Clerestory Windows

Work on the house has been slow lately. There have been a lot of prolonged power outages, several days of non-stop rain, and I have needed a day off here and there to take care of personal business.

But one day, Armando and I moved two palms that we planted at the rental house four years ago. They have grown like weeds, and I’m glad that we didn’t wait any longer as these palms were heavy! We planted one by the electrical service entry wall and one outside the master bedroom. These palms grow into large multi-trunked groups. Here’s the one by the bedroom:

Our soil is wet, wet, wet, so we dug a small drainage channel to the left of the palm and connected it to a drainage ditch. We filled the channel with gravel. So far the palms seem happy.

Clerestory windows are windows that are up high on a wall. They serve to let light in and if they can open and close, they let rising heat escape from the room. Clerestory windows look like this (source):

If you have just tuned in to my blog, no, this is not a photo of our house. But we now have four clerestory windows of our own at container 4.

In the next photo you can see the process of installing the windows. It is the same process as the door frames and the other window already installed. On the left, under the yellow level, is one of the window frames that I fabricated back in November(!). I drew around the frame with a Sharpie. You can see the temporary wooden legs that I made to hold the frame off the roof of container 4. The second window is in process of being cut out. I have settled on using the big angle grinder with a metal cutoff disk rather than the oxy/acetylene torch to cut these big holes because the grinder gives a much neater cut; slower, but fewer fumes, no burning paint, and no metal globs to clean up with the grinder:

After all four frames were placed in the openings, I tack welded the frames in place. You can see that I am in the process of picking up my tools; it is 2:00 and the rain is about 15 minutes away:

I used the fan to blow away the small amount of fumes. I still have to seal the frames to the container siding with urethane caulk, inside and out.

Then I welded the security bars to the window frames, just as I did in the first window installation, including the big hinges and locking hardware so I can open the bars, wash the windows, and paint the trim as needed:

I used the electric winch to raise the heavy welder into the air. This way I had access to the on/off switch while I was working out on the roof.

In other news, while I was working on the windows I noticed that the roof had sagged just a bit after I cut the holes, so I jacked the roof back into place and installed three 2″x2″ steel columns. These columns will be enclosed in the walls that I will build to divide the bedrooms, bathrooms, and the laundry. Not much to see, but sparks in photos are always exciting; here I am cutting notches out of the 2″x3″ carriola wall that will be sheathed in plycem; the steel column will fit into the notches:

Additionally, Armando completed the little rock wall around the garden. Simple, inexpensive, done!

I have a stonemason cousin that would cringe, but our little wall is so, um, Panamanian!

I still need to caulk the new windows, but after that I plan to start one of Cynthia’s studios, the greenhouse, a sidewalk and a couple steps in front of my shop door, and a couple small planters by the flying buttresses. Armando is spending a few days cleaning the yard at the rental house. We have badly neglected it recently and we need to get the grass cut and the bushes trimmed. It’s not just for aesthetics; there are snakes out there…

That’s all for now.


6 thoughts on “Clerestory Windows

  1. Hi Fred,

    My wife and I have been following your adventures for some time. We enjoy your posts about the building process of your container home. The ‘recycled’ and creative aspect appeals to us. We also like your posts regarding daily life type stuff and the youtube videos.
    We are considering a change of pace in a different place as well. The Summers in the Tacoma area are getting shorter every year. Panama is on our short list of possible destinations. We are making our first visit to Panama near the end of September. If it works out, we would enjoy getting the .50 tour (or maybe the .10 tour if we start to run low on funds).

    • Hi Mike,

      I’m glad that you are enjoying our adventure. I lived in Seattle for many years. The nice thing about the tropics is that although it rains more than in the Northwest, it is never really cold. Sixty-seven degrees is about the coldest I have seen our thermometer go here in the mountains. Also, although the Northwest and Panama both have long rainy seasons, you won’t get the deep Cabin Fever because the sun shines almost every day. I don’t miss the doldrums of Seattle’s winters.

      Sure, we should be open for tours at the end of September, and we are discounting the 50-cent tour to only 25-cents. But if you blow your travel budget, ten-cents will do. Per person of course. Fred

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