windows for canada recommendations?

washerwearyJune 9, 2013


After reading many posts, I, like many others, feel more informed and more confused and I was wondering if there is some info out to help us with our choice.

First off we are in an eastern climate: harsh winters, humid summers. We need to replace the windows in the back, (bath, kitchen and bedroom) as all of the others were already replaced before we bought (pvc I strongly believe).

My preference is for energy efficiency, low toxicity for the interior and longevity and will pay more if I don't have to replace in 7 years, but budget is limited. As budget is limited we might just start with the bath- which we also want to enlarge- and do the others over time. Obviously increasing the size increases the price enormously so I don't want to talk myself into something unnecessary.

We had a local estimate that only has aluminum, the company has energy starred and is CAA approved, and there was no pressure. Obviously this is more expensive, but the longevity is winning me over, but the forums are telling me that aluminum is not recommended for our winters.

I would like some info as to whether aluminum has in fact improved recently in energy efficiency or should we go with combo, aluminum exterieur and pvc interieur, do they do fiberglass hybrids?

Any recommendations for high end pvc companies?

Also the pcv widow frames in the basement on the back wall is white and we prefer black, could this be painted?

Thanks in advance!

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Windows on Washington Ltd

Window companies can be a bit regional and I must confess to knowing the US market much more specifically than what is available in Canada.

To address as many of your questions and/or concerns as possible, here goes:

- You mention toxicity in one portion of your post. I would not worry about that as it pertains to any window type. You will get more VOCs from the painting/stain on a window than you will the material itself. Vinyl (uPVC) does not off gas as much as touted but other non-vinyl suppliers and I assure you that there is more harmful gases coming out of your home in other things.

- Most PVC windows can be painted (factor) so that should not be a problem. They are also available in laminates so that also should not be an issue.

- You should not have to replace whatever window you go with in 7 years, not to mention 27 years.

- I would not go with thermally broken aluminum up in your area for the fact that it is not going to have the thermal performance of any of the other suitable alternative.

- Get triple pane and you should be looking at what is the equivalent (Canada's measurement metrics are a bit different) to a U-Factor of 0.20 or below for the US.

- Try to get a higher SGHC glass on the South facing portion of the home to allow for some passive solar in the winter.

- Be sure to examine and consider the air infiltration rates in the windows that you vet. A good thermal performing window that leaks a bunch of air will not help the home out that much in the end.

Happy hunting and please post back with more questions.

Window on Washington

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Thanks for the info Window on Washington, it is really appreciated.

Apparently we are in zone C which recommends double glazing... does that sound right?

we want to expand our window in the bath which is a small rectangle (outside wall with brick) with an architectural top (like a sun) and one company that is preparing a quote, says that to cut into the brick would require a mason, is this what we should expect?

The aluminum window we were recommended is energium windows? They are A3, B7, C5. ever heard of this product?

I am going to search the forum to see if there is any info on lepage milwork and lapco isothermic- other lines recommended by another company.

thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I don't think that double pane is correct for any part of Canada not to mention much of the US. You should be putting the most efficient window that you can into that home with the the exception on the glazing to probably be on the South facing side of the home for some passive solar exceptions.

Some window crews can do mild brick work when it comes to just removing some stuff but if they are rebuilding anything, it needs to have the professional skill of a mason to do properly.

Never heard of Energium but that doesn't mean its not a good product.

If you can post up some of the data on the window I will give you my honest opinion but the first thing that stands out to me is the aluminum construction.

Aluminum is not usually wall suited for colder climates as it has a thermal performance Achilles heel.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 7:29AM
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I have Marvin Infinity fiberglass windows, and I love them - but I don't know if they are available in Canada. I live in North Dakota, so I have cold winter/humid summer issues as well. The fiberglass is paintable on the outside (I don't remember if the outside comes in different colors, as I wanted white), and either white or stainable (looks like wood) on the inside.

the day after ours were installed, 2 years ago, my son mowed the lawn, and it sounded like the mower was at least 2 houses away. Even during our coldest days (-30, ðF or ðC, take your pick!), we had very little condensation on the insides of the windows. I've been really happy with them.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

They aren't available in triple glazing as of right now though.

That is the only drawback for a Canadian client for right now.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 4:59PM
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