Routing Holes and Tricky Windows

The half circle window installed over our storage loft. I can’t wait to sit there and read.

In a recent post we talked about how to install standard rectangular windows – it helps that it’s mainly a bunch of straight lines you’re dealing with. In our tiny house, we have two windows that are a little more complicated. At each end of the house, we have windows that are curved at the top. The one in the dormers is even square on the bottom and sides, and then curves on the top, adding two extra faces to deal with. So, in the words of a friend of mine, ‘what do?’ How do we recreate the hole we need to route?


When in doubt while building a tiny house, the answer is either ‘use a hammer and make it fit,’ or ‘cardboard.’

Just kidding. Though cardboard is generally very handy to have around. (The hammer thing is still half true.)

Now unfortunately I do not have many pictures of this process, so I’ll describe it in vivid detail and leave it up to your wildly creative imagination. Basically it’s this: Get a large piece of cardboard, lay your window down on it, and draw a line around the window jamb. Then trace another very slightly larger line around the edge of that one to give yourself the R.O. (The R.O. is the rough opening of the window.) This gives you room to insert the window so it’s not a super-tight fit when installing, and also allows for some wiggle room when your house expands/contracts due to everyday wall fluctuations. This way the pressure won’t crack your window. But you don’t want it too loose either (otherwise the window might fall out..) So a good R.O. to go by is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.

So after you’ve drawn these lines, use a razor, scissors, or some other sharp device and cut on your line. Voila, you have a stencil for your window!

Our cardboard template held up to where the half circle window will soon be installed.

Next, take the stencil and hold it up to your wall that you’re planning on routing your window hole in. Take a level and make sure the base of your cardboard is level with the house. (Don’t want a crooked window – unless you’re the crooked man living in a crooked house with a crooked cat and crooked mouse – Mother Goose, anyone?) Once you’re sure it’s level, trace an outline around the cardboard on the wall, then cut it out with a jig saw or a skill saw (or both). And you’re done! A lot easier than trying to calculate angles and such.

We drew a line around the cardboard template on the plywood so we knew where to cut our rough opening.
The window is installed!

We repeated this process for the window in the dormers as well.

Drew used a sawzall to cut out the dormer end window.

Here is the finished product!

Does it not look like it has eyebrows? That’s all I see when I look at it.

PS. We had a visitor come by while we were installing windows. We think she approved of the view.


Until next time!


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