Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

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WindowNoob94
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Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#1 Post by WindowNoob94 »

I need a little help deciding. I got numerous quotes from installers and don't know what to go with. I'd add the specs and Company/Window Manufacturer if possible, I also added some info on my visits at the end. I hope I added decent information, I spent 2 hours double checking the numbers and typed it up once, but was logged out and it ended up getting erased, so I had to re write and recalculate everything, haha.

I need an upgrade to my windows, for convenience only. My 1934 original windows have no drafts and seem to do well, but are a pain to deal with. Most are windows with storm windows on the exterior, so if you want to open the windows, you need to remove the storm windows to get fresh air in the house. You have to go get a ladder to remove them, because my windows are about 12 feet away from the ground on the first floor.
I understand that windows are only as good as the install, so the numbers may be good, but how well would the install be? My house is only worth $64,000, it's a 2100 sq ft brick and it's in a neighborhood that more than likely new windows won't help the resell value if I decide to move 20 years from now, so I can't be spending $20,000 on the windows for a $64K house.

Who to trust? I don't know.

**It seems like every company wants to just wrap deteriorating wood and leave it at that.** "Oh we'll just wrap that and you'll never need to worry about it." It seems like a bad idea, if you're not going to be replacing the wood.

OKNA 500 Deluxe, $732 each.
U Factor, .25
SHGC, .29
Visible Trans, .53

Window World 2000 series, $359 each.
U factor, .27
(No other specs provided)

Window World 4000 series, $833 each.
U factor, .22
(No other specs provided)

Pella 350 Series, $1,200 each.
U Factor: .26
SHGC: .46

Provia, Silver package from installer, $583 each.
U Factor: .29
SHGC: .31
Visible Trans: .56
Condensation Resistance: 56.00

OKNA: This installer only has 5 reviews, but they're all good. I messaged some people that had them installed and couldn't say enough good things about them. 500 Deluxe series is the lowest package I could choose from. I bought 10 windows already for $7329 at $2,000 down and 3.99% financing, the installation went well, but can't be replacing 25 windows at 732 each due to the location of my house (Home value). There was only one misleading thing and one red flag about this installer. He boasted the Air infiltration at .02, which he and his brochure claimed it to be 1000% better than industry standard. Yet when I went online, OKNA changed their brochure to state that it's only 15x better. I brought it up to him, that between the numbers of .1 and .02 is so insignificant, that it wouldn't matter anyways, he ignored me. The installers did great, but my whole house stunk for a month like a stepped on stink bug. I mentioned it, he told me it was the caulking (3 weeks after install.) I mentioned the possibility of the foam not curing right, because they sprayed foam in numerous spots that were fist deep from where the old rope and weighted windows were. Excessive foam causes improper curing. The smell went away though, but it's a red flag to me, because he didn't want to bother checking it out.

Window World: Refused to tell me the brand of their windows, insisted that they make their own, so I couldn't look it up to look at the full spec sheets. I was told that the 2,000 series had lifetime glass breakage, but the contract said otherwise. Only the U factor was given. There's too many mixed bad and good reviews for me to choose them unless someone can say otherwise. A contractor that came into my house and told me I'd be alright to go with them as long as I don't choose the lowest package possible.

Pella: During the visit, I was told that their 350 series, triple pane is so in demand, that's all that they make, despite their advertisements on other series advertised on their website and now Lowes showcasing numerous series. They really pushed for me to go with them, with 15 year financing, yeah no. (They're out of my choices.)

Provia Installer: The install company was the most thorough and really pushed for a sale, despite me only wanting pricing. I managed to get them down to $583 per window from $850 IF I bought 12 windows ($7000 total). With 4 year, 0% financing, which I could pay off well before 4 years. They tried their best for a sale, there was a lot of walking away and coming back with price changes. I ended up ordering TWO 2 lite double sliders, which was a free upgrade from singles, at $610 each, because they couldn't price them at $583 on such a low order. This company stated they had a warehouse and made their own windows, but then pushed their manufacturing to Provia recently.


To me, it looks like the Provia installer would be the best option for price to what I get at $583, combined with a 0% interest rate for 4 years. As mentioned I am having them install 2 lite double slider windows first, before I even considering doing them all at once. Am I making a good decision?

If anyone could add input that may help me decide, negative and positive, I'd appreciate it.
Thanks!

