Choices, choices: Loewen, Marvin, Screens and Cladding
We are choosing VG fir casement windows for the remodel of our 1928 english cottage-style home starting in a week (finally!). (Yes, the existing windows must go due to condition and design changes.) We are leaning towards Loewen, which GC likes, and also considering Marvin, which may be less expensive.
Two sub-issues have come up that I could use some input on: exterior cladding (wood or aluminum) and screens (retractable or removable). Your thoughts and experiences on these issues are appreciated.
All-wood v. Aluminum cladding:
GC strongly urges us to go with all-wood, with no exterior metal cladding. Says cladding never looks better than the day it is installed, is hard to match to exterior paint colors, and the additional maintenance for wood is not a huge issue, and can be handled in connection with other maintenance needs -- i.e., exterior painting -- we have to do anyway. The Loewen rep (and the Marvin guy too) strongly urges us to go with a cladded window due to maintenance, though (to his credit) agrees with GC that wood looks better over the life of the window. Watching the two argue the point was quite entertaining last week. Thoughts?
Retractable v. Removable Screens:
We are going with push out casements for most windows. Thus, screens become an issue since they block the push, not to mention the view. When we looked at the Marvins I liked the utility of their side-mounted retractable screens, and have also looked (on-line) at Phantom's top-mounted prestige series which would also seems to function well for that purpose. GC doesn't like look of retractables and questions their function, and would prefer us to either go with screens mounted in a wood frame that can be swung out or removed when you want to open the window, or just eliminate screens altogether except for those windows where we know we will really use them. Based on utility alone I am going to push for retractables, but first I would like to hear from those who have them re how they look, how they work, and what problems you have encounted with them.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.