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esk8mw

Any Experience with Kolbe Forgent (Glastra) Windows?

esk8mw
4 years ago

I asked a Kolbe dealer for a quote and got one for their Forgent line, all Glastra (inside and out). Looks to be a new product designed to compete with Marvin Integrity all Ultrex maybe?

I scoured the web for any reviews or other details but have come up totally empty, which seems odd. Can any pros or homeowners speak to quality or anything else?

I'm basically down to this and Integrity (maybe Anderson E Series too). Given the lack of a track record for Kolbe I'm inclined to throw out the quote unless I get some good info otherwise. Any opinions?

Comments (56)

  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    4 years ago

    You might like to view a video showing stress testing of: an all-vinyl frame corner, an all-fiberglass frame corner, a competitor's composite frame corner, and a Glastra frame corner. The strength of Glastra far exceeds that of the others. Review the video here: https://www.kolbewindows.com/product-lines#ForgentSeries

  • esk8mw
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    FWIW I settled on Andersen E Series. Kolbe rep went MIA.

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  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    4 years ago

    esk8mw, would it be possible to personally connect with you? If so, please email marketing@kolbewindows.com. Thank you!

  • Kristin S
    4 years ago

    I’d love to know if any of the other posters went with these windows. I’m looking at these and the Marvin Ultrex. My window guys recommends them highly and is going to price both.

  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    4 years ago

    Kristen S - We're glad you're considering Forgent windows! We'd be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions. Please feel free to reach out to Nick, our Product &
    Market Specialist: nick.pesl@kolbewindows.com

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    4 years ago

    I have not seen a fiberglass composite welded before. I would think the polymer has a high enough plastic content in order to do so. The strength test and impact test are great but a window is never going to see those forces imposed upon it. Are there any air infiltration numbers on these windows?

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    4 years ago

    The cross section looks more typical of a vinyl window then some fiberglass/ composite ones I have seen.

  • Kristin S
    4 years ago

    For anyone looking for this info in the future, we got quotes from both Marvin and Kolbe. Kolbe came in lower for white, but they had a much higher premium for dark windows. Marvin was a 6% increase for dark, whereas Kolbe was 24% higher. As much as we like the look of the Forgent windows, we just can’t justify the higher price for a largely unknown product and are leaning toward Marvin.

  • Mary Essary Hoyer
    4 years ago

    I would check another lumber yard just to be sure (one that doesn't sell Marvin windows). We received a hefty discount on the Kolbe's from "retail" because we are in the Midwest and things are just less expensive here; we didn't get nearly the same discount on doors. When I asked why, it was because the doors came from a local distributor and weren't marked up much, but the Kolbe retail prices were valid for the whole U.S. and probably on the coasts, e.g. there would be little or no discount. The point is that with national brands the end supplier seems to have a lot of discretion on actual price charged. And maybe he wants to push you toward the Marvin. I don't have our original quote, but our total up-charge for bronze exterior and wood interior was 22%. Also, and this may be PR, the claim is that Glastra (invented in Germany) can be welded, but fiberglass (e.g. Marvin) has to be glued/somehow fastened at the corners so the possibility of leakage of low-E gas is larger.

  • millworkman
    4 years ago

    "Also, and this may be PR, the claim is that Glastra (invented in Germany) can be welded, but fiberglass (e.g. Marvin) has to be glued/somehow fastened at the corners so the possibility of leakage of low-E gas is larger."


    Pure PR garbage. They weld the fiberglass corners on the Integrity and if the salesman told you the corner constructon of the sash has an effect on the seal of the insulated glass, that is comletely inacurate. And the gas is argon, the low e is a coating applied to the glass. Not trying to discourage the Glastra windows at all just pointing out the inaccurancies about the Integrity units.

  • Mary Essary Hoyer
    4 years ago

    Well, I know that the gas is Argon in low-E windows, unless it is Krypton. And it makes sense about the corners having little effect on the sealing of the glass itself, which I assume is a sort of gasket.

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    4 years ago

    Instead of using numbers and that don’t matter and no one uses, they could just compare numbers that are commonly used to measure window performance.

  • evagrady
    4 years ago
    We just had Kolbe double hung forgent windows installed in our new addition. The plans called for Marvin but our builder seemed to like these.
    1. The actual glass is smaller than the Marvin by a substantial amount. This is because the center rail is much thicker than other double hung windows
    We were disappointed but we moved on.
    2. Completely opening the windows is another issue. There are these plastic stops ( approximately 41/2 inches long) on both the top and bottom of the window. When the window is completely opened the rails are not able match up. And the actual window opening is 4 1/2 inches smaller. Kolbe recommended taking the stops off. The windows still wouldn’t open. They then suggested fiddling with the mechanism. This was very time consuming, the builder didn’t want to do it. This helped a bit but the windows still do not match up when opened. Ugh
    3. The screens- this should be simple but ...
    We purchased 8 windows and it took the the worker literally 2 hours to install the screens! Now that they are in it should be an easy task for me to reinstall them. But not so. They are too tight and a needle nose plier is needed as well as a little bending of the screen. This I can see will be an issue in the future. We have another call into Kolbe and are looking forward to meeting the representative.

