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Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

by Brett Kenney last modified Sep 21, 2012 11:03 AM
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Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Brett Kenney at January 19. 2006

I'm still recovering from the sticker shock from the windows cost in my remodel/addition. The contractor today told me that the cost would be about $25K for the windows alone (for Eagle windows). We would like to have wood / anodized aluminum windows with a clear exterior finish. Does anybody have positive experiences with any brands, commercial or residential?

I see that Kolbe and Kolbe makes clear anodized windows.

Also, could anybody share their experience of having an aluminum (i.e. woodless) window? Is this an energy efficient (and affordable) option? I thought all aluminum windows were a thing of the past). Milgard makes something called a Thermally Improved Aluminum window, or some similar name. I have never seen that.


Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Chris Elliott at January 20. 2006

We have storefront anodized aluminum windows and doors. You can see them at [url href=][/url].

Commercial brands are similar. Vistawall, YKK are 2 that I know of. If you live in a cold area, you probably want them thermally-broken. This will reduce condensation on the frame. One nice thing is that commercial insulated glass is 1 instead of 5/8. We noticed reduced noise.

Storefront isn't cheap, but it can be less expensive than some of the high-end residential windows. Also it is much better quality. Another benefit is that they are usually custom done for no additional cost. The manufacturer delivered a pile of aluminum and the installers cut it to size.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at January 20. 2006

The combination you requested is unusual and not offered by every window manufacturer - that is driving your cost up I think. But I agree with you - wood interiors and anodized aluminum exteriors will look awesome.

Try Weathersheild - they also offer anodized aluminum exteriors on their clad wood windows. I know they are not cheap however. Another alternative which may be less expensive is getting them with painted aluminum cladding and pay for a custom color. I know that Pella used to have a metallic silver paint in their custom color selection, and I think Weathershield and Marvin offer the same custom color options. You could got to a medium grey if no metallic paint option is available.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Mark Meyer at January 20. 2006

Do your self a favor and look into MilGard's windows. You won't get the wood interiors, but since they are applied with nailing fins to the exterior sheathing of the house, you can trim out the window openings in any wood you choose. You'll be VERY much happier with the cost, I can promise that. Their thermal efficiency is pretty good, considering they are made from aluminum, and the thermal break will do a lot to minimize the heat-loss. Keep in mind tha ALL windows are big ole' holes in the insulation envelope so no matter what you'll be losing heat through them.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Ed at January 20. 2006

You might want to try [url href=]H Window[/url] . I am about to get my house window and door shipment from them on Monday, which I am really excited about. Like you, I specified clear anodized aluminum on the outside with unfinished pine clad interiors, thermally broken and 1 double pane low-e glass. Relative to commercial windows/storefronts, they are quite a bit cheaper and everything they do is custom, and they will do very large windows (some of my windows are 9 feet tall). I would venture to guess that pricewise they are a bit less than Marvin. Unfortunately the lead time has been on the order of 8-10 weeks (my order was completed in 9). Also, I don't think you can buy from the directly; you may have to work through a local re-seller. Or your GC may be able to broker the transaction. And the big fly in the ointment is that they don't accept credit cards, but then again, they didn't even ask for a deposit- it's payable within 20 days after receipt.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at January 20. 2006

Those are some beautiful windows.

Here - this link should work better:

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at January 20. 2006

You might want to check out the following discussion:

There is one other consideration. Milgard is a great choice and will be about as expensive as a mid-level vinyl window. Aesthetically, I think Milgard is an easy choice except that the vinyl will be much more thermally efficient. This might not matter to you, but if your renovation will require passing the energy codes, the city might require you to choose between fewer/smaller windows or using vinyl. Hopefully, this won't be an issue for you.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by sydney roberts at January 29. 2006

To gauge the energy efficiency, compare the u-factors. SHGC is also very important, but is more dependent on the glazing. Without going to incredible expense, wood or (dare I say) vinyl windows are the most efficient.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Josh Fox at April 13. 2006

I live in Seattle and am just about to order my windows (mostly Milgard thermally improved aluminum windows.) We have a LOT of glazing in our design and the windows make up about 25% of the material budget for the house.

As an FYI, Seattle has (I believe) fairly strict energy regulations. Due to the large surface area of our windows, we were funneled into a design and code category entitled unlimited glazing. It actually seems pretty reasonable. All you have to do is put R21 insulation in the walls and R30 in the roof. The thermal-break aluminum Milgard windows (series 920, btw) meet the u-factor requirements in most areas.

I hope that helps.


P.S. Check out my stumbling construction project @

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Adam Burke at April 19. 2006

We're about to order the Milgard TI windows as well. For the price, it's the window. There are some details that are a little cheesy, but overall it's a good looking window for the money. We have a lot of windows, including a huge bank of windows in the living room and 3 8' sliders and the first bid is at $13,000.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by James Wagner at April 20. 2006

We went with fiberglass windows for our renovation.

