Architect David Miles selected Marvin windows to maximize views and withstand storms. © Peter Miles 

Ask the Pros: Architecture

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

What guidance can you give homeowners on how to select windows and doors for a waterfront home? 

Selecting exterior doors and windows is an important decision a homeowner has to make, and choosing solely based on price is a recipe for disaster. First, look for a manufacturer with a minimum 20-year track record. If you need a part 15 years from now, you want to be able to call them up and say, “This handle broke.”

Also, check the DP (design pressure) rating and material. We do work in the Outer Banks, where windows have to be rated for hurricane-force winds. We don’t need to meet those codes up here, but if the wind blows at 70 miles per hour during a storm, it’s nice to know your windows are not going to leak.

Not all windows are created equal. Vinyl windows are not the best application for waterfront homes; fiberglass and composite are the minima you should use. Vinyl-clad and aluminum-clad wood are the best choices. —David Miles, AIA, NCARB, The Drawing Board, Annapolis, Maryland.