They were Kolbe and Kolbe, Inline, and Marvin Integrity Wood Ultrex.
The Ultrex recently came out with a triple pane option to match the other 2 contenders. However its new, pricey and lacking in glass options. Local support and a strong reputation was holding them in however.
Inline, while what appears to be an extremely solid window, great service provided by support when contacted, and with any glass package I was after with the best overall window ratings did not make the cut due to long lead times. We also decided on wood interiors, and while Inline offers that, it was a decent add to the total which put them higher then the others for cosmetics. Truthfully, I would have selected Inline and went with full fiberglass windows had the lead times been less. I was quoted up to 8 weeks. At the time, that was out of the question...however as it sits with the current progress, may have been about right.
So that leaves us with the final decision, Kolbe and Kolbe. Various reasons lead me to these windows. Great reviews caused me to first look into them. After digging into them, I quickly found out that they can do about anything you are after with glass packages, including our custom front door.
The windows are a typical wood aluminum clad window, with the cladding as extruded aluminum and not roll formed like other options (Pella, JeldWen, etc). This gives a much more durable exterior, as well as reduces the chances of sill rot. They feature double seals, high end stainless steel hardware, lots of colors, and about any glass package you want. To top it off, the service from my rep was great, as well as from the local dealer. Now I have not actually seen the windows yet, but they should be arriving to the dealer soon. I may make a trip to Cedar Rapids when they show up to check them out. They are supposed to be arriving this week.
What we ended up going with was all triple pane windows. The down side to aluminum clad is you can not easily hit a u below .30 (Energy Star 3.0 requirement) with dual pane. However the cost difference between triple pane and dual from them was roughly $60-80 per window, so it was not a bank breaker and the comfort will be quite nice (especially out of the 8x7 monster in the dining room). Below is a cut away of the frame. Our windows are a combination of casement and fixed, and a couple awnings too. Only the windows that should open for ventilation, do.
The values on the fixed triple pane are u .17 and SHGC at .49. These vary slightly depending on the size, but are basically there. The casement it bumps up due to additional wood and aluminum and less glass. The u on the casements are around .22 and SHGC .39. These are for south windows. The north windows the SHGC value drops some and the u value drops a point or 2 as well. All windows will be black exteriors.
Here is our front door, sort of. It looks like this, minus the sidelite and is 8' tall. We went with Cape Cod blue for the front door color. Interior is pre primed white as we will probably make it black or something. The glass in the door is similar values, and is frosted as seen below.
A good shot of all Kolbe windows in black. They look fantastic I think.