New Custom Home Needs Windows
Lesley Delle_Grazie
January 29, 2014 in Design Dilemma
I've been asked by my SIL to help her choose materials and finishes for her new custom home, so she asks my opinion about a lot of things with which I don't have a lot of experience. I'm hoping someone here can give us some advice. She's been told by a window supplier that her windows should have real mullions on the exterior, not the ones that are usually fixed between the two panes of glass. I asked her if the salesman was going to come and clean her windows for her. But seriously; is this really the expectation for window mullions for a custom home?

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dclostboy
With that view I much rather have large open panes. But, yes, my French doors are like that.
January 29, 2014 at 1:02PM   
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
The house will be built in a typical suburban neighbourhood, so the views won't be so stunning. In fact, all of her neighbours' homes were built in the 70's & 80's, so not much to look at.
January 29, 2014 at 1:09PM   
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grobby
Are they true divided lights. Panes are individual ?
January 29, 2014 at 1:13PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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bluenan
I have true divided light wood windows, but I was interested in a historical look. They are more expensive and difficult to clean, it doesn't seem necessary in her case.
January 29, 2014 at 1:14PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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DMH DESIGN
I believe you mean "mullions." Alot depends on the style of home, where the house is located, sited and maintained. I would be inclined, just for ease of maintenance and cleaning alone to avoid TDL windows (true divided lites) in all windows and doors. I would suggest being consistent troughout. Happy Houzzing.
January 29, 2014 at 1:15PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Lol, yes DMH, I guess mullions is what I mean. Our contractor for our addition called them "muntings" (didn't quite sound right to me either). Grobby, they wouldn't be true divided lights; they're still completely flat on the inside. Thanks @bluenan and DMH, we both thought the same thing, and being a new-build in a non-historic neighbourhood, it makes sense to forgo the added expense and difficulty with maintenance. I appreciate your input, and will pass it along to my frazzled SIL. I'm sure I'll be back for more advice very soon!
January 29, 2014 at 1:26PM     
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
I edited to use the right terminology, thanks DMH!
January 29, 2014 at 1:27PM   
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CDR Design
Today the trend is either no muntins (grills) or, for those who want them, often only in the front windows so that a view out the back can be appreciated, even if it is only your yard.

I hybrid version would be to keep the muntins in the transom, but no divided light in the bottom panes.

An exception would be a historic home.

So, it really depends on the homeowner, weighing all the positives and negatives: looks, ease of cleaning, cost, view, flexibility to remove in the future if you want to, less/more light coming in the windows (yes there is a difference).
January 29, 2014 at 1:28PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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bluenan
Actually it's muntins, see the difference in the drawing below.
January 29, 2014 at 1:30PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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bluenan
Correct you are, CDR!
January 29, 2014 at 1:31PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Christine
No Mullions/Mutins. I opt for large panes of glass to capture that view and then invest in some electric privacy roll shades that disappear when they are open. Also invest in a sun-bloc window tint to save the floors and furniture from the sun.
January 29, 2014 at 1:36PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Thanks CDR; I never thought of using grills in the front and not in the back of the house. I'm already anxious to change out my front windows that don't match my new windows in the addition we just did in the back of our own home. It's ok that they don't all match even if both the front and back windows can be seen at the same time?
January 29, 2014 at 1:37PM   
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Ahahaha! I'm calling them "grills" from now on! I learn so much on Houzz! Thank-you! Btw, spellcheck doesn't like the word "muntins"
January 29, 2014 at 1:39PM     
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DMH DESIGN
I too, stand corrected. I was thinking of muntins in the classical sense, as those dividing panes in a transom window above a fixed pane or opening sash, such as in a craftsman home. Sash bar or grilles, as CDR and Bluenan demonstrate are best.
January 29, 2014 at 1:45PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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CDR Design
It does get confusing.....and words evolve. One time, on Houzz, a person chided another for using "expresso" as opposed to "espresso". Since English is one of my majors, I am interested in how words evolve.

Knowing how often "expresso" is used now, I looked it up. Sure enough, in many dictionaries, "expresso" is now listed as an alternate spelling of "espresso".

