Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

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mehilovich
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:06 pm

Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#1 Post by mehilovich »

Hello! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this and/or provide their advice! I truly appreciate it!

My fiancee and I are in need of replacement windows, and have narrowed it down to two companies. We keep flopping back and forth, and I'm hoping I can get some direction!

Situation: 10 windows (variation of slider, picture and DH windows) and 1 sliding door

Here are the details of the quotes we're deciding between:

Windows plus
  • Soft-Lite Barrington windows w/366 LoE and Soft-Lite Kingsroyal sliding door for $6,500
Some notes on this quote:
  • Windows Plus only uses the Super Spacer w/"neat edge" application using black butyl rubber double seal.
  • Quote for the Soft-Lite Kingsroyal doesn't include premium upgrades like stainless steel dual rollers ($39 upgrade) or "ToeBolt" locking system ($30 upgrade).
  • Windows Plus claims to have a lifetime warranty, however it does require screens to be dropped off for free screen service. A truly lifetime warranty (transferable once), which covers everything from screens, to hardware, to even glass breakage (not included on the Barrington, but included for free to match Windows Direct).
  • Windows Plus is a family-owned private company that's been in Cincinnati since 1982. They're not a franchise and are debt free. They only use their own installers.
Windows Direct
  • Sunrise Essentials windows w/366 LoE and Alside Promenade 6400 sliding door for $6,500
OR
  • Sunrise Essentials windows w/366 LoE and Sunrise sliding door for $7,100
Some notes on this quote:
  • We're told that the Sunrise Essentials includes Cardinal glass and uses the Cardinal XL Edge spacer. I can't find this anywhere on Sunrise's information and it isn't explicitly stated in Windows Direct documentation, but the Salesmen claims this. Not sure if anyone can confirm here, but I plan to reach out to Sunrise to ask directly.
  • The Alside Promenade doesn't rate nearly as well as the Sunrise sliding door, and Windows Direct refuses to match the price from Windows Plus, which includes the Soft-Lite competitor/equivalent.
  • Windows Direct claims they have the best lifetime warranty in the business. No hidden service charges, a truly lifetime warranty (transferable once), which covers everything from screens, to hardware, to even glass breakage.
  • Windows Direct USA is a nationwide company with franchises in Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, etc. They use their own installers, too.
Please let me know if I've forgotten anything important! I'm hoping some of you fine members have experience with Soft-Lite or Sunrise, or even Cardinal XL Edge spacer vs Super Spacer. My main concern with the Super Spacer is the durability over time. Obviously each product bashes the other, claiming that they're better in every way, so it's hard to know what to trust.

For those of you who may be familiar with the Alside Promenade vs Sunrise sliding door, do you think it's worth the $600 upgrade to get foam filling, better bearings, triple locking system, top-hung sliding screen, etc (standard on the Sunrise door)?

Any and all feedback is welcome! Thank you again for your time!

masterext
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Location: Window Pro-Serves All of Northern New Jersey. Bergen, Morris, Union, Essex, Passaic, Sussex Counties

Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#2 Post by masterext »

The soft lite is the better option. Although sunrise make a great priduct, their “ essentials” line is not.
I wouldnt worry about stainless steel rollers unless you live by the coast. Even then, its a very small upcharge. As for screens, most companies do NOT warranty screen mesh. If you have tree’s or anything else close to a screen, a company could literally be replacing screen mesh once a week. I would never base a decision on whether a company will warranty a screen mesh. Windows rarely crack and if the glass does crack, its easy to change out and not expensive at all. Glass breakage is one of those things that sounds good but its rare to crack your glass unless you have gang fights inside your home.lol.
The important aspects of a warranty are life time for seal failure or warping of the frame. That said, you want a good window so you dont need to use the warranty.
Both soft lite and sunrise make much better patio doors than an alside door. I do like a foam filled frame.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#3 Post by HomeSealed »

Chris over at Windows Direct Cincinnati runs a good operation and contributes to the community here as well as others. They would be my recommendation in your area. I'd strongly prefer upgrading to the higher end Sunrise line though on the window, and definitely do the Sunrise door over the Alside.

Your current budget is pretty sparse for this project IMO. Your other commitments are understandable no doubt, however you might consider breaking into phases or looking at financing options to get a product that will serve you better. Windows are a 30+ year investment when done right, its money well spent over the service life of the product.
www.homesealed.com

masterext
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Location: Window Pro-Serves All of Northern New Jersey. Bergen, Morris, Union, Essex, Passaic, Sussex Counties

Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#4 Post by masterext »

I didnt realize that was Chris’s company. He is very knowledgeable and runs a great company. In this case windows direct is a very good option

mehilovich
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:06 pm

Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#5 Post by mehilovich »

Thanks for the input, guys! It sounds like Windows Direct is a good company to go with, except they offer a product at this price point that isn't quite as good as the Soft-Lite Barrington.

