Architectural control policy - windows

As the photo above shows, window salespeople don't always give us the best advice. New windows can modernize and brighten up our homes and the community. The wrong windows can do just the opposite. A random collection of different frames and colored windows ages a community. There are many product options out there. Some, unfortunately, are dark and bulk, some don't look good, some don't age well, some are overpriced, and some installations are not serviceable.

It's no secret that most window salespeople are paid by commission. And, there are no readily available third party tools for the typical homeowner to evaluate or compare products and companies.

In 2022, the Architectural Control Committee embarked on a four-month deep-dive into the question of how to best advise owners on window purchases. The committee interviewed LoBT owners, architects, executives from large multi-national window manufacturers, went one two manufacturing plant tours, examined over a dozen product samples, had discussions with six local installers, including past LOBT installers, had discussions with window repair service companies, reviewed published technical studies, and did an inventory of all LOBT window installations. All sources were independent of each other. The committee also looked at 15-20 year old installations of alternate materials to see how they performed.

Community-wide coordination of the hundreds of windows in Lakes of Bent Tree benefits everyone. The architectural control committee can help you evaluate your options and also help you make choices that contribute to the look and value of the community overall.

When considering new windows, please be sure to read the window policy and file an architectural control request. You don't want to make a purchase that you and the community will regret.

Aluminum vs Vinyl

The Lakes of Bent Tree was originally constructed with aluminum window frames, and the replacement window frames over the years have been predominantly aluminum. Aluminum makes up 96% of the 1,800 window frames in the community today. Aluminum is significantly more rigid than vinyl, and because of this aluminum frames can have a narrower, more modern profile. Vinyl is much bulkier and the frames are wider. In a harsh climate like North Texas, aluminum frames (40-year life) last longer than vinyl (15-year life). Aluminum also wears better over time, and it is repairable and paintable. "Thermally broke" aluminum window designs, such as the Tom Young Series 8000, are more energy efficient than basic aluminum windows. Vinyl is heavily promoted in the residential market because the profit margin is higher than aluminum. The vinyl window in the photo above is less than ten years old. It has already deteriorated, and the window to the left of it is starting to show signs of deterioration at the weld points. Note that this vinyl window is installed on top of the existing window trim (rather than behind it). This makes installation cheap for the installer but makes it very difficult to do painting and trim repairs. Vinyl windows are also designed to be installed over top of existing aluminum window frames, thereby depending on the old window and its flashing for air/water leak prevention.

The window to the right shows a bulky vinyl frame. It was installed over the existing window frame and over the wood trim. It has a 5 1/2" wide frame (instead of a 2-inch frame as seen on aluminum windows).

Bronze Glass vs LowE

The photo at the beginning of this article shows clear glass, bronze glass, and green glass (LowE 366). This photo illustrates of the unattractiveness of random different glass installations, and it is also a demonstration of some of the different colors of glass available. And while the bronze and clear colors are reasonably standardized in the industry, there are at least seven different LowE glass colors with differing opacity and differing amounts of blue and green coloration. With 9 color options, it's easy to see how a community could end up with a mishmash as seen in the photo.

Bronze glass was the original glass specified in the community; it is the predominant replacement glass in the community. It is currently 74% of the 3,000 window panes at Lakes of Bent Tree, and it is the recommended replacement glass.

There are many versions of LowE glass on the market. In the more light intense areas in the LoBT community where LowE can be beneficial, Cardinal LowE 270 makes sense when considering all factors. It has the highest performance of LowE without the poor interior visual quality. The Cardinal LowE 270 is in a hue that reasonably blends in with bronze windows and it standardizes the color within the LowE installations (18%) in the community.

LowE 340, 366, and 452 are not particularly desirable glasses. They are known for poor interior visual quality; they are a dark blue-green glass that darkens home interiors and makes living spaces feel more closed in. LowE 340, 366, and 452 provide minimal benefit over Low E 270 in a shaded community with a northeast exposure where solar gain is not a significant issue. The dark blue-green color of LowE 340, 366, and 452 are in stark contrast with 95% of the windows in the community.

Newer technology and advances in spectrally selective absorbing glass will bring better windows with significantly improved interior visual quality (i.e., brighter and without the green-blue color). LowE coating is 40-year-old technology that will eventually have the image of avocado appliances.

Clear glass and LowE 89 and 180 are not desirable because they are lighter than most windows in the community.

Association Window Policy

The Association has a well thought out architectural control policy for the 1,800 window frames (3,000 glass panes) to make it easier for owners to select wisely and in concert with one another. Currently, there is 96% compliance on window frames (aluminum) and 74% on window glass.

The policy takes into consideration the original architectural standards, the update by the 1998 board (Bob Lambery, President), what has been learned in the last 40 years, and a study of the current market and research on emerging technologies.


The replacement window market has three layers; (1) the glass manufacturers and frame parts manufacturers, (2) the window assembly companies, and (3) the window sales companies and the installation contractors...
  1. Manufacturers: At the top of the pyramid is where the research and product design occurs. The glass manufacturers offer many feature options (e.g., windows that let in different amounts of light) with other benefits and trade-offs. There is no "standard glass" or even "standard color" (see samples at the right). The window frame manufacturers offer frame parts ranging from high quality to junk.
  2. Assemblers: Assemblers select a glass from one company and frames from another and build their window. There are hundreds of small companies that set up little factories. They don't do research or test their final products. They just buy parts and assemble them. Some companies have new assembly machines. Some have very old or manual equipment. The assembly quality varies significantly. By looking at it, there is no way to tell a good window from a bad one.
  3. Sellers/installers: The manufacturers generally don't sell windows to the public. Small local window sellers do. Some of these companies consist of salespeople and schedulers. Some sell windows with high markups. Some sell windows with lower markups. The same window can be on the local market at vastly different price points. Many are full commission one-and-done "buyer beware" operations. Most don't install windows. They subcontract to installation contractors, typically a guy, a helper, and a truck.
Buyer beware, this business is notorious for misinformation, overstating/over-promising on product benefits, durability, and warranties.

The window policy is here.


  1. I had submitted a request for having our windows replaced with new back in December or late November on the cma site. We have heard nothing. Did this get lost in the management change over?

    1. We researched the archives and it appears that you submitted a ARC for windows on 12/29/22. CMA never forwarded that information to LoBT. Can you please review the window policy and resend your application to the board. If you have a quote, it would be good to send that. The committee will most interested in the metal frames, the color of the frame and glass (bronze) and the installer. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  2. Who is the recommended window installer? I heard that there was a problem with one of the past installers.

  3. I heard that there was a problem with one of the past installers.

    1. McBains Windows and Doors is likely the contractor you are referring to. It took six months to get an ACR approved. The problem was windows that didn’t meet the fire code, then not wanting to meet the flashing waterproofing requirements of the window policy, and then proposing a window consolidation installation that didn’t meet the building code.


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