Delaware Mike
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#2 Post by Delaware Mike »

I'm a ProVia and OKNA guy and I've never heard of a "silver" package from ProVia. It must be their version of a rename -private label? I hope it's at least the Aspect series and not ProVia's Ecolite which is not very good. The performance stats on the ProVia look like a window from 2001? I don't like Window World under any circumstance.

The 500dx is a tight window air leakage wise for sure. I'm not sure how your house ended up smelling so bad from an install. Stink bugs as nasty as they are still have some weird organic smell to them, foam and caulk would have a chemical order to them. I can't smell spay foam personally, but that's just me after working in chemical factories in my younger days and having worked with the product for so long. We only utilize interior paintable on our window to trim caulking on the interior like Sherwin Williams Shermax which has no smell at all.

In regards to wood rot, we typically cut out bad wood such as sill corners and bottom brickmold/window casing legs as needed to piece in new wood. However, if it's just little rot to the nose or corner of the exterior of a pitched sill, there is no use spending an hour cutting out the entire sill which is joined with the frame legs. The stool and apron are also fastened to this interior trim wise. Messing with that may also require some trim to wall painting after the installers leave in that case. We just take those cordless multi-tools just like a dentist would use on a small cavity on a molar and take out the soft stuff down to good wood and replace with foam. Once the capping is done correctly and sealed, no water should be getting to that area if the capping is correctly performed. Only the very back porting of the wood sill as it meets the stool has a weight bearing aspect of the weight of the replacement window (DH pocket typical install). That area gets shimmed up as needed to square and level window and sash reveals then three factory 2.50" to 3" screws through the side jambs secure it, thus no face nosing sill rot has any bearing on the window install.

WindowNoob94
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#3 Post by WindowNoob94 »

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.

It's just their branding, they have an Eco package, which I bet is even worse. I bet their ProVia Aspect is their "Gold" package, if they're selling the Eco for $973 "retail", then dropping it down to $850, then $583 after an hour and a half of negotiation, imagine how much they're selling the Gold/Aspect for.

I noticed on my contract form, it has the code 3402, the ProVia Ecolite code is 402. The performance is identical.

I guess for a few points off each rating at the expense of saving $175 per window, wouldn't be that terrible, do you think?

To compare:
OKNA: U Factor: .25, SHGC: .29, Visible Trans: .53, Air Leakage: .3 Air Infiltration: .02 Condensation: 62
EcoLite: U Fact: .29, SHGC .31, Visible trans: .56 Air Leakage: .3 Air Infiltration: .13 Condensation: 56

Both are made of uPVC.

I'm going to be adding thick vinyl window blinds, along with around a quarter inch light blocking curtains behind the majority of windows anyways, which would probably help a ton.

Would you say even though the EcoLite isn't a very good window, it's a good compromise between the OKNA and Window World windows, performance, build and price wise? There are literally no more options besides all the window companies that I've listed.

The smell only started when the weather started to heat up, but would disappear after it got cold again. The window installation was the only thing that changed, so I figured the new materials would off gas. I've read the the top 5 things that go wrong with foam is improper curing, which leads to temporary or permanent off gas, which smells terrible. I thought I was going nuts, so did the window company, but a friend of mine confirmed the smell. It stunk from my bedroom the whole ways across the upstairs, (20 feet or so.)

This is probably my fault for not having it put into the contract notes, but my OKNA installer told me that all repairs are added into the cost, window seal, frame, etc. Then when I asked about it after the installation, because I noticed the seal was the same wood that was kinda falling apart, but solid. I was just told to throw some Bondo over it and paint it. So I figured if they were going to wrap it, they would have left it as is. :roll:

**IF you notice sorry about all the edits. everytime I type things out, the forum times out and signs me out and I lose everything I type up.

Delaware Mike
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#4 Post by Delaware Mike »

That Ecolite isn't remotely close in quality and engineering design to the OKNA 500 series. Night and day. I've only installed them once to a non-conditioned garage accompanying some ProVia doors and was very disappointed with them. Window World are mostly franchises with MI/Alside window products built and designed upon low price with very low paid subcontractors. That's not a good mix.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#5 Post by Windows on Washington »

Provia makes a good door, but I am less impressed with their windows. The Okna 500 is a well documented and known commodity.

masterext
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#6 Post by masterext »

Not sure what area of PA you are in but one of the best installers in PA , “the window nerd”, may serve your area.
Awesome guy and as honest and professional as the day is long.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#7 Post by HomeSealed »

The Okna option here is the only choice worth considering. If you could get the upper level provia models at significant savings it would at least be worth considering, but I suspect that the price of those will be more in line with the Okna. That price is very good, and despite what sounds like a few minor things, you have already had success with that company and product. That can be worth its weight in gold in an industry where it can be a crapshoot.

