New Construction in Michigan

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OldBlue86
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2023 12:17 pm

New Construction in Michigan

#1 Post by OldBlue86 »

I want to start off by thanking all the forum members for putting together this valuable resource. The information available here is priceless.

My current project may not fit the typical boundaries of this forum, but I am in the research stage of lining up a potential custom home build. Several years ago, I replaced the builder grade vinyl windows in my current residence with Sunrise windows, based in large part due to the opinions posted in this forum. I've been overall extremely pleased with the upgrade. The chronic draftiness we used to have disappeared immediately and the temperature moderation inside the house improved dramatically. My only complaint is that I feel more air infiltration than I would like coming in under the sliders on blustery winter days, but I attribute that more to the nature of sliding windows than a Sunrise shortfall. Still an enormous improvement over what we started with.

The broad consensus from this forum seems to be that OKNA, Sunrise and Soft-Lite are the preferred premium replacement window manufacturers. I would love to investigate the OKNA product, but there doesn't seem to be a distributor closer to us than Cleveland. If anyone could direct me to a source for OKNA windows in the metro Detroit area, or even anywhere in Michigan or the surrounding states, I would be much obliged.

My question today is how do these replacement brands stack up against the premium new construction brands? Since this is a new construction project, I'm figuring I have more latitude in choices than a typical replacement project. How does Andersen A-series or an equivalent from one of the big brand names compare with these preferred replacement brands? Is there another direction I should be exploring?

My goal for this build is super high efficiency. Windows will be triple pane, low-e, all the bells & whistles for a northern climate. Nearly all will be casements or awnings, with a few fixed panes -- I'm done fussing with leaking DH & sliders! I'll also be placing preference in a product with narrow frames & sashes to maximize visible glass area -- this was the deciding factor in choosing Sunrise for the last project. I'm not opposed to paying a premium price in exchange for a window I will never have to worry about or replace again. I'm also open to consider frame & sash materials -- the Sunrise vinyl windows we installed appear to be performing well and I'm not opposed to going with vinyl again, but I'm intrigued by the strength promises of the fiberglass or composite products. Wood would be my last preference due to the potential for rot.

Given a complete blank slate, what would the professionals on this site install for their own new house construction? What is your dream team perfect window? Thank you in advance for all your advice!

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Windows on Washington
Posts: 5380
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC

Re: New Construction in Michigan

#2 Post by Windows on Washington »

All the replacement brands can be outfitted or ordered as new construction as well. Soft-Lite's casement is nice as is Okna's and Sunrise's.

What material do you want to run with? Vinyl, Composite, Wood?

OldBlue86
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2023 12:17 pm

Re: New Construction in Michigan

#3 Post by OldBlue86 »

I'm open to suggestion in regards to material. Vinyl seems the most common by far & I'm having good experience with high quality vinyl in my current residence. Fiberglass/composite sounds like a great product at least in the marketing materials, but I haven't seen much evidence yet that the premium price delivers premium performance in the field. I'm hesitant of going to wood due to the potential for rot, even though I realize this probably wouldn't develop until long after I'm gone. I'm also hesitant of anything with aluminum in a northern climate. That being said, I did have a previous house that came with aluminum clad wood Andersens that looked & operated as good as new 40+ years after their installation.

I get the sense vinyl will give me the most options, but I'm not sure if it is the best possible material given all alternatives.

I suppose the core of my question is wondering if there are other alternatives out there I should be exploring that wouldn't typically be an available option for replacement windows -- and therefore not usually discussed on this forum. And then specifically, how does the A-series stack up against the top replacement brands?

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Windows on Washington
Posts: 5380
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC

Re: New Construction in Michigan

#4 Post by Windows on Washington »

If you are fine with vinyl, no need to look elsewhere except and maybe one of the composite products with the deeper IGU spacing that gets you to optimum glass widths like the EVO from Okna.

A series is fine and well enough. Only gets to a 0.20 in the casement which is good, but by comparison, some of the other brands you mentioned have stuff in the 0.16 ranges.

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