New construction, who to get window quotes from?

niteshadepromisesJune 24, 2012

Looking to build a new construction home in Portland, Oregon. Builders preferred window supplier seems to be Jeld-wen. I'd never heard of them and am building from outside the state. Posts I've found have been less than kind about them.

The details:

1.No matter which window we look at, it won't be the builder grade window. Even Jeld-wen, based on our builders initial proposal, he is hoping to use their premium vinyl series.

2. Low maintenance is a must. Willing to consider either vinyl or fiberglass based on initial research.

3. Bronze (dark) or black exterior to match with the windows in the development is probably going to be a condition of the builder. We'd prefer to have the same matching color interior if possible, or a wood stained option.

4. Gothic shaped windows for the front elevation is a want, I've heard wonderful things about Marvin windows for example, but their fiberglass line doesn't seem to have the custom capability.

5. 4 panel glass sliding patio door (2 operational doors 2 fixed) is going to be used on probably both the main level and the basement.

6. We're not planning to go anywhere once this house is built unless disaster strikes. Its a longterm investment so we want to balance quality with budget and get the best we can afford.

7. Energy efficiency is important, as the home is going to be energy advantage certified.

So all that being said..can anyone here point me towards windows I should be looking to get quotes from when the time comes. I can check local availability there in Portland but it seems like windows are just one of those products that has complaints about every brand.. My first instinct is to go with Jeld-wen because its who my builder has a working relationship with and why would he work with a company that's been problematic in the past. On the flip side I want a quality product and I know builders do not always have the homeowners in mind.

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I'm not familiar with all the windows available to you in your part of the country, so take these comments with that in mind.

1. I absolutely agree with you. Never buy cheap grade windows. I don't care for any Jeld-Wen products.

2.Vinyl or fiberglass would both be good choices. Might also want to look into vinyl and wood composites.

3.Milgard still makes a fiberglass window with a wood veneer interior Iirc. Might see if Interstate is available to you. they make a nice vinyl composte with an optional wood veneer interior. You could also see if Inline Fiberglass windows are available. All should offer bronze exteriors and either wood or a paintable interior.

4. This is going to be a problem withsome manufacturers. Most viny window manuf. do offer custom shapes. Inline also offers them although selection is somewhat limited.

5. Most window companies also make patio doors.

6. Always a good idea to consider quality products.

7. Most manufacturers make EnergyStar qualified windows. Once you decide which window you like. Let us know and we can help with glass selection. In the Northwest US, it's important to get that right or you will suffer with higher utility bills as long as the house is standing.


Vinyl-Milgard, Amerimax, Anlin, Simonton.

Fiberglass-Inline, Marvin, Milgard.

Composites- Interstate, Okna (although probably not available.)

Please don't take my recommendations as all inclusive. There may be other brands that are only available regionally but this should at least give you somewhere to start.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Thanks very much for the suggestions. After a bit of looking into it, appears for vinyl my option is Milgard of the ones you suggested. Rather disappointed to see Amerimax not an option, they looked like a better choice all around.

If anyone more familiar with the window offerings of the PNW and has any other brands I should consider please chime in.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:29PM
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I would be surprised if Simonton wasn't available. Go to their website and use the "find a dealer" feature. They are definitely worth looking into.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Epiarch Designs

dark colors are often not recommended with vinyl products. However higher quality products or ones using uPVC will be more heat resistant. I still tend to avoid vinyl and go with fiberglass (full frame or wood interior) or extruded aluminum clad. Marvin, Eagle, and Kolbe-Kolbe are all good extruded aluminum clad windows that can be had in dark color exteriors as well and custom shapes you are after. You may need to mix and match too. A lot of people may go with the Marvin Premium for the custom shape windows for example, and select their cheaper Integrity fiberglass for other windows. Colors are far more limited compared to the full Marvin line however.
Kolbe-Kolbe also offers a couple vinyl lines as well.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 7:31PM
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I can get one hit for Simonton just over the border in WA. The product lines offered are Simonton DaylightMax (7300),Simonton Madeira (7500), Verona by Simonton. According to the company website these are designed as replacement windows. Are you familiar enough with these lines to speak as to whether they could be used for new construction. I'd have thought the largest city in Oregon would have better offerings overall tbh >I can have a more in depth look at fiberglass options if mixing and matching to get the gothic shape is aesthetically doable. This is something my DH really wants and not something I think I can get him to bend on for his front home office. A question on these fiberglass "colors" I had, is this just a paint over white fiberglass or something more permanent akin to vinyl. Is there any maintenance involved with these fiberglass colored frames is what I'm really wondering. The sites I've visited have made it sound very durable but they are trying to sell a product. The Milgard Ultra reviews on the companies own website had owners complaining about scratches in the colored frames.

