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Old 06-23-2011, 08:54 AM   #1
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


I hope this post makes sense and doesn't come across as a dumb question... if so I apologize in advance.

We're looking to replace all the wood windows in the back of our 20 yr old house and had two local companies come out to give us quotes here in Atlanta. One company recommended Simonton 5500 and the other Gorell 5300. The companies came highly recommended by many homeowners via Angie's List.

The windows seem well built, but the wife doesn't like them at all because the frame around the sash is much wider than our current wood windows. To be honest, the demo window they brought out to the house seemed like it was mostly frame. I'm exaggerating, but the point is the frames look much wider than what we have now. Is that typical with these windows?

I ask, because the original homeowner had all of the windows in the front replaced by another company named Champion three years earlier. To us, those window (sash) frames look normal in size... just like the old wood windows. I steered away from Champion because of some negative customer fdbk and because those windows have a well or pocket and I was told it just collects dirt, algae, etc; and wasn't considered a good design, whereas the Simonton had more of a sill.

The other night I went to HD and looked at the Andersens which seemed to have a normal size sash frame and sill. Probably more expensive but the windows looked normal to us.

I hope this all makes sense

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Old 06-23-2011, 11:29 AM   #2
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


Probably just the way they are made. Why don't you just look into other brands (Anderson, Pella, etc.) and find ones you like?

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Old 06-23-2011, 07:45 PM   #3
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


The Simonton and Gorell are nice products, but they both (especially the 5300) have rather large frames as mentioned. I'd recommend taking a look at the Gorell Timeless series or 5100. It is actually one of the slimmer replacement products on the market, but when you add fiberglass reinforcement and foam in the frame ("plus" upgrade), its performance basically matches the bulkier (and imo UGLIER) 5300 series, while preserving as much glass area as possible. Sunrise, Okna, and Softlite (Pro Series) are other quality slim frame choices.... If you are looking at vinyl windows, I'd recommend avoiding those mentioned above (A & P) like the plague. They are both products made by what I'd consider to be "low-end" manufacturers, and then the big name company slaps their label on it.... It would be equivalent to BMW purchasing Kia and then changing the badges and selling it as a BMW.
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


The Z bar on my Milgard windows was cut down to fit within the trim around my windows. Looked much as the original when finished. Perhaps yours can be done similar.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #5
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


You may lose some slight efficiency w/ aluminum, but it pays to go aluminum in the long run ... much more durable, longer lasting, won't sag, crack ... or require such wide frames.

I bought vinyl recently to be more energy efficient, but now I've been reading how vinyl is not holding up long-term. Its just too much work replacing a window to have to do it again in a few years.

Me replacing old wooden windows w/ new vinyl windows.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:41 PM   #6
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdat747 View Post
You may lose some slight efficiency w/ aluminum, but it pays to go aluminum in the long run ... much more durable, longer lasting, won't sag, crack ... or require such wide frames.

I bought vinyl recently to be more energy efficient, but now I've been reading how vinyl is not holding up long-term. Its just too much work replacing a window to have to do it again in a few years.

Me replacing old wooden windows w/ new vinyl windows.
Don't confuse poor quality vinyl products with their premium counterparts. My last home here in WI had 20+ yr old vinyl windows that still worked and sealed great, and that was with an outdated design and technology. I will say though that in hot climates (like Texas, AZ, etc), aluminum windows are a good choice. I'm not really sure about GA though.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


yeah, Atlanta's nickname is "hotlanta" and that's not 'cause of the girls that live there ... well, depends who you ask ... anyway, it's hot enough in the summers in GA that knowing what I know now ... aluminum would be the way to go.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:26 PM   #8
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


You are correct. All vinyl Windows are not manufactured the same way. Starting from the final itself which can be recycled vinyl or virgin vinyl all the way down to the components within the window they can be very different from each other. Don't let the name fool you either as many manufacturers today are making final Windows just to have a product to offer to their contractors. Let's take Pella Windows for instance what once was a premier window manufacturer are now barely surviving in the window market. They picked up the final line of Windows back in the early 2000's and it has been an absolute disaster. Just because the name on the window says Pella does not make it a good window. Although many people purchase products like Pella Anderson and Martin for the warrantee they offer you do need to keep in mind that the quality of the window makes a big difference. Your best bet is to talk to people who have had these products and learn from their experiences with everything from purchasing to installation to service. Most people not spend top dollar for a vinyl window this is unfortunate as there used to be final Windows out there that were quite good but could not compete in the market today. Now these Windows are sold strictly overseas in Europe and beyond. At some point most Windows are in need of service of some sort. When you are in need of window repair it's nice to be able to pick up the phone and call the company knowing it's still in a be there 10 years from now.

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Old 07-06-2011, 06:56 AM   #9
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Why are replacement window frames so wide?


Thanks everyone for your replies. We did go out and look at Gorell 5100 windows last weekend and the sash frames are smaller as mentioned by HomeSealer. Even the sales rep mentioned it was their biggest seller because of the smaller sash frame.

We also had a local Andersen dealer come out and give us a quote on their 400 Woodwright windows, which are $2000 more than the quote we received for the Gorells. Even though they are more money, the wife is leaning towards them because they look better and 'seem' well built. I guess it's because they are wood.

To be honest, I didn't consider aluminum windows at all, but I'll look into them. The windows we are replacing are on the back of our house (Western exposure) and in the summer it definitely gets hot with the direct sun. It did make me wonder about using vinyl. Three years ago, we replaced all of the windows on the front of the house (Eastern exposure) with vinyl and they look good and have performed well.

We plan to be in this house for another 10 years, so I'll need to make a decision soon. Thanks again for all of your recommendations.

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