The air infiltration stats don't conflict, its the difference between stating that something is X times better and Y percent better. The installing company is actually understating the difference in comparison to the brochure, not the opposite. Its possible that they use a different reference point for an "average window" based on the products available in your specific market which is not unreasonable. I should also add that the difference from .1 to .02 in air infiltration ratings is profound. There was a time that I questioned that as well, but years of experience with windows in both categories has proven otherwise. .3 AI is awful. The <.3 that you see on the NFRC label is not the actual rating, only a minimum threshold that the NFRC adds to their label. If you were to opt for the other option, I'm confident that you will notice that difference yourself and ultimately regret it.

On the foam, I'd have to agree with the other pros, that doesn't sound like a likely source for your smell. I ask this in genuine sincerity, but have you eliminated a possibility that a stink bug smell is coming from stink bugs? Perhaps the new windows are simply sealing in that smell where it vented to the exterior previously? ... or if not stinkbugs, likely something else. Only folks with genuine, clinical sensitivities will smell anything from a window install after a few weeks unless the caulk/sealant used on the interior was not correct for that use. Even that will go away after a little while though.

Lastly, from an investment standpoint, I understand where this becomes difficult based on the value of your home. I'm not sure that any replacement window will offer a ton of ROI given your scenario. That said, IF you opt to replace, you at least want to make sure to get something decent that will perform well and last more than 10 years.

WindowNoob94
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#8 Post by WindowNoob94 »

Delaware Mike wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 7:06 am That Ecolite isn't remotely close in quality and engineering design to the OKNA 500 series. Night and day. I've only installed them once to a non-conditioned garage accompanying some ProVia doors and was very disappointed with them. Window World are mostly franchises with MI/Alside window products built and designed upon low price with very low paid subcontractors. That's not a good mix.
I can definitely tell from the Window World windows they're definitely lower quality when I looked up 2 windows from Alside, that are mentioned to be the from the 4000 series at 800+ each.

I'm not fully grasping the structural part of windows since I've never worked with them, how many combinations of 3 and a quarter inch thick uPVC frame can you make if following at least some industry standard of construction? They both have approximately the same chamber sizes and amount of chambers, (slightly different placement of chambers) thickness of uPVC between chambers. Etc. Even the spacer performance is only slightly lacking behind OKNA, which would probably result in the slightly better numbers for Okna. That's not what I'm getting, if everything so close, why is one considered a better build day and night? The numbers on each window aren't too far off from each other.

I'm not arguing to argue, I'm just trying to understand.

Thank you.
Last edited by WindowNoob94 on Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

WindowNoob94
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#9 Post by WindowNoob94 »

HomeSealed wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:53 am The Okna option here is the only choice worth considering. If you could get the upper level provia models at significant savings it would at least be worth considering, but I suspect that the price of those will be more in line with the Okna. That price is very good, and despite what sounds like a few minor things, you have already had success with that company and product. That can be worth its weight in gold in an industry where it can be a crapshoot.

The air infiltration stats don't conflict, its the difference between stating that something is X times better and Y percent better. The installing company is actually understating the difference in comparison to the brochure, not the opposite. Its possible that they use a different reference point for an "average window" based on the products available in your specific market which is not unreasonable. I should also add that the difference from .1 to .02 in air infiltration ratings is profound. There was a time that I questioned that as well, but years of experience with windows in both categories has proven otherwise. .3 AI is awful. The <.3 that you see on the NFRC label is not the actual rating, only a minimum threshold that the NFRC adds to their label. If you were to opt for the other option, I'm confident that you will notice that difference yourself and ultimately regret it.

On the foam, I'd have to agree with the other pros, that doesn't sound like a likely source for your smell. I ask this in genuine sincerity, but have you eliminated a possibility that a stink bug smell is coming from stink bugs? Perhaps the new windows are simply sealing in that smell where it vented to the exterior previously? ... or if not stinkbugs, likely something else. Only folks with genuine, clinical sensitivities will smell anything from a window install after a few weeks unless the caulk/sealant used on the interior was not correct for that use. Even that will go away after a little while though.

