Strassburger has a much tighter window than North Star (see link in a previous post), has many more available options (colours, glass, brickoulds interior finishes etc.), has 20-25% more vinyl content (stronger welds and more insulating chambers), and has a much more stable vinyl, North Stars expansion & contraction rate is approx 2 1/2% as compared to approx 1%.
Don't get me wrong, North Star builds a decent window, and for the price (normally 10-20% lower) they can offer a good deal, but when they are more expensive it doesn't add up to a better value.
Also North Star has files for bankruptcy protection. Now they should be fine, but their parent company Atrium is having problems
North Star Manufacturing (London) Limited.
Court File Number:
Court and Judicial District:
Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List), Ontario
OSB File Number:
January 20, 2010
Monitor's web page for the proceedings*:
Atrium Companies, the Dallas-based firm that bills itself as North America's biggest manufacturer of residential vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors, announced yesterday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors as part of a restructuring agreement with more than two-thirds of its secured lenders.
"Atrium intends to move forward with the restructuring on an expeditious basis and complete the restructuring process in approximately three to four months," the company said in a news release. The restructuring includes a $125 million investment from Kenner & Co., Atrium's current majority equity owner, and co-investor Golden Gate Capital. In return, Kenner and Golden Gate will get equity in a reorganized Atrium as well as refinancing of the senior debt obligations that they hold.
Atrium has secured $40 million in debtor-in-possession financing, which should, when combined with ongoing cash flow and existing cash, provide liquidity for its operations, the company said.
"Atrium and each of its subsidiaries intend to operate as usual during the debt restructuring process, and existing management will remain in place," it said. "The company expects to deliver on all commitments to customers and honor all warranties in the normal course. The company does not anticipate any layoffs or facility closings as a result of the debt restructuring and plans to continue to pay all employee wages and benefits in the normal and ordinary course. Suppliers will be paid under normal terms for goods and services provided after the filing date of Jan. 20. In addition, and subject to its approval, the Plan provides for the payment in full in cash of all valid claims for goods and services provided to the company before the filing, during which time the Company has remained current on all of its trade-related payment obligations."
Atrium's current management team is expected to remain in place.
"The balance sheet restructuring announced today will substantially reduce our outstanding debt and put Atrium in a much stronger financial position to grow our business over the long term," said Gregory T. Faherty, Atrium's president and CEO. "We have already done the hard work of lowering our cost structure and reducing excess capacity in light of the difficult environment under which we have been operating for more than three years. And, we are already experiencing the positive impact of these initiatives through increased profitability. Now, as part of the restructuring announced today, we will put in place a healthier capital structure that is more appropriate to the current size of the market, while freeing up additional cash that can be invested in future growth as the housing market rebounds. Once our balance sheet is right-sized, Atrium will be more competitive than ever."
Atrium's major brands are Atrium, Safe Harbor, HR Windows, Danvid Windows and Doors, Thermal Industries, Superior Windows and Doors, Champion Window, Darby Doors, and North Star Vinyl Windows and Doors. North Star Manufacturing (London) Limited.
Jan 27th, 2010 12:41 PM #2221
Jan 27th, 2010 03:32 PM #2222
- Join Date
- Nov 23rd, 2009
Jan 27th, 2010 04:26 PM #2223
I can appreciate that you haven't had many issues in 20 years but that doesn't automatically mean that what you sell is the best. Also North Star has had a relatively recent redesign that has removed a lot of material from their windows.
You may not have had any complaints regarding air leakage, but the industry air infiltration tests prove that the North Star window leaks a lot more air that others. If you go to the Energy Star web site you can look this up.
North Star = .48 L/S/M squared
Strassburger = .03 L/S/M squared
That's 16x s more air past a North Star window.
Add to this the greater expansion and contraction rate. The Strassburger window will win hands down in a comparison test.
