Best Transom Windows/Doors?

I am remodeling a craftsman style lake house. I want to do smooth 6 inch Hardiplank around my windows/doors for low maintenance.
My builder suggests Pella windows/doors because of the molding and the 3 molding lines in the transom look I want to go for. I have read negative comments about Pella.
What do you all suggest are good low maintenance and energy efficient windows and doors which would be good for a lake house? I know I don't want wood for sure.
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If the lake house in in a High heat zone Pellas condense easily.CDF factor. Consumer Reports has a good old article you can buy from them it rated 22 makes, it is worth reading. I would recomend a composite or fiberglass frame. Dual or tripple pane. What is your location, because there are 3 types of Low E coatings depending on what SHG- solar heat gain you want. There is alot to glass and frames. Energy Star also has good info. Marvin and Anderson are well made. Hurd has glass options on their site, some are to gain solar energy in winter, some are to keep out solar energy, for high AC areas. Casements seal against wind the best.
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I am in Georgia.
So you recommend fiberglass or composite over steel, vinyl and aluminum?
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If you want the best shop by ratings. There are important performance ratings which measure each area of performance. Each climate has a different need. Im North and on a windy lake and have little sun hitting in my shade, so I picked a window that has little air infiltration in wind, this is a rated test of Air Infiltration. I don`t want wood because of rot and aluminum transfers heat so composite is best for me. For your area where summer heat gain from sun is high you want a Low Solar Heat Gain glass- Shg, there are 2 or3 types of LowE for different climates, I would get the lowest SHG glass. Frames can account for 10-50% of a windows heat transmittance, Aluminum is the worst, Aluminum with a thermal break is better and wood, fiberglass and composites the best. For my area the lowest U value has a verified payback in winter heating.
Shop by U values. U is the inverse of R, so a lower U value means higher overall insulation value.
Your area might not warrant a better frame, I recomended composite for rot and thinking a high heat zone. A Consumer Reports old article, a test of 22 windows, you must pay for, or if your Email is good I can send to you, it is a good read to understanding ratings you need to know before you buy.
Unitl you know Shg. Vlt, U or R value, Cdf, air infiltration, and other ratings you have no way to know or compare one from the other.
"Energy Star" is a good site to learn about windows and what is best. For you area Id pick low Shg as a start, it will keep air conditioning bills down. If windy on a lake, air infiltration is important. If wood rots from the lakes humidity dont go wood. If you pay alot in AC the highest insulating value or a low U value is most important.
Glass and frames are an ever changing improving area since they are the weakest link in a buildings efficiency, None are equal, and any salesman that says "glass is glass" is a liar, throw him out. Hurd offers 2 or 3 glass types, one for south, one for the north, many top companies offer only one type, it is related to the LowE coating used. Go to Hurds site to see their location specific glass. Cardinal might be the company that makes most of the glass for of brands, see what their site offers in new technology. You probably want the lowest Shg. Pellas are poor , [ a rating I didnt know about and regret} on Cdf- condensing factor, but this may not be an issue for you since my house is tight and CDF relates to winters heating and condensation on glass.
Then you have to be sure they are installed Plumb Level and Square, within the manufacturers limits. BEFORE you pay. Or you have Zero warranty from day one. So you thought buying a house was hard!
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