Lastly, from an investment standpoint, I understand where this becomes difficult based on the value of your home. I'm not sure that any replacement window will offer a ton of ROI given your scenario. That said, IF you opt to replace, you at least want to make sure to get something decent that will perform well and last more than 10 years.
Statistically it's a huge difference, but is it really when it comes to actually feeling it? The comparison he used when explaining it seems a bit misleading, I should have added this into my post.
This is the Air Infiltration Rating based on (cfm/ft2) cubic feet per minute of air that comes through a product. Many window companies don’t talk very much about this number. In fact, most companies product literature doesn’t even show it. Why? Common sense would indicate that their numbers are not really that good or else they would show it. Imagine if you manufactured a truck that got 50 miles a gallon, wouldn’t you put that in the product literature?
A comparison like that is definitely not comparable and stating it like that seems to exaggerate the difference. Sure, you definitely want to advertise your numbers, but when you say a vehicle is getting 50/mpg when most cars get is around 30 mpg, you're making someone think, huh that's a good explanation, reasoning and a huge difference, 30 mpg to 50 mpg is a massive jump, but going from a window that is .1 to .02 probably isn't. EDIT: Removed something, because for some reason I pulled something out of thin air without thought, haha.

It's almost like Monitor manufacturers advertising their 1 millisecond response time monitors to out sell their 2-3 millisecond response time monitors. 2 to 3 millisecond times are already extremely fast, so once you get to a certain point the lower numbers may be statistically better, but hardly noticeable to not noticeable at all.

That's basically how I'm seeing it.

To add, I'm not seeing a tighter window necessarily better, especially when there's load of them in numerous rooms. You'll end up with a clammy space if there's hardly any source of air flow, even with bad windows I feel like I have to open windows every once in awhile during all seasons. Unless I'm nuts and windows won't impact it too much.
Maybe because I'm younger, I'm just not noticing drafts anyways and I'm walking heatbox, I'm sure I'll feel it when I'm older.

There were no stink bugs, I was there during the installation with the problem window and was hose nosin' around, it was in the middle of winter also, stink bugs don't usually show up around that time of year, because they're too busy dying from the cold, haha.

The installer is a good company, no doubt, it was just the avoidance of my worry about the window. To me that seems like a "shut up to avoid any type of liability". I could be wrong, but I work in Healthcare and despite the praise on the medical field staff for being trusted, the people in it are shadier than you'd think, I project that thought process onto others I guess.

I did mention the smell on my Facebook, a woman commented and stated that her husband installed windows for years and said it could have been the new vinyl, less likely the foam, either way it's gone, so no more complaints for that.

Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#10 Post by HomeSealed »

Stink bugs are less busy dying when it gets cold, and more busy getting into your walls to survive along with asian beetles, house flies, etc.

Regarding the contractors comments, I'd say that his analogy is nearly spot on. Maybe not in terms of dollars saved between 30mpg car vs 50, but I cannot stress enough that YES, it is a difference that can be felt and measured. The number of service calls about "drafts" that we get for windows installed with a .01-.05 AI rating is a small fraction of those received for products in the .1-.2 range. Furthermore, unlike cars (not sure about monitors), window performance ratings are an excellent indicator of quality. The engineering, materials used, manufacturing tolerances, etc all combine to produce performance and quality which very much go hand in hand with very few outliers. The comments about the window frames being chambered vinyl so they must not be that far off is like saying every car has four wheels, seats, and a motor, so they can't be that far off. The fact of the matter is that there are vinyl windows that will look like twisted pretzel with air leaks and seal failures after 10 years, and others that will look brand new after 20+. Quality is a big deal.

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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#11 Post by TheWindowNerd »

The 500 Dx will do a great job for you.
If you can secure your own funds, ie cash or check, you will get a better price.
0% financing always cost more than cash, it is a marketing tool.

wayne theWindowNer.com

WindowNoob94
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#12 Post by WindowNoob94 »

HomeSealed wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 3:49 pm Stink bugs are less busy dying when it gets cold, and more busy getting into your walls to survive along with asian beetles, house flies, etc.

Regarding the contractors comments, I'd say that his analogy is nearly spot on. Maybe not in terms of dollars saved between 30mpg car vs 50, but I cannot stress enough that YES, it is a difference that can be felt and measured. The number of service calls about "drafts" that we get for windows installed with a .01-.05 AI rating is a small fraction of those received for products in the .1-.2 range. Furthermore, unlike cars (not sure about monitors), window performance ratings are an excellent indicator of quality. The engineering, materials used, manufacturing tolerances, etc all combine to produce performance and quality which very much go hand in hand with very few outliers. The comments about the window frames being chambered vinyl so they must not be that far off is like saying every car has four wheels, seats, and a motor, so they can't be that far off. The fact of the matter is that there are vinyl windows that will look like twisted pretzel with air leaks and seal failures after 10 years, and others that will look brand new after 20+. Quality is a big deal.
There weren't any stink bugs around the window and a stink bug definitely doesn't smell up to 20 feet away.

