Window frame options, new build in south BC facing SW

StonedgeMarch 11, 2014

Hi all, lurked a bit here when doing some google searches and decided to register, seems to be some great info.

Having a bit of trouble with choosing a window frame material. This is a vacation home on a lake and catches the afternoon sun. The front of the house (facing SW overlooking the lake) is going to have a large portion of glass. The house will be sided in cedar/rockwork.

Temperatures range from -15 to 95 F (-25 to 35 C) in the shade, on the deck where the windows all are I'm sure temperatures will be far hotter.

This property has been in the family for 70 years and will be for many generations to come. We are a bit tight on cash as other projects are on the go so we'd like to keep it around $10-15k for product only..

We've had quotes for this from $8,000 for white vinyl all the way up to $30,000 for aluminum or fibreglass (most of these have been $25000+). We want a good quality window that isn't going to break the bank (doesnt everybody?) Primary heating will be a large wood stove with NG backup + AC (used rarely, I do mean rarely), lots of venting and fans.

We would much prefer a dark brown/bronze/black slim frame for this project which makes it a bit tougher. Milgard has painted vinyl frames and a distributor + milgard rep say they havent had any issues and would warranty against fade/peeling etc. but they've only been out a couple years and these will see a lot of hot afternoon sun.

Am I missing any options or window lines/companies I should be looking at? So much to choose, not sure which way to even go right now.

Thanks everyone

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Windows on Washington Ltd

Where is the home? At -15...I am going to hazard a guess and say somewhere up North and possibly Canada?

Are we talking about new construction or replacement?

I said it earlier in another thread and don't want to sound like a broken record but based on your criteria (slim line, dark exterior, etc.) a fiberglass window might be a good fit.

There are some great vinyl units out there and they will do just fine, just depends on what look and construction type you are going with and what will fit or what is even available.

Aluminum (even thermally broken) is going to be ice cold and a condensation spot at those lows and burning wood.

Where is the home and that will tell me what is around and what might be a good fit.

How many units as well? While I would love to say, this is the best product and the cheapest...the two are usually mutually exclusive.

That being said, don't skimp if it means stretching the budget limits a bit to get the right window that will last forever and work best as well as fit your visual goals.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Sorry, new build in British Columbia on Shuswap Lake, and thank you for the reply. I'll just say money is going to be tight the next few years then we'll be laughing (hopefully, you never know!) Utility connections have been ridiculously expensive, pile on removing a good chunk of timber and 97 loads of rock/dirt and the expenses add up quickly.

Of the 4 fiberglass quotes, the cheapest is about $25k after tax for 27 windows, not including install. In doing research I realized they were going to cost more than vinyl but roughly $600/window more??? We have some big windows 7060's but just as many small 2020's etc. We can't justify spending $15,000 extra just to have a nice looking surround.

I'm all for spending a bit more for a better product, but windows aren't the only cost and as most know thats what turns a $350k budget into $500k and this mortgage will be taken on for 3-4 years without any extra income.

Are there any other suitable options besides white/beige vinyl, and if not then Milgard? I mean $5000 extra, probably doable, $15k extra...beige vinyl it is!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:35AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

There are some nice vinyl options in Canada but I would also encourage you to shop that price on Fiberglass.

There are more fiberglass manufacturers in Canada than in the states by far.

Who was your fiberglass quote from?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Fibertec was $25,000 but was offered 5% more off when i told the sales rep it was out of our budget

Milgard Ultra through a local rep was 23,xxx

Cascadia was 26,xxx for 21 windows (quoted 1st, we changed the design slightly and 2 small windows were completely missed for the quote).

those were Canadian companies, I also checked with 2 in Washington state but prices were marginally better, then once you factor in currency exchange + duties + travel costs they were more than the above 3, not to mention warranty/risk of damage with travel etc. I received a couple aluminum/thermal break quotes as well but same sort of thing so I ruled out any further WA companies.

Have a quote for the below which i need to do more review on as it's at the top of our price range. Thoughts?

Design Series Harmony Black Metal Clad Vinyl by PlyGem. $14,382.40 plus taxes

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:35AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Have you tried Accurate Dorwin or InLine?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:45AM
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WOW-thanks for the recommendations. I've tried to email you but it doesn't allow me to? When searching for companies they didn't come up so I'll have to check into them.

The local shops carry Milgard, Jeld-wen and Plygem. We like the milgards warranty as we plan on having this place til we die (in our mid 30's) and in research we found it's great for 1st owners (although there does seem to be quite a few complaints..due to the volume or?). Plygem we have a solid quote on aluminum clad vinyl but in research I've found their customer service/warranty is a major downfall.

From local Milgard reps (which is a huge bonus) we have a few quotes

Milgard Ultra Fiberglass $23k. We have a few ridiculously priced windows with a couple minor mods and some negotiating I'm sure we can get down to the $17k range

Milgard Aluminum thermal break $15k

Milgard Montecito $14.5k

SHGC on the Aluminums is .33, Ufactor .37 VLT .58

compared to the fiberglass and vinyl which are virtually the same at .23, .29, .52

We're leaning towards the aluminums as this was our original thought and the price is right (finally found a decent quote). It is a vacation home, no building code, no inspections. Will be used 90% in summer, 10% for winter skiing and primarily wood heat. These performance numbers seem ok? Any input from others is greatly appreciated to. Thanks WOW.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Based on your occupancy projections, you can't really go wrong with aluminum.

They will probably sweat in the winter but if you aren't there that much and keep the heat super low, you shouldn't have any issues.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Great to hear, thanks for helping out. I'll now work on a few extras or bringing the costs down a bit.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:43AM
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