Milgard’s Consumer Brand Manager Jeremiah Noneman Discusses Replacement Window Quality
Founded in the Pacific Northwest in 1958, Milgard has evolved from a family-owned glass company to one of the nation’s largest and most reputable window and glass door producers. Its emphasis on hiring the best employees, producing excellent products and superior customer service is evident from its industry-leading Full Lifetime Warranty.
Vertical integration has been a key component to Milgard’s success, enabling them to conduct their own research and development while manufacturing each and every window line under the Milgard name. From making frames to tempering glass, the company produces most of its own components and ensures strict quality controls from start to finish.
For the latest in our Interview Series, we spoke with Milgard’s Consumer Brand Manager Jeremiah Noneman who gave us an inside look at what sets Milgard apart from their competition.
RW4D: Milgard consistently develops new technologies and window options. Among its recent additions, the Essence Series window line combines the best of traditional wood with the latest in fiberglass innovation. Tell us a little about these windows and the benefits of fiberglass to an all-wood window.
JN: Inside, Essence windows are a natural, solid wood. Outside, they have a strong fiberglass exterior that won’t rot or warp like ordinary wood-only windows. This exceptional durability is why Milgard can offer something you simply won’t find in other wood windows: a Full Lifetime Warranty with Glass Breakage Coverage, parts and labor included.
When we set out to create a wood window, good wasn’t good enough. We started from scratch and re-thought just about everything. Essence window interiors have many new features, such as our double hung window tilt latch with recessed release on our double hung and glider windows. This new feature gives the window a sleek, clean look and makes the window easy to tilt open for convenient cleaning. Our fiberglass exterior provides excellent resistant to water, cold, heat, insects, salt air and ultraviolet rays, which make our windows last longer and require very little maintenance.
Coordination and consistency are important in a well designed home. Essence windows and doors are available in 15 exterior window colors and solid wood interior options include Pine, Primed Wood, and Clear Vertical Douglas Fir. I’m only scratching the surface; there are so many advantages to the new Essence Series windows and doors. For more information, I’d recommend homeowners visit the Essence Series section of our website.
RWFD: For home owners that prefer vinyl windows, there is no shortage of offerings as more Americans choose vinyl than any other material. How can consumers determine the quality of the vinyl itself and its long-term performance?
JN: Not all vinyl windows are equal. The key “ingredients” that make up the vinyl frame for a window can vary greatly among manufactures. Each additive to a company’s vinyl “recipe” helps determine the long-term characteristics of the final product, including its impact resistance and how it handles the summer heat and winter chill. At Milgard, we understand the impact our vinyl compounds have on our window products over time. That’s why we choose only quality materials at optimal levels. We use a precise level of ultraviolet barriers that make sure your vinyl will continue to look and perform beautifully over time. We own and operate one of the most advanced vinyl extrusion facilities in North America and have all of this technology, talent and equipment in house. As a result, we have complete control over quality and testing, with minimal lead times.
One result of our precise extrusion equipment is a smooth, stable surface area. This smooth finish goes well beyond a window that looks better. Less smooth surfaces can trap small particles of dirt, grease and dust in its “valleys”. They can also have nearly twice the surface area of smoother frames and absorb nearly twice the heat and damaging ultraviolet light. Smoother surfaces help keep your window frames cleaner and looking newer. It even keeps the surface cooler. In fact, our vinyl profiles exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s stringent requirements for weather resistance, impact resistance and heat reversion.
Vinyl quality isn’t the only thing to look at when selecting a vinyl replacement window. Consumers desire more design flexibility, but still require quality and durability. Milgard Premium Exterior Vinyl Finishes are available in four new colors in addition to our traditional white and tan. Some of our competitors’ paint reflects damaging UV rays, which over time can dull, warp, and crack the paint. Milgard Premium Exterior Vinyl Finishes, on the other hand, are translucent. New coating technology allows UV rays to pass through Milgard paint so that vinyl reflects the UV rays. This preserves the exterior color and finish.
RWFD: Energy efficiency is at the top of everyone’s list today and there are numerous industry ratings which guide home owners to the most efficient replacement windows. These, however, can also be daunting to the unitiated. Taking into account local climate, which ratings make the choice easiest for first-time window shoppers?
JN: ENERGY STAR® provides home owners a simplified system for evaluating what’s important for their local climate. It’s a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its mission is to help us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR has divided the United States into 5 climate zones. Milgard windows can meet ENERGY STAR qualifications in all zones.
