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August 23, 2004 - editor.  Pattaya, Thailand home construction, building a house.  Information on installing widows and doors.  Window types available: aluminum or wood?  Benefits of aluminum windows.  Bathroom window and door installation example.  Sample window pictures.

The first primary decision as far as external windows and doors is: aluminum or wood?  Wood has a benefit of looking nice and is more classic Thai style, but normally one is not building a classic Thai house anyway.  Aluminum looks modern, does not wear out or bleach and is fairly cost effective.  Wood may be a tad cheaper and it is a material that can be installed by most contractors.  With aluminum the contracting company will come to the job site, measure the exact window opening and install it right on site.  The screens used with aluminum can be slid open and closed, unlike the ones for wood windows, which need to be unhinged and then opened inward.  The bottom line is this:  aluminum is typically the material of choice.

Inside doors do not need to be solid wood, but solid wood doors do add class.  The bathroom doors are typically made from a type of PVC waterproof material.  Typically there will be one specialist who frames wood windows and doors and the will do all the cutting, trimming and installing as required.  There are numerous decisions that have to be made with each kind of window.

Aluminum or Wood?

The main decision with respect to windows is the choice of material; aluminum or wood.

Example of a house with aluminum windows.  (25-Jun-04)
Close up of aluminum windows.
Here is a house with aluminum windows which uses a wood entry door.  (03-Apr-04)
Example of a house with wood windows.  (19-Apr-04)
Another house with wood windows.  (06-Jul-04)
Close up of wood windows which have been varnished.  There are various treatments available for wood, the most common being varnish or urethane, for outside surfaces a good quality varnish will tend to hold up better.  (27-Jun-04)

Construction and Design Options

A wood framed door.  Notice the concrete strip which runs above the frame.  (22-Mar-04)

A wood framed window.  Notice that above and below the wood frame is a concrete row.  For aluminum windows the setup is similar but there is no frame.  The construction folks will create a frame of concrete all around the window prior to having the aluminum company come and measure.  (28-Mar-04)
This wood bathroom window frame shows how red bricks are used to make the brick row even, on top of the window.
Glass blocks make a nice source of light, are decorative, and are much less expensive than adding a window.
Here is a close-up of a glass block.  They are normally installed in a pattern with 1 centimeter of cement separating the blocks.  These come in hundreds of patterns and colors.  (21-Apr-04)
This cabinet door shows how nails are used in framing doors.  Notice the nails at regular intervals around the door, these are then used to anchor the cabinet (or door) frame to the wall.  (13-May-04)
This shows one way of framing a bathroom door.  Since the frames are of lightweight plastic type material, a wood frame is used to support the weight of the cement which is poured on top.  Without this support, the door frame will bend.  (15-May-04)
A window cutter will measure and cut the wood windows on site.  (19-Jun-04)
Bathroom doors are made of waterproof plastic material.  Here one is being prepared for installation.  (23-Jun-04)
Here is another type of commonly used window, the grate window.  These are the least expensive type of window but are very functional.  They are made of glass plates and a metal frame.  They do not weather or wear out and are have an opening and closing mechanism that works well with the window screen.  The downside of these windows is they are hard to clean and some think not as pretty as wood or aluminum.  They are very appropriate for the back of a house and the kitchen.  (27-Jun-04)
The grate window can be opened by turning a handle like this.  (28-Jun-04)
For wood windows, one option to make for easy opening is a push/pull rod like this.  These are not commonly sold, but can be bought at Homepro.  Once the screen is installed an apparatus like this makes opening the windows very easy.  The handle you see is a rod which connects to the window.  It can be pushed to open the window and closed to shut the window without having to adjust the screen.  (27-Jun-04)
A glass company will come and install the glass in wood windows.  (02-Jul-04)
They measure and cut it on-site and then install it.  After installation they will caulk each window opening.  Window installation in a 100 square meter house will cost about 3500 Baht.  The window glass can be ordered in various tints.
There are various companies that do security metal and screen installation.  A 100 square meter house will run about 20,000 Baht to have security metal and screen installed throughout.  Security metal comes in a number of different patterns, which can be selected from a book or designed by the customer.  One advantage to a simple design like the one shown is it is easy to clean, having a minimum of surfaces.  (08-Jul-04)
An installer puts an automatic door opener on a screen entry door.  (14-Jul-04)
There are a number of good curtain companies which have many grades and styles of curtains.  These heavy duty hanging curtains would cost about 17,000 Baht for a 100 square meter house.  There are many quality levels with curtains so prices can vary widely.  (29-Jul-04)
An example of a front wood entry door.  (19-Aug-04)
An example of wood windows with a top and bottom type hinge set.
This shows a ball bearing type door holder.  These come in many models and types.  Some of the models affix with magnets but the more expensive ones use a ball bearing mechanism such as shown here.  (20-Aug-04)
Here is an aluminum window with a cement preformed border frame (which in this shot hasn't been painted yet).  These frames are an attractive addition to aluminum windows.  (20-Aug-04)
This shows the opening mechanism for a top and bottom hinge window as opposed to a window with hinges mounted on the outside.  Notice also the screen, security metal and push rod opener.  (23-Aug-04)
A sample inside solid wood door which has been varnished.  Although solid wood is about 50% more expensive than hollow core doors, in adds a sense of distinction. 
This shows a wood window with outside hinges and hooks which are used to keep the window open.  I prefer the top and bottom hinge system with wood windows.
Most metal companies do screen doors.  They will come and measure and install either a sliding or push to open door like this one.  A double door like this would cost about 6,500 Baht installed.  The metal pattern used will normally be the same pattern as the window security metal in the house.  (23-Aug-04)
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