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Edumacate me on replacement windows for my home

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by blastoff99, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    Hey TBOT wisdom. The time has come to replace all the windows in my mid(20th)century house with something a little more modern. My PUD has a pretty healthy rebate going on right now, so there's incentive to do this right, while realizing that the Taj Mahal this ain't.

    The bedroom, bath, and kitchen windows are plain old single-hung and I can't think I'd do anything else except possibly make a bathroom window that doesn't open. There's going to be the mother of all exhaust fans in there, and since the window is in the shower surround, I don't ever open it while I'm showering. :roflmao: I never open it, period, because once I get out of the shower I pull the shower curtain closed again... so I can't see that window, and would likely manage to leave with it standing wide open. My neighborhood's not THAT great.

    The living room and dining room each have a large (6' x 5') window. The current ones don't open. I'd like to have something that opens, but the 'three piece' doesn't look right on houses of this style. Both these windows face west, and there's plenty of sun that comes in until it gets low enough to get swallowed by the trees across the street. By that hour, there's a nice west breeze that I'd like to invite in.

    The living room also has a large (4' x 5') south facing window. I tend to forget it's there because I keep the curtain pulled since the view is to my neighbor's patio, six feet away.

    So what do I need to know about this? We're talking vinyl, not wood or fiberglass, and triple pane seems silly. Brands available to me from the contractors I have to use are Milgard, Marvin, and PlyGem so far. Do I want super duper low-e or HP glass in the west windows? I'm not contemplating tint because it is so dark and grey here most of the year. Will I be sorry if I just get a frosted glass pane in the bathroom an not get something that opens?

    Please advise.
  2. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    A bathroom window that opens is a must for me. Even if it's just 1/4" open, it helps a lot with venting out steam and other "vapors".

    Vinyl windows are fine in my experience. Low-e seems pretty standard these days. Unless you live where there's extremes of hot and/or cold, triple-pane is probably overkill.

    And that's everything I think I know about windows.
  3. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    If the bathroom window were anywhere other than 'I have to step IN the tub to operate it,' I would absolutely get one that opened. But yeah, you make a point.
  4. Where I live single pane windows are terrible in the fall and winter. Most people don't use them any more.

    I have double-pane now....house was built with them. But even in our climate I wouldn't thumb my nose at triple-pane.

    You lose lots of heat from window glass.

    Single-panes always had condensation on them in the winter.....and even the condensate would freeze up on certain nights.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  5. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    double pane vinyl clad
    aluminum on its own is a great conductor of heat, meaning it's not a good insulator
  6. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    Double pane vinyl is assumed here.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  7. I just replaced all my 70ish year old single pane, double hung wood frame windows with some Silver-Line from Anderson. They were cheap enough, bought a couple at a time, installed them a room at a time. It is amazing how much different the house feels between the windows and upgrading the old failed 'rock wool' insulation with modern fiberglass.

    Silver Line® V1 Series

    did a gliding window for my 4 foot x 5 foot picture window, the other large window I did a pair of standard width separated by a pair of bound 2x4's
    Tom Bomb and blastoff99 like this.
  8. Speaking as a former pro vinyl replacement window/door installer I might have a couple tips for you.

    Bathroom window: Don't put a dead-lite in there. Get a double-hung with obscure glass. Even if you never open it, it adds a bit of equity to your house and any future buyer will expect a bath window that opens.

    Triple pane glass: You live in Washington State? I doubt it gets cold enough there to justify added expense.

    Low-e: You should be able to get your contractor to throw that in for free. It's a nice feature.

    Color: Vinyl windows come in different colors. What color is your house exterior? Be careful with white windows, if they don't go well with the color of your house they'll look like crap. When that happens the better choice is almost always Almond. If for some reason you consider Bronze, know that it will make your house darker inside.

    For the other windows you can save a lot of money by going with sliders instead of casement (crank-out) windows. And depending on the style of house, sliders often look better than casements, anyway.

    Can't help with current brand names re quality, been out of it for years. But there is everything from flimsy junk to high quality stuff out there. You'll feel the difference when you snap a double-hung sash back into place from drop-down position. If you can, go to a showroom and operate the display units. Happy hunting.
    Tom Bomb, blastoff99 and James Hart like this.
  9. Ironbar

    Ironbar Inactive

    Aug 24, 2013
    Tigard, Oregon
    Actually, rock wool or Roxul is better than fiberglass in almost every respect.
  10. ptg


    Mar 16, 2008
    As someone who does purchasing for a construction company for a living (sad, I know) Plygem is our go-to vinyl replacement window. They are well made and reasonably priced. You should have no issues with them. As with all windows just make sure they are properly installed.
    blastoff99 likes this.
  11. Actually, circa 1948 Rock wool had an R3 rating at best if it hadn't decayed to the point that it was laying in the bottom 1/3rd of the walls :D

    The new stuff I put in is R13 except for some stuff I had left over from some work I did at my other house a few years back that is R11
  12. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA

    One of my bidders uses PlyGem. Since I'm too dumb to know what I'm reading, what differences between the various lines of single hung are important to me? This guy uses the "contractor grade" as he called it - is that good enough?
  13. ptg


    Mar 16, 2008
    Contractor grade is fine but it depends what you are looking for in a window. The better grades will have a higher R value (argon, low E, etc.) and usually the cost to upgrade per window is minimal. But if you are not looking to spend a lot the contractor series will perform well on a day-to-day basis.

    Personally, I do not care for single hungs and would go with double hungs but that's just me.
  14. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA

    Why? I know nothing. Previous houses had sliders, so this is all new.
  15. ptg


    Mar 16, 2008
    Simply a matter of personal preference. Double hungs (DH) allow the top sash to operate so you can only open the top if you wish. They also tilt so they are easier to clean. But there is nothing wrong with singles.
    blastoff99 likes this.
  16. Unless you're just doing the windows to flip the house, you might want to avoid single-hungs and contractor grade units altogether. Regardless of brand there is always a quality compromise involved, not just a lower R value. That's why they cost less. Often the internal workings are not as robust and/or the vinyl may be a thinner gauge. You want the frames and sashes to be as "stiff" as possible. That's a quality that all the better lines of vinyl windows have in common. You'll feel the difference when you operate a normal size unit, as opposed to a tiny salesman's sample.

    I'm sure you know this, but the replacement window business is riddled with BS artists and high pressure sales people. These guys are the direct descendants of the infamous aluminum siding contractors of yore. Generally, the bigger the company, the higher the mark up at the retail end. Big overhead and salesman's commissions to pay.

    Here's a way to save big bucks on your windows, once you know which brand and model you want: Contact an experienced subcontractor/installer about doing a "side job". They love side jobs and can offer an unbeatable price for the same job, literally hundreds less per window (yes, per window) than what the big retail outfits are looking for. Just don't expect any financing plans from them.
  17. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    Good to know. Thanks. I guess I don't personally care about double hung but it sounds like a lot of other people do, so that's for sure worth considering.

    I have to go with a contractor that's willing to jump through the PUD hoops in order to get the rebate. It's not a huge burden, but it does have to be done a certain way.
  18. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I just noticed by your use of the word edumacate that we may have went to the same high skool ... or you missed a lot of it, too :) Good luck with the windows ... I'm just a renter, so gots no practical advice.
  19. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    We called it "Stay-home High School," if that gives you any idea....
    catcauphonic likes this.
  20. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    Someone using the word edumacate results in me saying find something you like and pay someone to install it.
    catcauphonic likes this.
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