I like "grills" also. Spellcheck doesn't correct me!
January 29, 2014 at 2:08PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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CDR Design
On a personal note, I live in a lodge-style house, but my style is more "contemporary lodge style". Last year, I grew tired of removing the muntins for cleaning and the obstruction of the view. I removed them all. I love it without them.
January 29, 2014 at 2:11PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Well, we do tend to anglicize everything in North America, so I wasn't surprised to see "expresso" advertised on an Italian menu. That's akin to swearing in our house as hubby is Italian. Just like I hate it when someone calls me "Scotch" instead of Scots or Scottish, but we can't get tied up in trivialities. I just like knowing what the proper names are for things for myself; I'm always learning.

Thanks for your help with this; my sister-in-law is getting snowed under with decisions right now, and I like to help where I can. It really helps to get the opinions/experience of others. Having just done an addition on our own house, I have some experience, as it's basically the same as building a mini-house. But, there are some things that I didn't have to choose because the builder had to match what was existing.
January 29, 2014 at 4:29PM     
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CDR Design
I guess one more thing I would like to add about grills that may be obvious, but some people overlook: they add a decided pattern in the room. Yes, they do sort of fade into the background, as far as a pattern goes. Yet, they are still there.

Well, I guess this Scotch lady has now become a muntin expert. Let's have an expresso in your honor. LOL. (Sorry, couldn't resist typing that!)
January 29, 2014 at 4:53PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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grobby
I have Pella architectural series windows and french doors, and the grilles snap out for ease of cleaning. From my experience in researching windows when I built a home, I found the windows will grilles inside the pane which don't give the depth that I like. True divided lights are used many times in historical homes and very expensive ones. The TDL looks great but cost considerably more. One thing to remember with the snap out grille is you can get a very contemporary and unobstructed view.
January 29, 2014 at 5:08PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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love2browse
I had my kitchen window replaced when I remodeled. The contractor used Pella windows with the snap in mullions and they also have a removable pane to clean in between the glass. I'm terrified every time I pop the mullions out to clean, I'm going to break it. I did actually break one of the window panes when trying to pry it off. So, to me they're a pain and it's possible the contractor put in the cheapest Pellas at the time. I've replaced all the other windows in my house and used Marvin Fiberglass windows with the Mullions between the glass and I love them. On another note, it depends on the style of your house whether you need to use mullions or not. I have a colonial style home and have mullions on the front and back of the house. I think colonials without them tend to not look right and it's an HOA requirement in my neighborhood.
January 29, 2014 at 5:26PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Too funny CDR! I like your sense of humour!

