Pella door

Architects do a lot of work “behind the scenes” to make their projects successful that clients often don’t have the opportunity to recognize or understand. Selecting windows is one of those tasks because its technical and tedious.  One of my projects this week is in the “Design Development” phase which means the sketches and hand drawings have all been transferred to AutoCAD and we are looking at specific dimensions, roof pitch, materials, and other items that will take the design to the next level. Selecting exterior windows and doors and creating a “window schedule” is part of this phase. A “schedule”doesn’t have to do with timing but rather a chart to organize and present selections to a contractor in a clear and organized format.

window selections

The first thing I do is discuss which window manufacturer is appropriate for the project with the client. Sometimes I may meet a client at a window showroom to look at a specific manufacturer, or visit an installation with the windows we are considering. On this specific job, the existing house has Pella windows and the client is very happy with them so we are sticking with that and specifying a mixture of both the Architect Series doors and replacement windows. Next step is to create a blank chart and start to fill in the information by hand as you can see in the image above.

Pella door elevs2

Next I’m looking closely at the standard sizes offered by that manufacturer. Here is an example of the sizing chart Pella offers for French doors. I’m considering a number of things as I look through these: the existing height of some doors, which doors will have transoms or not (a fixed window above a door) the proportions of the glazing as it compares to the windows, which door will be the “Active” leaf, which hardware to use, what thickness and material the door should be, the threshold at the deck, the trim on the exterior, just to name a few.

Pella door details

I’m also looking at the details of how the doors connect to the transoms above so I can be sure to detail the wall sections and exterior trim properly. Its so important that all my door and window heights align so this is a critical step.

In the end, I will have a nicely organized chart, or “schedule” that will make the contractors life very easy as  he or she can place their window order straight from the chart. The window rep and I can discuss each window and door by type as he provides pricing to the contractor. The client is rarely aware of the time and effort that goes into the selection process but they benefit greatly if they have an architect who is willing to do it and not just pass it off to the contractor to figure out in the field. Most importantly, this process will ensure the windows and doors will fit and look great! All in a days (or weeks) work.

(top photo from