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WOOD WINDOWS AN overview
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WOOD WINDOWS AN overview

Choosing a Wood Window

 

There are four choices:  A) wood window, B) Milgard fiberglass with interior wood veneer, C) vinyl window with imitation wood vinyl appliqué on interior, E) German (European) windows with imitation wood vinyl appliqué on interior and also exterior, or Kynar painted exterior. 

 

A).  The major brands in Southern California are Eagle, Pella, Anderson, T.M. Cobb, Weather Shield, Marvin, Jeld-wen, and Sierra Padre Millworks.  All are wood windows that are essentially constructed the same.  Eagle and Anderson offers a paper-thin vinyl coating on the exterior and Pella and the other brands a soda-can thin aluminum clad.  Weather Shield also offers an all-wood line of windows.  Eagle is the leading one for new construction in metro San Diego (a result of aggressive marketing).  Anderson and Pella are the leaders in the replacement market (a result of aggressive marketing).   They all offer a 20 warranty on the glass and 10 on parts.  Putting a thin aluminum or vinyl exterior over a wood window eliminates for at least 10 years the need to paint.  However it is still a wood window, but unlike the old-fashion wood windows they shut tight and have rubber gaskets to prevent air infiltration.  The rubber gaskets give them a great thermal rating, but they also keep the dew and dampness in.  This dampness causes the all too common problems of binding, warping, and wood rot, and THESE ARE NOT MANUFACTURER’S DEFECTS (not covered by warranty)!  Only one company offers labor with their warranty.*  And being on a wood block without drainage holes, the dual glazed glass is 20 times more likely to fog up than the Milgard alternative.

 

B).  Milgard has solved the  problem of wood with their line of fiberglass windows with a wood veneer.   The wood is ready to be stained to go with your interior.  They are distinguished from the wood-core windows, but they won’t warp, bind, have wood rot, and are unlikely to fog up, which is why they come with a lifetime warranty that includes labor.*  There are 9 standard exterior colors.

 

C).  There a couple of brands which offer a thin wood-grain plastic interior skin.  At a distance they look like wood; close up like imitation.   Market acceptance has been poor. 

 

D).  Bede a leading European window company has a heavy commercial line (thicker glass, steel reinforced frames, etc) with a wood laminate that is offered both in the interior and exterior.  Having a steel reinforced frame and sash  permits them to offer the top quality European Kynar interior and also exterior.  Wood laminate and paint are warranted for 10 years, the windows for lifetime with labor.    Their distribution center is in Oceanside.  You get German/European engineering and designs.   

 

*  Labor puts the manufacturer at risk.  Typical service charge is $100/trip, and a service technician can make 6 to 8 stops per day.  That more than covers the cost of parts, his salary, etc. 

 

A).  The major brands in Southern California are Eagle Pella, Anderson, Jeldwin, T.M. Cobb, Weather Shield, Marvin, Superior.  All are essentially constructed the same.  Eagle & Anderson offers a paper-thin vinyl coating on the exterior and Pella a soda-can thin aluminum clad.  Most of the other brands offer the aluminum clad.  Some offer a second and third line of wood windows.  Weather Shield, for example, also offers an all-wood line of traditional windows.  Eagle is the leading new construction windows in metro San Diego (a result of aggressive marketing).  Anderson and Pella are the leaders in the replacement market (a result of aggressive marketing).   They all offer a 10 warranty on the glass and 20 on parts.  Warping and wood rot are not a manufacturer’s defects.  And since there are no drainage holes below the glass unit, they are at least 20 times more likely to fog up.  Moreover, the single and double hung (sash moves vertically) are at least twice as stiff to operate as a similar vinyl window (this is particularly true after a couple of rainy seasons.) They are all similar, around twice that of a vinyl window.

 

B).  Superior Millworks is distinguished in three ways from the pack.  First their windows are built far more solid and massive (and this respect resemble the European windows).   Second, they have an LVL wood core.  This is far more resistant to becoming warped.  Third the aluminum exterior is a true extrusion (ran through a die) and is thus as thick as those found on aluminum windows.  They are very competitively priced

 

D).  Milgard has a line of fiberglass windows with an unfinished cedar veneer interior.  They are priced comparable to wood windows. They are distinguished from the pack by all the advantages of vinyl windows including a lifetime warranty that includes labor.  They won’t warp, rot, and are unlikely to fog up.  Moreover they come in 5 exterior colors plus custom colors, and their surface offers good paint adhesion for repainting (unlike vinyl and aluminum clad windows).  It is the trouble free, easy-to-operate alternative.   

 

E).  Bede, a European commercial window, comes with wood grain laminate over vinyl.  The laminate is made by the same company that Mercedes Benz uses for their dash.  They are built even tougher than vinyl windows, for their sash is steel reinforced and their glass is 1/4th  over 3/16th which gives you better thermal and sound reduction properties than the standard 1/8th over 1/8th .  There are over a dozen wood laminates made by the same company that Mercedes Benzes uses for their dashboard.  They will match colors for the exterior painted finish.  Their North American Distribution center & showroom is in Oceanside.  Bede offers an assortment of European window and door types as well as the traditional American windows. 

 

 

WHY NOT WOOD:  (1) cost overt $300 more than a vinyl window; (2) 20 times more likely to fog up;  (3) warp, wood rot, and termites; (4) limited 10-20 year warranty; (5) stiff operation. 

 

 

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