Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

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scigs
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Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#1 Post by scigs » Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:03 pm

I currently have old vinyl replacement windows installed in the early 80s by the previous homeowner. I want to replace 4 double hung (35 x 42)and 1 triple panel casement (75 x 48). I am confused about a technical issue presented by 2 different companies.

Tri-state windows presented their triple paned, double low e, argon filled, foam insulated windows that are fusion welded and aluminum reinforced to prevent warping from expansion and contraction. ($4000)

Champion tried to demonstrate that their patented double paned "comfort 365 glass" is equal in efficiency to the tri-state triple pane...but because they use 100% virgin vinyl, it is not necessary to metal reinforce the window. THey also say that a metal reinforced window cannot be fusion welded and will conduct heat. ($3820) The window is argon filled and also double low e.

I also got a quote from Home Depot for the Simonton 6500 and 6100 ($3500). Seem comparable to the champion windowwith the exception of the patented glass.

It is very difficult to compare.....my basic question is about the aluminum reinforcement of the tri-state window...is it a good thing or only necessary to make up for lesser vinyl quality? Will a non- aluminum reinforced window warp?

earwax
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#2 Post by earwax » Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:59 pm

Hmmmm, where to start on this one. There have been several posts here and on the sister web site about reinforcement and different vinyl types. In short, your Chanpion sales man is not very good, or too good depending on if you believe him or not.

the 100% virigin vinyl will not make a difference to you, the home owner. It is only necessary to reinforce vinyl windows depending on the structural rating of the window and the what the manufacturer had to do in the construction of the window to meet said rating. Most manufacturers on the West coast reinforce the fixed interlock and the sash interlock with 16 guage steel. This is where the lock and the keeper are drilled into the frames. This helps to meet California forced entry codes. They are all fusoin welded. Do they cunduct heat? yes to a degree. They are not exposed to the outside of the home. They are in the interior of the frame. Imagine a metal bar in your hands, now wrap it in garden hose. Is it cold, or is it the same temperature as the garden hose? Whay I am trying to demonstrate is that the reinforcement is in the insulated part of the vinyl. The hot and cold transfer is limited.

I do not know about tri-state windows, but I would steer clear of your Champion window sales person.

windowrep
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#3 Post by windowrep » Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:04 am

the answer is both yes and no. metal reinforcement is good if you sell windows with it and no if you don't. there are arguements either way. earwax is correct that the windows will be more secure in that all your locking mechanisms will screw into metal. Some companies will even screw all the pivot bars into metal. i have always been a big fan of metal reinforcement. i personnally think it has nothing to do with quality or thickness of the vinyl extrusions. common sense would tell me that the manufacturer would save money if they just beefed up the vinyl and eliminated the metal. there are more benefits to the metal then that. u-factor ratings alone will put the conduction or transfer of heat {cold} theory to bed. windows with metal reinforcement have just as good ratings and in most cases better. in a nutshell, better security and less chance of warping or bowing. i vote metal over hollow final every day.

randy
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#4 Post by randy » Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:30 am

Metal reinforcement has several benefits, and no drawbacks whatsoever. For homeowners who live in the Gulf Coast region, it is a must. When it is optional, it is typically a $7 - $10 upgrade.

As previously stated by Earwax, avoid the Champion sales person as he/she doesn't know what they're talking about.

Bhmclane
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#5 Post by Bhmclane » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:33 pm

I agree that metal re enforced is better. I am partial to Lang Exteriors powerweld 1600 window and offered price. but their service, order process (pay in full before any contract is offered) and last min price increases after paying in full ($50 for window grids!) leave much to be desired. Can anyone direct me to a maker of a similar window that has metal reenforces jam and sash? A typical 32x53 window is about $120 there. Low e ($25), foam filled sash and jam ($15). Or $160 total per window, so that gives you an idea of the budget im working with. Thx in advance. Ps i attached a picture to show the windows features.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#6 Post by HomeSealed » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:44 pm

Bhmclane wrote:I agree that metal re enforced is better. I am partial to Lang Exteriors powerweld 1600 window and offered price. but their service, order process (pay in full before any contract is offered) and last min price increases after paying in full ($50 for window grids!) leave much to be desired. Can anyone direct me to a maker of a similar window that has metal reenforces jam and sash? A typical 32x53 window is about $120 there. Low e ($25), foam filled sash and jam ($15). Or $160 total per window, so that gives you an idea of the budget im working with. Thx in advance. Ps i attached a picture to show the windows features.
There have been some advances in window technology in the past 12 years since that post. Metal reinforcement has been replaced by fiberglass and other non-conductive composite materials. The only windows using metal reinforcement these days, perhaps with the exception of coastal areas, are bottom feeders. Even many of those "cheapos" have switched... A price of $160 per window is reflective of that as well.

If you want an idea of the strength of a window, the DP rating is a great place to start.

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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#7 Post by masterext » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:26 pm

Great advice., a composite or fiberglass reinforced window what you would want, certainly not metal. I would never purchase a cheap window such as the one the other poster is describing.
Cheap windows tend to be much more costly than expensive windows.

toddinmn
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#8 Post by toddinmn » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:29 pm

My favorite thing about Lang is there standard balance system is a spiral one and you can upgrade to a constant force. I would disagree with bottom feeders using metal reinforcement outside of coastal area's, Soft-Lite Pro's , Gerkin, Polaris Ultraweld, Simontons upper series are all available with metal reinforcement. Lang is the only I know of using steel, most use aluminum.

Bhmclane
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#9 Post by Bhmclane » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:20 pm

toddinmn wrote:My favorite thing about Lang is there standard balance system is a spiral one and you can upgrade to a constant force. I would disagree with bottom feeders using metal reinforcement outside of coastal area's, Soft-Lite Pro's , Gerkin, Polaris Ultraweld, Simontons upper series are all available with metal reinforcement. Lang is the only I know of using steel, most use aluminum.

this is the answer i was looking for. Thank you! aluminum would seem much more sensible i agree.

