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I'm stumped as to what style of window to pick for my log home (replacement). The current windows are aluminum frame, and are trimmed flush on both sides with wood, so all you see is a very thin strip of aluminum on either side. The current windows are up/down sliders.

It seems like the only replacement these days is vinyl, and every model I've looked at in a showroom has all the trim attached. Is there such a thing as a style of window with no trim? Or just the minimum necessary to drain water out over the wood sill piece?

I suppose I could go to the flashy window dealer in town with a better description of what I want, but I'm hoping to do my on-line research first. I can't seem to find specifically what I'm looking for at any manufacturers web site. The walls are 16 in. thick logs, with wood paneling on the interior adding another inch (it's a compound, not a cabin!). With that, the way the wood trim works, there are 4 pieces of face trim on each side, then the (casing?) on the inside of the window frame flush against the window frame, effectively hiding it. I'm also on a budget here, looking for basic efficiency and ability to hide the frame with basic wood trim, no bling, fancy trim. What model should I research? Will their website include installation instructions, sample pictures of installation?

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You can provide the url to a photo and we'll add it to your post. See the faq for more details. –  BMitch Dec 4 '12 at 2:13
    
Can't help you without a photo. –  GdD Dec 4 '12 at 9:20
    
Can't help you much without seeing the existing window or knowing the name of the manufacturer. Your local lumberyard or millwork dept of one of the box stores may be able to visit your site and identify the window required. I have had good results using Lowe's. My Pro Services rep has visited many of my jobs to assist in take off's, material lists or suggesting specialized products. –  shirlock homes Dec 4 '12 at 11:06
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There are all kinds of window styles available - you have to ask questions rather than just look around the showroom and make assumptions. –  The Evil Greebo Dec 4 '12 at 12:46
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1 Answer

The windows in showrooms probably have trim attached just to look pretty. The only "trim" I've ever seen attached when shipped are the jamb extensions. I would expect any window that is available in custom sizes is available without jamb extensions, certainly without other trim. As Greebo said, ask questions. In a similar vein, websites can be useless, just pretty pictures. It can be hard to find, but sometimes some useful information can be downloaded as pdfs. It's pretty variable.

Vinyl windows are so common because the material is cheap and durable and somewhat energy efficient. It's about the only viable material for those on a budget. Aluminum isn't very energy efficient and wood or wood cored windows are too expensive. At least one company makes a window from a type of fiberglass composite that appears pretty decent and is reasonably priced.

The way I envision your installation, you can use any replacement unit sans extensions. How it gets trimmed at your home is what determines how well "hidden" the outer frame is. Just be sure the weep holes along the outside bottom have a drainage path. The outside face typically has an obvious allowance for a certain reveal, which could probably be covered with careful trim design. The inside face can typically be nearly completely covered by trim if you like.

There's little you can do about how "thick" the inner sash elements ( the part that typically moves ) are. It seems they are all similar size and a fair bit more than old aluminum windows. That they are trying to mimic the proportions of wood windows is the only explanation for the sash size. No, that's cynical, the thicker section yields a stiffer structure to hold the glazing. Yeah, that's the reason.

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