07:43PM | 07/10/07
Member Since: 07/09/07
2 lifetime posts
I have been restoring a Historic Row House from 1855 and am struggling with what windows to purchase. I was almost set on Hurd until I read the comments on this site. I live in Buffalo, NY, so we get pretty bad winters and I have about 17 very large windows. Does anyone have any recommendations?


04:40PM | 07/11/07
Member Since: 03/18/07
12 lifetime posts
There is no such thing as the "best window". It all depends on what you want from your new windows. If you want good looks a wood window might be the way to go. If you want an energy efficient window then a triple pane vinyl window will blow away the wood windows. Some triple pane windows have two coatings of Low E which protects your home from the harmful UV rays.

You might want to check with your town to see if they have any historical zoning rules about windows. You can compare window ratings at


11:44AM | 07/13/07
Member Since: 04/28/06
42 lifetime posts
I agree that it's really impossible to say which window is the "best" window. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and even a cheap window may be the best window option in some applications.

So I'll make some assumptions and offer my suggestions. The four major window materials for you to choose from are wood, clad wood, vinyl and fiberglass. I'll assume that since the home is 150 years old, you're looking at wood, or wood/aluminum clad or wood/vinyl clad. Those options would best help preserve the architectural distinctiveness of the home.

I'll also assume that you need double hungs rather than casements or other types. Since you said the windows are large, a concern would be draftiness. Modern windows usually do NOT have exterior storm windows anymore (not really necessary and a whole lot easier to clean), so since the windows are large you'll want to consider a higher DP rating. The DP (design pressure) measures how well the windows will hold up to high air and water infiltration. I'd suggest looking for a window with a DP rating of 40 or more (the better ones would have 40 to 50 usually, the weaker ones 25-40). Make sure the DP rating is for the large size. Almost anyone can achieve a DP40 on a small window, but they can drop significantly on the larger sizes.

Of course, you could choose to get an exterior storm if you're a purist and truly want the historical authenticity and don't mind the extra maintenance.

Having said that, some of the better double hung wood window manufacturers include Pella (their Architect Series), Marvin (their Ultimate series), and Andersen (their Woodwright series). All three manufacturers make multiple lines but the respective series mentioned above are the very good ones. For me personally I'd end my research with those three. They have better warranties and/or service than most wood window companies too. However I'd give an honorable mention to Kolbe Ultra series and Weathershield Legacy series. There's other possibilities out there, this is just my opinion based on almost 30 years in the window business.

All of the above manufacturers offer wood only or aluminum clad wood windows (except Andersen, which offers vinyl clad only). All offer Low E glass with argon gas for energy efficiency, all offer multiple wood species, and some (not all) include labor in their warranty.

Good luck I hope this helps!
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