Residential Windows

santa monica

I'm looking for a quality residential window that won't destroy the budget, finished wood int. face and clad ext. face. I'm meeting with a couple of local dealers, talking with contractors, and scouring the interweb, but I also thought I'd ask Archinectors their opinion. Thoughts on the following mfrs? Any that I should stay away from? Are any of these crazy-expensive? Of course each company has a range of products, but maybe we could generalize for the sake of this exercise. Here's my list:


Jan 21, 11 3:17 pm

We've used Marvin, Andersen and Loewen. The Marvin's were our office standard until we found Loewen.

I detailed a huge house where we used all Loewen.The profiles are cleaner, and they perform better. Also the Loewen triple panes are cheaper than the Marvins. You can also get bigger picture units in Loewen. The only thing I didn't really like, was that the muntin bars are a touch thin.

Loewen's are little pricey, but in my mind are worth it.

Jan 21, 11 4:12 pm
le bossman

eagle, jeld wen, weathershield, pella, marvin, - all similar in quality, but probably increases slightly from left to right. eagle windows have great color selections. marvin/pella better for historical. weathershield comes in weird sizes since they converted to metric system.

anderson - cheapest halfway decent window out there, can get at home depot. would only put in a spec home. few colors available.

kolbe- very nice, great copper clad windows, high end.

unilux, euroview - best vinyl windows for the money, best wood, vinyl or clad for thermal performance, excellent color and wood selections, come finished, completely different aesthetic and operation however. cost more (euroview available only in cheap vinyl far as i know).

personally, i'd look at eagle or anderson depending on your aesthetic needs.

Jan 21, 11 6:08 pm

I would suggest you take a long hard look at all of the windows mentioned above. You will find they all have their little quirks.
You will also find contractors tend to like the less expensive windows, and will always suggest them to homeowners, because they think they are doing the owner a favor by saving them a few bucks.
However most likely what you will end up with a product of less quality. If you take a Marvin Window and put it up against a Pella window. You will find the Pella Window lacking in crispness.

Andersen owns Eagle.

Canadian Windows are less expensive, but I prefer to buy American!

Marvin also has a great network in the New England Area, and they stand behind their product. I use Marvin when I can, then Eagle, then well it is in the wind. I have used Loewen on projects, French Casements.

Jan 21, 11 6:12 pm
santa monica

Thanks for the helpful comments!

Jan 21, 11 6:15 pm

You should be able to get corner samples from the manufacturers too.

Jan 21, 11 6:27 pm
go do it


Jan 23, 11 2:21 pm

serious sucks. thermotech has better performance. better u-value, better SHGC, and better VT. no issues of color rendition. and thermotech comes in a low-iron ultra white as well.

Jan 23, 11 2:40 pm

Note: You should also carefully review the window warantee.

Jan 23, 11 2:42 pm

I use Pella, Marvin, and Andersen regularly, Andersen less so.

Frankly Pella Architect Series has snared me in their branding trap just as they intended to - it's my preferred residential window when I have a regular budget to work with.

Just as a personal story: I always tell my clients to buy the best windows they can reasonably afford. If you have to save money in your project, don't do it in the windows. Cheap windows f**k up an otherwise good design faster than anything and are far more expensive than most things to upgrade later. Higher quality windows look good from the start, save money over time (in energy savings) and maintain street appeal/resale value. Good windows are a good investment.

Jan 23, 11 9:05 pm

Pella, as well, is our 'budget' window of choice. I've had good experiences with Loewen, although it is more expensive (all douglas fir construction; crisper edges and simpler profiles make up for it. Also, that natural anodized option on the outside.... makes it much easier to mix in with storefront profiles)

You know, what I'm still really surprised by is that no one seems interested in trying to produce an alternative to Duratherm. Don't get me wrong - Duratherm is fantastic. Crazy expensive though, especially for how simple the product is (look at their details - it's not rocket science). Alas....

