MI Windows (yes, I know) questions about models

scotkightDecember 29, 2013

Before you go down the road about how much MI windows suck, yes, I know. No choice in the matter here in northern va.

So, now that we are past the brand choice we are into the specific models. My builder states they are using "tier 2" which means nothing. It isn't a model number for MI and it isn't a meaningful term otherwise.

That being said, I am looking for more information on the available models/lines to push the builder to satisfy my needs. After reading the website's information, the confusion has set in big time.

I need three types of windows/doors. Some single hung, some double hung and a patio door. All are sized and specced based on the community standards, so either white or bronze outside with simulated lights in all windows. Not a problem, because every line in the MI windows model can do the above.

Where it falls down is when we get to "which model is best." The website is brutally clear in the matter, that their energy core line is the best. Strongest PVC, best performance for energy and best sound abatement.

Unfortunately as soon as I select Virginia as my location, all options for energy core disappear and I am left in the dark. The rest of their lines have little information available about STC, though they have some decent information on the 1600 line about energy efficiency, air infiltration and the like. They can have laminated glass and they can have foam inserts. Most of the other lines are a bit more unclear, and it is completely unclear to me what the differences are between lines though I did see that the 1600 has a "sloped sill" which I take it is considered "better" than a pocket sill?

I found one site that talked about window strength (R vs LC, where lc is "better"? with PG of 50 vs 25 vs less, which I think I understand) and showed some of the MI windows lines test results. It seemed that the only high strength windows were the 1600hd and the EC lines, though it skipped many window options as well so it didn't really help much.

Can someone help shed some light on the model choices and if/how to get the energy core line over here? I will be near an airport and want to max out the STC on the windows.

Are there any equivalent MI windows options to the EC line here if thats not a possibility?

(if it matters, exposure is south for front and east for long dimension. West will be shaded.)

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Any why are you still asking about MI / energy core when you already know its a poor quality/ flimsy window? Im confused as to what your question is?

None if their lines have " strong pvc", they all have thin walls and are just built cheaply. These windows are meant for builders who are more concerned with price opposed to quallity.
Ask your builder what the Air Infiltration rate is on any MI Window..i can guarantee it will be very high.
Look into Okna/ HiMark, Sunrise vanguard, or Quantum 2 by kensington. Also, there is a company called " Windows on Washington" that are in your neck of the woods. I know they carry solid brands and do a heck of a job on the install.

This post was edited by mmarse1 on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 11:52

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:56AM
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I cannot change brands, the builder is uses MI windows exclusively. So I have to do the best with the hand that is dealt.

for the DH, structural report.

For the rest.

If you search for andersen 400 structural report "double hung" you can get a similar window in a much better brand for comparison.

Honestly, thin pvc doesn't bother me, as long as it is smartly constructed. I've seen plenty of cars with "thin metal and plastic" be vastly stronger than huge metal cars of just a few years ago.

Of course if it is dumb use of thinness, no fixing that.

Either way I don't have a choice and must use MI. So I want to make the absolute best of the choices I do have.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Its not just the thinness of the pvc, its the low quality grade pvc. There are different grades of pvc that vary in quality.
Is your builder buying your home for you are giving it to you for free?
If not, why are you letting your builder dictate what windows you get. Tell him to either get the windows you want or you will take your business elsewhere. Simple as that.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 5:32PM
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I cannot help you with getting a hold of the 1600 or EC lines but possibly both of those are available to you with a different designation. If your builder only uses MI then he has some pull with them so talk directly to his MI rep to get the scoop on what is available.
As for STC maximization, the best and most economical way is to use different thicknesses of glass (3/16" over 1/8") with a 5/8" argon air space. This should increase the STC from a 26-28 with 1/8" on both sides to the 32 range. You can spend more and make one lite laminated but rarely is that worthwhile. Help this helps.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 6:17PM
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1) that window line should be avoided at all costs IMO, regardless of model.
2) your builder is NOT obligated to use any window. You are the consumer, you are the boss. If you want a different window, demand it. I supply windows for new construction regularly, and in some instances the home owner will actually purchase them only to have them installed by the builder.
3) I agree with the products and suppliers recommended by maresel. Contact windows on Washington in your area for the best recommendations. A true pro and all around good guy, he'll help you out whether you intend to do business with him or not.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 9:17PM
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I'll try, but this is not a custom house. I don't have the money to go that route in this area, so the houses are "tract" at least up to a point. If you have worked with builders to use other brands of windows in this situation I would love to hear about it.

The look is mandated by the HOA, which of course is being run by the builder right now. So if I go with something else, the look has to fit into the standard. (bronze exterior on some, white on the rest, simple simulated divided lights and all vinyl)

I'm also not sure about the costs associated with doing something like this. I probably can't afford a 20k outlay for windows and install when I was expecting it to be in the house cost.

Eastbay: Laminated glass should make a sizable difference in some situations. It takes care of the different thicknesses of glass (since you would have two together), widens the range of absorption and as long as everything else is done right, should let your window end in the mid 35 range for STC. 3db is a big deal IMO.

Then again the big deal for me is the improvement in frequencies affected, due to being near an airport. Planes make all kinds of weird noises.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 2:27PM
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Builders do everything cheap and unfortunately he is trying to con you into using his low quality windows by MI Windows. Thats unfortunate. If it were me, i would let him know that since i am paying for the house, i am getting my own windows. whats he gonna do, say you are not allowed, i mean really....

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 4:07PM
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