Softlite Elements Reviews
January 1st 2011 at 12:25 pm
I recently (October 2010) purchased and installed myself 18 SoftLite Elements Windows that I purchased from Morris Energy Solutions in Cincinnati, Ohio and thought my experiences may be of interest to others. Overall I really like the engineering design of the windows. They seem to really seal well and have some nice design elements that I appreciate (mechanical engineer). However, the manufacturing/quality of them need to be commented on. I brought the following items to the attention of the CEO, Mr. Anderson, as well as the Sales VP, Mr. Irving for their response (I'll get to in a minute). (email to SoftLite)..."[i]Upon my installation of the windows, I found numerous issues that have me questioning the quality of these units. Of the 18 windows: a) One had a spacer that was bowed up beyond the top of the white vinyl frame at the lock. It appears that the black caulk/adhesive used, bulged the spacer making it a noticeable eyesore. b) The service sash supplied to replace the window in “a” above did not seal. Upon further investigation, the middle of the window sash was bowed inward more than an 3/16” inch preventing the side seals from contacting the frame. This was confirmed with a metal straight edge and tape measure. c) Three windows were supplied with black caulk/adhesive chunks “stuck” between the glass and the glazing bead. These are out of reach to remove but extremely visible against the white window. d) Several windows had black caulk/adhesive dripped across the glass. While this could be scrapped off, I don’t find this acceptable of something I newly purchased. e) On two windows, I found screws for the lock to be almost falling out. Obviously, I was able to tighten these but upon doing so, found chunks of plastic from the drilling of the holes prevented the screws from fully seating. f) One screen had broken at the rubber gasket. I can agree that this may have happened during shipment. The screen was repaired by Morris Energy Solutions. g) One screen’s slide lock is broken in that the spring element is non-existent. I can still lock the screen by sliding it over, I just note, that this is not how it was intended. h) Two sashes had incomplete cuts on the handle section resulting in a sharp whisker left on it. A razor blade was used to complete the cut. While I feel some of these are minor, collectively they push the limit of a product that would be deemed “high quality”. Of the 18 windows, almost 50% had some kind of issue/s with them. Just about all of the above should have been caught at the factory and corrected prior to shipping. I am not asking for an apology because in truth, Morris Energy Solutions would deserve it based on all the efforts they made to correct the problems. Even though I was the installer, Mr. Hillebrand and his tech came out to my house a total of 4 times to help with these issues. I appreciated their efforts but ultimately I became frustrated with Soft-Lite’s lack of evidence of quality. Mr. Hillebrand has offered to replace the sash’s with the spacer issue and the black caulk/adhesive chunks. I have tried to be reasonable and accepted his offer only for the bowed spacer. I have installed (where possible) some of the “chunk” windows in locations where they are less likely to be seen. I note that both Soft-Lite’s Mission and Vision Statement are focused on “quality”. I question how these are being implemented prior to shipment of windows given the experiences I had. I have been very pleased with the design engineering of the window. Unfortunately, it’s the quality that prevents me from recommending these windows to neighbors and friends. This becomes unfortunate not only for Soft-Lite, but more importantly Morris Energy Solutions as our neighborhood of over 100 homes is currently active in replacing 20 year old windows. When I investigated Soft-Lite on the Internet, I found very little in the way of reviews. The few I did fine were mostly positive although a couple years old. I am not out to bad mouth Soft-Lite, I only want to share factual experiences of the quality and design that I noted so future potentials buyers can have more information to reflect on which I would have found helpful in making my decision. I would like to give you this opportunity to respond if you so choose before I share my experiences with Soft-Lite on a few web forums."(end of email) While my email was immediately responded to in a positive manner by both Mr. Anderson and Mr. Irving, the promise of sending someone (a rep) from Cleveland never materialized as promised in the timeframe they committed to. I sent pictures to Mr. Irving showing the above noted issues. Since then, it has become apparent that there is no interest in resolving this issue. While this is unfortunate, I do think my experience is worth noting and thus I share it with those interested in SoftLite Windows. I also would share that as a serious DIYer, I can't recommend doing this project yourself. I may have saved a few thousand dollars, but the time required, hassles and cleanup are probably not worth it. Overall, I would rate the design of the windows as an "A", manufacturing/quality as a "D", and followup by SoftLite and Morris Energy Solutions as a "C". Just my two cents. SoftLite & Morris Energy Solutions Customer in Cincinnati OH
Installed by Self installed of
As a serious DIY I found the few thousand dollars saved to not be worthwhile for all the hassle. I would recommend just paying to have them installed.
Spent ~$4500 on 18 windows (self installed)
November 17th 2010 at 10:42 pm
Love the Invisible tilt latches on the locks. Also has the most attractive sash of any window we looked at. Very nice shadow lines around the glass along with a unique Sill Design that is patented by Soft Lite
Installed by Morris Energy Solutions of OH
Very comfortable with crew and workmanship
May 17th 2010 at 8:47 am
I paid thousands of dollars for a casement window with 2 crankouts. It was shipped with screens that are too short. There is a gap of at least an inch where there is no screen. The installer said he must have brought the wrong screens and would go back to get them. It turns out that the manufacturer made the screens too short. They said it would take 10 days to get new screens shipped. Two weeks later, the new screens show up.. 1 inch too big! Now, it will take another 2 weeks to get the new screens. I called the manufacturer and they said they will ship make and ship new screens (again). I complained that I cannot use my windows since I cannot open them. The manufacturer said that there is nothing wrong with the windows, I can see thru them. They said I can open the windows without a full screen, that is OK.
Installed by Budget exteriors. of MN
July 17th 2009 at 2:56 am
The window I replaced was a 58"x58" slider. The seal had broken and there was a lot of water & condensation between the panes. The new window is beautiful. I like that it slides open from both sides. The screen also slides so one screen may be used for both windows. The window is in my east facing kitchen. The low e coating keeps the kitchen very cool in the summer morning. With the old window I had to keep the blinds drawn until the sun had passed overhead. Initially I was unprepared for the loss of glass area with the replacement window. But I quickly became accustomed to it.
Installed by Strong Windows of IL
Dave was extremely knowledgable. He recommeded the Elements window. He was very accuracte when he measured for the window. It only took 3 weeks to get the window. The installers were on time. The were quick & clean. There was only about 1/4" clearance on all sides of the new window when it was set in place. My engineer boyfriend was very impressed with the high quality of the installation.
Before I decided on this window I frequented the replacement windows forums & I read the Consumer Reports article on replacement windows. Then I got bids from three other window companies on Champion, Marvin, and Thermolite Composite windows. I also went to Menard's & got quotes on Jeld-wen & Crestline windows. Although the windows were only $320 & $455 I would still have had to find a good window installer. So would probably have paid the pruchase price of the window to have it installed. Strong Windows quoted the lowest price at $685. I did not choose Strong because they were the lowest. I chose them because I got a high quality window for a bargin price.