New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

A place to ask all your replacement window questions
Post Reply
Message
Author
blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#1 Post by blamus » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:52 am

Hi, I've been reading alot of posts and recommendations, but most if not all are for replacement windows (well that is the name of the site!) and also most of the brands talked about are not in my area.

Can anyone provide some recommendations for new construction windows in Colorado? I'm building a house in Boulder in the mountains, where the County building code does NOT allow non-reinforced vinyl windows - so that means it needs to be vinyl clad (metal/wood/fiberglass), fiberglass, fiberx, wood, or aluminum.

I'm looking for the most budget friendly option with max U factor 0.30, and it needs to be pretty air tight as the building code require a blower door test with pretty strict results.

Priority is budget and that they will satisfy boulder county's building codes. (and that they won't leak and fall apart in 10 years etc etc.) I don't care about looks or color. Basically the best price:performance sweet spot.

Most windows will be fixed picture windows, while the Egress ones can be single hung (or whatever is cheapest). more than 50% of the windows will be south facing.

The rest of the internet talks alot about Marvin integral, but they are so expensive.
From reading this site Mark seem to be recommend Vanguard (which I will get a quote from). They do vinyl clad fiberglass. but I can't find many more reviews about them.
Others on here seem to suggest simonton 5500, but I think they are just hollow vinyl that is not allowed by the building department.

Any other alternatives I should check out? I'm pretty much looking for 3 or so different well reviewed brands to get quotes from.

Best regards

Bern

User avatar
Windows on Washington
Posts: 4389
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#2 Post by Windows on Washington » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:50 am

What about county code doesn't allow for vinyl? Is this an appearance/architectural requirement that you must meet vs. a building code?

If they wouldn't let me do vinyl, I would go, most likely, to fiberglass at that point. Have you look at any of the nicer fiberglass options out there?

The U-factor should be easily attainable by nearly any window.

In that area of the country and with the breezes, be sure to consider air infiltration ratings along with U-factor.

Randy
Posts: 1067
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:26 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#3 Post by Randy » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:37 am

"I'm building a house in Boulder in the mountains, where the County building code does NOT allow non-reinforced vinyl windows - so that means it needs to be vinyl clad (metal/wood/fiberglass), fiberglass, fiberx, wood, or aluminum.”

The least expensive option is going to be reinforced vinyl windows. Sunrise Vanguard or Restorations would fit the bill, as would Simonton 5500 or 9800 with optional sash reinforcement.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#4 Post by blamus » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:00 am

its nothing to do with aesthetics, its all about the reinforcement. something to do with how the vinyl melts and the window collapse in a fire or something. i think its an excuse to make it harder to build like every other building code amendment they have.

thank you for the recommendations, i didnt know the 5500s can have reinforcements. ill email the building departments to double check if those are approved.

do you have any recommendations for fiber glass or aluminum options? are fiber glass windows significantly more than the vanguards/5500 with sash reinforcements? if its like 20% it can be considered. but i have a feeling its more like double!

Randy
Posts: 1067
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:26 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#5 Post by Randy » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:15 pm

Fiberglass is going to be substantially more than Sunrise Vanguard, although dealers price things differently. Best bet is to get a quote.

While I like thermally-broken aluminum for south Texas, I wouldn’t consider it at all in Colorado.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#6 Post by blamus » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:33 pm

Thank you, I'll do that. What are some good names for fiber glass that I should get quotes from, eh?

Also, anyone here local who have used specific sunrise/simomton dealers which they would recommend?

Also, sunrise/simonton's websites really suck. I can't find anywhere that talks about their reinforced sash options. At least I can go to Vanguard's website and they do talk about their fiberglass core as their feature. I want to email the building department with enough info to show how these vinyl windows are reinforced to make sure that they can be approved. I'll just have to call them up to find out more.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#7 Post by blamus » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:53 pm

Simonton's website's dealer locator doesnt even work when I put my 80302 zip code in......and google search says I dont have any dealers in the front range. Yet the local home depot carries them! So I guess I'll start there. Their line at home depot is called "daylight max"

The sunrise dealer locator shows a few around denver, but when I look at those dealers/installers' google reviews there are some horror stories!

There are also 2 dealers for soft lite in denver which I'll check out. Which are their recommended lines of windows?

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

Best regards

Bern

Randy
Posts: 1067
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:26 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#8 Post by Randy » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:03 pm

Soft-lite’s Imperial LS or Elements are the better choices.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#9 Post by blamus » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:54 am

thank you for the recommendations, i'll surely check them out.

i have another strange question, specific to new construction windows-

whats the most cost effective way to design glazing to cover specific square footage? What I mean is, for example, for the same square footage of area, i'd assume that covering it with multiple small windows would be more expensive than a few larger windows. However, there comes a point where selecting a larger window would be more expensive because the single piece of glass need to be used gets so big. So, I imagine there must be a sweet spot in the middle, and that is my questions - what dimensions of windows should I pick to cover the sqft I have of glazing?

My initial assumption is standard sizes in big box stores would be most cost effective - such as 3'x3' or maybe 3'x4'. 4'x'4 starts to get more expensive. But when I consider glazing a - say - 10'x10' wall, would it be cheaper to install 3x3 windows in a grid (end up with 9x9) or 3 strips of 3'x6' long windows? (ok i understand in this case 3x3 windows in a grid probably won't fit in a 10x10 space because of frame widths etc., but you get my question)

I'm basically wanting to know whats the most cost effective way to glaze a given squarefootage. Generally speaking, what size of windows have the lowest $/sqft? Is that a reasonable question? probably not.....

