New windows


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Old 01-23-23, 04:50 PM
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New windows

Window question.
My daughter needs to get new windows. These are not just the typical window, but floor to ceiling style in the front. The front of the house is an A frame style. These will also include typical double hung widows around the rest of the house. Several widow installers have mentioned three types. Vinyl, all wood, or wood veneer. Vinyl is not an option. However the veneer is substantially less expensive than solid wood. The inside will have decorative veneer on an all solid wood frame. She is worried that after a short period of time (say 2 to 5 years) the veneer may begin to peel or chip.
Does anybody have an opinion? I think the veneer will be fine.
FWIW... she lives in central PA.
 
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Old 01-24-23, 12:20 AM
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I haven't had to choose a window since the last house we built in 2000, current hose was spec build and windows were already installed. The current house had a higher end vinyl window that I wasn't sure about initially but now after 17 years I have to admit they have turned out to be a flawless choice.

I've primarily had wood windows in the past and never, ever would I choose that style, way to much maintenance. Some type of fiberglass, composite, maybe vinyl material would be high on my list.


 
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Old 01-24-23, 03:01 AM
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Is the wood veneer on both sides or just the interior? I would think the main thing with the veneer would be to seal it well with poly. Can the window supplier give you any references of veneer windows they installed yrs ago?
 
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Old 01-24-23, 05:12 AM
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As far as I know the veneer would be on the inside. I also told her a heavy-duty application of poly would be needed.
 
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Old 01-24-23, 11:12 AM
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Like Mark, I would lean towards either a composite or fiberglass window. I'm in the process of installing a few of my first composite windows and I think they are a good middle-ground between vinyl and wood. They are much heavier than vinyl which I like, but maintenance free unlike wood.

IMO, the style of the window ends up being more important in the look/feel than the actual material. Divided lites, trim, hardware, etc. Other than you actually knowing that they are or aren't wood, no one else will ever look at them so carefully as to know what they are.
 
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Old 02-01-23, 08:43 AM
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Who are you talking with, what companies?
I agree that fiberglass might be a good option for your daughter, but also curious why vinyl is a nonstarter?
 
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Old 02-01-23, 09:43 AM
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She doesn't like the look of vinyl and she's not sure if it comes in a dark brown color.
 
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Old 02-02-23, 07:51 AM
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There are some very good vinyl windows on the market, and some very bad vinyl windows on the market, and those that are somewhere in between. Unfortunately there are a lot more companies offering bad vinyl windows than good vinyl windows, and the exact same can be said for wood windows as well.

If your daughter has been looking at vinyl windows in big box stores or in places like Window World, then what she has been looking at are pretty much the bottom of the barrel products in both appearance as well as long term performance. Companies making top tier vinyl windows don't sell them out of those places.

If her primary concern is appearance then wood is usually the best choice, but again there are good wood windows and very bad wood windows, and unfortunately with windows, as with many other products, you often get what you pay for and you really pay for top end wood windows.

I am really curious about who she has talked with if her two wood choices are either "all wood" and "wood veneer". The vast majority of modern wood windows are built with either vinyl or much more often aluminum clad exterior, with pluses and minuses to both options, but if the term "all wood" is synonymous with bare wood or no cladding, then that would often be considered a custom option or might not even be available from some window companies as odd as that sounds.

When discussing wood veneer, way more often than not it's considered as an add-on with vinyl, fiberglass, or other composite windows with options ranging from something akin to paper-thin (or even paper) glued to the plastic sash and frame (low end) all the way to windows with two distinct structures bonded together i.e. non-wood exterior and wood interior (high end).There are wood veneers associated with wood windows, but usually that's the case when an exposed exotic wood that wasn't an option for the full frame/sash is applied as a veneer to more common substrate such as pine for the decorative upgrade.

Then fiberglass or other composites. The most widely used composite is Fibrex, exclusive to Andersen, which despite the name isn't fiberglass, rather Fibrex consists of 40% wood fiber and 60% vinyl, basically the same material as TREX decking. Andersen Renewal replacement windows and 100 series windows are built of Fibrex with the product also used in other Andersen doors and windows in various applications specific to the product.

Fiberglass is the newest thing as a window material. Probably the most well known are the Marvin lines or Essential, Elevate, and Infinity. Marvin calls their fiberglass product Ultrex and a higher density, higher strength version is used for their Modern line but that product is (scary) expensive. Elevate has wood interior and fiberglass exterior (two separate structures joined together like I mentioned earlier), while Essential and Infinity are all fiberglass. Fiberglass pricing is going to be comparable to many wood windows, so it's not generally considered a budget option.

Since it sounds like her home has some serious glass area, it might be prudent to consider the glass package as well such as advantages of dual pane over single pane and even triple pane over dual pane, LowE coatings, and gas fill. With many windows these come standard, but there are definitely upgrades as well often specific to considerations such as solar heat gain through the windows in winter versus excessive solar heat gain in summer. Does she have any noise control concerns?

Also, and at least as important as the product is how the new windows are going to be installed and who is doing it.

 

Last edited by Oberon; 02-02-23 at 08:02 AM. Reason: typos spelling
 

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