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House -- Replacement Windows
April 1, 2010

I need replacement windows.  After shopping around I settled on Renewal by Andersen (RbA), which is a unit of Andersen windows specializing in one special window design not available anywhere else.  It uses a vinyl-wood composite ("fibrex") that has high durability (in part due to low thermal expansion).  For what it's worth, RbA is the most expensive window on the market, and (they say though I have no proof) is favored by many historical associations.   Andersen claims it goes to lengths to ensure appearance, but again I have no proof of this.

My understanding is that the usual replacement window process leaves the original external molding intact.  The external appearance should remain unchanged outside of the sash (the pane and housing).  I would like my bay window to be full-replacement, wherein the frame is fully removed.  (The benefit is you get another inch of usable window.)  I am told the external appearance is still little changed, because they recreate the custom molding as required. I would like full-frame replacement to get the extra window space, however I'd like to gain further assurances that the external molding will look the same.

Of course, some difference in appearance is inevitable with replacement windows because they use a different type of glass.  Also, replacement windows don't require storm windows.  Grills are not a big issue.  Fake grills are used, either internally or externally, that preserve the appearance fairly well.

RbA sent me the addresses of 22 houses in Arlington they had done.  I have visited and photographed all but two.  Most of these photos are not interesting, because the window style is not like that of our Victorian.  Three of the occupants were at home and all offered the same unreserved glowing praise of RbA.  Good to hear.  Angie's list has a dozen or so reports and a consistent message emerges:  customers are very satisfied and felt they paid a lot.

There is one helpful reference, at 191-193 Mystic St.   #193 (left unit) has its original windows.  #191 (right unit) got replacement windows a year or two ago.  Its first floor had RbA and has been trouble-free.  The second floor (including the bay window) used Pella.  (There is a gap around a Pella window that is drafty.  The owner (Scott Studebaker) is looking into getting this fixed.)

Here are the photos.   The Mystic St house is at the end.  Click on a photo for high-resolution.  (On some browsers, shift-click to open in a different tab so you can compare pictures later.)

Model of RbA window

28 Mountain Ave.

28 Mountain Ave

28 Mountain Ave

28 Mountain Ave

98 Woodside Ln

98 Woodside Ln. Not sure if these are replacment windows.

98 Woodside Ln. Not sure if these are replacment windows.

38 Walnut

38 Walnut

40 Pleasant View Rd

260 Highland Ave

158 Robbins Rd

79 Walnut St

22 Churchill Ave. Interviewed owner.

22 Churchill Ave

22 Churchill Ave

175 Park Ave

175 Park Ave

175 Park Ave

64 Dow Ave

8 Perth Rd

127 Hibbert St

267 Ridge St

267 Ridge St

267 Ridge St

267 Ridge St

20 Windmill Ln. This one looks rather nice except I'm not sure if the lower flow was replacement. Need to have another look.

20 Windmill Ln

20 Windmill Ln. Ah, this does look like a replacement window. The grills are realistic.

22 Oldham Rd

22 Oldham Rd

86 Richfield Rd

105 Richfield Rd

29 Baker Rd. Interviewed owner.

191-193 Mystic St. View from across Mystic St.

191-193 Mystic St. View from across Mystic St.

191 Mystic St. View from Mystic St. 2nd floor is Pella; 1st floor is RbA. Interviewed owner, Scott Studebaker.

191 Mystic St. View from across side st.

191 Mystic St. View from across side st. Pella bay window.

191 Mystic St. View from side st. Pella bay window with draft.

191 Mystic St. Dining room.

191-193 Mystic St. Back of house.

193 Mystic St. Side of house. Original windows.

193 Mystic St. Dormer window.

 

BTW, window anatomy is illustrated here.

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