Window Replacement Part 2. Plus 5 free nights in hotel.

Cardinal glass is one of the main glass unit manufacturers. They are quite interesting. They use a LEAN manufacturing system, which is worth a look into. I’ve been reading through “Out of the Crisis” which is a fundamental book in the LEAN management world. Most books on Toyota are good as well. A series of posts could be written on this alone. But typically companies that employ LEAN have exceptional reliability and quality.

From what I’ve been able to tell there are only a few glass unit manufacturers and the window companies make a vinyl/wood/fiberglass frame to insert the window units into. So, many will use their own names to market the same window units, or technologies that the window unit manufacturers use. There’s a good video showing Cardinal’s manufacturing on this webpage.

So in researching window replacement you want to find out who makes the glass. Then you can take a look at their frames in any store that has a display. You can quickly tell that they make the frame material in long lengths and cut to fit your window size. Then the corners are welded.

The best seals come from casement style windows. This is because the windows press into the seal. But this comes with an obvious trade off in reliability. The require somewhat complicated crank and hinge systems. these moving parts are the most likely spots to fail in a window with good glass units.

The solution is to go to a simpler system, like slider units. This requires you to give up some air sealing efficiency in trade for increased reliability. I feel this is a good trade off, as you only want to change out windows every 20 years if possible, due to the labour involved. Of course, there are also environmental gains in purchasing something that will last. If you have to toss out the unit in 5 – 10 years you’re not helping anyone.

To make the most of this reno I’m paying for it on a new credit card. The Amex Marriot Bonvoy card. After spending $3000 in the next six months you get enough points for 3-7 nights in a Marriot (or any of their chain) hotel. If you stay 4 nights you get the 5th free, which is another nice bonus. There is a $120 annual fee, which is easily covered by the free nights. You also get a free night every year which offsets the cost, if you choose to keep the card the second year.

There are 2 versions of this card, so it’s fairly easy to get a couple weeks of vacation hotels paid for with the sign up bonus. Here’s a referral link if you’d like to support the blog, while getting some extra points for yourself. Once you get the card you can refer a friend (or me) for more points. Later we’ll work on how to get your flight for free, and see if we can’t turn all the renos everyone is doing into a nice vacation for when the world returns to normal.

Edit: Fixed hyperlinks 🙂


Typically when i mention windows it’s to do with computers, when I’m building a new one and looking for a $1 copy on ebay. But lately i’ve been knees deep in a different windows project. I’m looking to replace virtually all the windows in place. The majority are single pane Pearson style windows and the rest the old aluminum style you often found in trailers. A strange mix, to be sure.

A few things I’ve learned during the set-up phase. First be sure to expose the framing around your windows so you can get proper measurements of the rough openings. Nothing worse than getting the wrong size custom windows. I had a window guy take measurements at first. He quickly went around the outside and measured the frames. But, I found his measurements were far from accurate.

Quite a few of the windows rested right on the sill, and a couple were tight in the frames. So, taking measurements of just the existing windows might leave you with windows very tight fitting, which is not ideal for sealing, installation and insulation purposes. It’s very important to have a nice even gap around the windows that can be air sealed and insulated.

Also, I was amazed at the variations in pricing between vendors. It is definitely worth your time to get 3 or 4 quotes. Many suppliers get their windows out of the U.S. and the exchange rate can drastically affect the final price. The exchange rate has varied drastically over the last few months.

I’ve decided to go with Nail fin windows. Replacement windows are easier and quicker to install. So you’ll often get installers quoting you replacement. However, It’s hard to get a good seal with them as they essentially slide into the existing hole, requiring you to seal the gap. With nail fin you can apply caulking to the nailing fin and ensure your getting a good seal from the start. Then you have to come up with a solution for trim to cover the fin. I’ll cut back my siding with a skilsaw and use smartboard.

Lastly I spent an inordinate amount of time learning about the various ratings and coatings. Every manufacturer has a different spin on the same coatings. These are different amounts of Low-e coating. It’s a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo. Essentially there are 3 levels of coating that go on the inside of the window pane. They are typically referred to as Low e 180, Low e 270, or Low e 366. Or some variation on that theme. the first number refers to how much coating they put on 1, 2 or 3. 3 being the thickest coating. the last 2 numbers simply refer to how much light is allowed through the coating, expressed in percentage. So 80%, 70% or 66% in this example. The more coats the higher R-Value, or insulating value, with a trade off in lower Solar Heat Gain. Solar Heat gain refers to how much heat you can get from the sun shining into your place. This is valuable in northern locales in most instances. In summer of course it’s generally unwanted.

I’ll look into putting up a post about the actual How-To when I finish up.