If you get service calls for .1-.2 AI rated windows and if it's due to the AI rating, how are they expecting you to fix that? Is it due to the AI rating or because whoever installed the window didn't properly do it?

According to the Dog, which backs up my statements regarding AI ratings:
Typically it is wise to avoid putting too much weight into statements from folks who are drastically over simplifying things. For example if a salesperson tells you his windows achieve a rating of 0.01 and that everything else is worse and any other window will make your house drafty he’s not telling you the truth.

Remember for vinyl windows anything below 0.05 is pretty darn good any you’ll likely never know the difference. In fact, the National Fenestration Rating Council or NFRC doesn’t even give ratings below 0.10 because they don’t believe the air infiltration measurements are accurate below that point. If the major independent testing body in our industry doesn’t recognize ratings below 0.10 that’s probably a good sign that you don’t need to worry about it below that point.
If the window performance rating is an excellent indicator of quality, then that statement there proves at least part of my point. Provia windows are only off by 5.5% or less regarding performance, so if performance rating is an excellent indicator of quality, they truly aren't far off.

I can't find anything to compare their structural performances. Comparing side by side, they're both uPVC, they both have close to the same amount of chambers and placement at the same width, they're both welded, their spacers are comparable, their performance numbers are differing by a 5.5% or less margin.

I didn't say that due to windows having chambers, they can't be far off. I said their chambers and sizes are approximately the same, OKNA only has maybe 1 chamber more and 2 of the chambers have a foam insert, Which may give the better AI. Both of their chamber placements are near identical, placement may different only by a bit. If the build is close to the same, then they can't be far off.

I'm pretty sure OKNA only sells windows to certified dealers who complete their installation training, which is probably the most important factor in it all. Which is why OKNA has such a superior reputation. Many companies will sell their products to people whether they know how to install or follow manufacturer guildelines to install that specific window properly or not, which in my not so experienced opinion is why these performance numbers may feel so off in the first place, variations of installation.

I mean, buying cars in a certain price range and comparing it to a car that is 20% higher in price is usually still within the same performance tier, some makes will be slightly better, in this case OKNA, but will a 5.5% performance increase along with AI rating being a huge selling point, that isn't recognized by the NFRC justifiable for a 20% increase or whatever increase they decided to charge for that AI number?

From the looks of it, I got a good deal on my OKNA windows at $723 each.

Anyways, I appreciate you commenting back to me. One of the best ways to learn for me is to go back and forth exchanging thoughts. At this point, I recognize that OKNA is superior, but not enough to justify the extra money in my particular situation. But who knows, maybe after these two ProVia orders I'll be able to tell the difference and will switch back to OKNA, we'll see.
Last edited by WindowNoob94 on Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WindowNoob94
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#13 Post by WindowNoob94 »

TheWindowNerd wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:38 pm The 500 Dx will do a great job for you.
If you can secure your own funds, ie cash or check, you will get a better price.
0% financing always cost more than cash, it is a marketing tool.

wayne theWindowNer.com
I agree, cash is always better. A processing fee and the terms of "IF you don't pay this off within this 0% interest time frame, your interest rate back dates to the original loan time." is very crappy, but if it can be paid off before the promotion time ends, then it's not too bad of a deal.

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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#14 Post by WindowNoob94 »

masterext wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:12 am Not sure what area of PA you are in but one of the best installers in PA , “the window nerd”, may serve your area.
Awesome guy and as honest and professional as the day is long.

Eh, the Window Nerd is about 3.5 hours away from me. :(

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HomeSealed
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Re: Deciding window brands and pricing, vinyl Central PA

#15 Post by HomeSealed »

WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm

There weren't any stink bugs around the window and a stink bug definitely doesn't smell up to 20 feet away.
Neither does window foam, but I digress.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm If you get service calls for .1-.2 AI rated windows and if it's due to the AI rating, how are they expecting you to fix that? Is it due to the AI rating or because whoever installed the window didn't properly do it?
It can't be fixed. We do our best to educate folks that intend to purchase those windows about what they should expect. Unfortunately their response is often "well I didn't think it would be this bad, there must be something wrong". We inspect for defects in product and install, sometimes upon request we have a manufacturer rep out to take a look as well. Invariably things are performing as designed.
Regarding the installation, that is a constant here. These are windows installed by my trained and certified installers, not servicing those installed by another company.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm
Typically it is wise to avoid putting too much weight into statements from folks who are drastically over simplifying things. For example if a salesperson tells you his windows achieve a rating of 0.01 and that everything else is worse and any other window will make your house drafty he’s not telling you the truth.

