PVC Window Frames

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Here's how to build long-lasting, low maintenance window frames that can be almost invisible on the house during the daytime.
These were constructed using 1/2" PVC pipe, T-connectors and corner connectors, then painted with flat black paint to match the color of the window shutters. The paint also helps protect the PVC from the sun's UV rays while providing a better surface for zip-tieing the lights to the frames as the flat paint provides for more friction so the zip ties don't slip. Because it wasn't possible to string lights on these frames without overlapping a bit, we tried to route the lights to minimize any overlap. In the final analysis we decided that if you didn't know there was a little overlap you wouldn't notice it!

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The frames are mounted onto the shutters with a pair of hand-formed aluminum brackets. The brackets can be easily formed in a vice using a hammer and a wooden dowel for the shape, then hand-clamped around the PVC. Slip the brackets over and behind the shutters to hang the frame.

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The frames are secured from wind at the bottom with a couple zip ties through small holes drilled through shutter corners. Each frame has its own 4-channel wireless controller since there are four strings of lights on each frame and the whole frame has only one A/C power wire to plug in. This makes for a very quick installation: each window takes less than 2 minutes to hang and secure.

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PVC makes it easy to form curved shapes using a heat gun, as we did for the arch window above the front door. Since there were no shutters on this window, we used four simple pipe clamps (painted flat black) to attach the frame to the house: two clamps support the weight at the bottom and one clamp on either side to hold it against the house.

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Storage is easy -- a couple wall brackets and they hang on the wall in the garage during the off-season. At the time of this writing, these frames were 25 years old and the only maintenance has been the periodic replacement of incandescent light strings and to repair one frame that was accidentally dropped from an upper-level window during take-down one year. In 2010 the incandescent lights were replaced with quality LED strings and no maintenance whatsoever has occurred since.