Opinions on Windows

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Opinions on Windows

#1 Post by TheWhurm »

Hello! It's that time when a homeowner needs new windows and gets barraged with a lot of information. I'm looking for some opinions on some quotes that I've received, along with a few general questions. For reference, I'm in Michigan. It seems that everyone has a different reason why their windows are the best, and I've started looking at the NFRC website and such to try to sort this all out.

1. What's your opinion on replacing the full frame vs just doing a pocket install? Pocket is cheaper, but leave less space for glass from what I've read. Any other advantages?

2. Blinds within the windows. Seems gimmicky and hard to deal with if/when they break. Anyone have experience here?

3. Labor warranty periods seem to be all over the board. What should I expect in terms of this?

4. Casement vs Sliders. I've read that sliders have more air infiltration than casement. For example (it's dated) Sunrise showed Casement at 0.01 AI and their Sliders at 0.11. I know that's a difference of 0.10, but is that noticeable?
https://www.sunrisewindows.com/wp-conte ... y-2016.pdf

5. Vinyl windows for a place like Michigan? Good or bad?

And now the fun part, the quotes. These are all vinyl. For the whole house:

Pella Lifestyle windows come in at $40k and about $50k for the built-in blinds option. 2 year warranty on labor. This would be a full frame replacement.

Weatherguard did the whole sales pitch (buy now discount, etc). $26k for the project which would be a pocket replacement. They use E366 glass which seems comparable to Pella/Sunrise. They offer lifetime warranty on labor, which is really compelling to me. However, I can't find much information on them. They don't have any products listed on the NFRC website which strikes me as strange (or I'm using the site wrong).

The latest quote is from a company that sells/installs multiple brands of windows, including Pella. For sanity, we had them quote Pella as well as it came back the same as above. However, we really were interested in Sunrise based on a lot of positive feedback I've read online. Sunrise came in at $30k for a full frame replacement job for their Ultra U Plus windows.

I also tried to get Okna out, but they called me back and told me that there are no distributors in my area.

Thanks in advance for your help, this isn't an easy decision.

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Re: Opinions on Windows

#2 Post by toddinmn »

Inserts are often the best option but sometimes not. More info would help.
Not a big fan of blinds between the glass.
Warranties are all about the details and the companies backing them up. If you can Get a lifetime warranty with no hidden or trip charges That is good . I am not A big fan of casements and I could never felt like the difference in air infiltration was noticeable. I preferred the sliders in my old house. To the casements in my new one but I prefer double hungs above all.
You have better options for your area.

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Re: Opinions on Windows

#3 Post by Randy »

1. Inserts are less expensive and less intrusive. If you choose a narrow framed vinyl window, the glass loss will be minimized.

2. Don't like them at all. Too many issues down the road.

3. Two to five years is the norm. Beyond that is a bonus.

4. I prefer casements, though you have to make sure you have room for them to swing out without being a hazard. They are often the exact right height for a child to run into. I doubt you could feel the difference in AL, but keeping the AL below .05 is best.

5. Vinyl is fine for Michigan.

I never recommend Pella. Sunrise is the best of the bunch. You might see if you can locate a Soft-lite dealer who services your area.

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Re: Opinions on Windows

#4 Post by TheWhurm »

Thanks...I was leaning towards taking Pella off the table mainly on price. Part of me wondered if maybe there was a reason they were a superior enough product to warrant $10k more, but it sounds like there is a consensus to stay away from Pella.

I'll check and see if there is a Soft-Lite dealer over in these parts.

Really appreciate your help here. This forum is a great benefit to consumers, I've learned a lot reading other posts.

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Re: Opinions on Windows

#5 Post by HomeSealed »

Great feedback above.
My thoughts:
1) A narrow-lined pocket mitigates glass loss. Full frames are good if you have existing leaking or rotted frames, but most homes are fine to great candidates for pockets

2)Agree with the others. They encroach a bit on the glass area (operating system does) and they can cause issues later. They also require a less efficient glass package due to the type of low e that has to be used. They aren't ALL bad, I'd simply use strategically in units (windows or doors) where it would be really nice to have that feature. I would not get a house full.

3) Longer the better, but most install related problems show up in the first year or two. Its nice to find a Lifetime workmanship warranty, but I would be careful not to place too much weight on that.

4) I like double hungs over casements and sliders, I'd call the other two a wash in my own personal opinion. Casements are tighter, but they have more service issue in my experience. While most folks wouldn't feel the difference in air leakage, some do. If you are the type of person that is going to take a laser thermometer to all areas of your new windows and be alarmed when the sill track of your sliders is cold, then opt for casements.

5)Vinyl can be a great choice for Michigan. I'd opt for something inorganic up here in Northern Zone, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass. Wood looks beautiful but you will sacrifice performance and it isn't very compatible with condensation which can be nearly unavoidable in single digit and lower temps. I'd add that a low air leakage rating and triple pane glass are money well spent up here as well. ROI goes down for krypton gas due to the cost, but triple pane argon is a nice package.
Last edited by HomeSealed on Wed Feb 03, 2021 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Opinions on Windows

#6 Post by TheWindowNerd »

Sorry to be late to the party.
Based on AI/AL casement is better than slider. I would bet money that on a windy day you will feel the difference .10 .
I have a small slider in one of my bathrooms, when the wind is going I can feel the breeze, I no like breeze in the winter.

I do not like most blinds between the glass. Pella probably has the most advanced product with BBG, but their attitude and lack of long term customer support make them less desirable. That along with the cost and rot make vinyl an easy choice.

I am a big fan of full frame compared to insert. The down side are cost and time. The up side are no glass loss or a gain, new interior trim, foam between the window and RO, all rotted wood gone. For us the normally cost differential is $300 per window.


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Re: Opinions on Windows

#7 Post by HoneyDoList »

TheWhurm wrote: Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:12 am
And now the fun part, the quotes. These are all vinyl. For the whole house:
I'm in the same boat as you regarding process. Quotes are always the fun part. Tough to ensure one is comparing apples with apples as the devil is always in the details.

Just curious on how many windows total? Are you replacing any doors?

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