Demand is growing for large, high-performance windows that look good, so manufacturers are scrambling to introduce new products that meet the challenge.
Residential windows come in a seemingly endless variety of styles, with a myriad of glass options and hardware to match. For construction pros, windows can contribute to the overall aesthetics of a house, but they can be a source of headaches as well if they are not installed correctly or if they fail prematurely. That means they need to look great, work great, and last a long time without a lot of upkeep.
Jeromy Haines is the president and general manager of Progressive Window out of Enid, Okla., and figures he’s seen it all across his markets in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. “We sell direct to the end user and have our own install crews and we’re into all different markets,” Haines says. “The farmers want to keep the traditional single-hung systems, the cabins and ranch houses want everything to look like fixed glass, Dallas is all a hung market unless you get into the higher end that’s looking for casements and tilt windows.”
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Marvin Modern is a new line of windows (and doors) that features a high-density fiberglass exterior, aluminum interior, and a frame design that delivers good thermal and structural performance, the company says. Frames measure less than 3 inches. Colors will include ebony, bronze, anodized/silver, gunmetal, and stone white.
One thing everyone is looking for? A solid window, Haines says, and by that he means a product that is installed to mitigate both weather and sound intrusion. “I’ve never had someone say we don’t need it really tight, so we’ll do both integral and snap-in nail planes and use Tyvek tape on the perimeter to reinforce the installation, and some of our systems come with an integral nail flange versus an add-on nail flange.”
With variation in window styles in mind, manufacturers are likewise upping the ante on ease of installation for contractors. “Most of our products arrive fully assembled and ready for installation,” says Nick Pesi, Kolbe Windows and Doors product and market specialist. “In the newer product lines, like our Forgent Series, we’ve developed three convenient installation methods, including an integral nailing fin, installation clips, and a screw through frame option to provide simple and easy installation.”
Part of the brand’s historic line, the American Heritage SDH windows combine a lower tilt and turn assembly with a fixed upper. The window features concealed multipoint hardware, double or triple glazing, and R-7 performance overall. Aluminum hardware comes standard, but architects may upgrade to modern stainless steel or chrome. Wood options include larch, meranti, European oak, and finger-jointed pine.
Marvin Windows has gone as far as creating a comprehensive “Job Box” that is stocked according to each order with product hardware, installation screws, injection sealant, installation instructions, order information, warranty registration, touch-up and repair kits, and more. “When designing the product, we thought about every step a builder would need to take to properly install the product and did as much as we could to ease the process and increase efficiency,” says Marvin product portfolio strategist Brenda Brunk.
Installation efficiency will continue to rank high with contractors as homeowners continue to opt for ever-wider openings that blur the lines between windows, glass walls, and sliding glass doors. “The trend we don’t see slowing down anytime soon is homeowners requesting bigger windows, as consumer desire for more natural light and expansive views only increases,” says Brunk, adding that Marvin has likewise been increasing its selection of customizable windows in expansive sizes that retain performance values.
Ply Gem’s Premium Garden Window showcases a plant parent’s sun-loving friends atop a built-in interior tempered-glass shelf inside its PVC vinyl frame. With ventilating side windows and an extended design that maximizes sunlight, the energy-efficient window provides a customized home for an herb garden or cacti arrangement.
And indeed, even with larger, expansive, non-insulated openings across the facade, homeowners are still expecting window systems to provide ever-higher levels of energy efficiency. “Windows continue to play a key role in the overall energy efficiency of the home,” says Erik Ashcraft, windows product manager for Milgard Windows & Doors. “Various glazing options like triple glaze IG units and 4th surface low-e are helping manufacturers meet the ever-increasing energy efficiency demands of the various building codes.”
So-called 4th-surface technology adds an additional low-e coating to allow an insulated window to reflect energy both to the outside and inside. When it is cold outside, the coating on surface four will reflect energy back into the home and boost the insulating power of the window by an additional 15 percent to 20 percent versus a traditional low-e unit (see side bar below).
The Urban Casement offers an industrial modern aesthetic thanks to exposed locking hardware, the brand says. Features include 90-degree opening sashes, locks on the side jamb opposite the hinges, and a variety of performance glass options and simulated divided lite profiles and patterns. Products have wood interior and exteriors that come in nine species.
In addition to wider openings, the trend for modern and contemporary framing in dark colors can have the additional effect of heat absorption. “These black and brown colors on the exterior of windows are quite prevalent, and we mitigate the heat absorption by insisting any hollow chamber profiles are ventilated,” Haines says.
Finally, homeowners—particularly in more dense urban areas near transportation corridors—continue to call for window and glass technology to help manage noise. “Outside noise can be a major distraction that hinders the comfort and happiness within a home. Whether it is a homeowner living in a large metropolitan area, living near an airport or railroad, or near major roadways, I think people are always seeking a solution to drown out the noise in today’s world,” says Pesi. “As more and more people begin working remotely from their homes, I think we’ll see an increase in requests for windows that are STC/OITC rated to help combat outside noise.”
