Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

Ask replacement window questions & get answers!
Message
Author
Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#1 Post by Sirty »

I've been perusing this forum and reading everything I can on the web. Based off most comments here, I've surmised that Sunrise, Okna and Soft-lite are great options; however, the problem for me is the distributors of these windows are all on the north side of Atlanta and don't service my area. I've called a lot of installers in my immediate area and they all use sub-par windows like low end Atrium, Simonton, Alside, etc.

I was able to locate a company called Zen Windows who appear to sell a re-branded Soft-Lite, but the reviews on here are mixed for Zen. I also came across an Atlanta based company called Windowcrafters. They make their own windows (fusion welded seams, Cardinal glass, Duralite spacers) and it sounds like a quality window, but I'm not sure. Hoping someone could look at their site and see how it sounds. windowcraftersinc.com

To give you a better idea, here's my project:
I'm replacing 17 windows in 11 openings in my single story home. A few of the sills have rotted and will need to be replaced, one window I'm replacing with a sliding window and I'm increasing the opening in another, so additional framing will be needed. I've received quotes from both Zen and Windowcrafters.

Zen
All Nirvana double-hung windows. Per quote, this includes:
Foam Filled Frames
Solar LowE / Argon Gas
MagnaSeal Spacer
Fusion Welded Corners
Total: $10,809.00

Windowcrafters
All 900 or 990 Series double-hung windows. Per quote, this includes
No foam fill on frames
Cardinal 366 LoE Glass
Duralite spacer
Fusion Welded Seams
Total: $9,758.24

Based in this information, which would you go with? I'm leaning towards Windowcrafters as I think the line item quote is more transparent and they've been very forthcoming with all questions I asked, but am unsure of some of their installation procedures. For example, the "New white PVC square stop will be installed on the inside to seal to existing window jam." they mentioned in the Installation Services section. I've had windows installed before and don't see why this would need to be used. They also said some of my existing brick molding will be cut to make way for the new windows, but they could cap it all instead.

I've included the quotes in case there's something the experts on here pick up on that I don't know to.

Let me know if additional information is needed. Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Well I tried to upload the quotes as attachments, but I'm not seeing them.

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#2 Post by HomeSealed »

Saying that the reviews here for Zen are "mixed" is a rather rosy interpretation.

On WC, I have to admit that I don't know anything about this company, but if their website is any indication, that's not a good sign. Bunch of broken links and images, etc. From what I could gather, the 900 series is a 2 7/8" jamb depth which is a big red flag (made for low cost new construction) as nearly all windows today are 3 1/4". There is also a link to why "Vynil" (spelling) is a preferred material. Despite references to years of experience, the BBB file shows that it was just opened in 2020. No "about us" page referencing their company history on the website that I could find... Again, I don't know this company, but I can't say that I really see anything at all that would indicate that its a strong choice so far. Did they give you performance ratings perhaps? U value, air infiltration, design pressure?

I'd say trying to find another quote or two on a quality product would be your best, next step. Have you looked into Polaris or Sunrise? ... I might consider Simonton from a reputable, established installation company over your current options if not.

Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#3 Post by Sirty »

Just one of the experts I was hoping to hear from, thank you for your response!

If you think WC's website is bad now, you should've seen it last fall when I first started looking around. Looked like it was built in 1993. Nevertheless, their website is in the process of a makeover from what I've been told. Also, through this re-branding process they've changed their name as well. They used to be known as The Window Factory per the sign on their building or The Window Factory of the South, Inc. per BBB.

I thought I had asked about performance ratings from WC, but am unable to find it in any of my notes or emails. I'll go back and ask about them. The jamb depth for the 990 series is 3 5/8". All of the double-hungs would be 990, but they're quoting 900 series for the half rounds, 3-lite slider and windows in the bathrooms that require tempered glass.

Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#4 Post by Sirty »

Forgot to answer your question about Sunrise and Polaris. Late yesterday evening, I was able to find a small business who deals Sunrise. He normally comes down my way, but can't currently because he's short handed due to COVID and being down an installer. He provided me some names of a couple other Sunrise dealers he knows, so I'm going to call them and see. I have not looked into Polaris at all. I found their website and will call to see if they have dealers in my area. Thanks again!

User avatar
Windows on Washington
Posts: 4774
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#5 Post by Windows on Washington »

Keep us updated on the search.

