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window comparison?

jakebrown's picture

can anyone recommend a good window comparison tool...what brands, cost, functions, etc...for a first time home builder? thanks.

(post #175971, reply #1 of 4)


You may want to post this question over on Breaktime.  Alot more experienced construction type folks post over there. 

I believe the last window-type thread highly recommended Velux skylights over Anderson roof windows. 

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(post #175971, reply #2 of 4)

Jakebrown -  Being a first time home builder ourselves four years ago, we often wished for sources such as you are looking for.  Failing to find such comparisons in one easy place, I often used spreadsheet software (I used Lotus) to create my own charts in order to facilitate comparisons.  I also used spreadsheets to create bid requests.  It's a lot of work, and I spent a lot of time online and with catalogs.  We live in a rural area, so shopping the stores for similar information was not an option. Once we knew what characteristic and the type of window we wanted, we started working with a couple of local distributors to settle on a brand and get bids.

Good luck.  By the way, we used Vellux skylights and roof windows, and Lowen windows and french doors.  Lowen was the only brand we could find that used Douglas fir instead of pine.  And we loved the style for our house. Thus far they are preforming admirably.

Edited 9/18/2004 3:31 pm ET by Jan

(post #175971, reply #3 of 4)

Jakebrown - As a professional in the window & door business for 15 years, here are a few pointers. 1) don't get too bogged down in the numbers. If you are building for the long term, there are other considerations than a small difference in air infiltration between brands, for example. 2) You must buy low emissivity glass, at least in a hermetically sealed double pane. Each manufacturer will have a 'trade' name for it, but most of it comes from 2 or 3 huge glass manufacturers and has similar properties. 3) If you want wood windows, Douglas Fir is the best hands down for durability and longevity. In summary, the best windows for a long term investment and performance would be Douglas Fir frame with EXTRUDED aluminum cladding in a lighter color (dark colors will fade sooner), and glazed with double or triple pane low e glass for energy efficiency. Another contributor mentioned the Loewen brand, manufactured in Manitoba, Canada. These are top quality windows that you can count on being repairable and in service for 40 years plus. I have replaced many windows and have installed Loewen windows on a number of occasions - they are expensive, but I have not seen anything that comes close. Other species of wood used in windows over the last 3 decades pale in comparison to Douglas Fir in this application. Good Luck

(post #175971, reply #4 of 4)

Eleven years ago I installed Velux skylights in a roof with a southern exposures, here in SW CT.  Bought them in Home Depot.  Less then a year later one had a small leak.  Called and a service rep came, fixed it, said good-bye and that was the end of the problem.  Never had a problem since and they work fine.

I'm not a carpenter, had one help me install them.  Only because it was too much work for one person.  Each is 32" x 48" and I re-shingled the roof.