Large glazing took vinyl off the table (didn't want it anyways)

We didn't want wood interiors, because we didn't want to paint them.

Exteriors can come in two custom colours for low cost ($150 setup charge per colour)

The frames of the windows are slender which helps the modern look.

Thermal performance is fantastic.

For us, the factory is local, so that helps with keeping the cost down. The windows were marginally more expensive than wood windows.

The brand we are using is [url href=]Thermotech Windows[/url] They (and us) are located in Canada.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at April 20. 2006

I like that thermotech product. Thanks for the link.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Jim Meehan at April 22. 2006

We went with Blomberg all-aluminum windows for our house. Although energy efficiency is one of our top priorities, we felt this was one area where we could make a bit of a compromise given our relatively mild northern California temps. Conditions during winter rain storms are particularly harsh at our location, with hurricane force winds -- literally. Several of our future neighbors with homes less than 10 years old have already had to replace their windows due to water/air infiltration problems. Our architect and contractor had both heard very good things about Blomberg in harsh weather conditions, so that was a key factor in our decision.

They have almost 20 different finish colors to choose from. I think 6 or so are available at no extra charge, and the rest are available for a small upcharge. We went with clear anodized which I think we'll be very happy with.

Strangely, Blomberg doesn't have their own web site. I can't imagine any company not having at least a minimal web site these days. They do have a section at that shows some of their products:

They also have a showroom at the Berkeley Design Center in Berkeley, CA.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Greg Pohl at May 09. 2006

I have pretty much the same question, accept I am looking for the aluminum framed windows (like in the above link)but, I live in florida and the home I am looking at is near the ocean and I am worried about the oxidation...any affordable suggestions?

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Jesse Thompson at May 11. 2006

I hate to say it, because I love to see shiny silver windows as much as any architect, but Milgard (even thermally-broken) windows are REALLY bad for energy losses. None of Milgard's aluminum windows qualify for an Energy Star rating (their vinyl and wood windows do...). That's a big sign of bad performance.

Typical U-values (inverse of R) are 0.43 (R-2.3) for a Milgard thermally broken Casement.

For comparison, Marvin's fiberglass / wood Integrity Casement has a U-0.32 (R-3.13). That's 30% better, a pretty serious gain.

Then, move to a Thermotech triple-glazed casement (a great window). U-0.19 (R-5.26) You have just more than DOUBLED your window thermal performance. This will allow you to remove all your baseboards around your exterior wall (if you insulate well), and drastically downsize your heating system, saving you a pile of money on heating systems.

The ONLY good aluminum windows available are Canadian commercial aluminum. Look at Kawneer's 5525 Isoweb for an example of a real thermal break. It's almost an inch across, and actually works (check the U values). These windows are really expensive though, almost double cheap american storefront.

The 5525 Isoweb window:

The thing Milgard calls a thermal break is a joke, it can barely be called a gasket. Not to blame Milgard for this, all American aluminum window companies use the same thermal break, and they all offer miserable performance. It's an industry wide problem. So, this is a tough issue. It's probably going to come down to style vs. performance in this case. If you pick style, that's fine, but we all have to stop pretending American aluminum windows have acceptable energy performance. They don't.


Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Jesse Thompson at May 11. 2006

Ahh, someone want to give me some linking advice? I'm screwing this up consistantly.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Marshall Mayer at May 11. 2006
If your post is text only (as opposed to HTML or Structured text) you should simply be able to write out the URL ( and it will automatly be converted.

But by far the easiest way is to use Epoz, the content editor that is an option for you to use. It's a WYSIWYG editor, with a tool in the button bar for adding a link.

To use Epoz, change your personal preferences for the content editor. The default is none. But Epoze is the alternative.


Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Jesse Thompson at May 11. 2006

Thanks Marshall, much better.

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Sean Portnoy at May 18. 2006

we just got quoted a price of $5,200 to install one 4x8' anderson 400 series window. i'm assuming (hoping) this is a high estimate. can someone confirm either way?

thanks, sean

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Steven at May 18. 2006

My buddy just bought a townhome and is upgrading it. The neighborhood is requiring Andersen windows and he was quoted $14k for a handful of regular size windows. dayum expensive!

Re: Windows!! . . . AAAAHHHH!!!!

Posted by Brett Kenney at May 22. 2006

We decided to use Gaulhofer windows from a supplier located in BC. These are really really high quality windows and they make anodized for a relatively small upcharge. The shipping is somewhat expensive, but we got our windows much cheaper than our local supplier. An entire houseful of windows 26 in all, costs approximately $28K, with spruce inside and anodize aluminum outside. Check out

Thanks for all of your replies.


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