What brand are your windows and why?

ILoveRedMay 28, 2014

Ten years ago we used Andersen 400s and have been happy with them. I remember we also got a price on Marvin ??? And they were way out of budget.

When we mentioned this to our architect he said he likes Marvin Integrity. I just spent an hour reading on the windows forum. I think I am more confused than when I started.

So what are you using and why?


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We used Hoco. They are from Germany. We wanted energy efficient, tilt turn windows.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Weatherbarr vinyl. We wanted better than builder grade but didn't want to break the bank. Very happy with them.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:33PM
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The best Marvin windows are the "Ultimate" series that have a thick extruded aluminum cladding on the outside of a wood window.

The Marvin Integrity can be a wood window with fiberglass cladding and called Wood Ultrex or it can be an all fiberglass window and called All Ultrex.

The Andersen 400 has 2 different models that both have a wood window frame clad with PVC but the Tilt-Wash model has a painted sash and the Woodwright has a Fibrex (PVC & wood composite) clad sash.

There are too many differences in these widows to describe here. The least expensive is the Integrity All Ultrex that only offers between-the-glass mullions which puts it in a builder category.

I've been waiting for the Wood Ultrex Integrity to offer features similar to the Marvin Ultimate and they pretty much do that now but they offer 6 instead of unlimited colors and the interior jambs are oddly angled. I would probably use them before using all vinyl windows.

I like the Andersen Woodwright but its not cheap and I prefer to avoid the use of PVC in a cold climate.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:01AM
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We went with the Marvin Integrity Wood Ultrex. We wanted a paintable exterior, and these windows were the best-rated windows we could find in our budget. Actually, we had to stretch the budget a bit to afford them. Our local dealer is great; the rest of the window places seem to be slimy used-car salesmen!

Most of the house uses casement windows, as they seal a bit better, let in more air, and have a better view. We used prairie style double-hungs on the front elevation for appearance sake. I know; we should have the same windows all the way around, but the way our house is situated, the public can only see the front. Oddly enough, once inside, the front windows are the only ones visitors CAN'T see. My only complaint so far is mostly our fault: The tops of our windows are 8' high, which places the little screen release buttons WAY off the ground. I'm wondering if I could take them out and modify the screens so they are at a reachable height.

It does annoy me that the Integrity line has such limited colors, so we will end up painting them, but the Ultimate series was out of our budget.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 6:58AM
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We are struggling with this decision ourselves.

As of now (subject to change if builder has a better recommendation), we would like to go with Sunrise Restoration windows. We are going with a vinyl window, and based on reviews from others, it seems like Sunrise has one of the better vinyl window products.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 8:06AM
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We did Marvin Ultimates in the front rooms of the house and Integrity wood/ultrex in the rest of the house (all ultrex in the basement). All came with identical SDL Craftsman style mullions, and we could get the exterior prefinished in exactly the same dark green color. I doubt anyone has ever noticed we have two different kinds of windows.

'We chose the Ultimates for the more formal areas of the house because they have much less exposed plastic hardware than the Integrity or the Andersen 400s.

In my research I thought the Integrity represented the best value point of all the windows we looked at. Very good energy performance at a close to bargain price.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:23AM
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We went with Simonton Vinyl windows because of the customer service, price, and feedback from many satisfied homeowners.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 11:39AM
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We went with the Marvin Integrity casement throughout. We wanted to stain the inside and they had the bronze prefinished exterior color we wanted. We haven't moved in yet, but are pleased how they look and operate so far. We installed Andersen 200 in our last house two years ago. We started out getting bids for the 400 for the new home, but then when we changed our external materials and colors, we switched to Marvin to get the bronze exterior.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 11:43AM
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What: We have Rekord/Trocal 88+ triple pane tilt/turn aluminum clad windows imported from Austria.