The Mezzo full-frame replacement window system includes a high-performance, thin-line frame for maximum viewing glass with superior energy efficiency. An integral nail fin enables proper flashing and water management and swiftlock trim reduces total install time.
MultiGlide pass-through windows slide on continuously-adjustable synthetic rollers for a smooth, quiet operation. Flush hardware allows windows to stack or pocket into the wall for a wide opening. Available with push-button automation in minimum sizes of 4 feet tall and up to 50 feet wide.
The Siteline Pocket and Sash Pack includes a double-hung pocket, casement pocket, and sash pack windows and can be used to replace any comparable wood window product. Quick-connect stops create a clean appearance with concealed jamb liners and elimnation of visible putty and screw holes.
Ultra folding windows offer accordion-like operation that can be adapted for pass-through service in dining or entertainment areas. Maximum panel width & height allow for an unobstructed view of up to 52 feet when open, with energy efficient U-values as low as 0.24.
4 Things You Should Know About Your Windows
According to the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), the average American household spends $1,500 to $2,500 annually on energy bills, with 45 percent of that cost devoted to heating and cooling. Found on windows from participating manufacturers, the NFRC performance label helps contractors and homeowners compare energy-efficient products by providing independent ratings in four performance categories:
- U-Factor: Measures how well a product prevents heat from escaping from the inside of a room. The lower the number, the better the window is at keeping heat in. With a range between 0.20–1.20, the lower the number, the better the performance.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: Measures how well a window resists heat gain, which is critical during hot summer months. The lower the number between one and zero, the less a homeowner will spend on cooling.
- Visible Transmittance: Measures how well a window allows for passive daylight gain, which can save on lighting costs. The higher the number between zero and one, the more natural light is let in by the window.
- Air Leakage: Measures how much air will enter a room with a particular window. The lower the number between a range of 0.3 and 0.1, the fewer drafts a homeowner will experience.
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The Trinsic Series of vinyl replacement windows embraces a contemporary look with a narrow frame for maximum views and even sightlines for pleasing aesthetics. Horizontal sliding and single hung window operating styles come with a SmartTouch lock to open or close the window in one single motion.
Custom window solutions for commercial and residential builders and fabricators include high-efficiency uPVC windows in hung-slider, tilt-turn, casement, simulated hung, and awning styles (shown).
Designed with thin frames for maximum views, the aluminium-steel Window Wall by Arcadia Custom uses triple-glazed glass to enhance its thermal performance. Builders can mix and match different styles to create a custom window wall.
The Series 8500/8600 aluminum window features 2⅝-inch (Series 8500) or 3¼-inch (Series 8600) depth frame and 1- or 1¼-inch insulated glass. Intended for multi-family building applications, the line is available in four styles: out-swing casement, fixed, project-out awning and project-in hopper.
More than just energy-efficient windows with noise reduction, Pella’s Lifestyle Series is also compatible with the brand’s Insynctive smart feature add-ons. Consumers can choose from smart security systems and automatic blind systems that they can control from a mobile app.
Designed with coastal construction in mind, the Crusader Horizontal Slider by Quaker WIndows is a heavy-duty vinyl option. The company says that builders can match the window’s exterior to almost any project with its custom color option.
With a side hinge that allows homeowners to open from the right or left, Series 7670 Casement Window by Western Windows improves top-to-bottom ventilation, according to the company. It is also a part of the Simulated Steel line, which gives the look of steel but uses an affordable aluminum material.
Love natural light? Builders can use Windsor Windows and Doors’ 90-Degree Corner Window to maximize the amount of sun that can come into a room. Part of the Pinnacle Wood-clad and Primed collection, the window can come with a glazed corner post, or builders can ditch the post altogether for more unobstructed views, according to the company.
With no stability bar in the middle to block the view, the French Push-Out Casement window by Weather Shield offers both aesthetics and functionality. Made of aluminum-clad wood, the windows bring a contemporary touch to a kitchen or other rooms where a breeze is welcome.
The slider window offers a streamlined, contemporary profile that allows more natural light into a house, the company claims. The products come in either two- or three-lite configuration and are available in custom sizes. Exterior colors include brick, bronze, chocolate, tan, cream, pine, driftwood, and white.
MI Windows and Doors
The 1650 double-hung window collection is ideal for remodeling or renovation project. It features beveled sashes, eight exterior color options combine with energy-efficient options such as insulated dual-pane glass and heavy-duty weather stripping. Other features include metal-reinforced meeting rails, interlocking sashes, sloping sills that promote water drainage, and warm-edge spacers
The manufacturer’s One55 Series steel windows and doors replicate the aesthetic of historic, industrial steel windows with arrow-shaped profiles and thin sightlines. Made from solid steel and made with a thermal break, the products have fusion-welded frames and muntin construction and come with a variety of finishes, including hot-dip galvanizing and UV-stable polyurethane top coats.
Duratherm Windows and Doors
The manufacturer’s fixed-frame windows can be iInstalled as single windows or in a window-wall configuration. Featuring wood interiors and wood exteriors, the windows can be finished in paint, Sikkens, clear laquer, stain, bleach stain, and oil, among other options. Wood species include African mahogany, cypress, jarrah, and redwood.