Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

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smgreen
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Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:07 am

Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#1 Post by smgreen » Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:21 am

I've been impressed with the level of discussion on this site and the advice offered by the experts – thanks for taking the time to help many of us with the challenging decision regarding window replacement. Here is my situation keeping in mind our factors for the project in priority order are energy efficiency, viewable area, and cost:

We have a home built in 1979 with Andersen windows (Narrowline I think). They are roughly 36 inches wide and I like the amount of light they bring in the house, all the windows are functional and I've not experienced any draft; however, there is noticeable transfer of hot and cold from the outside to the inside during extreme weather. I'd like to replace all 17 windows with something more efficient with as little loss of light as possible without paying what would amount to a college tuition. We've received a number of quotes and here is my analysis thus far:

Option 1: Replace the existing sashes with more efficient windows using the Andersen conversion kit. This option seems to preserve the most visible area but I can't find any information on the conversion kit efficiency rating. With low E glass it has to be better than what I have but how does it compare to my other options? Next, the cost of the sash replacement is less than an insert window project except I'm doing the labor (materials cost out at about $7K). I'm somewhat handy but having never done a project of this type and given the age of the house I am sure there will be many headaches with this option. If I sub out the install I'm sure the total price will be similar to a vinyl insert.

Option 2: Keep the existing frame and insert vinyl windows. This option seems to remove the most visible area but offer the best energy efficiency, be the most cost effective project, and offer the best warranty. However, I've looked at the samples and I don't know if I'll like the frame within a frame look of the vinyl inserts. If we do go vinyl, what is the best window for the price. We have the following quotes and I'd be interested in your advice:

A. Soft-lite Imperial LS (through BGE) - $9.8K
B. Pela 250 (through Lowes) - $9.1K
C. Simonton 6500 (through HomeDepot) - $12K
D. Prodigy by Unicorp - $10.7K (Can't find much on Prodigy – salesman said it was a local company in MD but small scale has me concerned about warranty service (if required).
E. Mezzo - $9.5K

Option 3: Full frame replacement with a quality wood window. This option is by far the most expensive with less energy efficiency gain than vinyl but it won't have the frame in a frame look. However, at $24K, as a quote from Renewal by Andersen, it is certainly an investment I will need to think on.

Given all this, I'd be interested in an opinion from someone not so close to the project as my wife and I have become. Thank you.

Randy
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Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:26 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#2 Post by Randy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:07 am

1) Conversion kits rarely work out well, and even more so when homeowners attempt the job themselves. I'd leave the job to professionals, and skip the kit.

2) This is the most logical option of the three, and I think you'd be happy with the finished project if you get the right window and a top notch installation. Of the windows you've priced out, the Soft-lite Imperial LS is the best of the bunch, and it's not really even a close comparison. Having said that, I have been extremely disappointed in Soft-lite's handling of warranty issues from their purchase of Gorell Windows and therefore do not recommend them whole-heartedly.

3) If you're willing to splurge, this is a possibility, but not with Renewal by Andersen. There are much better choices out there if you're going to go to this level. RBA is an over-priced, under-performing window.

What I'd recommend is getting in touch with Windows on Washington, a regular pro here who most likely serves your area. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable, he runs a first class company that offers one of the best vinyl windows in the country, and his installation details are second to none.

Delaware Mike
Posts: 709
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:44 am
Location: South Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia area

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#3 Post by Delaware Mike » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:53 am

Can't add too much to Randy recommended as his on spot on with his advice. If WOW services your area their professionals will be able to steer your into the correct decision for your project. The Imperial LS is the best of that bunch. You will lose some visible glass with any insert. I've found great success with the upper tier Sunrise vinyl products when I do retrofit Andersen Narrowline windows. The OKNA 500 would also be a great choice as it's pretty slim lined by nature of design.

If money and complexity of the install was of no concern the entire industry would geared towards full frame replacement when able. I've found what makes or breaks the older Andersen wood frame windows being retrofitted with high-grade inserts is the correct choice of interior stops and correction of the stool cap married with expert exterior cladding to give those old PVC coated wood frames a fresh look.

Delaware Mike
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:44 am
Location: South Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia area

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#4 Post by Delaware Mike » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:49 pm

Well, this is what I get for not having kids. I'm sure they could figure this out in less than 2-minutes. I have 2 galleries of before and after photos of retrofitting Andersen Narrowlines but can't figure out how to link them to this post. I have them on Flickr through Yahoo is someone has any suggestions.

bgbrock
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:05 pm

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#5 Post by bgbrock » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:32 pm

Mike not certain if you can share the images directly from Flickr, but can you download them to your computer and upload them to Photobucket, Snapfish, etc. and share the link once you have uploaded?

You do bring up a point, and begs the question of which I have always had. What prohibits you guys to share more images of the great work you do - before and afters. I believe a "Before and After" picture only forum would be a great opportunity here at Replacement-Windows.com

masterext
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:14 am
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#6 Post by masterext » Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:23 pm

I would also consider contacting " windows on washington". He runs a tight ship and offers a variety of high quality windows. You can search the board for his name and then click his contact button. He is also a very nice guy and one of the most knowledgeable contractors i have met.

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HomeSealed
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee & Madison area

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#7 Post by HomeSealed » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:07 am

The LS is the best performer of that bunch, although I'm not crazy about any of those choices.
I too would highly recommend WoW if you are open to another option. High level of knowledge and quality over there. Great outfit.

TC7900
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: Best option in the MD area for replacment windows?

#8 Post by TC7900 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:53 pm

Soft lite would easily be the best choice hands down.

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