5 Window Considerations for Tiny House RVs

Last week we posted a Guide to Window Design for Tiny House RVs, which explains the visual aesthetics you should consider for your window placement and size. What about functionality? Your windows need to be beautiful but also: stable, moisture resistant and rated for your particular needs. In this article, we discuss how to choose and purchase the perfect windows for your Tiny House RV. 

TINY BUILD TIP: Before ordering your windows, make sure you are ordering the ROUGH OPENING sizes and that you give yourself 6-8 weeks of lead time. 

1). Decide on your Window Functionality

How do you want your windows to function vs. how much you want to spend. Picture windows (or windows that do not open) will be the cheapest option. For functioning windows, single hung are going to be the cheapest, while casement are usually the most expensive. The window brand we recommend is Jeld-wen.

The type of windows you choose is completely dependent on your preference and budget. Most Tiny House RV owners like to be consistent with their window functionality placement. For example, you might choose awning windows for you loft and casement windows for your bay windows. 

Think about cross breeze, rain and ventilation. Two casement windows placed opposite each other will provide a strong cross breeze. Awning windows can be left open or cracked when it's raining. Choosing to have a variety of functioning windows, but being consistent with their placement, could benefit your overall window design. 

Russ used stained glass overlay on several windows in his gypsy wagon. The overlay is etched so that it has the texture of real stained glass.

Special shaped windows, custom sizes and grids will cost you extra. We do not recommend stained glass windows for those traveling with their Tiny House RV because they tend to be fragile, expensive, single pane and not compatible with tempered glass. Instead, try stained glass overlay or window film.

2). Moisture Resistance Ability

In a tiny space, moisture can be problematic. Not all windows are created equal when it comes to moisture resistance. Aluminum windows are inexpensive, but they are prone to condensation. Vinyl windows are the most resistant to moisture, but they are generally not as visually stunning.

We recommend aluminum clad windows because they are beautiful, long lasting and a good middle ground for moisture resistance. You still may need to do some maintenance to ensure moisture does not become a problem (this can be the case will all windows in Tiny House RVs). Aluminum clad windows are more expensive than other windows, but replacing an inadequate window can be time consuming and expensive as well. 

3). Insulation Value

We do NOT recommend single pane windows to be used in Tiny House RVs. In most cases low-e double pane windows will be enough of an insulator for your windows, but in extreme weather destinations (such as Alaska), triple pane is worth the extra cost. 

4). Tempered glass 

Any structure that is traveling down the road should have tempered glass windows. We also recommend shutters (or a protective piece of plywood) be attached on the windows on the tongue side of your trailer. 

5). Altitude Rating

Similar to when you ears pop due to change of air pressure, windows are sensitive to changes in elevations. If you do NOT plan on moving your Tiny House RV, you can purchase windows that are rated for the altitude in which you are located.

If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, we recommend purchasing high altitude windows. If you do NOT choose high altitude windows, and you travel to a high elevation, you are risking seal breakage from the pressure difference. If this happens, your windows will fog and collect moisture between panes, and you will need to replace them.

At Tumbleweed, we outfit all of our fully built Tiny House RVs with high altitude windows because they are built in our workshop in Colorado Springs, at 6,000 feet.  

Save money with reclaimed windows! 

Aside from your trailer, windows will be the most expensive purchase for your Tiny House RV. Sourcing reclaimed windows is a great money saving option, but we caution you to consider all of the above variables. If you're interested in reclaimed windows, check Habitat for Humanity or ask for materials being thrown away at a local construction site.

Deek Deirdrickson explains the benefit of working with reclaimed windows:

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about Tiny Homes and their adventure. Follow their informative blog. 
 
     

Insulation: What to Consider

Tiny House Giant Journey's Rigid Foam Board Insulation

Many tiny housers live in cold and hot climates. There are Tumbleweeds that muscle through Alaskan winters (such as Heather's Cypress and Nathan's Cypress) and ones that chill-out during Louisiana summers (such as Art's Elm) and protect against Florida's humidity (such as Emily's Elm). High quality insulation is one of the BIG benefits about living in a tiny home versus a conventional RV. 

When choosing which insulation to use in your tiny home, the three key factors to consider are: 1) R-Value, 2) Loose Fill vs. Closed, 3) Environmental Impact.  

1) R-Value

R-values represent the extent to which insulation resists heat flow; a higher R-value means more insulating value.

For example, in Alaska R-values for roofs should approximate R-38 to R-49; for walls, R-21; and for floors R-15 to R-19 (according to this source). It will be important for you to determine the amount of insulation you need for your particular location. You can learn more about recommended R-value per region by clicking here

Halley's Tumbleweed with Rigid Foam Insulation

Types of Insulation and their R-values (per inch)

Rigid Foam: R5-7 per inch

Spray Foam: R6-7 per inch

Wool: R3.5-3.8 per inch

Cotton Batts: R3-4 per inch

Fiberglass Batts: R3-4 per inch

*For a list of types of insulation click here

2) Loose Fill Vs. Closed

Evan & Gabby's Tiny House trailer with Wool Insulation

Some insulations are closed,  which means that they create a vapor barrier or air seal and will provided extra strength within your walls. An example of closed insulation is spray foam, which is the typical insulation we use in our ready-made Houses-to-Go.  

Other insulations are loose fill, such as wool insulation, cellulose insulation and even shredded recycled paper insulation. This means that the material is—you guessed it—loosely packed within your walls. These types of insulations are easy to install and can fit within tight, awkward spaces. Keep in mind that some types of loose fill insulations will require an additional vapor barrier.  

3) Environmental Impact

Ella's Wool Insulation

Whenever you are building a home, whether it be a tiny home or a mansion, you have the option to choose greener materials. This choice depends on your own personal preference, but it is an important factor to weigh if you intend on installing the insulation yourself. Some insulations contain harmful fibers and will require a respirator when installing, such as fiberglass insulation.

Wool insulation is a natural and sustainable product; cotton denim insulation is made from non-toxic recycled materials. These materials will not require off-gassing and are consider green insulation alternatives. 

Comment below on which type of insulation you would use in your tiny home!

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Check back soon for an article on Tiny House heating!

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting an open house. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey here.
 

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — October 13, 2014

Filed under: 2014   cotton   denim   fiberglass   Insulation   Rigid Foam Insulation   Spray Foam   Tumbleweed   Wool Insulation  

Insulation: A Hot and Cold Topic

What makes a tiny house a home? Proper insulation, to keep you toasty in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulation creates energy efficiency as well as helps control temperatures in your home. In a tiny house on wheels, there's insulation in the trailer, walls and roof.

There are many options for insulating your home, and that's where you will need to consider various factors including cost, your construction experience, and desire for organic materials. In each case, the thickness and insulation material matter as they combine to contribute to overall energy efficiency.

 Denim is a terrific recycled insulation, now available in stores.

 

Read More

Written by Debby Richman — January 06, 2014

Filed under: 2014   denim insulation   fiberglass insulation   insulation   SIPs   spray foam insulation  

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