BetterGrain – Harvey Simulated Wood Grain Finish

By Todd Fratzel on Product Reviews, Windows

BetterGrain™ Review

Harvey Building Products recently introduced their new BetterGrain™ Simulated Wood Grain Finish for Vinyl Windows. The new BetterGrain finish option allows homeowners the ability to choose a maintenance free, energy efficient vinyl window without sacrificing the warm look of a traditional wood window.

I must admit that my first reaction to the mention of a simulated wood grain vinyl window was less than excited. The idea of painting vinyl (which isn’t exactly easy!) and trying to get a decent simulated wood grain on the numerous surfaces of windows seemed like an impossible task to me.

What follows is our experience and thoughts about this new product. Our review included a factory tour of the manufacturing process along with installation of this unique new product.

Recent BetterGrain Window Installation

As we pointed out last April we recently put the BetterGrain finish to the test. Two months ago we installed several Harvey Tribute Windows with the BetterGrain finish. The windows included triple pane glass with a white vinyl exterior and the BetterGrain Red Cedar finish on the inside.

Project Specifics

The house that we selected to install the Tribute windows with BetterGrain finish included a fairly recent addition with Andersen wood windows along with natural wood trim. The idea was to replace the remaining existing windows with a maintenance free, energy efficient vinyl window while maintaining the look of the “wood” windows. Below is an example of one of the existing older windows that needed to be replaced.

Before – Wood

The next photo shows the new Harvey Tribute window with BetterGrain finish. We were not trying to match the old dark color as show above. Remember, we were trying to match the trim from the new addition which is much lighter.

After – BetterGrain

Impressive Results

We were very impressed with the results of the project. Frankly it’s difficult at best to try and show how nice these windows look in photos. In person the results are very impressive and the feel of the old wood windows still exists in the home.

First of all as we mentioned in our earlier article the finish is very durable. The windows were delivered to the job site nicely wrapped and packaged for shipping. None of the surfaces had any scratches or blemishes in the painted finish. It’s really amazing that the painted finish can stand up to the punishment from manufacturing, shipping and installation. I fully expected having to use the touch-up kit to fix scratches but that simply wasn’t necessary.

BetterGrain Finish & Pine Trim

For our project we decided to only apply a urethane finish to the pine trim. We did this because that’s what was done for the new addition and the pine has slightly darkened over time. The BetterGrain samples match the pine trim in the addition almost perfectly so it’s our hope that the new trim will darken a bit over time.

BetterGrain Finish Window with Pine Trim

Regardless, the photos above shows how close the trim and windows already match. Harvey also recommends using stains to perfectly color match the trim to the window which we certainly could have done as well.

Harvey BetterGrain – Exterior In White

As I mentioned earlier these windows were regular white vinyl on the outside. This is something that we wanted as all of the houses windows are white on the outside. If we had used wood windows then obviously they would have needed painting.

Overall Thoughts

Harvey Building Products new BetterGrain finish is an excellent way to get the benefits of maintenance free, energy efficient vinyl windows with the aesthetics of a wood window. These windows will definitely make an impact on the industry and we’ll be offering them to our clients at work on a regular basis.

I’ve been a huge fan of Harvey windows for several years now. For me it’s based on several things including exceptional customer service, competitive pricing and great performance. BetterGrain just gives us another option for homeowners that might not typically choose a vinyl window.

BetterGrain is available in three finishes including: Pine (light), Red Cedar (medium), and Dark Oak (dark). It also features a 10 year warranty on the finish. BetterGrain is available on: Tribute Double Hung, Vinyl Casement, Vinyl Awning, Vinyl Picture Window, Vinyl Rolling Window, Vinyl Designer Shapes, Vinyl Deadlite and Vinyl Patio Doors.

After visiting the manufacturing process and installing these windows in a home recently I’m sold on this new product offering. If you’re looking for the benefits of vinyl windows with the aesthetics of a wood window them give Harvey’s BetterGrain finish a serious look. I was impressed and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as well.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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