Jan 23, 11 11:29 pm
go do it

you may be right if you use the super-quad but if you compare the dual pane not so much

Jan 24, 11 12:32 am
go do it

maybe if you use superquad for the inline product but dual pane not so much

SeriousWindows 525 Performance Specs:

Styles SeriousGlass 5L S
U-Value R-Value SHGC VT
Fixed Picture 0.17 5.9 0.27 0.49
Single Hung 0.20 5.0 0.23 0.42
Double Hung 0.22 4.5 0.22 0.40

U-Value R-Value SHGC VT
Casement/Awning 0.21 4.8 0.21 0.38
Horizontal Sliding 0.20 5.0 0.24 0.43
Sliding Patio Door 0.20 5.0 0.23 0.41

Jan 24, 11 12:52 am
go do it

SeriousWindows 525 Performance Specs:

Styles SeriousGlass 5L S
...................U-Value R-Value SHGC VT
Fixed Picture 0.17 5.9 0.27 0.49
Single Hung 0.20 5.0 0.23 0.42
Double Hung 0.22 4.5 0.22 0.40

..........................U-Value R-Value SHGC VT
Casement/Awning 0.21 4.8 0.21 0.38
Horizontal Sliding 0.20 5.0 0.24 0.43
Sliding Patio Door 0.20 5.0 0.23 0.41

Jan 24, 11 12:55 am
St. George's Fields

Haha, Duratherm?

I remember looking at their details not-so-long ago. It's like 3 pieces of wood glued together.

Jan 24, 11 12:59 am
St. George's Fields

I think if they are glued... they must use some variety of proprietary lamination system because nothing says terrible idea like laminating two different kinds of woods together.

I actually dislike 99% of wood windows because they come in either "colonial maple," "golden oak" or "natural pine." I pretty much hate those colors with a passion.

Jan 24, 11 1:04 am

go do it,
if designing low energy buildings (my interest) those serious numbers are shitty.

VT of .5 is horrid for double pane. SHGC of <0.30 is great for say houston. anyone in a cooling dominated climate, not so much.

their 925 series (utilized on several passivhaus projects) is even worse. and there is an annoying tint to the glass.

duratherms definitely look great, but performance/price not so much.

frankly, i'm more intrigued by EU windows these days. and the CO2 footprint of shipping windows from EU is only slightly more than trucking from east coast.

in previous offices, we utilized loewen a lot. price here in the NW wasn't too bad and they look fine.

what are you guys getting for fixed/casement cost/sf for pella v. marvin?

i've had so many issues w/ vinyl windows that outside of the environmental negatives, i would never consider them.

Jan 24, 11 2:17 am
go do it

thanks holz

i haven't used serious but i will investigate some more

my head hurts with all the comparative analyses though

Jan 24, 11 3:33 am


Jan 24, 11 8:49 am

Thermotech performs, but I find their detailing barely better than a vinyl window. Check out Unilux. They also have an amazing alum clad wood storefront system.

Jan 24, 11 8:51 am

if looking at EU windows....
walch, internorm and optiwin are all high performers

Jan 24, 11 11:24 am
el jeffe

slightly off-topic, but does anyone have experience with the Tilt'n'Turn system? swinging door + inswinging hopper combo?

Jan 24, 11 11:33 am
On the fence

I agree with Donna's post completely.

We use Marvin or Pella and rarely Andersen.

Jan 24, 11 11:45 am

we had those in all our houses when we lived abroad. i like them considerably more, el jeffe.

Jan 24, 11 3:06 pm
el jeffe - is the ventilation while being secure the big draw?

Jan 24, 11 3:35 pm

partially. ease of cleaning as well, especially on higher floors. plus i prefer my shades on the exterior to prevent solar gain.

Jan 24, 11 3:39 pm
el jeffe

sweet - thanks.

Jan 24, 11 3:45 pm

If you're really pressed for budget we've been able to get decent simple profiles from Sierra Pacific. (they have a simple 3/4" x 3/4" wood stop on their wood windows than looks much better than the k style milled crap.

