first issue encountered in build- windows

illinigirlFebruary 22, 2014

So. A picture will speak a thousand words.

as you can see, the double hungs flanking the picture window on the bottom don't quite line up. this is for two reasons. 1) the window heights are not exact
2) the rails on the double hungs are thicker, so even if the window heights were exact, the glass itself wouldn't line up perfectly.

I notified my project manager and the image you see was his explanation for how they address this. Apparently they knew about this, and he said that this is common for both manufacturers of windows they use (Jeld-wen and Andersen). However with the Jeld-wen it's the opposite where the picture window is shorter than the flankers.

Here is another mock up from my project manager which I don't exactly understand. They do some custom trim work with stepping to perhaps disguise this discrepancy:


here is one of their recent parade homes that inspired our window design (this home used Jeld-wen, our windows are andersen)


just to make myself feel better (maybe) I looked up some window setups with picture window flanked by double hungs. Looking carefully I do see a similar issues:

Rustic Bedroom by Sonoma Architects & Designers Robert Baumann, Architect

Contemporary Dining Room by Beverly Interior Designers & Decorators Siemasko + Verbridge

Traditional Kitchen by Springfield Kitchen & Bath Designers Reico Kitchen & Bath

Traditional Living Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Bruce Kading Interior Design
this one more at the top, can't see the bottom.

So what do you think? My husband seems fine with this, and he doesn't want to pursue a custom window option. The way our furniture will be laid out we do plan on putting a chair or a bench by the window which will distract the eye from the discrepancy....but I don't want to regret this later, knowing it's there.

Lastly, how do the top arches look to you? do you think they need adjusting?

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Unless you pointed it out, I'd never see it. After it's pointed out, I dont have an issue with it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:38AM
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I don't see it at all. I think it won't be noticeable unless you point it out to someone. I'm the same way though. I want everything to be lined up perfectly because I'm afraid if it's not that it'll bug me forever. Seriously though, I looked hard at your picture and read your post several times and I just don't see it. Find your pickiest, most critical friend (in my case, my mother) and ask them in general what they think about the window and see if they notice.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:44AM
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Hmmm. 8 yrs I have lived in this house and I had to go look at my Andersen Windows to see if I had the same issue. Indeed I do.

I would have never noticed it, if I hadn't read this. It has never bothered me and still doesn't. And there have been times in the 8 yrs when I have not had furniture in front of this window.

I think your windows are beautiful. Honestly, I don't think it's an issue. But, I do remember when I was building this house and worried about the same types of issues. No one cares about your house and the little details as much as you do.

Your home is going to be beautiful.

This post was edited by red_lover on Thu, May 22, 14 at 14:54

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:04AM
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Sophie Wheeler

I don't think that the marginal improvement in alignment is worth scrapping a pretty expensive window to replace it with a darn expensive window. It's one of those details that you have to live with if you are using stock components to replicate custom ones. Now, if this window is the centerpiece on the front of the house's ''face'', then I would have ordered custom from the beginning. But not after the fact.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Another one that would never have noticed it unless you pointed it out. That said, there are things in every home that only the owner notices. For example, there is a piece of trim in my kitchen that bugs me. The stain color looks slightly different. No one every notices it unless I mention it. Even DH never noticed it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:42AM
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I do note that they conveniently took the first parade of homes picture at such an angle to not show the bottom of those windows which, once pointed out, is the most obvious misalignment...tricky!

That said I still think it looks great and I'd just let it go. Similar issue was pointed out to us with Marvin windows, I think it spans across most manufacturers. If you're so OCD that you can't live with that, you may never make it through your build without a breakdown!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:09PM
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thanks everyone, I do feel better that it won't look obviously wrong and glaring once we finish up the trim, and especially add furniture.

I can live with it knowing like Holly said, that it was a compromise of using stock and saving money (however I *do* think the builder should have presented us with this knowledge and make the decision ours not theirs).

What I couldn't live with is thinking there was something we *should* have fixed now and then steaming over it for years down the line. So I am feeling better about it.

Oh, and Holly, this is the back of the house, and due to the way our property is, I don't think anyone will be looking head on at this window from the outside. Our patio areas are down below this window (walkout basement) and the upper patio is far off to the left of this window. So I think we are ok on the exterior.

