Replacement Windows

A place to ask all your replacement window questions
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Replacement Windows

#1 Post by automan2164 »

Good Morning All,

I am writing because I am seeking out input from the masses on replacing the windows on my older home.

It is a raised-ranch prefab built around 1976, and save for some aluminum (Why!?) and casements, the windows are all single pane wood frame with storm. I am looking for a cost-effective replacement that won't break the bank. The house is on 5 acres in rural Illinois by the Wisconsin border. The house is well built, but quirky (7.5' ceilings), so I really don't want to go over the top on windows, but anything would be an improvement. The front of the house faces north with with 7 windows on front, no windows on west, 5 windows on the south, and two windows on the east side. All windows are slider/glider with the exception of 2 3 lite casements with center fixed on the rear of the house. Being rural, we are all electric baseboard heat with a couple mini-splits for A/C. I self regulate rooms in the winter to control electric bills (t-stat in each room).

I had previously replaced windows at a duplex I lived in, and got taken for what felt like a ride by Renewal by Andersen. We have to work out of the Chicagoland office, and I think that really brings the big markups of the city to the country, and it hurts. My cousin got RBA out of WI, and I think his prices were a lot more fair. This time I received quotes from RBA, Window World, and a Marvin Dealer, and confirmed RBA to be massively high. Our local Window Word is veteran owned, with good reviews, and the Marvin Dealer is known good.

RBA was first, pretty standard sales pitch, discounting, the whole shtick. Sign today for discount. I like the idea of the Fibrex (Which is why I just bit down on the last house), but this time I wanted to see what was out there. RBA came in at $24,500.

Marvin was next, he showed up 30 minutes late with no explanation, but was very nice. Explained that he would recommend full frame replacements rather than inserts. His grandfather actually built my pre-fab, was formerly the area rep for Mill-Craft houses back in the day. His price for Marvin full frame was $19,000. He actually spoke on Window World's as being ok for the value, and admitted I could replace my windows twice for the price of his, wouldn't blame me if I went that direction. Very honest guy.

Window World was last, but they made me feel the best. The rep arrived on time, was courteous, and non-pressure. Said he's closed more sales by never following up than if he were to be troublesome. They don't make the glider/sliders windows in their low series, so these were quoted as the foam-filled upgrades. Insert style. They came in at $10,000.

Additionally complicating, one of my coworkers had his Windows done by a SunRise rep. Spoke highly of them, and reading reviews here and there, they seem decent. I looked at his windows, they seem outwardly pretty similar to the WW product, with the same cheap stop latches and such. I read that they have less glass loss, which is a desire of mine.

I would really like to do full-frame replacements as our windows are somewhat small in places and with a nice country view, I want to try and keep as much of it as I can. WW charges an extra $115 per opening for this, which doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

I normally do a ton of research on all of my projects, especially ones like this. I feel like there are so many biased websites and review videos that its tough to get a clean answer. This all brings me here after reading some of the good information shared, figured I would talk out my situation with you all, and round out the data bank before making a decision.

Thank you in advance,

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Replacement Windows

#2 Post by Windows on Washington »

Where on the WI border? If you anywhere in his service area, you gotta give HomeSealed a call if he can do the work. Best guys near the Great Lakes, hands down. You won't find a more building science smart or construction intelligent company out there.

With regards to your questions, if inserts will work (wood out removal), you can't beat that option for minimizing collateral expenses and getting a solid installation.

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Re: Replacement Windows

#3 Post by Randy »

I agree with WoW; HomeSealed runs a first class operation in every respect.

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Re: Replacement Windows

#4 Post by TheWindowNerd »

I too am a Brandon fan.
The $115 for full frame seems dangerously low, It is a $250. add for us. I would want all the specs from them first.
Are the units with or with out fins, is jamb extension factory applied, what is the interior trim package ( picture framed only or with stool). What is the AL test result ( I suggest < .05) for the specific model they are offering. If any are large or heavy do they offer an easy glide option?
Ask for when was the last time they did full frame, how many window? after you get that info ask if you can go look at the workmanship. I would look at the exterior finishing and the interior.
What caulk and window and door foam do they use? I would be nice but firm about all the above.


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Re: Replacement Windows

#5 Post by toddinmn »

We’re all Brandon fans here , If he can’t help I’m sure he’ll guide you the right direction.

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Re: Replacement Windows

#6 Post by automan2164 »

I'll have to give Brandon a call, was kinda hoping he'd stop by here though! 8)

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Re: Replacement Windows

#7 Post by gordon8QB »

Where on the WI border? If you anywhere in his service area, you gotta give HomeSealed a call if he can do the work. Best guys near the Great Lakes, hands down. You won't find a more building science smart or construction intelligent company out there.
I just wonder, how much time would it take to replace 12 windows in the house and in the shed? Sometimes it's about 100 dollars or even more, for one window. Depends on specific materials, isn't it? Talking of which, can you look at this window glass replacement chicago firm? I've heard a lot of positive reviews about it from my friends and some neighbors. Did you hear anything about it? It seems like they do their business pretty long time.
Last edited by gordon8QB on Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Replacement Windows

#8 Post by HomeSealed »

automan2164 wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 10:15 pm I'll have to give Brandon a call, was kinda hoping he'd stop by here though! 8)
Automan, we have sort of an unwritten gentleman's rule around here where we don't comment much or at all when a poster is in our own service area. All of us that contribute regularly do it to help consumers with advice that has as little bias as possible, and we try to avoid that perceived (or real) conflict of interest which would cause one to question the agenda behind the advice. What I will say is this, and years of my commentary and advice will support this, I think that you have some bowls of porridge that are too hot and too cold in those choices, and the best chance for a successful project is finding the one that is just right. Local company with a great reputation and top performing product. "Bargain" type companies are not that. There's a major skilled labor shortage in general and especially in this industry, and companies like that who pay out low-end to installers are not attracting the best guys for obvious reasons. Frankly, that advice is outdated. They've never attracted the BEST guys, but there was a time when they were reliably serviceable. That is a more dangerous proposition these days.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have some very high dollar flashy option(s) that don't really back it up with performance. Thermal (u value, shgc, condensation resistance) and structural (DP, air leakage) performance ratings are something that you should familiarize yourself with and use for comparison. If you like the idea of a composite window but also excellent performance, something like the Starmark Evo or a Canadian sourced fiberglass line would fit the bill. If vinyl is being considered, the aforementioned Sunrise(Restorations), as well as choices from Softlite (Elements) or Okna are top performers regularly recommended among some others.

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