Milgard Fiberglass vs Anderson Aluminum Clad?

gaylFebruary 1, 2011

Trying to make a decision between Milgard Fiberglass and Anderson Aluminum Clad. Milgard has lifetime warranty, Anderson 10 years. Anderson is cheaper by 8,000. Thoughts on each? Thanks for your input.

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I am not that familiar with Milgard Fiberglass but what series Anderson is aluminum clad? What type of windows are you planning on using? Are there doors or just windows? What type of glass are you planning on using? What options are you discussing with each window brand?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:57AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Get more quote quotes first off.

I am not familiar with an aluminum clad Andersen window.

Can you be more specific in your product selections. There can be quite a jump depending on the options you select and there is not enough information to make a very informed decision just yet from our standpoint.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:43AM
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I think you are mistaken about the aluminum clad. Andersen's aluminum clad is their architectural series and that would not be $8000 cheaper.
You were probably quoted the 100 series which is a fibrex material. Just like most things, you get what you pay for and 100 is not much of a window in my opinion.
I would also look at Marvin's Integrity which gets good reviews from this board.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:31AM
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eastbay, being that I have not sold Andersen in a few years and may not be in the know any longer but what is their "Architectural Series" that is aluminum clad?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:41AM
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Yes, the Anderson windows we were quoted were for the 100 series; the Milgard is their Ultra. This bid is for windows only, since the doors would be from another company. Thanks for all the responses so far.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:49AM
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Andersen 100 Series are not aluminum clad they are Fibrex. I agree with windowsonwashington get more quotes and definitely look at Integrity by Marvin which is made of Ultrex (pultruded fiberglass). )Personally I would stay away from the Andersen's you mention and i do not know enough about Milgard but I would probably stay away from them as well(from reading online about them)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:25AM
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Milgard has the Ultra and Woodclad fiberglass windows. The Ultra has the white fiberglass interior and the Woodclad has a real wood veneer on the interior, both are pricey. The Andersen 100 series is a very inexpensive composite material window. Marvin Integrity is a great window that offers both white fiberglass interior and a real wood interior that's cheaper than the Milgard. If you need custom sizing than the Integrity with the fiberglass interior will work for you but they don't do custom sizing with the wood interiors yet.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:56PM
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millworkman - The aluminum clad Andersen Architectural Series is the Canadian company they bought five(?) years ago (KML) which they have tried to fit into their line without much success.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:35PM
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Thanks everyone, we are getting a bid on Marvin now.....

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:57PM
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Ah, thanks eastbay I had forgotten about the KML line( I was really afr5aid you were going to call Eagle their Architectural Series, lol)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 3:22PM
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Got a bid on Marvin, which was close to Milgard, but at least some of the Marvin warrantly is negated if you live within 1 mile of that makes our decision for us. No warranty, no windows. Thanks, everyone, for your input.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 11:27AM
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If you only are interested in the look, check out MGM's 8017. It's paintable and good for coastal areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: 8017 is good for salt environments.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:03AM
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"If you only are interested in the look, check out MGM's 8017. It's paintable and good for coastal areas"

Does this mean the performance values are poor? How about some info other than a shameless plug.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:44PM
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""If you only are interested in the look, check out MGM's 8017. It's paintable and good for coastal areas"

Does this mean the performance values are poor? How about some info other than a shameless plug."

Speaking of shameless plugs... Was it the milgard or Andersen you recommended to the op?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 3:40PM
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say what you want about me, I sell nothing in the way of wood or vinyl windows, I work for a commercial aluminum and glass co.. You don't see me on here pushing my brand of windows or products against the rules. People ask questions and I give my honest opinion. They can buy what ever they want. And if you read my posts on this topic I don't believe I recommended either, I asked a question and said I was not that familiar with Milgard and corrected some misinformation on the Andersen 100 series,LOL.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Milgard is a household name on the West Coast. I will reserve my opinion of that company. Just a small correction - Integrity's warranty does not state that it is void if you live within a mile of the coast. What is not covered in these circumstances is the hardware, if it is not PVD. Integrity does offer a PVD option on most products now. Whatever window line you choose, pay close attention to the coastal warranty. You will find that almost all manufacturers have a clause for this application. The reason being that the up keep to combat salt in the air and the corrosion associated with it is taxing, and generally not followed well by the end user. PVD hardware will withstand the elements much better, and allow you to maintain your full warranty against corrosion.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


I think millworkman's posts speak for themselves. He makes honest recommendations and does not promote one product or plug any specific product.