Here are a few things to consider. North Star extrudes from a pellet. This means that the vinyl has already been extruded one time before it is extruded into the window profiles. The main problem with this method is that the additives are slightly evaporated during the second extrusion phase decreasing some of the properties of the vinyl. Many companies do this so that they don't have to store all the different additives, and have the mixing equipment. Another disadvantage is that the extruder (North Star for example) has lost control of the vinyl quality. The big advantage for them is that they only need to inventory the vinyl pellets.
Another thing is that the North Star window has been built with a narrower window sash than most of their competitors. This may offer a narrower mullion when the windows are joined, but the main benefit is for the ER numbers. More glass area means more solar heat gain which goes well with their Hard Coat Low E. The negative is that they are building a weaker window, and if you use U values the window will not perform nearly as well when tested with a soft coat low E
Jan 28th, 2010 09:01 AM #2224
- Join Date
- Mar 2nd, 2005
I googled looking for a unit conversion tool since it appears not all entries on
nrcan use the same units.
Any idea of a good conversion tool for (m3/h/m) and (l/s/m2) ?
Jan 28th, 2010 01:34 PM #2225
- Join Date
- Mar 23rd, 2008
Could someone recommend a good Oran windows dealer/installer? I've come to the conclusion that their windows would give us the best ER value for windows with grills, but I have no idea where to get these windows. The numbers Oran gave to me lead to dealers for which I can find no further information - positive or negative.
Jan 29th, 2010 11:50 PM #2226
- Join Date
- Jan 29th, 2010
Unless otherwise specifically required by the window manufacturer, the following clearances shall apply to
the installation of a window (except when installed into an existing frame):
(a) Except as provided for in Item (e), the width of the rough opening shall
(i) be between 19 mm (3/4 in) and 38 mm (1-1/2 in) greater than the width of the window frame;
(ii) provide a minimum gap of 9.5 mm (3/8 in) and a maximum gap of 19 mm (3/4 in) at each side
of the window. The window shall be centred in the rough opening such that the gap at each
side of the window is the same, i.e., ±3 mm (±1/8 in).
(b) Except as provided for in Items (c) and (e), the height of the rough opening shall
(i) be between 25 mm (1 in) and 44 mm (1-3/4 in) greater than the height of the window frame;
(ii) provide a minimum gap of 12.5 mm (1/2 in) and a maximum gap of 22 mm (7/8 in) at the top
and bottom of the window. The gap at the top of the window may be larger than the gap at
(c) In masonry veneer wood-frame walls, to allow for wall shrinkage, there shall be a
(i) 6 to 12 mm (1/4 to 1/2 in) clearance between the jamb and the masonry;
(ii) minimum 9.5 mm (3/8 in) clearance between the window sill and masonry sill on the first floor;
(iii) minimum 25 mm (1 in) clearance between the window sill and masonry sill on the second floor."
Shouldn't be any more than 2 shims thickness...
Jan 31st, 2010 03:16 PM #2227
- Join Date
- Feb 21st, 2008
Condensation around new windows
I just bought new windows from a company with high rating from HomeStars.com
There seems to be a lot of Condensation happening around all the windows in the house.
Could someone please let me know if this is normal?
I have the humidity let set to 20 on the furnace.
Feb 1st, 2010 11:07 AM #2228
If you had condensation before then it could be a number of things. To reduce condensation not only do you have to have the humidity levels low enough, you also have to have enough airflow. If the windows are covered by blinds, drapes, California shutters this can reduce airflow enough to cause condensation.
Windows never cause condensation as they don't produce water, they only show the conditions. The better the glass (u value, not ER) the higher the humidity you can have before condensation occurs ( soft coat low E is better than hard coat as it has a higher U value). The other factor which can effect the windows resistance to condensation is the type of spacer being used. Non metallic spacers are warmer than metallic ones, which spacer is best all around is another conversation.
There are so many things that can cause and cure this you should have the company that sold you the windows come by and help better explain this as to your homes conditions. Each home is different. It would be best to try and have them come by when the condensation is happening, and to leave the house in the same condition, window covering open or closed etc.