Thanks everyone, big sigh of relief.

next. ;)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:31PM
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We were getting window quotes just the week before my husband got sick and the project got put on hold, and Marvin was a window I was seriously interested in but pushed aside in the interest of focusing on my husband's recovery. So the fact that you mention it's an issue with that brand too helps me let go of the fact that I never did pursue the Marvin, which I understand is a great quality window.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:35PM
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You're not only looking at a window in an un*furnished* room, it's an un*finished* room and there is nothing else for you to focus on. Your house is going to be fabulous - the front elevation is gorgeous (not sure I've seen the back?) and I don't think you need to fret about this detail at all.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Bad news is, you have a good eye. It is very easy to get hyperfocused on details with these things. When all is put together it will likely fade away. At least your carpenter can address some of it. It's hard to tell from the pictures, may be more obvious IRL. I agree though that they should advise of these things beforehand. Your house, your money, your call how to spend it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 2:20PM
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You didn't tell us the model of the Andersen window double-hung windows that were installed but the only way I can think of to misalign the frame and the glass is to use a picture window designed for use next to an awning window instead of the one designed for use next to a double hung.

The height of the glass above the rough sill in Andersen's Woodwright DH is 4 5/8" and their Woodwright 400 Picture Window is the same. But that height in their 400 Series Complementary Picture Window is only 2" since that window is designed to be installed next to an awning window.

So I suspect the windows are just mismatched by an inexperienced designer and not caught by an inexperienced sales person and the order was not reviewed by the designer or the contractor.

Find the window order and post it here and I can tell what you can do to correct the condition. I suspect it will involve replacing the Picture Window.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 2:48PM
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I actually do have the window order, I will try to provide the information needed.

It is Andersen 400 series:


ASW 5' 11 1/2" x 5'11 1/2" (F)
RO size= 6'0" W x 6'0" H

Unit, Rectangle, White/White-Factory Painted, High Performance Low-E4 Tempered (includes 6 9/16" Factory Applied White-Factory Painted Complete Unit Extension Jambs)


TW30510 (AA)
RO size 3' 2 1/8" W x 6' 0 7/8" H
Unit size 3' 1 5/8"W x 6'0 7/8" H

Unit, Equal Sash, White/Pl White, (top sash), High Performance Low-E4 Glass, Finelight Grilles-Between-the-Glass, Specified Equal Lite, 2w2h, White/White, 3/4" (bottom sash) High Performance Low-E4 Glass (includes 6 9/16" Factory Applied White-Painted Complete Unit Extension Jambs) Insect Screen, White.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 3:25PM
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so odd to me, the double hungs are actually *taller* than the picture window! But they look shorter, how is that possible? Do you think the wrong windows got delivered? How would I check that now?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 3:33PM
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Andersen doesn't offer as much design information as companies like Marvin so it is virtually impossible to create custom designs without the help of an experienced dealer (not Home Depot) but here is my best guess regarding what happened:

Andersen makes a Picture Window that matches the 400 Series Tilt Wash double-hung window and therefore these units can be used side by side and the frame, sash and glass will align perfectly.

But in order to provide an Andersen arch top picture window, the specifier used an Andersen Specialty Picture Window that has a very small sash profile and selected a custom size to try to match the double-hung although I don't see how that could have been successful. Unless the window profiles are are substantially similar, something is not going to align.

I suspect the specifier sized the picture unit a little shorter than the double-hung units and planned to add some trim to the double-hung stool and head in the hope that the sash heights would not look too different and the glass might align.

If you are looking to do clever things with windows I do not recommend using Andersen; that isn't one of the company's goals.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 9:46PM
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thanks Renovator! It seems like with more careful measuring and understanding the measurements of each window part that they could have come up with a better sized center lower picture window.

Am I understanding you correctly that the matching tilt/wash picture window (that would have matched the double hungs) would NOT match the arched top picture window (in width I assume) which forced them to use the specialty picture window instead, which doesn't match?

thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:01PM
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That's what I am assuming.

A "sash" is the part of a window that moves. A double-hung operable window sash is about twice as wide as a simple fixed picture window "glass stop" and the bottow of the sash frame is even larger since it sits behind a "stool" trim (often called a sill which is outside).

Some manufacturers offer a picture window that looks like an operable sash that is fixed in place to match an adjacent double-hung but they don't seem to make this kind of window in an arch top shape.

Your contractor might have ordered the windows in different heights in order to better align the glass lines. He seems to be planning to add trim to the stool to hide some of the sash frame.

You can see the misalignment of these window types in the bedroom photo you posted.

The issue is less noticeable with awning windows.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:42AM
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Renovator: what is your opinion on leaving these windows as is or trying to improve the glass alignment with new window of better match/ measurement?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:24AM
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I would need to see better photos to answer your question.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Thanks. After more discussion and everybody (even the big boss) coming out to our site today, I think we are going to have a good resolution. The trim guy is going to do custom trim to disguise the height differences, particularly of the picture window. I've been assured that "I won't even notice it". I do trust my builder and they have just been amazing to work with so far, so I'm going to take their word and see what happens without changing windows.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 7:34PM
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