In hot climates homeowners want a low solar heat gain coefficient. In cold climates a low U-factor is important. All Milgard dual-pane windows and patio doors come with SunCoat® Low-E glass standard which is a microscopically thin coating applied to one side of the glass that reflects heat from its source in the summer and keeps heat inside in the winter. SunCoat Low-E glass also reduces harmful UV rays by up to 84 percent. We also offer SunCoatMAX® Low-E glass, which provides the best clarity and highest performance all solar Low-E glass products.
RWFD: In addition to climate concerns and energy efficiency, home owners often have other unique needs to take into account. For urban dwellers, exterior noise is an issue to contend with inside the home. What does Milgard offer for these owners who enjoy the city life but not the noise nuisances?
JN: Our Quiet Line™ windows are a great solution if you live near an airport, overlook a busy road, or face any frequent environmental noise. Whether it’s the scream of a fire truck passing by or the drone of a neighbor’s barking dog, the overall comfort of your home is impacted. Understanding sound, and the different ways to control it, is the first step in determining what window solution is right for your home.
Sound transmission occurs whenever there is an air-space. It is important to note that sound reducing systems will be rendered ineffective if air leaks exist around glass, doors, vents, or other areas. Our superior craftsmanship, advanced engineering and high performance glazing option provide some of the highest sound control options available in residential windows.
RWFD: Speaking of options, among Milgard’s offerings is its SmartTouch hardware option. What sets this hardware apart from others on the market?
JN: The functionality and aesthetics of a window’s hardware are important factors when selecting a window. Our exclusive SmartTouch™ lock comes standard on all Tuscany™ Series vinyl replacement windows. We were the first window manufacture to receive the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation and only window manufacturer to receive a 2008 Bronze IDEA award for design. Recognized for the simple easy-to-use, one-touch operation, our patented SmartTouch lock is easy to use for people of all ages. It also offers a clean design, built into the sash rail. The lock profile is essentially flush with the window for a sleek sophisticated look.
RWFD: Good windows installed properly are a long-term investment that should stand the test of time. How does Milgard’s Full Lifetime Warranty distinguish its windows from others and offer peace of mind for consumers?
JN: When you invest in new windows and doors, the warranty is a critical part of the decision process. You'll notice our residential window warranty isn't a "limited warranty" or a "limited lifetime warranty." It's a "Full Lifetime Warranty" for as long as you own and reside in your home. The distinction is that full warranties meet certain federal minimum standards for written warranties on consumer products while limited warranties do not. This means that, under a full warranty, the warrantor must repair or replace the products at no charge to the consumer, and may only refund the purchase price in fulfillment of the warranty when that's what the consumer requests. In contrast, under a limited warranty, the warrantor may charge service costs and fees related to repair or replacement. And even if parts and labor are provided at no charge under the limited warranty, the limited warrantor may reserve the right to refund the purchase price to the consumer in fulfillment of the warranty rather than making the repairs or replacing the products at no charge.
Consumers should look and see if the manufacturer stands behind its products. We stand behind every window and patio door we build. If something covered by our Full Lifetime Warranty needs attention, Milgard's factory-trained technicians go out and make it right- parts and labor included. If a repair is not commercially practical or cannot be made in a timely fashion, we will replace the product at no charge unless you request a refund of the purchase price instead. As an added benefit, if you sell your home, Milgard will automatically extend full warranty coverage for 10 years from the effective date of the original warranty to the successive owners, free of charge.
RWFD: Lastly, where should prospective buyers go to discover the right Milgard windows and options for their needs as well as installation choices?
JN: Our goal is to provide homeowners with a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience. If a homeowner is in the early stages of the shopping process, they can go online and use our Help Me Choose and Help Me Budget tools. These are great for helping the consumer in the earliest planning stages.
A homeowner’s best resource will be utilizing a local Milgard Certified Dealer. Milgard Certified Dealers are trained by Milgard and are ready to help you with every phase of your window selection and installation. Many offer seminars for their customers on energy efficiency in their area. You can be certain they will give you the best possible advice and service to help you with your window and patio door needs. To find a Milgard Certified Dealer near you visit our Dealer Locator.
RWFD: Jeremiah, thanks for taking the time to fill us in on the latest Milgard products and how consumers can make the right window choice for their needs.
JN: Thank you!