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jmh2148 04-18-2012 04:41 PM

New construction windows for extreme weather
We are building a new home in Pennsylvania on the top of a mountain. I am my own GC (I've extensively remodeled our prior 2 homes and I develop commercial properties for a living so I know enough to be dangerous). I enjoy this forum and thought I'd join prior to breaking ground in May so that I can run ideas by the group. That being said, here's my first question...The design has a great room with approximately 500 sf of glass looking out over the valley facing directly in to the wind. For reference, there is a large wind farm on the next ridge over that has some of the highest sustained winds in the state. Both prior houses had Andersen windows (one I installed myself and the other were originals still in good shape after 20+ years). I have had no complaints at all with the Andersens but products change over time. My framing contractor for this project is great so I don't anticipate any installation issues. I am wondering if the Andersen 400 series will hold up against wind driven rain and snow or if there are other windows better suited to the project. I also am considering Marvin aluminum clad and possibly Marvin Integrity (fiberglass/wood). I want the wood interior so cannot consider any all fiberglass or all vinyl windows. Any thoughts on the above windows and any thoughts on aluminum vs vinyl, vs fiberglass clad windows in general would be greatly appreciated. Also, any other brand recommendations would be great. Thanks in advance for your help.

Windows on Wash 04-18-2012 06:47 PM

Inline makes the most well designed fiberglass window in my opinion.

There are a couple of nice composite windows coming out in the near future with paintable and stainable interiors that will have great thermal, structural, and air infiltration ratings.

Air infiltration and Structural ratings are two items that you are going to want to consider given the climate and exposure you will have to deal with.

What style of openings are you going to specify in those locations?

If you are looking at any operating windows, stick with casements, tilt and turns, and fixed picture windows.

jmh2148 04-18-2012 07:28 PM

That whole wall will be fixed pane except for casements on the ends of the bottom row.

kwikfishron 04-18-2012 08:17 PM

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I live on the other Coast so I won’t comment on brands since window brands are somewhat of a regional thing. But I will say whatever brand you choose the installation is as important as the window itself.

Without proper weather barrier, flashing, and drainage plain details it doesn’t matter what window you choose you could have problems if the wrong crew puts them in.

Do as much homework on the crew as the windows themselves.

Windows on Wash 04-18-2012 08:24 PM


Do you have an renderings of the building yet?

Are they going to be zero mulled or separated by structure?

jmh2148 04-18-2012 09:10 PM

Original designed called for a large chimney in the center of the wall with sets of mulled windows on either side. We relocated the fireplace to another wall. With that change the architect had to incorporate load bearing structural supports between the windows. There was a way to do it with a full wall of zero mulled windows but it involved a significant amount of structural steel which wasn't in the budget.

jmh2148 04-18-2012 09:20 PM

The framing contractor is a perfectionist. I've known him for 20 years and have seen homes that he built 30 years ago. We live in a relatively small town and his reputation is stellar. One of the reasons my bank let me GC my own project was that he was doing the building envelope. I know nobody is perfect but I'm more worried about the product standing up to the weather than him installing it improperly.

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