Mixing clad and plain windows?

mebjarAugust 25, 2012

I did a search and couldn't find anything on this subject in any forum, so I hope someone can clear this up for me.

We've just received the elevations from our architect and noticed that he put divided light windows in the rooms facing the front of the house and plain ones in the rear. Is it "right" to not have the same kind of windows throughout the entire house? Is this a standard thing? Thanks!

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It depends on the design of the house.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Divided light windows (which now-a-days almost always "SIMULATED DIVIDED LITE windows" for energy efficiency reasons) are more expensive than "plain" windows. Thus, to save money builders (especially tract home builders) will often limit the use of the more expensive SDLs to the front elevation.

I personally think that if the floor plan is such that when you're inside the house, you can see any side or back windows at the same time as the front windows, then they should all be either SDLs in the same pattern or should all be left plain.

Trust me, you will notice your SDLs when you are inside the house as much or more than you will notice them from outside. So, using SDLs in the windows on one side of a room and leaving the windows on another side of the room plain windows would be as jarring to me as putting a 6" tall baseboard and an 8" tall crown molding on one wall while leaving the wall next to it with a plain 2 inch baseboard and no crown molding. There is nothing wrong with a plain baseboard and foregoing crown molding, but the juxtaposition against the more ornate style would make the plainer wall look unfinished.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:33AM
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I wouldn't mix.

It's funny that divided lights windows are more expensive than unobstructed ones nowadays, given that historically, divided lights are a cost savings measure over "luxury" full panes of glass, which were extremely difficult to make before the invention of the tin float.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Look at doing something like 6 over 1 on all windows which will give you some cost savings, with more detail for the exterior interest, but still have the lower pane have less gridwork to look through from inside the home, leading to better views. That is, if that's an appropriate look for your home.

What style is your home?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:47AM
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We are mixing metal/wood clad windows and vinyl. Our house will have 3 levels, so we are using the vinyl windows only on the bottom level of our house which is a walkout basement(playroom, gym, studio etc). The vinyl windows will never be visible at the same time as the clad windows. Also, we are having the exterior of the vinyl windows painted to match the clad portion upstairs.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:19AM
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we are having the exterior of the vinyl windows painted to match the clad portion upstairs

You are painting the vinyl? Does the window manufacturer recommend painting the vinyl? Can you get the vinyl in the color you are wanting? That may be a better option.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:03PM
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dekeoboe ~ Well, they are "color-matching" the vinyl to the cladding. I'm not certain if that involves painting or not.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Since it hasn't been said - the OP is confused about terminology. Clad - is a material choice. Whether or not to have mullions/grids is a style choice.

It is interesting what is deemed acceptable and normal. In my area, SDL in the front only is very common. Not only does it give you value since SDLs are significantly more expensive, it makes a lot of sense too. At least in our area (typical suburb subdivision) we are mostly concerned with the outward appearance of the front of the house. And we want to look out the back of the house. I prefer the outward appearance of SDLs and prefer to look out on undivided glass.

I can see the desire to be consistent also but it doesn't always make sense. Our back windows are large and would have been busy with grids.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 5:25AM
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I just wanted to update what I said earlier. According to our window supplier, there won't be a huge price difference between color matching the downstairs vinyl windows, and just going with metal/fir clad windows throughout the house. So, I think we won't mix the 2 styles after all. A small upcharge for a better quality product is worth it imo (I thought that the price difference would be in the thousands).

FWIW, our window choices are more like what david cary described, with fewer SDL's in the back of the house so that we can enjoy our view. Our front windows will have the same style that GreenDesigns posted. All will be clad windows, and all will have some SDLs.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Thanks to all that posted. And yes, david cary, my terminology was way off. This is our first build and we are doing the owner-builder thing, so my education better catch up.

We are building a home somewhat similar in appearances to a DG Southerland plan. Since ours is a country style home, the SDL windows "match" the house well. However, I'm not wild about having SDL in the rear of the house simply because of the obstructed views of our property. But since the house has essentially a rectangle footprint, there is no way to change from one type of window to the other without it being glaringly obvious on each side. The architect has kept the style of window the same throughout each room, but since our house is only 2 rooms wide, the change can be seen a mile off. And as someone who really, really likes symmetry, this bugs the you-know-what out of me.

So thanks again to all that answered. I'm 99.9% sure that we will go with all SDL for continuity reasons. I just wanted to post the question because it was an issue that I didn't even know existed before we began this process and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 7:59PM
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Next house....I am doing what Greendesign suggested. Love that look and how it opens up the view. I would do it in the front and back.

Example..look at this window in my family room. Now imagine not having the bottom sash blocked by grids and the middle one blocked. Not one of the things I thought about when building this house.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Beth Parsons

We're using 4 over 4 grids in all the front facing windows and no grid in the sides and back. It's not a matter of cost as the grids don't really add much at all to the overall price; we have 6 acres of property and trees and I don't want my views obstructed. We're only going with grids on the front for the overall 'look' of the elevation.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:28AM
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