Choosing the Perfect Window
Windows are one of the most important - and costly - parts of a house. Therefor we spend a lot of time researching, pricing and thinking of the aesthetics of our decision. When designing a spec house of course cost is a limiting factor. Early on we determined our design aesthetic would be "modern farmhouse" so that allows us to go with any window that has black window frames (which actually is more limiting then one might think). Since this house will be marketed to the mid- to upper-range market, our window selection came down to three types.
The most affordable option. Very energy efficient. Overall a pretty decent window except when you have large units, then the frames tend to warp. A dark color frame tends to encourage warping in the summer. For those reasons we decided against vinyl.
A good mid-range price option. Very sturdy, thin frames that lend to a modern aesthetic. Not as energy efficient as the other choices. In the end we decided against aluminum because we thought the aesthetic wasn't as appropriate for a modern farmhouse.
Andersen makes a moderately priced window that's made of Fibrex, a composite material they developed that has 2x the strength of vinyl, performs better in extreme temperatures and is energy efficient and very durable. Since it comes in many colors (including black) and costs about the same as aluminum we decided to make this our window of choice.