Why: Looks, quality feel, tilt-turn, energy efficient (U-value of 0.14), PPG Solexia glass (I like the commercial look), quiet (total glass thickness 14mm (0.55 inch) for a total IGU thickness of 44mm (1.7 inch)) and it is compatible with a matching concealed exterior roller-shade system.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Dekoboe---I had never heard of tilt and turn windows. Even after I googled tilt and turn I didn't "get it". I had to watch a youtube video. But wow are these windows cool?! Do you love them? Do they take up a lot of space open. Are they expensive? Finally...it looks like you can't use shutters or very many window treatments. Is that correct? Pics? Thanks.

Jdez--thank you! Pics!!

Renovator8--as always your post was very helpful. Very succinct. I'm pretty sure we have the Andersen 400 tilt wash now. It has been pretty good. One of my French doors hasn't held up great. So which one do you like better R8? The Andersen Woodwright or the Marvin Integrity wood Ultex if I may ask?

Mushcreek--it sounds like you made good choices. The Ultimate must be high......I would love to see pictures of your windows. And especially of your screen dilemma. I'm having trouble visualizing what you are talking about. It may help some of us avoid the same issue. Your home sounds nice. Thanks.

Runner girl--maybe this thread will help you decide to.

Rwigand--are the ultimately the windows with the real wood mullions? It never occurred to me to possibly use those in the front and the cheaper ones in the back. Or do the integrity have the wood mullions as well? Good strategy mixing it up to save $$$ . Please post pics, if you don't mind. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:16PM
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>...it looks like you can't use shutters or very many window treatments. Is that correct?

You can use anything on the exterior (shutters etc.). A tilt-turn opens inwards.

Inside, you can use curtains. You'll have to move them to the side if you open the windows (not if you just tilt them). Interior blinds are not ideal for tilt-turn windows because they'll likely interfere with the rather large handle (also you'll have to roll them up before opening the window).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:25PM
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We replaced our 20-yr-old builder grade Marvin windows a few years ago, with Marvin Infinity. They are all fiberglass, and the interior is wood look. They were stained to match the rest of the woodwork in the house. Yep, they were expensive! But I did the jamb extensions and trim myself, which saved a bundle.

I'm delighted with them. The day after they were installed, my son mowed the lawn - and it sounded like he was at least 3 houses away. The insulating value is as good as the sound deadening - we live in North Dakota, and know about cold. I used to have to put plastic on every window in the winter; now I only put plastic on the bedrooms, and more out of habit than actual need.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 1:48PM
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We have Atrium top of line vinyl.

We have them because our contractor "forgot" we asked for Milgard and they were installed before we got a chance to change.

They seem fine but we haven't moved in yet. We had a friend of ours, bigtime developer, and he said they weren't much different from Milgard. We did get a grade higher than we had thought with Atrium but I was/am leery of the brand.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 2:14PM
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Kathy Harrington

We are using Kolbe ultra casements that are triple paned. We used them as our builder uses them almost exclusively and when we saw them and met with the distributor we were happy with the looks and quality. We are just ordering them now, I will let you know how we really like them once they are in

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:20PM
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red lover - Yes we like the tilt turn windows. We learned about them when we lived in Belgium and that's why we had to have them in our house. We usually operate them in the tilt position, so they don't take up much space at all. They were expensive because they are triple paned and imported from Germany.

Interior blinds are not ideal for tilt-turn windows because they'll likely interfere with the rather large handle (also you'll have to roll them up before opening the window).

That depends on the style of the windows and how deep your sills are. Our walls are very thick and the windows are placed in about the middle of the walls, so we have deep sills. Due to the style of our windows, for some of them we can have inside mounted interior blinds and for others we have to have outside mounted interior blinds.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:12PM
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Here's a pic of two single hung for the kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 10:58PM
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And an awning window for the pantry.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 10:59PM
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Both ultimate and integrity SDL windows come with the option of real wood interior mullions in profiles that are pretty similar, if not identical. The ones on the outside of the window are made of different materials in each case, but are similar enough in profile that unless you did a careful side-by-side inspection you wouldn't notice.

Will try to take some pics.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Here are some pics of our windows. In the first picture, that little plastic thingie is a pocket that the screen fits into with a spring-loaded plunger. With the top of our windows at 8', it puts them at 87" off of the floor- well out of my reach. I don't know if I could have ordered them installed lower down on the window/screen.