For middle of the road cost-wise but 100% all aluminum custom and with decent hardware to boo, see Marlin (with and "L" not a "V") (though not sure about cost once it goes outside of WA)

We've found them to be much cheaper than Custom Window Co, Loewen and others equiv.

Jan 24, 11 5:28 pm

I've used the Duratherm tilt-and-turn - came out beautifully and homeowner very happy. Works like a dream. The only weird thing is the psychology oddity of allowing this giant, solid, very heavy product to suddenly give way and swing down towards your face... but the good news is, it always stops!

holz, I've been very impressed with Duratherm - does it not have as high thermal performance as other, similar options?

I agree with Greg, I've often wondered why there was no domestic competitor even close to producing what Duratherm produces. We did use a custom hand-made wooden window shop in New England that I really loved, however. Great for matching historic windows. I wonder why we've generally lost our craftsman window builders in this country...

Jan 24, 11 7:05 pm

performance is ok for a non-PH/low energy building.

regarding the psychology of tilt/turn v. outswinging casement

north american folks for some reason like to use shades on the interior - which is pretty tough with tilt/turn.

euros like to put roll down shades outside the building - which you can't do with a casment.

Jan 24, 11 8:32 pm

good point on the shade. In the case I'm describing it was actually a frosted window in a bathroom so no shade required. I personally am not a fan of frosted windows however, but the client loved it & it worked perfectly in the room itself. Anyway yeah - no shades possible!

Jan 24, 11 11:54 pm
Sean Taylor

Also, tilt-turns typically have a chunkier sash than a typical casement or picture window. So, unless you are using all tilt-turns then your details don't align. (at least this is true with Marvin, but possibly not with a custom window).

Mantaray - yes Duratherm is nice, but there are other high-end windows that can compete. Mostly custom products, many European windows that they sell mostly in the Northeast.

Used to be a company called Megawindow that encased a steel section within the wood that was incredible - allowed bottom rails of doors to be incredibly thin so that they aligned with full height windows as well as huge operable units. But, I think that they went out of business.

Jan 25, 11 12:02 am
go do it


how is the shade secured from wind / weather etc.? on tracks?

know of any brands i can investigate?

Jan 25, 11 12:13 am

on the fence w/ frosted. great for studio or bathroom, some entries.

tilt turns do have 'chunkier' frames - though only for the operable part, at least for the window mfr's i am digging these days.

go do it,
there are lots of ways. bolts, screws. most common roll down shades in EU have a housing they tuck into that fits behind rainscreen/facade - though is exposed in some cases.

other options are fixed or operable exterior shades (which i heavily prefer)

there are lots of mfr's of exterior shades, google has more answers than i.

as for the fixed/operable - i prefer custom fab'd.

Jan 25, 11 2:43 am
go do it

thanks holz

Jan 25, 11 9:38 am

Beware of a Contractor pushing a particular window....cause most lkely it it tied to a window supplier paid vacation trip to somewhere warm if it is in the middle of the winter.

Jan 25, 11 5:09 pm


My personal window of choice: Gerkin Aluminium Casement Window

Jan 25, 11 5:53 pm

I've used Integrity. On the budget side. Fiberglass product that can be painted (vinyl can't). They also have a composite series with wood on the interior.
They have fixed size charts and don't do custom. Could be a good option if you're trying to save money.

Jan 25, 11 5:56 pm
allowed bottom rails of doors to be incredibly thin so that they aligned with full height windows

awesome! I would love this. Yes we went custom (hand-built by local shop) on many projects at an office I worked at in the NE and quality was amazing. Too bad you can't get this in most places.

frosted v. not-frosted - frosted can give you intriguing compositional possibilities so I like to play with it as a component of formal language but for me personally - aka as in for my own house, not for those of my clients - I wouldn't do it b/c I get hugely claustrophobic from windows that aren't see-thru. Even worse - here in the mid-west there is enormous amounts of glass block everywhere - UGH!

