Various frame widths & reductions in Glass Viewing Area

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Various frame widths & reductions in Glass Viewing Area

#1 Post by M.A.Pace » Wed Oct 31, 2007 11:43 am

An essential aspect IMO of replacement windows which seems to be overlooked (or at least, played down) by most of the window salespeople I've talked to is, how much glass viewing area do you LOSE by installation of their product, as compared to the original windows?

My original 1929 wood windows have 2-1/4" wide frame stiles, 1/2" of which is hidden by the blind stop. All the vinyl replament windows I've seen are from about 3" to the much more common 4" wide, from their mainframe outer edges to the inside edge of the sash where the viewable glass edge is.

So if I went to a window with a 4" dimension, I'd be losing a whopping 3-1/2" (1-3/4" per side) of glass per sash. It would also ruin the nice square proportions I have on several 28 x 58 DH windows.

It was this consideration alone which saved me from the horrors of Silverline windows! (In the past, I'd put in 3 of theirs, including a 61 x 58 twin casement, with 0 problems. I did take care to make sure the openings were extremely square, true, and rigid.)

But now I am replacing 13 DH, and do not wish to tear out the perfectly good frames, so the wider glass viewing area is critical IMO.

To my surprise-- (this was not very easy info to find out, since my Home Despot does not did not even have a single 8500 or 9500 to look at; only the cheapest 1200, and the "customer service hotline" at Silverline aka American Craftsman is very poor) --the 'best' Silverline 9500 DH has a 4" width frame (total sash and mainframe) whereas the cheap 1200 has only a 3-1/4".

So, I looked and looked. and found the Alside 'Excalibur' which seems like a good-performing window, and is the very best (??) regarding loss of glass viewing area-- it's only 1/2 wider on the bottom sash, and 3/4" wider on the top, than my old wood windows.

The only thing I wonder about it, is-- its vinyl extrusions are only .071" thick, about the same as the cheapest Silverline 1200 (.070"). The Silverline 8500 is 75 mils, and the 9500 is a healthy-sounding 85mils. (I can't remember exactly but I think they told me their top-line Alside Sheffield is 77 or 80 mils thick. But the Sheffield is back to the 4" wide frame and consequent loss of glass viewing area.)

But, surely there's more to it than just extrusion thickness, right? Like number of chambers, etc?? Traco (for example) is only extruded in the 60-something range, yet I have been told they are sturdy for a vinyl window.

I think I like the Alsides. Does anyone know of a better vinyl window, with similarly slim profiles, for not too much more money? I can get the Alsides for very nearly as cheap as the Silverline 9500's, which are the same price as their 8500's, when they're having a promotional sale. I am in the Kansas City, MO, area.

Thanks very much!

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#2 Post by M.A.Pace » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:25 pm

So, are there ANY other vinyl replacement windows available, anywhere, at ANY price, with about the same (or more) glass viewing area, as compared to the Excaliburs ??

Or do you professional installers (if requested) sometimes just tear out the old sash-weight frames so that windows with glass size equal to the originals can be fitted, even when the frames are otherwise perfectly good?

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#3 Post by larrylwill » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:52 am

I too would like the answer to your question but as I have read and have in many other posts if you ask specific questions about some windows you wont get any answer. I have read numerous posts where someone asked a question about a windows quality and price and got the stock answer. That one is crap, or you can do better or there are better choices but when they ask what are the choices in that price they get nothing back.

So I ask also

"Does anyone know of a better vinyl window, with similarly slim profiles, for not too much more money"

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#4 Post by Bill » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:12 am

I have found that the vinyl windows with thin profiles are just that thin weak windows. Those who really want thin should consider fiberglass.

Very often just focusing on the written wall thickness of a window is not always an indication of its strength. Some windows have more internal walls than others that adds to dimensional stability and provide more dead airspaces within the window frame. Try to look at a frame cut-a-way.

Part of the problem with commenting on price is that we can’t see the difficulty of the installation. Another problem is that very often a window that I think should be installed for a certain price is being marked up too much by the dealer in that area.

This is not an easy process you have to consider both the quality of the window and installation. You really need both to be of good quality.

I would not use any of the Silverline products.


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#5 Post by ANOTHER WINDOW GUY » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:18 am

Your point is well worth noting. Most vinyl replacement windows result in a lot of glass loss, if however you didn't see the install but just the final results chances are you'd notice little difference. The exceptions obviously would be narrower window openings, less than 24" in width especially if their not very high. We just replaced some windows in a home using Eagle wood replacement windows and the customer didn't like the glass loss there either. When this is a big concern we use Winstrom windows for vinyl and the Next Generation fiberglass from Comfortline. The Comfortline window if measured tight can give you more glass than your current windows but at a cost of about $150.00 more per window. The Winstroms do a nice job, have a u of .29 and use Super Spacer and are overall about 1 1/2 inch less in width and heigth than typical vinyls. You mentioned the Silverline 1200 which we sell but we also tell the customer not to expect much much from the window as it is the bottom and only improves things if your current windows are absolute trash. The 9500 from Silverline is a big improvement over the 1200 but still not much of a window. It's the only window they sell that has double strength glass and that is critical from them as stress cracks are not covered under the warranty. Incidently their customer support is very good when it comes to service, any other info should come from your window dealer and HD IMO does not count as a window dealer. Your looking at the bottom of the barrel in windows and if your only concern is money, remember you pretty much get what you pay for.

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#6 Post by Skydawggy » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:52 pm

You might take a look at the Thermal Industries - Park Avenue window if frame thickness is a major concern. It's not available in all areas, but it's a pretty nice window for the price and it has a very thin frame and an attractive profile.


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#7 Post by larrylwill » Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:44 pm

as for me, thanks for the reply s. That helps

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#8 Post by InfoSponge » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:01 am

In addition to fiberglass windows, you may also take a look at the thinner Style Line windows from Milgard here:
I think most people would agree these are a slightly better window than the Alside Excalibur.

But as others have said, with vinyl, thinner windows are on average not as sturdy as thicker ones and are more likely to develop problems as a house shifts, sag due to imperfect installation/manufacturing, etc. Especially with larger sizes of thinner windows, make sure you get a decent warranty that covers labor and parts for as long as you plan to live in the house, and be sure the windows are all square and properly installed as best you can before the installers leave to minimize your risk.

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#9 Post by Windows on Washington » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:25 am

Soft-Lite Barrington

Okna 300 is a nice slim window too.

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