User avatar
Windows on Washington
Posts: 4389
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#10 Post by Windows on Washington » Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:32 am

There is no magic bullet or formula on that.

General rule of thumb is that a single larger unit will be cheaper than the aggregate same size in a couple of smaller units.

The compounding factors in pricing become if the larger unit requires tempered glass, special installation requirements, material handling difficulties, etc.

The other consideration is efficiency and functionality. If you go with larger Slider window for example, the air leakage rate will be much worse as compared to a couple of more secure double hungs.

TheWindowNerd
Posts: 1709
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:05 pm
Location: SE PA & NJ; DFW/Metroplex

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#11 Post by TheWindowNerd » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:39 am

One way to get larger cheaper glazing is to use standard sized patio door glass. It will be tempered and available in low e argon, also triple pane. You can either direct glaze raw IGU into site made frames, dead lite sash, or complete frames.
You may have to look for some one with a lot of window experience that knows a little about direct glazing, even how to source Cardinal IGUs.

theWindowNerd.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#12 Post by blamus » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:04 pm

That is an extremely interesting suggestion. I'll have to look into that.

I wonder what limitations there might be from a building code perspective, I'm going to discuss this with my architect.

Is cardinal the only manufacturer for these "raw" IGUs that can be used this way? They have a glass plant in loveland which is very closeby, I wonder if I can buy direct from them....

Do you have any experience doing this? How would you recommend framing them directly to the wall? any resources on the net I can draw from? Has this been done before? (I'm sure it has...)

thank you for your suggestions

Edit: I see that this is often done in a sunroom or greenhouse style building. I found some framing details on the net. A consideration would be how to aesthetically combine these large fixed windows with the ones that need opening. Definitely a lot to talk about with my architect

TheWindowNerd
Posts: 1709
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:05 pm
Location: SE PA & NJ; DFW/Metroplex

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#13 Post by TheWindowNerd » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:31 pm

No, Cardinal is not the only one, but they may or may not be an easy good source.
In my area, PA, I can not buy direct from Cardinal, I am not sure but they may have a thing about dealing with mfgs. I go through a local green house builder.
A key cost savings is to design with stock size tempered patio door glass.
Yes, I have done this many times both in new construction and retro fit. Our last project like this was a couple of months ago, was to reglaze windows in an existing thirty year old contemporary house that had a 5' glass sliding door and three direct glazed windows that were 60" x 78". The customer choose low e 275 with argon in triple pane, we specified the XL spacer, those suckers were heavy at 300lbs each, they also were tempered, each lite in the IGU was 1/4".
I like the direct glazed into site built/mill work frames because you are not as limited to a small overall glass thickness. For instance if you want or needed 1/4 glass lites in triple pane you can make the overall IGU thickness 1 3/4" and maintain the optimal 5/8" air space.
The thing I like about Cardinal is their seal failure rate is so low and the 20 year warranty that goes with it.

theWindowNerd.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#14 Post by blamus » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:46 pm

I think you have solved my budget problem and just saved me alot of $$$$$.

I didn't know framing raw IGUs directly into the walls is a common practice for passive solar homes. But it makes perfect sense. Via reading other forums I found this company:

https://kissourglass.com/

https://kissourglass.files.wordpress.co ... ctions.pdf

They stock surplus IGUs from replacement patio doors and their prices are almost too good to be true? I imagine it'd be many times more even if cardinal would sell to me direct.

Their website is wildly outdated but I'm aware they are still in business. They seem to have a good idea the best way to install raw IGUs.

They claim that their IGUs are from cardinal. They only seem to stock double panes though, but as long as its at least U0.30 I think it can work. I've sent them an email to get more info.

blamus
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:39 am

Re: New construction, 1000sqft of REINFORCED windows in Colorado

#15 Post by blamus » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:33 pm

Hi Window nerd, I have some more questions regarding this "direct glazing" method you recommended. I've spoken to my architect and a general contractor. And I quote:

We used to use a similar method here in the '70's and '80's, before more restrictive energy codes kicked in. The basic problem is that site-built windows are not certified to meet the exacting window energy-conserving u-value standards for windows as outlined in the energy code, but don't know if this will be a problem in Boulder County-it may behoove you to pay them a visit or call and ask if this method can be approved by their building department.

I'm going to talk to the building department about that once I have a well established installation method I can present with drawings etc. to illustrate what I'm trying to do.

However, here are my questions:

1. Do you frame these IGUs from the inside or the outside?

2. Will it be extra difficult to air seal this style of installation compared to installing traditional framed windows? The building code requires blower door tests during construction to achieve a specific air tightness for the house. Do you think I can achieve that with framing raw IGUs?

3. If and when one fails, how difficult would it be to replace? - compared to replacing a traditional window.

4. The raw IGUs will be cheaper than framed windows, but I am expecting to spend more on installation - since this is what you do, can you give me an idea how much more labor intensive doing this as compared to installing framed windows (which the framer for the house would do)

5. Might you have any contacts in CO who I might be able to work with? Where should I ask around to find someone with your type of experience who I can work with? Is this something a framer should know? Or a specific window installer? Most replacement windows companies here run away when I ask them about this.....I will eventually need to find a contractor who can do this.

6. If I may ask, how much are you able to source these patio door replacement IGUs for? in double and triple pane? Arctic glass has not responded to my email, I might have to find alternative sources so it'd be extremely helpful to have some numbers in mind.

Thank you so much for your help

Best regards

Bern





Post Reply