First Trombé Wall Glass

The trombé wall has been missing its glass ever since the new windows were installed. The original Trombé wall had solar glass that was just glued to a wood frame and trimmed on top of the glass.

Trombe Wall in 2011
Trombe Wall in 2011

The bottom trim boards were rotting and the glass was slipping out of the frames. Some of the glass pieces were missing.

Original Trombe Wall Construction
Original Trombe Wall Construction

The glass was removed and so was the rotted wood.

Trombe Glass Removed in 2015
Trombe Glass Removed in 2015

Eventually I re-insulated the front of the foundation wall and covered the insulation with a fiberglass cap.

It took some time to plan how to replace the glass and rebuild the Trombé wall. When I saw lattice edges at a Repurposed Materials auction I thought they would make good frames for replacement glass in the Trombé wall. I also was on the lookout for sliding glass door panels to replace the missing glass. I found several for sale on craigslist and bought them although sometimes these can be found as give-aways.

I researched the installation of fixed glass panes and found a good article on Inspectopedia with instructions for using glazing tape and neoprene setting blocks. I ordered each of these items from Amazon.

I have a 4 x 8′ plywood table top on the patio so I was able to put together the window frame on a nice working surface. First I split a double pane window with a utility knife. Then I cleaned the pane of glass and measured for the frame. Once the frame was cut I used alcohol on the window edge and then applied the glazing tape.

Cutting the window frame
Cutting the window frame

I had to cut the side pieces more than once because I neglected to allow for the width of the neoprene blocks that the glass sits on to allow for expansion in the frame.

Setting the neoprene blocks
Setting the neoprene blocks

I used a bit of crazy glue to keep the blocks in place when putting the frame on the window. Next I peeled back the coating on the glazing tape and placed the frame around the window. The glazing tape didn’t hold the frame because there was too much room in the groove. But I was able to glue the corners together. I used a new tool to hold the corners while gluing.

Collins Miter Spring Pliers
Collins Miter Spring Pliers

I read about these clamps for holding picture frame ends while fastening them and they were recommended. The set is really lightweight metal and at almost $30 were overpriced but the clamps did work and I’m not sure how else I would have clamped these large pieces.

Once the frame was glued it was still loose around the pane of glass so I read about caulks and glazing compound. Although glazing caulks are supposedly easier to use, glazing compound, especially oil based compound has a longer life up to a hundred years! When I turned the window over, the weight of the glass stuck to the glazing tape and I used the compound to fill the outside edges. I found the compound relatively easy to work with but I am not a perfectionist. I had to order online to get the larger size container and the oil based compound. It cleans up with mineral spirits and takes quite a long time to dry.

Glazing the outside edges
Glazing the outside edges

The compound was not all the way dry after it sat through several very cold days and nights and six inches of snowfall. But I wanted to install this window so I could start on the next one. I measured the black framing on the wall and found the bottom 2 x 2 was a bit short. My solution was to cut a double lattice edge on one side of the channel and screw it to the bottom of the black framing. Then I cleaned both sides of the window with window cleaner and soft rags.

I had some ethernabond double stick tape that I applied to the repainted and repaired black framing. I used 1″ L-shaped brackets to hold the frame while it was being placed on the tape. With Dave’s help we got the window attached to the black wall framing.

Firt trombe wall glass installed
Firt trombe wall glass installed

When it seemed to be holding, I caulked all around the outside of the frame. The top and bottom of the frame needed caulking rope because they didn’t contact along the whole width of the frame. I used an entire 10 oz tube of Dap waterproof exterior door and window caulk and there are a few gaps along the bottom.

Window frame caulked
Window frame caulked

Now that I have a procedure I hope the rest of the glazing is installed soon.

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