How to Build Your Own Sliding Windows
Sliding window panels are useful for blocking unwanted light and for protecting glass from the ravages of storms -- especially hurricanes and tornadoes. These window panels are usually made of weather-treated wood with sealant or paint for further protection from the elements. Although you can craft the tracks for the sliding window panels yourself, you can also purchase pre-made, long-lasting tracks of weather-resistant metal alloys.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Weather-treated wood
- Hand or table saw
- Outdoor-grade adhesive
- Drill and screws (mason or wood)
- Wood-carving tools (optional)
- Paint, stain or sealant (optional)
- Handles (optional)
Measure the length and width of your chosen window with a tape measure. Each panel will be 1 inch over half the width of the window and 1/4 inch less than the height. The extra width allows the panels to overlap, and the shorter height adjusts for the natural expansion and contraction of wood.
Purchase weather-treated wood and tracks that match the width of your window. If tracks do not come in the correct width, choose tracks just over the length required for your window and cut them down to size with bolt or metal cutters.
Cut the wood to the size of your measurements using a hand or table saw, or have it cut to size at the lumberyard. Embellish the wood with decorations, stain, wood sealant or paint if desired, and allow it to dry before installation.
Install the outer top and bottom track. Glue these into place using outdoor-grade permanent glue. If your window frames are wood, screw the tracks into place with wood screws. If the frames are brick or stone, use mortar screws. Seal with caulking according to the package directions, scraping any excess caulking away from the tracks to avoid problems with the slide of the windows.
Set the panels into place. Install the inside track as you installed the outside track on the top and bottom of the window frame. Have someone else hold the panels in place to keep them from tipping out while you are installing the track.
Test the slide of the windows before screwing the inside tracks into place. It is easier to nudge the tracks into a perfect position while the glue is still drying than it is to remove and replace masonry screws.
Tips & Warnings
- Install handles on the ends closest to the sides of the window frame to help slide the windows open and closed.
- Tracks with pre-made rollers will help you slide your windows easily.