    So would I recommend the Kolbe Forgent? No!!
    They were not inexpensive windows. Run
  • PRO
    toddinmn
    4 years ago

    Did you contact Nick?

  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    evagrady, We're very concerned about your experience with Forgent Series windows, and would like the opportunity to discuss the issues directly with you. Could you please contact our Product & Marketing Specialist, Nick Pesl? nick.pesl@kolbewindows.com

  • Kristin S
    4 years ago

    Yes, toddinmn, I did. He provided some good information about why Kolbe believes their windows are superior to others, but basically confirmed that in the dark colors their windows are more expensive. Given that it's a new product so there isn't a lot of customer information about how they perform (and some of what I am hearing is negative), we're just not willing to take the risk, especially given that the price will be higher than that of the well-regarded, known-quantity Marvin windows. Had there been cost savings it might have been worth trying given Kolbe's excellent reputation.

  • PRO
    Great Plains Pultrusions
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    In response to an earlier person, the Marvin fiberglass windows corners are glued together with a corner key and use a two component adhesive, not welded together like the Forgent series. The Forgent fiberglass series most likely uses a thermoplastic resin from Arkema called Elium. It seems like a nice window, but when you have that many chambers, your sitelines become bulky just like the Andersen 100 series with their Fibrex wood plastic composite material. I still prefer a traditional polyester based pultrusion. It is stronger, you get cleaner corners without weld marks and better site lines.

  • David Newcom
    3 years ago

    Just completing construction on a new home where we've used Kolbe Forgent throughout. We selected the bronze exterior and white interior, and now find out Kolbe doesn't make matching bronze door hardware. Until now we were told the handles provided were "temporary" until the correct ones could be sourced. We now know this is as correct as it's going to get.


    Called the factory to try and determine what they were expecting people to do about this and was told "satin nickel goes pretty good with bronze". The other choices are white, clay, or matte black. Any of these choices will certainly beg the question, "what the hell were you thinking"? As for the interior, the obvious choice of white is only produced in plastic, and in my opinion is very cheap looking and feeling.


    Unless you are prepared to pay to have your door hardware custom powder coated to match, which I am now doing, don't go with bronze frames.

  • Tommy Levanger
    3 years ago

    David, other than the color issues you had with the hardware, are you satisfied with the windows? Did you install any casement windows? If so, what were the largest sizes?


    We are just starting construction on our home near McCall, ID at 5000' and are sifting through all the reasonable window options in the Boise, ID area. The majority of our 27 window package will be 3' x 5'6" casements with a few casements that are 3' x 6' so strength is a major concern. Milgard's Ultra fiberglass line won't make a casement larger than 3' x 5' (2'6" x 6' is possible) presumably due to screw retention at the hinges which is steering me from a true fiberglass product like the Ultra or Marvin Integrity. On the showroom floor the Forgent casement looks and operates like a very nice window. The contemporary exterior profile of the Forgent is the look we are trying to achieve, without the price or maintenance of aluminum clad wood. We are a little hesitant with the 10 year warranty (20 year glass) but looking at the window in person it certainly appears to be a product that will live well passed its warranty without issue. Originally, we spec'd black windows in and out but have pretty much decided that we don't want to deal with the inevitable fading that will occur on our 14 Due South facing windows in the next 10 years. I haven't found any testing data on the acrylic film that Forgent uses for their exterior color application to know how long or where it has been tested. For what it's worth, during a phone conversation with the regional sales rep, he said that the acrylic film should hold up as well as their AAMA 2605 rated painted aluminum clad products which come with a 30 year warranty, nothing in writing of course. It would be a shame if the black acrylic finish heats up enough to distort the Glastra underneath after a couple hot summers of direct exposure. In the fine print of the warranty that would not be a covered defect. So, we are starting to lean back towards a classic white in and out look instead of chasing the trend.


    If you or anyone else has any input I'm all ears.

    Short list of windows still on the list:

    Kolbe Forgent: All Glastra White/IN & Black/OUT

    Kolbe Forgent: All Glastra White/IN & OUT

    Kolbe Forgent: Pine/IN & White Glastra/OUT

    Milgard Trinsic: White (New product, worry about strength in large casements with their slim profile)

    Milgard Tuscany: White (Don't like the classic beveled edges on the exterior)

    Amsco Artisan: White (Very similar to Tuscany)

    Ply-Gem Canada: Design Architect Aluminum Clad vinyl interior and exterior. (Huge drawback, warranty does not cover the product if installed in US. It does have a lifetime warranty in Canada though.)