Jan 25, 11 6:18 pm

For Duratherm-like windows, I use Dynamic Windows. They're out of Oregon and are priced much better than Duratherm and their lead time is great.

Otherwise, it's Loewen or Sierra Pacific, depending on budget. Marvin, Anderson and Pellas are all way too shwoopy.

Jan 27, 11 12:17 am
Joe Dean

My favorite is replacement windows and doors of Clera, Toronto. 

I recently got a confusion with installing them in London, it was from another firm. When I contacted the dealer, they said that they don’t put argon gas between the panes because the gas will leak out within a year or two. How important is Argon or another inert gas between the panes as far as energy efficiency is concerned?

Sep 19, 13 8:05 am
Argon changes the U-value significantly and you cannot get an energy star window without it. We can debate the "reality" of this... But if they claim that the argon will leak out, I would find a different brand and supplier because:

1) the argon leaking problems have been solved by the leading manufacturers

2) if argon is leaking out then air and moisture is leaking in, what's the point of double glaze then?
Sep 19, 13 8:26 am

I would like to suggest you a name of one company as they have a good reputation and also you can check their customer's testimonials on their official website. Their services are affordable as well as the quality of their products is far better than their competitors.

Mar 15, 14 3:22 am

Hi Santa Monica ,

I would help you to see some of the best collection online through this website as they are one of the finest and quality residential window suppliers, that won't destroy your budget at all. Definitely, it will help you.


Alex Daniel

Jul 14, 17 7:33 am

There are many good places to get windows. I found a really good quote from Conservation Construction. They are reasonably priced and have a lifetime warranty so they will stand behind the window. 

Jul 20, 18 6:40 pm

Conservation Construction: Home of bots that default to the number 5 for some reason.

Jan 31, 19 3:18 pm

Reilly Windows and Doors


Jan 31, 19 8:25 pm
( o Y o )

Reilly sucks, super expensive for marginal (at best) quality. Don’t ask me how I know. 

Feb 1, 19 11:26 am

i usually pick Marvin: Ultimate clad for traditional; Contemporary Studio line for higher end modern; Integrity Wood Ultrex line for good value 

I've got a project in san diego (i'm not local) & don't yet have a local gc -- any socal architects have opinions on residential windows?

I'm aware La Cantina is local but they don't do reg windows

Feb 8, 19 1:04 pm
Wood Guy

Sierra Pacific is based in CA and has several product lines, including some that are similar to Marvin Ultimate. My personal go-to for a traditional-looking window is now Loewen--they look like Marvin Ultimates, but better quality and energy performance.

resurrecting the dead.... does anyone have a clue as to who made this window on john pawson's own home? my gut says it's a commercial product but still....

Oct 15, 19 4:24 pm
atelier nobody

The horizontal lifting door looks custom to me.

atelier nobody

The fixed window with the reveal almost looks like he used a frame and operable sash profile, but made the sash fixed...

Wood Guy

Looks like typical European windows and lift-and-slide doors. Munstead Joinery, Intus, Schucco, etc. Often triple-glazed but not always.

thanks! the schucco looks pretty close - not sure why but we seem to have few companies who make more substantial windows like that stateside (steel/aluminum windows for residential, outside steel sash products). a travesty really.

Wood Guy

If you want Euro-style, American-made and relatively short lead times, a friend of mine brings in uPVC extrusions and builds them into windows and doors in PA: But if you want aluminum on the exterior and/or wood on the interior, I don't know of any US companies doing that.

This is one source of Schuco, near Boston: They have several different profiles to choose from. Lead times for European windows and doors is usually 12-14 weeks.

This is one importer of Munstead windows, an Irish manufacturer: Also with several profiles available.

atelier nobody

Thanks, Wood Guy, that's awesome information to have!

Wood Guy


Oct 16, 19 11:36 am

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