It seems that neither of you recommend the Sunrise Essentials, and would choose the Soft-Lite Barrington given the choice between the two. What sets the Barrington apart, to you?

The problem with increasing the budget for the next line up (Sunrise Vanguard or Soft-Lite Elements) is probably going to be another $800-1000. Not to mention that with Windows Direct we'd still have to add the $600 to get the Sunrise sliding door. I'm not saying it's impossible to do, but a decision that we can't take lightly, especially given the state of our current windows and our other financial obligations.

Do either of you have opinions on Super Spacer vs Cardinal XL Edge? That seems to be the main difference between the two products.

WindowsDirectCinci
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#6 Post by WindowsDirectCinci »

Thanks for the vote of confidence masterext and Homesealed. I’m not going to self promote just want to clear up the fact that we are not a franchise or national. Although maybe one day 😁. Locally owned here in Cincinnati with locations in those markets you mentioned. Good luck in your decision
Chris -Owner Windows Direct USA

mehilovich
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#7 Post by mehilovich »

Thanks for clearing that up, Chris! I guess I jumped to that conclusion given Windows Plus's comment on them being family and privately owned which sets them apart combined with "Windows Direct USA" and your multiple locations across this area/region. Regardless, reviews, quality of installation and service are what really matters. There's a reason Lowe's and some of the other bigger providers nearby aren't even on our radar :wink:

I appreciate that you're attentive and active on forums such as these. It seems the other regulars have respect for you, which is promising!

Obviously hoping to get some clarity from the replacement windows community in general, so I'm happy to hear anything that I may have missed or something that helps set you guys apart from the competition! Facts are facts and numbers don't lie - self promotion or not :)

HouseWindows&Siding
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#8 Post by HouseWindows&Siding »

You dont have to go from Essentials to Vanguard. You can go to "Sunrise". Essentials is the low end and then "Sunrise" is a very good window. Then Vanguard is the exact same window as the "sunrise" with foam filled frames standard and I believe a fiberglass reinforced meeting rail. Then you can move up to Sunrise Restorations wich has the tilt tatches built into the lock mechanism making a cleaner looking window without the presence of those unsightly tilt latches.

Delaware Mike
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#9 Post by Delaware Mike »

The Vanguard series also gives the homeowner the lifetime accidental glass breakage warranty which includes screens too over regular Sunrise. Modern "Duo-Tech" style locks with tilts built-in are pretty sleek in deed and generally well received in the market. I wouldn't do so far to refer to the Vanguard's "shark fin" tilts as unsightly, but that's just my opinion.

masterext
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#10 Post by masterext »

Vanguard is a sharp looking window. saying the vanguard is the same as a “ regular sunrise” except it has structural reinforcement and a foam insulated frame is similar to saying a lexus is the same as a toyota but the lexus just has a better engine and the frame is designed better.
the vanguard is made better.

mehilovich
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#11 Post by mehilovich »

HouseWindows&Siding wrote: Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:14 am You dont have to go from Essentials to Vanguard. You can go to "Sunrise". Essentials is the low end and then "Sunrise" is a very good window. Then Vanguard is the exact same window as the "sunrise" with foam filled frames standard and I believe a fiberglass reinforced meeting rail. Then you can move up to Sunrise Restorations wich has the tilt tatches built into the lock mechanism making a cleaner looking window without the presence of those unsightly tilt latches.
Thanks for that information, HouseWindows&Siding. I've seen the "Sunrise" line, but Windows Direct doesn't seem to offer that line, or at least doesn't advertise it. They offer their "Good, Better, Best" of Essentials, Vanguard and Restorations. I can always ask my salesman about it, though! Might allow us to upgrade without breaking the bank.

mehilovich
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#12 Post by mehilovich »

Delaware Mike wrote: Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:49 am The Vanguard series also gives the homeowner the lifetime accidental glass breakage warranty which includes screens too over regular Sunrise. Modern "Duo-Tech" style locks with tilts built-in are pretty sleek in deed and generally well received in the market. I wouldn't do so far to refer to the Vanguard's "shark fin" tilts as unsightly, but that's just my opinion.
Interesting that the Vanguard comes with its own additional warranties. Luckily, though, Windows Direct already has us covered on both, so not a huge selling point for us. The "Duo-Tech" style locks sound really neat, but we honestly don't open our windows often, so that would be more of a selling point should we sell the house - unless I’m missing the other benefits. I'm not sure what exactly the price would be from Windows Direct to upgrade to Vanguard, but I could always ask. Considering they're already $600 above Windows Plus for a comparable quote (direct competitor window and door), my guess is that even the Vanguard would be too far of a jump up, especially if we opted for the $600 upgrade to the Sunrise door.
Last edited by mehilovich on Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