    Coeur D'Alene: White vinyl 3000 casement

    Jeld-Wen: White vinyl 4500 Casement


    Ruled Out:

    Andersen 100: Brittleness of fibrex in cold climates, more of a handling and install issue from what we here, but for the price, might as well get the Kolbe which looks nicer in my opinion. Also has a 10 year warranty.

    Pella Impervia: Terrible fit and finish in nearly every model home we walked up to.

    Marvin Integrity: Strength of fiberglass in the larger casements has us worried about longterm durability with a heavy sash that will potentially sag.



  • David Newcom
    3 years ago

    Hi Tommy. Our Forgent windows look great. We had some installation issues but other than that we’re happy with them. The largest casement window we have is a 6x6 square. That didn’t seem to cause any concern from anyone.

  • Tommy Levanger
    3 years ago

    Thanks David, what about operable casements? I‘m more concerneced with the hardware and hinges being able to handle the 3’ x 6’ window when it’s opened all the way.

  • Mark Thompson
    3 years ago

    What have people ran into for lead times on the Forgent Series? I just had a window order for my personal home that was three deliveries over 7-9 weeks to get all the windows. Is that typical from what others have found? Seems like quite a longer procurement than other companies even for custom sized windows.. Unfortunate that they can't provide lead times until orders are submitted; I likely would have gone another direction due to this. I'm interested if they aren't running the line continuously and just waiting for orders to fill before they start production so it is extending the lead times - another item that may lead to why there isn't much information or reviews on the window. I've always had good lucky with Kolbe in the past - but this has been a less than ideal lead time...

  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    3 years ago

    Mark, Thank you for reaching out and voicing your concerns. Customer Service is important to us, and we are glad that we were able to talk through the details of your order with you.

  • nexp
    3 years ago

    I recently had a full-house order of Andersen A series delivered. It was delivered 8 weeks after the order submitted in the height of construction (and thus manufacturing) season in one delivery.


    Last fall, we ordered a custom A-series slider in early fall and it was delivered in 4 weeks.


    I doubt they stop and restart the line, that would be highly inefficient. It most likely is that the manufacturer waits to fill a full shipping container before sending the order out. Thus, an order can, once completed, wait for a while before actually leaving the factory.

  • PRO
    East Bay 10
    3 years ago

    Dealers choose to either order out of warehouse (distributor delivers to dealer - higher cost due to additional paperwork and delivery costs) or manufacturer direct (if this is offered). The reason I mention if it is offered is that it usually is only offered to larger/higher volume dealers. Sometimes even the bigger dealers have trouble "filling a truckload" which is a minimum amount allowed for a manufacturer's truck to bring the truck into a dealers dock. This is the primary reason for what may seem like a delay when in most cases it is "seems" like that manufacturer is pretty reliable on lead times. Dealers love to blame the manufacturers which in reality they should have simply either under promised and over delivered or leveled with their customer as to the delay.

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    3 years ago

    I heard there was a shortage of truck drivers.

  • PRO
    East Bay 10
    3 years ago

    As you know, Todd, in this brave new world there seems to be a shortage of competent workers in every industry but construction is a big one (includes our drivers). Hopefully AI and driverless vehicles including delivery trucks are not far away. A lot of logistics (who is going unload etc.) still have to be worked out but I think it is coming.


    I have seen it in the window factories. Lines that used to be manned are now fully automated. Did workers lose their jobs? Not if you were any good. They moved up to jobs that require more "thinking". The fear that robots are going to replace us is not going to happen.


    I do have to chuckle in some cases however. Recently at a box store in their nursery area (not the line of checkout stations), there was a self checkout set up manned by an employee. Isn't that an oxymoron? I think it was more the case of helping those of us not comfortable with self checkout than preserving a job.

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    3 years ago

    I use those self checkouts , usually they have 1 person per 4 registers. They are there for the idiots and when problems arise. I would love to see a driverless semi get into some of the difficult spots and loading docks.

  • PRO
    QWD-VA
    3 years ago

    They arent ready for prime time

  • Matthew Valerio
    2 years ago

    I am also strongly considering Kolbe Forgent windows...but am a little concerned about it being a more obscure window brand in this area. (upstate NY). How are they holding up for people who have gotten them? Would you recommend them?

  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    2 years ago

    Matthew, we would be happy to connect you to a local Kolbe Forgent Series representative to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to email us at marketing@kolbewindows.com with your contact information that we can pass along. Otherwise, here are a couple of case studies from others that have used Forgent in their homes:

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    More of an infomercial than a case study

  • Karen
    last year

    Does anyone have any recent info on Kolbe Forgent windows? Most of what I see online is from when the windows just came out 3 years ago. They are a beautiful window.

