Kolbe windows is a last resort for those who cannot restore their original historic windows and also a good option for replacing a replacement window.
Compared to most window manufacturers, Kolbe Windows (and Marvin Windows), make good quality windows.
However, as good as Kolbe is, no way is this window comparable to an original window.
There are certain models of a wide product line that should only be considered for owners of old homes.
When I first encountered the Kolbe windows website, as with other manufacturers, I was a bit intimidated by all the options. After a few phone calls it made better sense. I narrowed down the options which should only be considered into a chart.
Kolbe Windows Sash Replacement
I did not take into consideration new construction but only replacement windows. When replacing a window, a better option (still as a last resort to keeping the original) is to only replace the window sash. This is referred to as a “Traditional Replacement” according to Kolbe.
In this case you still keep your original historic window casing etc. except for the sash. The drawback of this is that the replacement sash looks like a replacement sash. It’s not like a new sash was made to replace the original. It is a sash unit that is inserted into the original window casing. This results in a lip around the edges, creating a two piece look like the sash and window casing are separate units. When choosing between a Full Replacement and a Sash Replacement, the Sash Replacement is definitely the best choice.
Kolbe Windows Full Replacement
For a full replacement window we will focus on the “Sterling” and “Traditional” window lines. Other window lines are excluded from my review because they are casement, over sized windows, or so bad they are not worth looking at.
The main issue with full replacement windows is the window casing and window sill. An important term you need to know is “Brick Mold”. If they say the window has a brick mold and you have a brick house, that’s good. If you don’t have a brick house that means you will get a narrow trim that should be around a window in a brick house only. It will be much too narrow on a wood house. Instead of a brick mold, you MUST have a Casing. That window casing must be 4.5 inches wide – not 3.5 like they will try to push off on you.
Do NOT forget the window sill. All windows must have a sill and today all window manufacturers try to leave them off. A sill is an important visual base for curb appeal of a window.
When choosing the best window, the part of the window that is sacrificed is the “Blind Stop”. To better understand this you need to understand my window diagram .
I recommend Heirloom Windows . You really should check them out. They not only make a new high performance window to historic proportions but they have some great information about where manufacturers go wrong and how they remedy the problem with their windows.
Best advice when window shopping is to take a photo of your existing window or my window diagram when you go to compare. Before selecting a window you MUST see an actual sample. Remember if you still had your original windows you wouldn’t have to go through this aggravation.