mehilovich
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#13 Post by mehilovich »

masterext wrote: Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:10 pm Vanguard is a sharp looking window. saying the vanguard is the same as a “ regular sunrise” except it has structural reinforcement and a foam insulated frame is similar to saying a lexus is the same as a toyota but the lexus just has a better engine and the frame is designed better.
the vanguard is made better.
All good points, masterext. I'd have to ask my salesman or Sunrise directly re: the "Sunrise line" of windows, but my guess is that they're stainless steel reinforced, same as the Essentials. Not sure how else they'd be an improvement over the Essentials line (perhaps Block and Tackle vs Constant Force, plus a better locking mechanism?), but good point to say that they're not on the same level as the Vanguard. Perhaps that's why Windows Direct doesn't offer (or at least advertise) the "Sunrise" window, because it's not a big enough step up, for the price, in their eyes. Worth asking, though!

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HomeSealed
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#14 Post by HomeSealed »

mehilovich wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:51 pm Thanks for the input, guys! It sounds like Windows Direct is a good company to go with, except they offer a product at this price point that isn't quite as good as the Soft-Lite Barrington.

It seems that neither of you recommend the Sunrise Essentials, and would choose the Soft-Lite Barrington given the choice between the two. What sets the Barrington apart, to you?

The problem with increasing the budget for the next line up (Sunrise Vanguard or Soft-Lite Elements) is probably going to be another $800-1000. Not to mention that with Windows Direct we'd still have to add the $600 to get the Sunrise sliding door. I'm not saying it's impossible to do, but a decision that we can't take lightly, especially given the state of our current windows and our other financial obligations.

Do either of you have opinions on Super Spacer vs Cardinal XL Edge? That seems to be the main difference between the two products.
I apologize for being unclear, but I would not recommend the Barrington. The Elements and LS are the models to choose from the SL lineup IMO, while from Sunrise I personally prefer the Restorations and Vanguard, with the base Sunrise being worthy of consideration as well under the right circumstances. Super spacer and XL Edge are both proven, efficient spacer systems. Each has some minor pros and cons, but I wouldn't base your decision on that, nor would I say that is the only thing separating these choices. The windows themselves are very different.
1) I'd establish a baseline for the window, and personally I'd set that baseline as the standard Sunrise, although again, a Vanguard/SL LS tier would be preferred
2) Look at the installation details and company offering it. A window is only as good as its installation, so this is supremely important as well. Once again, Windows Direct is a proven winner in that regard.
www.homesealed.com

mehilovich
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Re: Comparing Quotes.. Can't decide!

#15 Post by mehilovich »

HomeSealed wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:45 pm
I apologize for being unclear, but I would not recommend the Barrington. The Elements and LS are the models to choose from the SL lineup IMO, while from Sunrise I personally prefer the Restorations and Vanguard, with the base Sunrise being worthy of consideration as well under the right circumstances. Super spacer and XL Edge are both proven, efficient spacer systems. Each has some minor pros and cons, but I wouldn't base your decision on that, nor would I say that is the only thing separating these choices. The windows themselves are very different.
1) I'd establish a baseline for the window, and personally I'd set that baseline as the standard Sunrise, although again, a Vanguard/SL LS tier would be preferred
2) Look at the installation details and company offering it. A window is only as good as its installation, so this is supremely important as well. Once again, Windows Direct is a proven winner in that regard.
Wow! Awesome info, HomeSealed! Thanks for clarifying your suggestions and for helping set some guidelines, baselines and expectations to keep an eye out for.

Windows Direct doesn’t appear to offer the baseline Sunrise line, instead offering their “Good, Better, Best” of Essentials > Vanguard > Restorations. Given your all’s suggestions, I’ve asked for a quote for the Vanguard series, hoping that Windows Direct can at least compete in price at the mid-tier series since they couldn’t match Windows Plus at the Essentials (entry-level) series. I think that’s the only way it makes financial sense to step up from the $6,500 price point (why would we pay $600 more for Sunrise’s premium door only, when we could pay slightly less than $1000 more for Soft-Lite’s premium door AND windows).

If we’re instead comparing Soft-Lite Elements (with Soft-Lite Kingsroyal sliding door) to Sunrise Vanguard (Windows and door), do you give the edge to one or the other? Enough of an edge to justify a price difference? Should I be comparing a different series to the Vanguard?

What are some things to look for when asking for installation details? Both companies use only their own installers, both send their installers for training annually to the window manufacturer, and both custom make the windows within an 1/8th of an inch. Are there questions I should be asking re: methods or materials used? Thanks again for all your guidance and patience with all the questions! As you well know, this is a big investment, and we want to make sure everything is done right and that we’re getting the best product for our money!

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