    Interested to hear if those of you who installed them are happy with them. Does anyone have the white ones?

  • PRO
    Kolbe Windows & Doors
    last year

    Karen, If you'd like to discuss your window needs, you can enter your zip code on our Where to Buy page to find a local dealer who may have advice as well as well as experience with our products in your local region. Good luck! https://www.kolbewindows.com/where-to-buy

  • Karen
    last year

    Thanks for your offer. I have all of the technical and sales info already. Just interested in homeowners experience. ☺️

  • Mark Thompson
    last year

    Installed them in our new house in 2019/2020. Very happy with the windows, they are very quiet and have performed very well thermally even through a brutal cold winter (Iowa). We upgraded some windows to higher performance units (I don't know if the premium is worth it, but it seemed right at the time). The width/profile of the frame assemblies on some of our larger windows is fairly bulky, but that would be similar with most brands. Being a commercial general contractor I did a thorough analysis with different brands and options wanting to buy value. It was challenging (as you are finding) since the Forgent series was new and there was not much available for real testimonials. I have used Kolbe for years for wood windows and our main lumber yard was happy with the Forgent product and committed to me to stand behind them - they did without hesitation. Good window for us, with white interior and exterior trim it was the right choice. The relatively small premium over what I would say are inferior other brands/lines was a good decision.

  • Karen
    last year

    Mark Thompson, thank you. Did you install double hung or casement windows. We must use screens in Fl and wondered if you like them. If you got their performance divided lights, are they a PITA to keep clean?

  • Mark Thompson
    last year

    We have casement, double hung and fixed windows. The operating and locking mechanisms seem durable.


    We did get screens (just the fiberglass mesh- we may have gone to the ultra view screen (?), I honestly haven't installed in the DH but casements are fine, screen clips in at the inside face of the unit.) I did notice some of our taller casement windows ~70" have a slight gap mid span that the screen frame isn't tight to the window frame).


    Our divided lites are in the air space between panes of glass- which we wanted.





  • Karen
    last year

    Mark Thompson- Thank you! This is all helpful. Did you install Low-E glass? If yes, which version? (270 or 366)? I need to meet a SHGC of .25 or less. I don’t really like the 366 glass due to the green cast. But don’t know if the lighter low E will meet code on 36x72 casements.
    Thanks.

  • Karen
    last year

    FYI-for those bummed about being forced to install Low-E 366 glass to meet SHGC of .25, I received a quote for Kolbe Forgent casement with Solar Low-e (270 I think) in addition to Solar Control Low-E (366). The Solar Control Low-E had a SHGC of .18 and the Solar Control Low-E was .23. Therefore, I can install the less green glass and still meet FLorida energy/building code.

    I was excited by this, but wondering if I am crazy for doing this merely to avoid the green tint. The new build is a 2 car garage, workshop and 1 BR guest house with very infrequent use.

    Your thoughts?

  • oberon476
    last year

    Karen.

    You might want to ask Kolbe about Quad LoE 452 as another option.

    It has a lower SHGC than 366 but it's a neutral gray versus the green of the 366.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    last year

    Definitely something that a "Bully" would say...

  • Karen
    last year

    Oberon- I think the quad six what we call Turtle Glass in Florida and you’re right, it is a nice color but I was thinking it had a pretty low VT. I can ask. Also a steep up charge.

  • Karen
    last year

    Not Six. Just quad low-e.

  • oberon476
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Hi Karen,

    Turtle code requires lass than 45% visible light transmittance so the Quad 452 (52% VT) is actually a bit over the requirement and would need to be paired up with a tinted glass in order to meet the 45%, but since your concern is SHGC not VT, I am including a chart of the SHGC (among other) numbers for Cardinal coatings.

    SHGC is the last number on the right...

    The third column of numbers from the left is the glass visible light transmittance (VLT or VT). VLT is measured as part of an IG unit not just a single coated lite.


    On the far right are glass-only solar heat gain numbers, whereas window SHGC rating is based on the overall size of the window for computation, not just the glass area. A full window SHGC rating will always be lower than the glass only number because it includes sash and frame performance (which is zero) as well.

  • Karen
    last year

    Thanks Oberon.

  • oberon476
    last year
    last modified: last year

    you're welcome, I hope it helps


  • Sharyl Juneau
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Has anybody had experience with the Kolbe Forgent Sliding Glass Doors? Considering using them but looking at Pella also.

  • HU-308956055
    last year

    Yeah, we are planning on using Kolbe Forgent for our windows but the local rep does not recommend the Forgent Multi Slide door so we are looking for door options. Apparently they are challenging to install and customers have not been pleased with their glide/performance etc.. Anyone have first hand experience with Forgent slide doors that they can share? Thanks