Before I became a field-training consultant for builders, I was a builder and remodeler. Even then, long before mold was a hot topic, it bothered me how many different methods were used to install windows. Stucco guys did it one way, East Coasters another, and production framers in California had their own techniques. So I set out to find best practices for my own sites to prevent problems and to streamline production.
The Building Environment & Thermal Envelope Council (BETEC) was at work on this then, too, trying to corral all the various methods of window installation around the country. Their research resulted in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E-2112 window installation standards and American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Installation Masters program (see "Resources," page 26). These are both excellent resources for detailing a window installation, and they're the standards and practices I teach builders nationwide to stay ahead of callbacks, leaks, rot, and mold. While these organizations offer several recommended methods, I describe only one of them here, mostly because if I was still building, it's what I'd use, no matter where I built.