Friday, 25 May 2012

How we decided on aluminium windows


We finally ordered our new windows and they should arrive in about 4 weeks. A big step in our renovation planning. We ordered 3 windows for now; one for the bathroom and two for the kitchen. 

Our current windows are commercial aluminum with brown frames and tinted glass. There is nothing wrong with our windows other than the fact that two of them don’t open and the others have only tiny sliders at the bottom.  The sliders don’t provide much ventilation and they don’t seal well. Also, I am not a big fan of the brown frames and the tinted glass. See for yourself.

Our current kitchen windows

We want to have windows that open fully – casement style – especially in the kitchen and upstairs bedrooms. We could easily cool off the house in the summer by releasing the hot air accumulated upstairs.  Also, we are considering going without an exhaust fan for our new gas stove (I know, very non-comformist move). Instead, we will rely on opening our windows in the kitchen for ventilation; the old fashioned way. We will save money on our electricity bill and have a healthier environment.

Our starting point for the window research was Homestars http://homestars.com/on/toronto. We met with 4 window salesmen and received quotes for the replacement of all our windows. At that point we were looking at vinyl windows, even though we felt it just didn’t make sense to rip out aluminum windows and replace them with vinyl. After some research we learned that although vinyl windows are the cheapest they are potentially the worst window frames you can buy for health and environmental reasons. We quickly abandoned the vinyl idea and looked for other alternatives. We considered wood frames but felt they might be too high maintenance and were concerned that they were chemically treated. We also looked into fiberglass, which is highly recommended as a window frame material by many. The two Ontario based fiberglass window manufacturers we looked at had some questionable references on Homestars and we did not feel comfortable buying from either of them. 

In the end we decided to go with aluminum casement style windows with LOW-E solar gain glass that are Energy Star qualified. Every window sales person wanted to persuade us to buy vinyl. Although aluminum frames are mainly used for commercial applications in Canada, we like them because they don’t off-gas, don’t warp over time, last longer than vinyl, are maintenance free and have thermal breaks that make them more energy efficient. They are slightly more expensive than vinyl, but we felt they would be the healthiest window frames we could get.

We chose Aluminum Window Designs http://www.aluminumwindowdesigns.com/ windows because we liked their design, strength and Energy Star rating. 

Window shopping in the showroom 


For the window installers we picked Encore Windows http://www.encorewindows.com/ .  They have excellent references on Homestars and work with Aluminum Window Designs. We also felt very comfortable with their sales rep, Dave, who was really patient with our needs.  He accommodated our request to use 0 VOC caulking and foam for the installation. He was the only rep that actually listened to our concerns and understood our need to use healthier materials.  He even arranged to have the vinyl jamb replaced with an aluminum one.

We went with the classic white colour for the frames, inside and out. Misha needed a bit of persuasion about the white. He REALLY likes the brown frames. I persuaded him with my MS Publisher mock-up.  He took one look at the pictures and was a convert. Phew......that worked :)




We can’t wait for our new windows to arrive!
Mia

4 comments:

  1. Well, you are wise for choosing aluminum windows for your home. This is a type of window is usually used in commercial buildings, but is also advisable for residential use. The good thing about this type of window is that it allows maximum entry of light and provides unobstructed view.

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    Rodney Orton

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  2. Thanks Rodney for the comment. Our new aluminium windows just arrived and we are very happy with them. We will post some pictures of our new windows soon!

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  3. A very good and informative article indeed . It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge, I really like the way the writer presented his views. I hope to see more informative and useful articles in future.
    Aluminum Windows Replacement Orange County

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  4. EnerLux Windows & Doors is a fiberglass window manufacturer of fiberglass replacement windows, fiberglass casement windows, fiberglass window frames, triple pane fiberglass windows and some of the best fiberglass replacement windows available.
    Some of the best fiberglass replacement windows are made by EnerLux Windows & Doors, a fiberglass window manufacturer. They make fiberglass window frames for fiberglass casement windows and triple pane fiberglass windows.

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