window advice

suzan30May 2, 2012

I live in a 1958 "modernist" townhouse. It is pretty modest but was designed by a well-known architect (I. M. Pei). The windows (original) are in bad shape and need to be replaced, but I am not clear what my options are. All the windows are the same size (6' long x 5 feet high). These are "picture windows" that do not open. Beneath the big windows are smaller ones that are 2' x 5' that slide open. There are 4 windows on the front, 2 on the first floor, 2 on the second, and in the back of the house, there are two on the second floor and then a giant glass wall with a door that overlooks the backyard.

As it stands the windows don't allow for much ventilation since only the smaller, floor level windows open and only for 1/2 the length. Is it possible to get a casement or awning type window in 6 x 5 that would allow for better ventilation? Some of my neighbors have replaced their smaller sliding windows with the kind that pop out, but I am not sure if more air can get in this way or not. Any suggestions or advice?

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Most manufacturers are not going to offer a single operable window that large due to structural issues. Not only with the framing but also with the hardware. You may need to consider some different configurations. Typically, it is difficult to find an awning window wider than 60" nor taller than 48". I would consider going with a double operating casement window as that would not be an issue with the sizing.

I would suggest doing some research and talking to a few reputable window dealers to find out exactly what your options are with the different materials such as wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass or a composite. Obviously aesthetics are going to be important to you also, so that's where I would start.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 9:10AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

As Eco said, you are going to be hard pressed to find any operable windows at that size. If you do, they are going to cost you a fortune.

I also would be very cautious as to the structure of that opening and the possibility for deflection across that lower window if you maintain that arrangement.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:14AM
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You should be able to use a combination picture unit with an awning or hopper unit below and match those sizes exactly.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:28AM
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Thanks very much for your advice. The combo of picture and awning/hopper below seems to be the best choice of cost and function and will keep with the original design of my place. Any sense of which (hopper vs. awning) lets in more air. One is hinged at the top, the other at the bottom, correct?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:20PM
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I would go with the awning window. That would allow you to open the window during rain without water getting in. You would not be able to open a hopper during rain.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Thanks for the advice. Any sense of what this combination in a good quality window would cost (I'm in Chicago). Can anyone recommend a good window company in the city?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Nobody can tell you that until you decide what brand you want, what type of material you want the window made from, what options you want such as double or triple pane glass, what's involved in removing your old windows, what preparation needs to be done to install the windows etc.

My advice would be to get several estimates. Look at vinyl, aluminum, wood clad and/or fiberglass. Prices will be all over the place, but generally you will get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Awning is definitely a better choice for a residential application as Eco recommended. Being as you have a townhouse in the city I would lean towards themally broken aluminum as this is probably appearance wise close to what is there now and will have the narrow sightlines your probably looking for as well. That being the case I would probably look towards a Traco or maybe Efco window, I do not know what your budget is but these are both approximately middle of the highway price wise and a pretty efficient window as well

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Talk to Dave @ Strong Windows in Chicago. Great guy and offers top of the line product choices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Strong

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Dave is a great guy and has a long track record of very happy customers.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 5:17PM
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