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#6 Post by HomeSealed »

Sounds like the leads on Sunrise and Polaris are probably worth following.

The 3 5/8" jamb depth mentioned doesn't make much sense. The "pocket" in original wood windows that a new replacment window would fit into is 3 1/4" +/-, a 3 5/8" window wouldn't fit that. That's also much smaller than a normal 2x4 wall assembly which would be 4 9/16" +/-, so I'm thinking that info is not correct. Usually "rebranding" such as this is due to financial failure or some other negative reason, so I'd be cautious about that. Certainly nothing that couldn't be solved by doing a little digging.

As WoW said, keep us updated.

Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#7 Post by Sirty »

Thanks to you both! I received a quote from the small business I mentioned before and he offers two Sunrise window options...a premium line simply called Sunrise and an economical option call Essentials. He quoted me on the premium Sunrise option at $9,600. I'll ask if he has a brochure or some literature on the "premium" option.

I have another company I found who deals in Sunrise, Verde and Windsor coming a week from Monday, so I'll see what they have to offer as well.

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#8 Post by HomeSealed »

I would not consider the Essentials, but the base "Sunrise" is good, and is the basis for the higher end Verde, Vanguard, and Restorations. They each just have different levels of upgrades. I believe that sash reinforcement is optional but not standard in that model, I'd opt for that if its available.

I'd recommend looking deeper into the company installing if you like this option. Good sign that they offer a quality product, but your reference to "small" combined with actually coming in less than two bargain options says dig deeper.

Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#9 Post by Sirty »

I received the quote from the company who deals in Sunrise and it's 50% higher than any other quote I've received. Granted, I asked for one additional window to be replaced because it recently started showing signs of seal failure.
For the standard Sunrise series windows, I was quoted $14,850. How can there be that much differential when one guy is quoting $9,600 for the same windows and all I did was add a picture window? I was expecting a little higher because of the additional window and because the company is larger/has more overhead, but not several thousand higher. I've reached out to every Sunrise dealer in the area I've been able to find and with most not servicing my area, I'm not sure where to go from here.

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#10 Post by HomeSealed »

Sirty wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:27 pm I received the quote from the company who deals in Sunrise and it's 50% higher than any other quote I've received. Granted, I asked for one additional window to be replaced because it recently started showing signs of seal failure.
For the standard Sunrise series windows, I was quoted $14,850. How can there be that much differential when one guy is quoting $9,600 for the same windows and all I did was add a picture window? I was expecting a little higher because of the additional window and because the company is larger/has more overhead, but not several thousand higher. I've reached out to every Sunrise dealer in the area I've been able to find and with most not servicing my area, I'm not sure where to go from here.
So with the additional window, you are now at 18 units (in 12 openings), rotted sills, and an alteration (framing needed to increase an opening)?
If so, $14850 sounds like a very fair price if the company is established and reputable.

As far as the differential, that's because contracting is unique in the fact that there is no barrier to enter, start a business, and call yourself a "professional". Some states have licensing requirements, although most of those are fairly loose. You really don't need to know what you are doing and certainly not know what it takes to run a sustainable business in order to be a contractor. The other guy at $9600 for 17 windows including an alteration and sill replacements would probably fall into that bucket IMO. There CAN be drastic differences in overhead costs etc, but often its that combined with the fact that they don't understand how to properly price their services to stay in business.

masterext
Posts: 1325
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:14 am
Location: Window Pro-Serves All of Northern New Jersey. Bergen, Morris, Union, Essex, Passaic, Sussex Counties

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#11 Post by masterext »

'There CAN be drastic differences in overhead costs etc, but often its that combined with the fact that they don't understand how to properly price their services to stay in business.'

Couldn't of said that better myself. Knowing how to properly bid a job is extremely important and not doing so is why many so-called contractors go out of business so often.
Unfortunately many contractors are great with their hands but complete idiots when it comes to running a business. This is also common in the restaurant business.

Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#12 Post by Sirty »

HomeSealed wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:56 pm So with the additional window, you are now at 18 units (in 12 openings), rotted sills, and an alteration (framing needed to increase an opening)?
If so, $14850 sounds like a very fair price if the company is established and reputable.
Sorry, I failed to mention I decided against the alteration/re-framing in my latest quote. So they're replacing a small 12x32 slider with a 12x32 picture window. No additional framing required. So I'm at 16 units in 12 openings now.

