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Community and Q&A

Window quote information and a few questions….

Troy Stevenson | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

We will be starting construction on a new 2.400 sq. ft. house in Royal Oak, MI starting mid-May. Our builder is starting to get quotes for windows as I provided him four companies (Accurate Dorwin, Alpen, Duxton and Inline). Since he has hesitation to use windows not serviced by a local supplier, he also obtained a quote for Jeld-Wen. So far, we have the quotes back from Alpen (formerly Serious) and Jeld-Wen.

Total window area is 280 sq. ft. All windows are casement or awning.

The Alpen (725 Series) have U-values of .18 and SHGC values of .37. Quote is $18,692 plus tax and shipping ($20,219 total).

The Jeld-Wen windows came in at $13,347 total. They are triple glazed, but vinyl and while they have U-values of .20, the SHGC value is only .20.

The quotes from Duxton, Inline and Accurate should be in soon and I will share those as well.

We sold our previous custom built home in June because it was cold and drafty. Our priorities are on comfort, durability and low maintenance. While energy savings is always nice, what I really want is to sit near a window in my home in the middle of January and not feel substantially colder than I would be in the middle of the room. I also want the windows to last a very long time without significant maintenance.

The home itself will be fairly simple – a 30×40 rectangle w/ housewrap over 2″ polyiso, rain screen detail, plywood and 2×6 walls with cellulose.

A few questions…
– Is our builder’s concern of not having a local supplier cause to not use a Canadian manufacturer (or Alpen, with the closest dealer being in Ohio)?
– Does anyone know the approximate life of a fiberglass window?
– Am I too close minded to only consider fiberglass triple glazed (or double glazed with suspended film in the case of the Alpens) as viable options to meet my goals

Any comments are welcome.


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  1. David Meiland | | #1

    Nothing scientific here, but I really dislike vinyl windows (the plastic tends to distort over time) and the SHGC=.20 seems incredibly low to me, since you're not in Phoenix. I wouldn't even be considering the Jeld-Wen product.

    Hopefully you are also giving the builder some air-sealing details and some ACH50 targets to hit. If you're using forced air, where is the ductwork going?

  2. Troy Stevenson | | #2

    Thanks for the response. Was thinking the same thing on the .20SHGC and the reaffirmation is comforting. Yes we are using forced air and the ductwork will all be in the conditioned space. And yes, we are providing some air-sealing details to our builder and will be performing blower door tests several times. One of my biggest areas of concern is the access to the attic. I would like it have the attic access in one of the gable ends as to not disrupt the ceiling plane. Does anyone know if this would pass code?

  3. Daniel Ernst | | #3

    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Accurate Dorwin. From my experience, they are very responsive and cost competitive. Their SHGC and U-Values will be top of the line too.

    If your builder is still concerned about supplier location, you might check out Eagle brand windows (a subsidiary of Andersen). They offer a triple-pane window. The specs aren't as good as the fiberglass triple-pane windows from Canada, but they are another option . . .

  4. Troy Stevenson | | #4

    Thanks Daniel. From everything I've read, I think I'll go with the Accurate Dorwin if the quote is anywhere in the ballpark.

  5. Elizabeth Kormos | | #5

    Consider Intus windows. They are heavy duty triple pane vinyl European windows that cost about the same as higher end U.S. windows. The fiberglass windows from Canada and Europe are very expensive. Intus took a while to get here but the customer service was great.

  6. Sonny Chatum | | #6


    Accurate Dorwin: I bought and installed a round of casement and picture windows last year. Have been reasonably happy with the AD people/product, except:
    1. The AD salesperson was slow and not impressively knowledgeable, overall. One problem was that despite several emails with him, back and forth, with me specifically and clearly designating which direction I wanted the casements to open (hinging location), they came in all backwards and I am living with it OK. Still, that was unbelievable and unacceptable. I had read that the Canadians and the Europeans have a protocol for designating hinging that is different from the U.S. so I was very careful with the English language to ensure that I got what I wanted--still didn't happen.
    2. AD did not have good control of their US trucking company (Old Dominion at that time). Despite clear instructions that I needed a truck with a lift to lower the windows to the pavement at delivery, that didn't happen, and we had to carefully and manually lower the extremely heavy windows from the 6-ft.-high truck bed. wow!
    3. The AD installation instructions say that the casement frames have to be completely plumb, level and square in order for the window frame edges to be parallel with the frame edges (OK, this is obvious and routine). However, even with everything perfectly plumb/square, there is play in the hinging and the resulting parallelism is not very impressive. Windows are somewhat large (30" wide and about 60" high), but for very expensive windows, I find that scenario unacceptable.

  7. Michael Scannell | | #7

    If you like fiberglass you might take a look at the Milgard Essense series. The have comperable U factors , nice powder coated exterior colors, options for plain, DF , pine or primed interiors and a lifetime warranty on labor materials and breakage.

  8. Troy Stevenson | | #8

    Thanks for the recommendations and input regarding Accurate Dorwin. I will continue to post as we receive additional quotes.

  9. Troy Stevenson | | #9

    The quote from Accurate Dorwin is in - $16,026 + another $711 to upgrade from white frames (we want something dark). My builder has found the rep to very helpful thus far. Since I've been leaning this way all along I think we are going to go with these. Quotes are still due from Inline and Duxton and I'll post those when received.

    Does anyone have ideas for entry doors? Right now we are thinking of Frostkorken (Optiwin), Drewexim, Intus, and Pella fiberglass. Same goals - comfort, durability and longevity.

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