Really appreciate the time everyone is taking to respond!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 4:26AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Some colors are applied like a paint and others are part of the extruding process and therefore a bit more durable.

They would be more comparative to a cap stock type finish.

Figure out what you want the opening to look like and work backwards from there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 7:24AM
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I have installed hundreds of Amerimax and Simonton windows, and others. I own a home that has Amerimax windows that are 12 years old. They are junk. I didn't think they were junk installing them, but having a home 12 years later with them... The glass is not failing, they operater (sliders), but where the sashes come together they are loose, and none of the locking mechanisms tighten the meeting rail either. They are stark white vinyl, which shows dirt and is difficult to clean. They have yellowed slightly on the sunny side. Some of the vinyl trim pieces have warped.

As far as Simonton, I've been back to jobs in under 10 years, and I've see misshapen sashes, etc.

I used to also sell vinyl windows. I had to quit as I felt I was lying.

Granted, there are better products than Simonton and Amerimax, but Milgard is NOT one of them.

IN new construction, you really have to be bad to screw up the installation, but you have to make sure the jambs are shimmed properly to the frame, and it's very common that this is not done. Residential replacement takes skill and finesse, and I have seen so many butcher jobs.

IMO, we will see more and more fiberglass in the marketplace, and vinyl will begin to fade in popularity. I think the only reason vinyl ever got to be so popular is because of it's thermal properties, not it's appearance. Colored/painted vinyl, IMO, will never hold, and you will find the warranty on the finish is 10 years or less.

I am getting out of the window business soon. I'm tired of it. But the only window product I will recommend anymore is Marvin, in good conscience. Marvin is only company I'm aware of that doesn't have a vinyl line, and won't do vinyl products. It is a company with integrity and superior materials.

I think to much is made of numbers, though they are important, yes. Laboratory numbers will not be field numbers. A great window will hold it's numbers in the field and not be different 5 years later.

Vinyl is great for certain applications. But basically it is a soft plastic. It expands and contracts a lot. The Vinyl guys on here will not agree with this post, obviously. But if you're building a new home, and your going to stay there, of all window materials out there, vinyl is the worst choice. Marvin is the best choice. There are options in between, excluding Milgard, and Jeld-Wen, which IMO are also inferior.

Just my 2 cents. My apologies to the vinyl guys - I used to be one. I'm ducking for cover now. Good luck with your project. Hope it turns out great :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I'm finding it a challenge to find dealers of brands which GW members find good out in the Portland OR area.

Marvin is a possibility but the gothic shaped window may be a problem for sure. More that I read about going a wood line for just those, the more I don't like the idea. It rains out there a LOT. It just doesn't seem a prudent move to go with a window that can rot out due to moisture in 10 years and need replacing. I also don't know what I think about the fact that Marvin doesn't publish their air infiltration data and have found a few posts saying they are *not* airtight, therefore negating any energy savings you would get otherwise.

Have found one Kolbe and Kolbe dealer up there. Of my vinyl options, my first impression is this is the best quality we may be able to get.

Still glad to hear more feedback if any have it and thanks for the posts thus far!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 1:18AM
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niteshadepromises: We live in the Portland area and our window research has just begun. I'm also finding that many of the popular windows on this forum are not available here. One and a half years later, are you pleased with your windows decision? Who did you choose?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 12:50PM
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We went with Marvin Integrity Wood/Ultrex. Fiberglass outside, wood inside. We originally looked at these windows just because they were offered in Dark Exterior Colors. Ended up with a different color, though. I like the fact that these CAN be refinished if you want to, or need to after the sun has beat on them for a few years. UV radiation will eventually destroy most surfaces. I wanted to be able to paint them. We needed a large round top (shown in the photo) which was not available in the Integrity line at the time. This is a Marvin Ultimate window the others are Integrity door/windows below. Since these were out of the sun, I did not mind adding a clad window here. The colors were factory matched, you cannot tell they are different windows. Better check prices before setting on Gothic Style windows.

This post was edited by lkbum on Thu, Feb 13, 14 at 14:00

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Sorry, did not see that this was an old thread. We are in Georgia and like the windows, hope this helps a little. Exterior of Marvin Ultimate top windows with Integrity below.

This post was edited by lkbum on Thu, Feb 13, 14 at 14:12

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 1:59PM
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