Thoughts on Replacement Aluminum Windows?

Xena99December 28, 2012

I have a southern exposure with double-pane vinyl windows that need to be replaced. The repair people tell me the vinyl frames (Jones-- manufacturer) have cracked due to the sun and the fact that the glass used in them was clear. The house is only 10 years old so I am not happy.

I am in Santa Fe, New Mexico at 6800 feet with sun, sun, sun. The sun bakes that side of the house year-round, so I can see how that damages a vinyl (plastic) window. I am now hesitant to replace with more vinyl windows and would love your opinions on thermally-broken aluminum. One commenter noted that commercial properties favor aluminum.

Milgard makes aluminum windows, but some comments are saying Milgard is no longer a quality product.

There is a local company, Glass Rite (Albuquerque), which manufactures and installs vinyl and aluminum windows. Any comments on this company?

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Windows on Washington Ltd

Don't know Glass Rite personally.

While vinyl is not traditionally as well suited for cooling dominated/desert climates with extreme heat, it can perform quite well.

Thermally broken aluminum is more often the dominant choice because aluminum is completely impervious to sun damage/degradation.

Don Young is a well regarded brand out of Texas.

Milgard is also a well regarded aluminum window.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Does anyone know what the air infiltration numbers are on the Milgard and Don Young?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 3:52AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I don't know them off the top of my head but I can call Randy and see.

I doubt they are on the level with the nicer vinyl windows out there but if I lived in the high desert, I would probably prefer something like a well built fiberglass, but Aluminum is a suitable alternative.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:41AM
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I looked it up, 0.15 air infiltratin and a DP 30. May be a good window but it numbers are sub-par.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Which one had those numbers?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Would I be better off looking at fiberglass windows? I read on the forum that they are also prone to UV degradation, and that aspect gets lots of UV 360 days a year.

I have this local company, Glass Rite, coming to quote in a few days. They are saying Aluminum is not as good performance-wise as Vinyl, does not meet building codes in new construction. Glass Rite claims that they have had no problems with their Vinyl in their installations in New Mexico. If anyone is a member of Angie's list, they claim they have good reviews there. Maybe you can let me know since I am not a member.

In addition to UV issues, I know I should look for a rigid window, one that will not deform in high heat, but how do I know a vinyl window is stout enough? Everything looks nice when new.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Don Young's 8200 series single hung has an AL rating of .03 with a DP50.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 5:33PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

There you go.

Those are very good performance numbers!!

If the fiberglass is properly painted and encapsulated, there are no issue with UV degradation.

Looks like you can't go wrong with those Don Young numbers though.

Anything under 0.05 is a very, very tight window.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Those are good numbers if a single hung window is what desired.State Building code in MN dictates a U-factor of .35 or less for residential use. This rules out most aluminum window.What brand and model windows is Glass Rite proposing?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 7:36AM
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Contrary to what some people think, it's not the temperatures that are destroying your window frames, it's UV degradation - the bane of ALL plastics. Any plastic (pvc & fiberglass included) can be made more resistant to UV damage by simply painting it.

When it comes to windows, you can install all of the hi-performance windows that you want, but my money will always be bet on storm windows - simply because they work. You can tint them or do whatever you want to them without hurting your new windows or their warranty. As a matter of fact, when properly installed they will actually extend the life of your new windows and the money you save on your heating/cooling costs will pay for the storm windows long before they wear out.

Many articles have been written regarding the poor pay-back that results from hi-performance windows vs. added up front costs and the glass failures that only make the pay-back figures even worse.

Here is a link that might be useful: Storm Windows

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:31AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


You are not suggesting that he put storm windows over vinyl windows are you?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:04AM
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+1... That statement needs some majors qualifiers, as installing storm windows over NEW windows IN MOST CASES will be detrimental and void the warranty.
If you are talking about older units sans low-e, storm windows are a very cost-effective solution.

Additional observations:
-Very impressive numbers on the Don Young unit. Sounds like a good choice for your situation.
-@ Todd: what do the requirements for Minnesota have to do with this OP who is located in the southwest?... I wouldn't recommend aluminum up north regardless of the u-value, unless it is necessary such as a commercial application, condo board, etc.

This post was edited by HomeSealed on Mon, Jan 7, 13 at 10:11

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:07AM
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