The next picture is the interior of one of our front double-hungs with the SDL option. It was about $125 per window, so we only put them on the front of the house. Note the flared window returns, my own idea to mitigate the tunnel effect of the thick ICF walls.

The last picture is the exterior of the same window. We will eventually paint the window in a deep red, as well as the front door. Need to finish up that siding......

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 9:38AM
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We used Intus windows, which are triple pane tilt & turn. We were nervous about the inward opening at first, but liked the amazing energy efficiency of them. And now we have lived with them for 6 months, I love them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 8:40PM
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I kind of lost this thread!!

Wow, took me a while to read all of the responses. So much good info. I learned a lot about windows.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 12:11PM
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This thread is a good one! Ive been using Weathershield windows which I feel is a great balance of costs and quality. They work with passive solar glass and orientation specific tunings. The local rep was also very good which should play into the considerations as well. The rep has left so I will probably be reaching out, possibly using the recommendations here as guidance.

So ends my positive feedback here as I have to point out the negatives in Jdez window installation. I see terribly installed windows all the time but this example is particularly alarming. If these windows are installed anywhere without a very wide overhang (gable ends) I can guarantee premature failure.

NEVER tape the bottom window flange. I will gladly disobey the manufacturer on this ridiculous advice. The water needs a way to exit which is why the rough framed sill should be sloping to the exterior and correctly flashed. ZIP tape is probably not approved for that housewrap. You should use whatever the housewrap manufacturer recommends. The top flange should be taped to the sheathing. The housewrap should be lapped over the top flange. Look at the creases and entry for water around the button caps...yikes.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:50PM
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Anybody know anything about thermel windows in Tulsa Oklahoma?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Jdez--I searched your house. It's very nice. Looks like you are almost in the home stretch. Thanks for the pics. Love the 4 over 1 . I think that's what this is??

Mush creek--thanks for the pics of the Wood Ultex since that's probably what we will end up choosing. Now I see what you are talking about with the screen. A picture is worth a thousand words. Are all of your walls thicker? How thick are they? Thank you.

Rwiegand--yes I would love to see pics :-)

Great info all!!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 11:04AM
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I'm in Canada and our current home has fiberglass windows which are outstanding for all weather. We varied the thermal gas properties based on light and weather exposures and it is really effective. The fiberglass looks gorgeous and do not see any color change in the outside framing.

Was wondering, has anyone found a set of windows that birds so not crash through ...without sacrificing the views .....and look as nice as and performs as well as the fiberglass?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:01AM
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red_lover- Our walls are about 13" thick due to the ICF construction.

We had an interesting situation while feeding birds this winter. Our windows are Low-E, which makes them rather reflective. The birds can't see through them so much as seeing their own reflection. One chickadee spent much of the winter battling an 'intruder'- his own reflection!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:36PM
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Very interesting, red. Will read up on that as in a year or so will look at a new build. Love the birds, too :). What is ICF construction?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Mush--I had to google ICF construction and do some reading. Amazing.

So will your windows have interior trim or is that just a silly question?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:15AM
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We are in the midst of a new build and are going Sierra Pacific. Highly recommended by the builder and their service has been stelar thus far.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:42AM
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There will be a small piece of trim covering the transition from the flare to the window itself. Most of the windowsills will be wood, about 8" deep, extending over a trim piece mounted to the wall. We probably won't bother with any other window trim. The windows in the kitchen and bathroom will have a mortar bed, then tile, marble, or granite. We're going to do a tile backsplash in the kitchen, and it will go on the flare up to the top of the electrical outlets, which are set in the flare in the kitchen. The rest of the way up on the kitchen windows will be panels to match the cabinets

I had a hard time finding pictures of flared window returns. We started watching 'Doc Martin' on PBS, which is set in a small British fishing village. Sure enough, many of the buildings on the show have flared window returns! It's probably done there because of the thick stone walls.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:30PM
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