Author: Thomas (---.snfccasy.dynamic.covad.net)
I do product analysis for computer security products for a living, so I thought figuring out which windows to put in my house would be easy. WRONG!! What a nightmare. Even with reading this site (Hundreds of posts) clarily remains elusive.
So, The 3 brands I'm liking best (with Certainteed a 'maybe') are Anlin, Polybau, and Amerimax. This is based on looking at the windows, hearing the pitch, making an Excel spreadsheet matrix of features and scratching my head a lot. Oh, and let's not forget price and installation quality.
All have a SuperSpacer type seal with Anlin having a new version that uses Silicon with three chambers rather than the material traditionally used. Same mylar and Butyl layers in all three.
U-values and heat gain are all pretty close and in the end may not be a deciding factor. Argon is a question. I don't need its insulation capacity in San Francisco, but I've read it extends the life of the E-glass coating.
Vinyl!! Thickness and composition (like titanium dioxide concentration) is really hard to get data for. Help please!! And the structural rating (R-35 or R-25 etc.) is a new one I was just told about. Where do you find that data?
Warranty: all have lifetime material and vary for labor from lifetime down to 5 yrs (Certainteed).
Some details like weephole covers, sloping angle for drainage system, roller material (brass vs. nylon) and whether it is adjustable or not, number of window seals (2 or 3 are on the list. Which really matter?
So, I've done my homework but there are gaps in my answers and no final conclusion. I sure hope I can get some help from you guys. Which of these items REALLY matter if I want a window to last 25 years. Which are just minor details or aesthetic? Thanks.