Replacement double hung in MN - sunrise, soft-lite, marvin

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Replacement double hung in MN - sunrise, soft-lite, marvin

#1 Post by bluechrism »

So i have spent the last hour or so reading through lots of post on this forum and i think I have an idea what folks will say, but i also know windows are expensive and i had zero knowledge 2 weeks ago, and 2 weeks of research and 2 hours on this forum makes me no expert.

We live in Minneapolis and have a 1949 house with double-hung 18 windows, most likely all original, single pane, and most rooms have unpainted wood interiors. My wife loves wood and the unpainted wood on the window frames and doorways was certainly a draw. The house isn't ornate or fancy, the wood is mostly fairly plain in truth, but it is still unpainted wood. ON the outside the sashes are painted white and the sills and frames are wrapped in brown aluminum, and we are told the crew that did that did a good job. We do have some wood rot on some sashes, though we are told by the people who have taken a look that the frames are ok, and we can do inserts.

I might post quote comparison in the coming days but I've been trying to get some idea of how to compare window companies, and to be honest, the knowledgeable people on here seem as good a way as any - sure i can get the U and SHGC(?) values, but finding out beyond that seems hard.

We have see RBA, a local wood window installer, and people selling Sunrise and will see Marvin, Walsh (of duluth apparently) and Soft-lite installers tomorrow. I might post quotes in a new thread once i have a few more in.

What I've picked up here seems to be this:
- RBA - nice window but usually more $'s than their really worth.
- Marvin - nice window, but not as efficient/performant as vinyl like sunrise/soft-lite, has benefit for us of having real wood in the Elevate / Wood-Ultrex) collection).
- Sunrise - nice looking window, with decent performance, but not as well made as soft-lite
- Soft-lite - Well made window, with good performance, but perhaps less window viewing area vs sunrise
Am i getting this right? Does this hold true for double hung inserts?

That said, for sunrise and soft-lite, most people seem to be talking about the specific lines towards the top of the ranges Vanguard, Restorations, Elements, imperial elite. I'm not fully sure which product lines compete/are equivalent, and where Marvin would fit in.

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Re: Replacement double hung in MN - sunrise, soft-lite, marvin

#2 Post by HomeSealed »

Your assessment is pretty spot on IMO. The higher end lines of both Sunrise and Softlite are very good and will blow away Marvin, RBA, etc in performance. Okna and Starmark are great as well, not sure if they have dealers in your area yet.

Being in MN, be careful about which glass option you choose, particularly in the Sunrise line. I strongly recommend triple pane up north here, but if you are considering double pane, make sure that you don't opt for their option that has a surface 4 (interior of home side) low e coating. It crushes the condensation resistance and that's an important consideration up here.

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Re: Replacement double hung in MN - sunrise, soft-lite, marvin

#3 Post by Windows on Washington »

Some solid advice from HomeSealed and you have done some research yourself. You assessments were pretty spot on.

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Re: Replacement double hung in MN - sunrise, soft-lite, marvin

#4 Post by bluechrism »

Thanks for the advice and replies.

So by the sound of it, the sunrise installers here are not selling "restorations" or "vanguard" but generally say that you take a sunrise window and add some options for the specific finishes or specific hardware or whatever and you end p with something that the installer can call "restorations" or whatever to get some sort of market exclusivity. Either way, they seemed unaware of Vanguard or restorations per se, despite selling sunrise for a long time. I'm skeptical on this as i've already seen that having re-inforced "fibercore" is mentioned on the restorations website but not on the default sunrise website. I've spoke to 3 sunrise installers now (2 of them also sold other brands - i'm not on a sunrise crusade here).

Anyway here's where we are up to after today:

All 18 windows, wood trim interior on 14, white on rest, white exterior, argon & low e coatings, etc.
  • RBA: 26-30K (while 25% off sale applies)
  • Soflite Imperial Elite: Probably 20-25K based on what salesman said. However, we didn't like this salesman much.
  • Window Store / Walsh (Tundra 600 like, Window store calls it eco-Maxx) 20K
  • Sunrise Ultra U Plus (N2100a) $15,500 (Homesealed, the sunrise coating i think you are referring to would be on the N2210a version)
  • Zen Nirvana (soflite classic) $14,000
  • Local (A Craft) windows wood sash kit (Low E 270, argon filled double pane) $11,500
We haven't yet had a chance to see a Marvin window or had any quotes for those come back, but for Vinyl based it's probably going to be a decision between Soft-lite Classic (Zen Nirvana) and Sunrise, unless the Soft-lite imperial Elite is really worth the 5-10K markup over these choices.

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Re: Replacement double hung in MN - sunrise, soft-lite, marvin

#5 Post by rich55 »

i'm in a similar situation. What windows did you decide on/install? If installed, what are your impressions so far?

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