Thanks grobby; I will tell my SIL to look at that option too. I don't think she looked at Pella windows; I think they might have been Pollard, but I'm not sure (and that might be a Canadian brand). I get that you lose the dimensional quality with the inside grilles, we just don't see the outside-mount ones a lot around here, other than in the historic neighbourhoods.
January 29, 2014 at 5:47PM   
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
How long have you had the fibreglass love2browse? It doesn't get offered as an option much, other than doors. It's always wood, vinyl or aluminum. I worry about weathering with vinyl, and paint on aluminum can peel and chip. Wood is just too much maintenance. My SIL is thinking she wants black windows, so I'm thinking vinyl might fade over time too. I wonder about black fibreglass?
January 29, 2014 at 5:53PM   
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love2browse
They were expensive, so I did them in two phases (I have over 33 windows). I originally had wood windows with storms added. I did the back side of my house about three years ago. It faces, so the paint and caulk was cracking and peeling not to mention feeling the cold air come in.. We took advantage of the Government rebate. Vinyl windows only came in a few colors and the frames were so bulky. That's what lead me to Marvin's. They come more colors, frames were less bulky, and you could make the interiors a different colors or paintable and they are one of the highly rated windows.. I had a previous house where I put in vinyl replacement windows. If I move and need to do it again, I would do fiberglass. I swear I feel more air coming through my walls with the cold polar vortex winds! Hope your SIL gets quality contractors.
January 30, 2014 at 3:20AM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
Thanks love2browse. I will tell my SIL to look into the Marvin fibreglass windows. Because she's building a custom home, she can pick any materials she wants; she's not stuck with the builder-grade materials that they use to just throw up houses with these days. She has a lot of confidence in her builder and he won't allow her to use shoddy products.
January 30, 2014 at 3:49AM     
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DMH DESIGN
I will suggest that you also consider a Canadian mfr. called Loewen. Their "Stormforce" line is likely competitive with Marvin, in terms of performance and cost. Also, I am partial to fir windows and these folks make a nice window and, if you like a folding patio door, theirs is very nice, too.
February 1, 2014 at 3:05PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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jn3344
Loewen windows are beautiful, but during my research they came in at greater cost than Marvin. But they did look first rate. Just fyi.
February 1, 2014 at 3:32PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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kerrybalch5
True divided light is old school because they are truly individual pieces of glass. SDL is the way to go (single divided light). Jeld-Wen window and door would be a great resource.
February 1, 2014 at 3:33PM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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DMH DESIGN
Jn, are you stateside? I know with our currency at par, and the shipping, maybe that is a contributing factor? VG fir is not inexpensive, as well.
February 1, 2014 at 4:21PM   
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jn3344
Yes, the home is being built near Seattle. Almost Canada!
February 1, 2014 at 4:30PM   
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Ironwood Builders
Hi guys...grills are not really interchangeable with muntins in the window world. Grills, when discussing the dividing of the window lights (each pane is a "light") were/are the snap in plastic bits used to dress up REALLY cheap vinyl window. Your window salesperson will know the difference and if you say grills...you may get them!
February 1, 2014 at 10:35PM        Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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Victoria
As a Brit I'd like to say three things; we say espresso, but bizarrely the French say expresso. Muntins add character. Marvin windows are lovely but very expensive in the UK.
February 2, 2014 at 12:13AM      Thanked by Lesley Delle_Grazie
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rbcola
I'm in the window "due diligence" mode as well for a new home build. Our home design is ….Fr. Country Eclectic" I would say. We are in S. IN
We have the muntin/mullion/grill style and, like you Lesley, having them inside the grill for cleaning benefits seems like a "no-brainer". However, a side of me (which leans contemporary!) like the ones you pop out to clean the window….or for that matter have the option to put in the garage and get the full view. However, my builder feels the real thing is better….but I'm still assessing.
I posted a "design delimma" discussion to solicit comments on Anderson (Architectural or Eagle which is what both the architect and the building materials supplier recommended/promoted) and an alternative Jeld-Wen Siteline EX. The J-WSEX could save us $$ (10K?). However, I feel somewhat limited on the exterior color option (want dark chocolate), and some negative reviews.
I've also learned about Quaker Windows which is headquartered in MO. So not too far away. Their Brighton series (wood, extruded vs Jeld-Wen rolled aluminum clad). Each window is made to "order"/custom but somewhat limited on wood choices. Fine w/pine wood except my husband's office needs wood stained window frame. So, I'm still info gathering to compare.
I agree, Marvin has an excellent reputation but may be out of our overall budget on their higher end. I did look at Marvin Integrity but didn't feel it compared as well to the others (Jeld-Wen EX Siteline, Quaker Brighton series).
Overall I've kept in constant assessment and it can be frustrating never having all my questions/concerns resolved to this point..seems like I've been on this quest for almost a month. Right now it looks like I will end up with the Jeld-Wen but until I resolve or give up on my my due diligence check list….or my builder says….DECIDE NOW: I'm still assessing.
Like you, Lesley- I value Houzz.com tremendously. I tell all the building suppliers, contractors "get your business" listed, get involved in the discussions because it benefits everyone. And I thank each of you private or professional people for contributing/responding to comments/questions!
Related to my project - one thing I may take more seriously is to keep the front (traditional look w/grills) and the back without for the view - heavily wooded behind the recreational area.
FYI: My husband and I have had (when we lived in SFL) and love plantation shutters. He is light sensitive and I want sunlight, views, etc. The shutters help keep the marriage in tact…LOL…..We meet each other half way in positioning the shutters, etc. Hope to do that again. Not cheap but worth all the benefits in my opinion.
February 27, 2014 at 7:43AM   
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