Tiny House? Nothing, really. My point is, construction is slow, but in the meantime there’s no shortage of delightful things to learn, find, and eat.

However, this is a blog about our little Juniper, so here’s the scoop. As you may have ascertained from the post title, we’ve installed the windows, battens and trim!

The Colorado-made windows from Alpen have lovely, almond-colored acrylic frames with an insulating foam core; two to three panes of glass layered with inert gases for extra insulating value; and an R-value of seven to nine! My dream of standing stark naked in front of a window in the winter sun without contracting hypothermia is near fruition!

Let’s talk window design. There are fifteen windows in this 28-foot long by 9 ½-foot wide by 11-foot high space. The abundance of light the windows provide creates an open feel and connects its inhabitants to the outdoors. The windows are installed in a recessed manner to give a little more shading from our hot southern sun and give some protection from the cold winter winds. Donovan chose most of the windows to be operable awning style, which open from the bottom, with the hope that we will be able to keep them open even when it rains.

Awning window

There are no windows on the hot, western side of the house, which is the end with the trailer tongue, where we’ll mount the utility shed. We indicate cardinal directions of windows because, although the house is moveable, the window design reflects a passive solar orientation: there are more windows on the south side to heat the place in the winter while the sun is shining, while the north side has fewer windows, with a higher R-value, since there won’t be much direct sun hitting them and the north side is generally colder. Donovan used WUFI energy modeling software for selecting the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, thermal value, and quantity of windows. When modeling the windows, he included awnings on the south side to be installed during our hot summers, which is kind of a bummer, because if he goes that route he’ll miss those sky views through the upper windows. He’s considering investing in some remote-controlled transparent shades instead, like the ones we found in the Passive House in Portland we stayed in.

A loft window view of the clouds and trees

Now, for the rest of the Tiny structure. The trim is on, and it’s gorgeous! The carpenter angels, Ed and Walter, sprayed on this non-toxic natural oil with an agricultural applicator, then rubbed it in with a rag, to prolong the life of the cedar trim and hopefully keep that gorgeous red color intact (with regular future applications). They had started with a small bottle of tung oil from our local hardware store before Donovan found the oil mix below, which he ordered online.


In addition to oiling and installing the juniper trim, Ed and Walter fastened battens to the Gutex siding. The battens provide a structure onto which the siding will be nailed   and also create the rain screen, which is the key to making the Gutex weather board work in this context. These strips of wood create channels for any water that gets behind the siding to run down the wall and have a chance to evaporate. The battens were cut from the scrap boards left over from the juniper trees that were milled for the siding. This conserves resources and puts to use the advantages of red cedar that make it a great choice for exteriors: it’s a stable wood, with insect- and water-resistant properties.

Walter (above) and Ed (below) install vertical battens cut from cedar scraps

On the south side of the house, where the siding will be metal, there are two layers of strapping attached in opposite directions, as per the usual.

Two layers of eastern cedar battens on the south side

But on the north side, where there will be shingles and lap siding and less room to work with to stay within the legal road-worthy width, the carpenters created vertical channels with a router in the horizontally attached battens to allow for water and air flow, thus saving the space that a second layer of battens would add. (Every inch counts!)

North side battens
Routered channel detail on north side battens

Spoiler alert: the siding is almost finished! If you’re not on The Farm to see it in person, you’ll just have to wait for an update. 🙂 Thank you for your patience and support!

Now for researching shingle siding installation…

Here’s an assortment of options Donovan has considered for the north side, drawn in SketchUp:

Juniper-Sketchup-Multiple Siding Views

One note about the jack situation, as promised in a previous post. Donovan got a bruised chest from being under the trailer when the jack malfunctioned, which happened because he followed the visual cue on the box! Tiny House jack-ers, beware!

The visual instructions versus the reality of a stable jack





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