Narrow frame casement windows; Steel, fiberglass
I have searched the forum and found some advice, but wanted to check on current thinking.
I live in SF Bay Area (mild climate) in a 1950s ranch-style home with single pane steel windows that have very narrow frames. Am looking to replace all windows and sliding doors on the house for the following reasons:
o In disrepair and many are inoperable
o Cold in the winter
o South windows are unbearably hot for a couple of months in the fall
o Un-tempered glass in several places that aren't safe for my kids
However, I want to maximize glass space and preserve the "narrow" frames look.
Price is always a factor, but I am willing to pay more if it gives me what I want.
Exterior is wood siding painted white, and all but one window and one sliding door have drywall on the interior. (The one window and one door have wood paneling on the inside, and may require a stain grade wood interior, although the current steel is simply painted a dark brown and it doesn't look bad.)
Okay, enough background.
First question, am I right in figuring that I am best of going with new construction windows? Looks like the replacement approach will sacrifice glass space that I don't want to give up?
Second question, anyone have experience with any of the steel window manufacturers, a feel for price premium, and their ability to really provide a narrow frame? So far, when I check specs at places like Optimum Windows, it doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t seem like the frames on double-pane steel windows are really that much smaller than other options.
Third question, best options for narrow frame casement windows (most are triple, open-fixed-open) made from more mainstream materials (seems like one of the fiberglass composites might be best bet)?
Thanks in advance for any help.