Here's what the quote states as the job:
-Replace 16 metal windows with 14 Sunrise “Sunrise Series” vinyl replacement windows in white.
-No grids
-Capping on 12 straight frame windows (not 2 half round specialty shape windows)
Note:
-Changing triple on back to (1) 3-Light slider
-Changing single hung in laundry room to picture window
-Replace interior bottom piece of wood surround on 2 windows- no paint.
With that in mind, does the price still seem fair?

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#13 Post by HomeSealed »

The quote mentions half rounds. Are there half rounds involved, or are they just stating that they won't trim existing half rounds that aren't being replaced.

I'll say this, the metal window removal is an aspect that wasn't mentioned earlier and that is not an insignificant cost adder in most cases. The half rounds would add a good chunk as well if half rounds are being replaced.

Either way, there is nothing alarming about the price, its in the normal range provided again that this is a reputable, established company. I'd say that you are dealing with a range of "fine" to very good in terms of the value here depending on all of the details (window sizes, half rounds, metal outs, any other factors).
I'll say this, if you don't think the company is trustworthy then move on. If you do like everything that they have to offer on the other hand, there are far worse deals to be had.

Sirty
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 pm

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#14 Post by Sirty »

Yes, there are two 32x16 half rounds that are being replaced as well. They're stating they won't be trimming those out. I'm guessing they don't do that because it's not possible to cap around a circumference? It wasn't mentioned when the rep came out and we talked about half caps, full caps or replacing the brick mould altogether.

You are correct, all but one are the original aluminum windows on the house and most installers have told me they tend to cut them out with a sawzall. So I can see that being quite a task.

Thank you for sharing that the price is reasonable given the conditions and factors. The company appears to be reputable and it's by far, the nicest looking quote I've received meaning the software they use to generate the quote has an easy to understand output. The company is EntryPoint Doors and Windows entrypointatlanta.com. Most of their reviews tend to be for door installs, but they have solid ratings across the board with 4.6/5 on Google, 4.2/5 on Facebook, 4.8/5 on Angieslist and a 4.9/5 on Guild Quality (although I've heard this is a pay to play site).

However, they have a D+ rating on BBB due to "Failure to respond to one complaint filed against business." and "One complaint filed against business that was not resolved." These just so happen to be the only complaints against the business as well, with both being filed over the last 3 months. My personal experience has been ok thus far. While the rep came out as scheduled and communication was timely, the quote was 5 days late from the expectation set and he sent my quote, which included basic personal information, to an email address that wasn't mine. Flaws, not deal breakers, but certainly not happy about either.

BTW, I contacted Sunrise's Director of Marketing to see if he was aware of any other dealers in my area. Oddly enough, he used to live not far me and said the only Sunrise dealers are on the northside of Atlanta. So if I want Sunrise, it appears this company may be my only and "best" option.

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2655
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Window Replacement - South of Atlanta

#15 Post by HomeSealed »

Seems like a pretty good company, without knowing anything other than what can be researched (same as any consumer)they appear to be the type of company that you would want to do business with. I see they won the Dealer of the Year Award in 2019 for Excellence in Customer Service (Window+Door Magazine), that's a high honor. In the interest of full disclosure, our company won that award for excellence in installation in the same year, but I have never met anyone from this company nor do I know anything about them other than research just now. I just wanted to mention that in case you look up their article and notice HomeSealed mentioned as well.

The vast majority of reviews and feedback seems very positive. For a company that does any amount of volume you will run into a customer or two that simply cannot be satisfied no matter what you do, the numbers involved make me think that's probably the case.

From here, I might take your concerns about the sales rep to a member of management if they are enough to give you pause about doing business with them. I'd want to know those things about my reps. You could also ask about the BBB issue, they would probably be willing to offer an explanation. I agree that the fact that their only two complaints are recent is somewhat troubling, but anyone in this industry will tell you that 2020 was a ridiculous year in every way. In March everyone was panicking, by May new sales records were being set, and then by the end of the year (and still), we are all dealing with extensive delays due to high demand and low supply of window parts and building materials.... again, worth exploring what may be going on there, but I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback on all other sources. At worst, I'd say that this company appears to be in a class (or two) above the others that you've considered.

Post Reply