As for the two former gents. Can you help me understand why the conductive material inside is bad? And can you recommend some cost effective fiberglass reinforced windows?

also Not sure how they are bottom feeders if they are making a better product than box stores.

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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#10 Post by masterext » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:17 am

If you had a choice, either aluminum or steel, you would opt for steel since its less conductive than aluminum. Putting metal inside a vinyl window will negatively affect the Ufactor making it slightly less efficient. Thats why most high end windows use non metal spacer systems.
By the way, if you ever remove the metal reinforcement inside of a window its very thin and it can easily bend.

Bhmclane
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#11 Post by Bhmclane » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:10 am

Is there any science on that because thats hard to believe. Id imagine any U factor difference to be unmeasurable. Where r u getting this info from? I would like a source if possible please. Also can you recommend a cost effective fiberglass company or two?

The metal reenforcement in langs windows is u shaped and the vinal jambs are sealed and not open like homedepot so u end up with a super stable window, imo, regardless if u could remove the supports and bend.. Their service is just horrible.

Lang wont talk to me anymore because of how upset i got at them for botching my order so i cant ask the DP rating but perhaps one of you is interested to call and get the info.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#12 Post by Windows on Washington » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:35 pm

While the reinforcement would be contained inside the sash/frame lineal, I don't think you can underestimate the conduction of energy through metal and how effective it can be transmitted.

Even in the case of looking at differences in U-Factor between an identical window with a metal spacer (in this case a metal spacer that is also separated by sealant material that does create a thermal break) vs. a non-metal spacer, you can observe U-Factor performance drops as well at CR (Condensation Resistance) performance losses.

That is in a small section of the spacer as well whereas a reinforcement is typically of a slightly larger profile.

It does add up and if you can find a window with a non-metallic option, why wouldn't you?

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Delaware Mike
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#13 Post by Delaware Mike » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:49 pm

I would highly recommend a modern upper mid to premium grade vinyl platform over a dated product line in my opinion in regard to sash meeting rail reinforcement. More and more of the windows that I tear out are now vinyl windows. I personally break every window down like some sort of crazy Roswell alien autopsy to see who they were engineered and constructed as the older units predate me being in this industry. I do this to gain knowledge, minimize landfill trash costs, and to be able to recycle the vinyl and various metal parts.

We obtain all kinds of neat aluminum sash reinforcement stiffeners. Many old mechanical cornered horribly engineered 1st generation window sashes had reinforcement that didn't help them at all. The sashes were warped all to hell. It may have helped with some DP testing and wind deflection, however the sashes still frowned. These poorly designed profiles featured thinner walls (.060" give or take) and had giant "hollows" that didn't feature enough off-set return walls to increase structural integrity.

I'd prefer a modern design in which any reinforcement that is just "icing on the cake" and not even needed on my new vinyl window. I think the OKNA 500/800, Soft-Lite Imerpial LS and other good Vision extrusion profiles, and the various Deceunick Energex platforms are real good examples of sash profiles that will serve homeowners well without warping or deflecting .

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HomeSealed
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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#14 Post by HomeSealed » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:46 pm

toddinmn wrote:My favorite thing about Lang is there standard balance system is a spiral one and you can upgrade to a constant force. I would disagree with bottom feeders using metal reinforcement outside of coastal area's, Soft-Lite Pro's , Gerkin, Polaris Ultraweld, Simontons upper series are all available with metal reinforcement. Lang is the only I know of using steel, most use aluminum.
Todd I think its fair to say that there are exceptions. I'd be interested to know how many UW's are sold with metal reinforcement. I'm guessing not many.... The point is that the reason to use metal reinforcement as opposed to non-metallic in most instances is cost savings.

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Re: Are aluminum reinforced windows necessary?

#15 Post by HomeSealed » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:18 pm

Bhmclane wrote:Is there any science on that because thats hard to believe. Id imagine any U factor difference to be unmeasurable. Where r u getting this info from? I would like a source if possible please. Also can you recommend a cost effective fiberglass company or two?

The metal reenforcement in langs windows is u shaped and the vinal jambs are sealed and not open like homedepot so u end up with a super stable window, imo, regardless if u could remove the supports and bend.. Their service is just horrible.

Lang wont talk to me anymore because of how upset i got at them for botching my order so i cant ask the DP rating but perhaps one of you is interested to call and get the info.
The amount of difference will vary based on the product, mostly due to the extrusion design (chambers, vinyl thickness, etc). I'm sure there are some windows that have no change in u value between metal and non-metallic reinforcement, others will change a point or two. Metal is more conductive, that's widely known. Given that any reinforcement needs to fit tightly inside the vinyl to be effective, it will thermally bridge the exterior side to the interior side to some degree. Think of metallic vs non-metallic glass spacers. Same concept, just not quite as profound of effect. As I stated in the previous comment, the only reason not to use non-metallic reinforcement is because it costs more.

I'm a little confused on the "box store" references as well. I don't think you will find too many people in the know that would say the something like a Simonton 6500 at big orange, or a Plygem Premium at big blue are inferior to the Lang window. The Lang window is the cheapest product that I know of. The "sealed jambs" comment is also confusing. Are you referring to the jamb/balance covers? If so, those are mostly aesthetic to cover up the balance system. Windows that don't have that cover typically use a constant force balance which is not really seen like a spiral or block and tackle system. The spiral balances used on windows like Lang and Wasco is very outdated and inferior to both constant force and block and tackle. Once again, cost cutting is the only reason for their usage.... That or perhaps the nostalgia that comes with an older product design.

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