If you have a great view and want to be able to take it all in, than making a window wall is the best way to expand your view. Window walls have minimal framing that should not take away from the view, but add to it, almost like a picture frame. While this kind of project is really not that difficult, it requires a lot of reinforcement of the existing structure. This is where the work comes in.
Single Story Window Wall
A single story window wall construction starts by building a temporary wall that supports the ceiling about 3 feet back from where you are working if the ceiling joists run perpendicular to the exterior wall you are removing. If the ceiling joists run parallel, you will have to perform this renovation in sections that are no larger than the framing for a single window. A temporary wall has a single top and bottom plate and is framed every 16″ o.c. (on center). Take any existing windows out and either re-purpose them somewhere else if they are still in good condition, or give them to a used material supplier. Remove all of the headers by running a reciprocating saw between the headers and the first top plate. Discard the lumber.
For window openings under 5 feet, build double 11 7/8 LVL headers for the windows. For windows over this, the LVLs should be triple ply to carry to extra weight. Nail a wall stud to the end of the header on each side and slam it into place. This literally will take you slamming it into place with a sledge hammer so don’t think it will be easy. Add a bottom plate out of wall framing lumber to the header. Frame the bottom portion of the window 16″ o.c. adding two top plates to the the bottom of the window. Add crippler studs to the inside of the window rough framing. Repeat this for every window opening. Make sure that whatever your rough opening is to add 6 inches extra for your framing and 3 inches extra for your header. Take your temporary wall down once the exterior wall is complete.
Once the wall is framed, sheet the wall with 1/2 inch plywood, making sure to stagger the joints of the plywood. Install the windows, making sure to center the windows so there is equal room for expansion. The most important part of the window is to make sure that it is level. Nail the corners once the window is centered or level then nail in the rest of the window flanges. Use shims to level the window if necessary. Fill the gap between the window and the framing on the interior with spray foam insulation that is flexible enough to withstand the shrinking and expanding of the window over the years.
Add insulation, a vapor barrier, and drywall to the interior, siding to the exterior, and all that is left to do is the window trim. After that, you are ready to enjoy your view.
Creating a window wall to a magnificent view is a lot of work, but will be sure to add value and more importantly the view you are looking for.