Feb 1st, 2010 11:19 AM #2229
Unfortunately this cannot always be followed in a replacement situation. No one has X ray eyes to see what's in the wall of an existing home, and not to many customers want all their casings removed for installers to look at each and every gap, and then wait for 4-12 weeks for the new windows. Also the minimum clearance of 1" below a second floor window sill and the masonry sill is not needed as the house will have already shrunk. A smaller gap of 1/4" - 3/8" is more than enough.
Feb 1st, 2010 09:25 PM #2230
- Join Date
- Dec 21st, 2009
- vernon bc
Please some advice
We've finally narrowed it down to either Gienow windows or Euroclad Building systems (they use PH Tech extrusions). Can someone give some advice on the quality of both and which one they would chose and why. I've tried to look up the CSA ratings on both, but for some reason they aren't listed. Is there another way to check this without going to that specific website? Both companies say the windows have been CSA A440 tested so i don't know why i'm having trouble with this
Thanks in advance for responding. This forum has been really great for my research. The guy at Gienow couldn't believe how much I knew!!
Feb 2nd, 2010 07:38 AM #2231
I don't see Euroclad on the Energy star site, and neither one of them on the CSA listings. One of the reasons I suspect this being the case is because PH tech had their system tested and Euroclad buys the system off of them and use that excuse.This happens quite frequently in this business. Smaller companies(and I'm not saying Euroclad is) will not have the finances to test their own product. Even though I like the PH tech extrusion I would probably trust someone who has tested the products themselves and stick with Gienow
Feb 2nd, 2010 05:37 PM #2232
- Join Date
- Dec 21st, 2009
- vernon bc
If a product has the best vinyl (ph tech) and the best glass (cardinal), wouldn't that automatically make it a better product than a builder entry window? We are having a euroclad rep come to the house along with our builder. Can you suggest some important questions I might ask? ALso, in a previous email, you were right in saying that their ratings are piggybacked on ph tech. He states that they will have energy star in a month or so. Is there a way for me to verify this?
Again, any information is greatly appreciated!
Feb 2nd, 2010 06:14 PM #2233
this may very well be the case that they will have all the tests done in a month because it does take a while. On the other hand it can easily be a sales pitch. If they are getting the results in a month then ask him what the ratings are... surely the company will know them even though they are not posted on their site.
Your theory about using the best vinyl and the best glass? That's a tough question first of all there are alot more parts than just glass and vinyl. If I went to the Mercedes dealership and bought all the parts to make my new car I doubt it would turn out as good as the ones coming from a state of the art plant in Germany
Feb 2nd, 2010 10:34 PM #2234
- Join Date
- Dec 21st, 2009
- vernon bc
I did get the CSA results from euroclad, but not the energy star U factor, SHGC, and ER.
They are as follows:
Casements: A3 B7 C5 F20
Fixed/Picture: B7 C5 (note:no air filtration or fixed entry rating as fixed)
Patio Slider: A3 B4 C3 F5
To compare with Gienow
Casements: A3 B7 C5 U-1.10 SHGC .16 ER 25
Fixed/Picture: B7 C4 U-.95 SHGC .20 ER 31
Patio Slider A3 B2 C3 no data
So I guess I should be asking how they put their product together? etc. Could you tell me what specific things I might look for when the euroclad rep comes. Or things to be weary of?
Feb 3rd, 2010 08:59 AM #2235
ask them what hardware they use. Some are made in China and some is made in Canada/US. Do they wet glaze or dry glaze, in other words do they use silicone or some kind of caulking when they are inserting the glass. Who is their glass supplier or do they make their own glass units. Cardinal is the manufacturer of glass but if they use 30 year old equipment to put it together chances are you will have problems. Ask if you can see their manufacturing facility, if it's a solid company they will probably let you have some kind peek at it. I suspect they are a smaller operation who buys their extrusion, glass and everything else and slaps it together, depending on their welding machinery even with the PH tech extrusion those welds can come apart fairly quickly. Warranty is another good one: we always knock Home Depots and Rona's of this world but their exchange policies are great, I think we have all returned something there at one point or another, the smaller guys just want your $$$ and run