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Cutting the Boxes and Installing the Windows

January 20, 2011 - The weather turned cold this week (for Houston anyway) with morning temperatures dipping down in the low 20's. The rain didn't help matters. We used window tape to seal the tops of the containers, and used the same tape inside to seal the openings between containers. We bought some small propane heaters that are used atop 20 pound propane bottles and that made things a little warmer.

We turned containers 9&10 into a workshop which helped to keep things organized.  We also got a second welder - William Ensign - who helped Adam install the first set of windows on container #2.  That was a fine moment to see; the wall of the container cut away, and a window frame (followed by the window itself) installed.  We went with narrow windows and chose to turn the windows horizontal for a couple of reasons.  The narrow windows are much less prone to theft.  Installing them high and horizontal will allow some light to enter the rooms, but not too much, since they will be edit suites and contain monitors. Some tips on window installation and a great place to buy them are shown after the jump.

For the window frames, we decided to use 2" 2" x1/8" tubing.  We used a heavy duty portable band saw to cut the tubing (we tried using a chop saw, but were not able to get true, consistent 45 degree angles).  The cuts are slower, but the results are worth it.  Adam would weld a short side of the frame to a long side, then we would stuff the hollow tube with loose fill cellulose insulation. After all corners were welded, the seams were ground down and frames were ready to be installed.  We experimented with a number of different window configurations (Sketchup is great for this kind of "what if" planning), then used a sharpie pen to outline the frame on the box wall.  The window openings were cut with our plasma cutter which (besides going through a number of tips) has been great.

Late last year I purchased several windows on Craigslist from a contractor who had them in storage.  I thought I got a good deal for these double pane Low E vinyl windows at $50 each.  That is until I discovered Conroe Surplus Supply.  This company purchases windows from manufacturers with overruns, excess inventory, slow moving inventory, or returns.  They have thousands of windows and sell them (no matter what size) at $20 each for fixed windows, and $50 each for windows with a sliding element.  It does not matter the size, the price remains the same!  There are single pane windows that are 10' tall and 3' wide that are just $20.  A window this size would normally cost $300-400 at a window retailer.  In addition to windows, this company has excellent prices on hardware, doors, lumber, and other building components.

At the end of this week, we got back the bids for the roof trusses along with the lumber we need for the green screen walls and container floors. We will order this material next week.

Posted by on January 23, 2011

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TC Hello, I tried to search for "Conroe Surplus Supply" on the web, but I have not been able to find it. Do you have their phone number or address?
2011 01 25

NealT Great project!! I was wondering if you could go into some detail on how you installed the actual windows into the steel frame?
2011 05 20

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The first two windows go in container #2.

William welds and Adam measures the next window opening.

Containers #9 and #10 became our workshop.

Some of the windows from Conroe Surplus Supply.

Tony preheated the metal seams between the containers and applied the window tape.

Close up of the window tape. It did not make the containers water tight, but helped to keep leaks to a minimum.

Tony jacks up containers #7 & #8 allowing  the water to run off the roof.

Close up detail showing how we welded the two containers together. Welds like these were made every 5-6 feet.

Framing out a window.  The frames were stuffed with loose fill cellulose insulation.

Sliding window for the video production studio goes in.

Cole welds a window.

Adam checks his work.

Cole welds and Adam uses the plasma cutter for two more windows.

Conroe Surplus Supply - that big windows is just $20!

A small part of the inventory at Conroe Surplus Supply.