Readers often post a simple question on our Q&A page: “What brand of window should I buy?” For an editor, it’s an exasperating question, because it’s unanswerable. The answer depends on a host of factors, including the buyer’s geographical location, performance expectations, budget, and personal sense of aesthetics.
Rather than attempting to answer the question, I decided to interview fourteen designers and builders of high-performance homes. I asked them, “What brand of window did you specify on recent high-performance projects — and why?”
This article isn’t an introduction to high-performance windows. If you’re looking for that type of information, start with the following articles:
- How to Order Windows
- All About Glazing Options
- High-Solar-Gain Glazing
- Presumptive European Superiority Syndrome
- Comparing North American Window Frames to European Frames
- Study Shows That Expensive Windows Yield Meager Energy Returns
- Rating Windows for Condensation Resistance
- Choosing Triple-Glazed Windows
Background information on four window brands
It will be easier to understand some of the statements made below if readers have some basic background information on Intus Windows, Schüco Windows, Menck Windows, and Thermotech Fiberglass Windows.
Intus Windows are vinyl windows manufactured in Lithuania. Until recently, Intus windows were popular with American builders looking for high-performance triple-glazed windows at an affordable price. This year, Intus announced that it will no longer sell windows to builders of single-family homes in the U.S., so fans of Intus windows have been looking for a substitute manufacturer.
Schüco is a German manufacturer of window extrusions, window hardware, and window fabrication machinery. The company sells components to window fabricators all over the world. Since different fabricators use Schüco components in different ways, there is no such thing as a “Schüco window.” Anyone who is considering buying a “Schüco window” should learn the…