I am pretty certain that you feedback on his post in unwarranted and completely inaccurate.

abeg has not posted on several thread where he specifically recommends a product that he manufacturers. While it may be a great product, that is not what I would really call unbiased feedback.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:14AM
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The risk of the internet and a social media is the label of a shameless commercial plug. I can live with that. I am a product of my environment. I'm sure there is a risk to a forum format and the risk is being labeled "shameless": so much for my unwanted philosophy of the internet. With that I will attempt to give the average reader a little more knowledge on how a window is rated , and, with that, unfortunately is going to be data about our 5610 single hung's performance numbers.

I have over 25 years of experience in the fenestration (window industry for newbie's) industries. I've seen all kind of claims about energy efficiency by the "big boys" and fly-by-nights. I really do not want to get in an argument about performance numbers, but if the casual reader wants to know, the biggest contributing factor to energy efficiency is the overall thickness of the glass which is designed into a window system and then the performance of the coating surfaces that are specified at the time of the purchase of the window system.

Most window systems are now rated by the NFRC. The process for evaluation begins with physically measuring a test bed window for energy loss. This is done by an independent laboratory. From this base line data, the window is further modeled by a computer program created by Berkley Laboratories. This is a canned program in which one inputs generic parameters of the window being rated. The main inputs are: Overall glass thickness, Low-E performance U values, window material (i.e., wood, vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum) and the window style (e.g., single hung, double, picture window...). If it is vinyl, there is a question weather or not the window is reinforced with aluminum. The program model will discount the energy efficiency of a vinyl window reinforced with aluminum.

We have a blue-jillion test reports on our window systems. Some of them are posted on our website and some are not. In order to present some numbers for the reader here's the numbers for our 5610 series 4 9/16 single hung:
* U-value 0.29 (with Cardinal Low-e 366)
* Solar heat gain coefficient 0.22
* Visible light transmittance 0.56

R-value like you see applied to your wall insulation is the reciprocal to the U-value. So our "R-value" is 1/U-value (1/0.29=3.45). This is about as good as you can get with a 3/4 inch Overall (OA) unit (glass thickness). 3/4 OA units is the thickness of our insulated glass for our window systems.

FYI, a 3/4 "OA glass unit will give the optimum heat resistance due to "airspace". Beyond 3/4" OA there is a marginal decrease in energy efficiency until right at a 1" OA glass unit. Beyond one inch of airspace there is enough airspace for the air to start circulating within the insulated glass unit. At that point, increased airspace starts to result in LESS, not more energy efficiency. (You do gain in sound deadening, but that's another subject) The only way to improve the energy efficiency is to start designing a window with "triple pane" with about 9/16 airspace (airspace is the overall insulated glass thickness, less the actual glass thickness.) A triple insulated unit with 9/16 "dead air space" will be an OA unit of about 1.500 inches thick.

Hope this clarifies things about performance numbers.

Here is a link that might be useful: replacement vinyl windows

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:01PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Is 0.29 U-Factor really the best that is out there...?

I can think of quite a few windows that have lower U-Factors with 15% better numbers out of double pane windows.

Optimum airspace for Argon is pretty much anywhere between 1/2" to 5/8". Going above that does not net anything else but a more expensive IGU.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:17PM
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I still will venture a guess that if you take your best glass and put it into a poorly constructed window with less than adequate weatherstrip, you will still get the performance ratings of a screen. I understand the glass aspect of performance but your making it out to be fact that the rest of the unit is immaterial in the overall ratings which the rest of us understand to be completely false.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:26PM
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Abeg, what's the air infiltration and water penetration and design pressure rating on your window and who tested it?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:05PM
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Good golly Miss Molly, I did not say that rest of the unit is immaterial. I only stated that the OA glass unit, and the the Low-e selected is a very big component of the overall effectivness of the the unit.

Millworkman, you are absolutely right about the aspect of a poorly constructed window. As regards to adequate weatherstrip, I've got my opinions on that one too. Most window companies that manufacture easy-tilt windows use "finseal" weatherstripping. This is a "woolpile" with a thin film of plastic designed into the pile to stop air infiltration. Most window companies have two rows of the "woolpile" designed into the systems. Premium window companies have three rows of this weatherstripping. A lot of other systems rely on a jambliner with a foam backing to "press" the jambliner against the sashes. This system makes the window easier to install because the window can be slightly "out of square" and still perform adequately. The problem, for a consumer standpoint of these systems, is that the sashes are more difficult to tilt-in.

The "Achilles heal" that many companies have is the sill tower. Many companies do not have "finseal" designed into the sill tower, which can cause massive air leakage.

