Best replacement options for large fixed picture windows?

texasgal47August 11, 2013

I have a small patio home in Houston, built in 1985, with reasonable utility bills despite having cheap aluminum grade windows. The home has no windows on the west side and trees shading the home which partly helps to explain savings on the utility bills.
My issue is that I have a large window opening on either side of a fireplace in the living area. Those windows get direct sunlight for the first half of the day in the cooler months. If I close the shades to protect the interior from UV damage, the living/kitchen combo is almost completely dark. Also, I don't like it that the two openings are different. The right side has a standard size sliding patio door with an opening 70"w x 79" h. The left side is the same width but shorter, with 23" of wall below it and 4 sections to the window, with screens in the lower two sections. The patio door is sealed permanently shut for security. The front door/foyer area opens into this living area, and I have a patio door in the formal diningroom leading to the patio so another exterior door is really not needed. I should add that two smaller windows on opposing walls in the familyroom would take care of ventilation needs.
Solar shades would take care of my UV problem, but I really don't want to hassle with them, esp. on the patio door. I'm thinking what I may want is a commercial plate window 70"w x 79" h on either side of the fireplace with some type of uv protection added to the glass. Last winter, a salesman showed me a nano ceramic film which supposedly provided 99% uv protection but allowed 92% light penetration. The downside is this film is quite expensive and, like any additional film by an outside manufacturer, would void a new window warranty. My home style is contemporary. I definately don't want any type of LoE glass that will give that coke bottle type green glass look on the exterior, no matter how good the performance.
A window retailer who sells Marvin windows is coming the first part of next week. A RBA agent already has been out with his hard sell. I refuse to do business with anyone who resorts to this type of old time scare tactic of "it's now or never today at this price," so Anderson will not be my window installer. Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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Windows on Washington Ltd

Look at the 3M films.

They provide for warranty coverage if their film creates a failure in the new or old window.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:59PM
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We have three 11 foot wide (hmm, 6-7ft high) windows that line the main living space of our mid century modern home. They are original 1950s single pane glass with aluminium frames. We have had lots of folks out to give us bids on windows. One of them told me we shouldn't believe anyone that wants to sell us a vinyl replacement window that big (that the vinyl frame can't handle that much glass/weight), and we instead need a commercial window. Also thinking of replacing one or more of the windows with 3 or 4 panel sliding doors. Interested to hear what information you received and what route you are taking!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

If the frame is of a substantial nature, there is no reason that vinyl cannot support the glass mass of a larger unit.

What is more likely the disqualifying fact is that most vinyl window companies can't even logistically produce or ship.

A window of that size is probably going to have to be produced locally via a commercial glazing contractor.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:22PM
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WindowsonWashington, thank you for your helpful response. I will check out the 3M film but wonder if it will have the clarity of the two products I have already checked out. Many do a good job for less $$$, but I want the film to let in almost as much light as the window without any film. This is a difficult mission to fulfill and the two samples I have meet this criteria. I'll let you know how 3M compares to the competition I'm putting it up against.
When you refer to the large custom vinyl windows, are you referring to mine, to the huge ones by seeking sun, or to both of us?
Also, I don't understand how any window film could cause a window failure.

SeekingSun, the post was edited as I forgot to add that I will certainly keep you posted how my search progresses. I don't want another winter in a house with covered windows for half the day so want to make a purchase as soon as possible after doing my due diligence.

This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 0:12

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:04AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I was referring to seeking sun's inquiry about the window size.

Check with 3M, they probably have the best film technology on the market.

The films can create window failures by trapping too much heat in the IGU. That is the theory and lesser films probably do just that.

3M has a guarantee on their films that will supersede your window warranty in most cases.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 7:27AM
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Thank you for the education, Win-on-Washington.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I like that.

New branding coming.

Good luck with the project.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:58PM
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