Do Europeans Really Make the Best Windows?

John G. Swanson
August 9, 2010
THE TALK... | Design & Performance

"Do Europeans Really Make the Best Windows?"

Fine Homebuilding asks that question in its latest issue. The article’s not available online, but I had a look at the piece, which pitted seven different European wood window products against five Canadian fiberglass window products, Serious Materials' fiberglass window and Paradigm Window Solutions' vinyl window.

Those choices can be explained somewhat by the author’s focus on "the best" windows for homes in cold climates that are seeking to take advantage of passive heating. Apparently American window makers, even those offering triple-glazing, are at a disadvantage in serving this particular niche because they don't offer high solar gain products. European and Canadian producers do.

Those considerations aside, the patriotic side of me was a bit offended by the lack of more American-made choices in the mix. I was also puzzled by the lack of a Canadian wood window or a European vinyl window, just to mention two of a myriad of other possibilities for “best” window.

The Fine Homebuilding article doesn't really answer its own question, so I thought I would make it our poll question of the week, and see what you folks think. Of course, I want to hear more from you too. Are you in the European, American, or Canadian camp? Do you have different answers depending on different criteria? What are the common perceptions (or misperceptions) about “what is the best” in the market? Email me and let me know what you think. 

As an aside, let me say congratulations to Paradigm, for getting its triple-glazed gas-filled vinyl window compared favorably to some pretty high-priced competition. 

Do Europeans Really Make the Best Windows?


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To answer this question we should define what exactly are we looking for.
1. aspect & durability
2. ease of maintenance
3. insulation efficiency
4. price & functionality
5. etc, etc.

The first European window I "studied" was in Germany 10 years ago.
I was impressed by quality, functionality (very nice mechanical parts) and beauty.
After I expressed my admiration I was told the nicer ones are made in Italy.

So the question is why nobody here in North America is looking at the Europeans?
Is it the pride or they are to hard to make and not enough profit...?

Sorry I don't have an answer yet!

Best regards,


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