As far as whether or not 0.29 is a good U-value: hey, shop and compare. I'll say this, I've seen a lot of numbers out there and there is a lot of distortion out there. Numbers can be manipulated by the size of the unit tested. I've seen it, I've personally been to the testing labs and I know what some people are doing. A lot of the purchase decision is going to made by the reputation of the manuacturer as well as the reputation of the distributor.

OK, now about materials:

*Is wood a good insulator: yes.
*Is vinyl a good insulator: yes.
*Is fiberglass a good insulator: yes.
*Is non-thermally broken windows good insulators: NO.
*Is thermally broken aluminum windows good insulators: Somewhat

Regarding the differences between the energy efficiency of wood vs vinyl, the differences are marginal. To millworkmans point, the quality of the manufacturing plays a big role into the overall efficency of any window.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:10PM
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I've been thumped for spamming, so, even though it's a little late, I'd like to keep is generic. I'd be happy to discuss it in private. Generically: they are very good.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:18PM
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There's nothing to discuss in private, just knock it off. Do you have any idea what a circus this site would become if everyone who makes or sells windows did as you are doing?

I disagree that your windows are that good. The air infiltration is from a low of .12 and that's just one model. The rest are between .16 and .30. In my world, that's leaking like a seive and I wouldn't even considering carrying a window with the mediocre performance numbers yours have. We carry Softlite and Sunrise and they are both way below that.

If you are going to get on here and tout your window, then be prepared for some blow-back.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:27PM
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Gharborwa--we meet again! ;)

I'm facing the same decision as you. We are getting at least 4 new windows for the new kitchen and family room. I looked at both those windows. I returned the samples of each now so I can't remember which was which, but the white interior colors on each turned me off. One was beige and one was a dirty gray-white. I want my windows white on the inside. Did you bring home samples and look at them in your light?

Eventually, I looked at Milgard's vinyl Montecito windows and choose them. The white is pleasing. I'd love wood, but want white and living where we do, I don't think wood is best. I really didn't like the thought of vinyl, but I'm sure it will be fine. The rest of the windows in our house are first generation almond windows. Uuuuuuggggllllyy.

Not knowing much about windows, Milgard is a name I've heard for years and seems like they have a good reputation. I hope I'm right because I don't have the time or energy to put into re-deciding my windows with the rest of the reno decisions.

Did you decide yet?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 4:44AM
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I got new windows installed over the last few months. I wanted fiberglass, brown on both sides. I got quotes on Anderson Fibrex, Milgard Ultra, Marvin and Pella. As stated above, Anderson's Fibrex is NOT fiberglass. When I asked if any vinyl was in the product the sales rep stopped replying to me. I lost faith in Marvin because the sales rep here tried to sell me windows with argon in order to qualify for the tax credit, but failed to tell me their warranty is VOIDED if windows installed at over 5000ft don't have breather/capillary tubes because the seals can pop and glass bows.;_ylu=X3oDMTBybnZlZnRlBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkAw--/SIG=129s3ps6l/EXP=1298155461/**http%3a//

I ended up going with Milgard. Over the warranty was the best, the product has great ratings, and it was pretty cheap to get triple pane. You can read my blogs here of problems I have had though, but it is not with the product itself. Between the sales rep and the company they have made FOUR mistakes on my order from the wrong size to missing grids to non-matching grid patterns. They were supposed to be done with installation in Nov, and it probably won't all be fixed until March. I still like the product though.

And millworkman, I have a lot of respect for your opinion here and have never thought you plug a product, you tell it like it is, so keep up the blogging!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 9:50AM
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Hi Breezygirl! Yes, we decided on Milgard Ultra. The Anderson windows warranty was voided if you live within 1 mile of the ocean, so that was that. We looked at Milgard vinyl, but wanted brown outside, white inside and that color option on Milgard vinyl is new and no warranty on the brown is a new product with no history and no Milard warranty voided that for us, so we went with the Ultra with their life-long warranty. We also like wood, but are done with the maintenance we have in this area with wood. Hopefully this will work for us.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Hi Gharborwa,
We live in MI and tired of the maintenance with wood as well. We want Milgard fiberglass, but still town between the fiberglass interior and wood interior. Our home is high end and am afraid the fiberglass interior won't be as nice. Our interior is white and want to keep it that way. The salesman said it would be crazy to buy wood interior only to paint it white. What are your thoughts on the look of fiberglass interior? Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:42AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I think the FG interior is similar enough to wood (i.e. butt joinery construction) to pull off the look. If you are going with white, that is a touch expense to incur for that addition while staying white.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 3:48PM
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