Remember for vinyl windows anything below 0.05 is pretty darn good any you’ll likely never know the difference. In fact, the National Fenestration Rating Council or NFRC doesn’t even give ratings below 0.10 because they don’t believe the air infiltration measurements are accurate below that point. If the major independent testing body in our industry doesn’t recognize ratings below 0.10 that’s probably a good sign that you don’t need to worry about it below that point.
(Paragraph 11,12)
I know and like the Dog. With that said I respectfully disagree with part of his point, and I'd actually reiterate the other. He's correct, anything less than .05 is pretty darn good. (As an aside, the primary window that his company sells is .04 but I digress). Where I deviate from his opinion is regarding the assessment of the NFRC and air infiltration ratings.
1) They don't test them. They test windows thermally, not structurally. There are ASTM structural standards (based on AAMA) that cover things like air infiltration, design pressure, water penetration, and other important structural metrics. Is window DP not important because the NFRC doesn't put it on the label? Of course not. There are cases where a minimum DP is actually required by code.
2) The statements and reasoning as to why you "shouldn't worry about it" under a .10 are baseless conjecture. I'd respond to that with an educated opinion of my own (and which is shared by most pros in the know), which is that the reason for the NFRC putting the Air Infiltration rating on there at all, and with the pass/fail rating of <.3 is because the power brokers in the window industry (think "big 3" manufacturers along with other conglomerates in building materials) have AI ratings that are mediocre generally speaking. They seek to undermine the importance of AI.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm If the window performance rating is an excellent indicator of quality, then that statement there proves at least part of my point. Provia windows are only off by 5.5% or less regarding performance, so if performance rating is an excellent indicator of quality, they truly aren't far off.
I'm afraid that while there is a direct correlation between thermal and structural performance ratings and quality (in the majority of cases), you cannot simply take the percentage difference and ascribe that amount to quaility. Even then, are we talking U value? Air Infiltration? SHGC? CR? DP? These are all important numbers. On the U value in particular, a generally accepted rule of thumb is that .01 improvement in U value = 3% more efficiency, but if you wanted to get down to the nitty gritty you could calculate the average R value of a wall assembly with each based on exact measurements and ratings.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm I can't find anything to compare their structural performances. Comparing side by side, they're both uPVC, they both have close to the same amount of chambers and placement at the same width, they're both welded, their spacers are comparable, their performance numbers are differing by a 5.5% or less margin.
That doesn't account for design, material composition, mil thickness of vinyl, nuances in glass selection, etc. If you are looking for a "strength rating", DP would be it.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm I didn't say that due to windows having chambers, they can't be far off. I said their chambers and sizes are approximately the same, OKNA only has maybe 1 chamber more and 2 of the chambers have a foam insert, Which may give the better AI. Both of their chamber placements are near identical, placement may different only by a bit. If the build is close to the same, then they can't be far off.
Foam in the frame has no impact on AI. It does improve thermal performance.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm I'm pretty sure OKNA only sells windows to certified dealers who complete their installation training, which is probably the most important factor in it all. Which is why OKNA has such a superior reputation. Many companies will sell their products to people whether they know how to install or follow manufacturer guildelines to install that specific window properly or not, which in my not so experienced opinion is why these performance numbers may feel so off in the first place, variations of installation.
There is some truth here in that a quality installation is equally as important as a quality window. If there is a deficiency in either, you are in trouble. With that said, the reputation that Okna and other top choices like Softlite, Sunrise, etc hold is due to simply being a superior product. This reputation is held among professionals that have to install and service the product, not just consumers that see the end result but really don't know why. Frankly, these products probably have better reputation among pros than homeowners (most have never heard of them) which discredits your point on this.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm I mean, buying cars in a certain price range and comparing it to a car that is 20% higher in price is usually still within the same performance tier, some makes will be slightly better, in this case OKNA, but will a 5.5% performance increase along with AI rating being a huge selling point, that isn't recognized by the NFRC justifiable for a 20% increase or whatever increase they decided to charge for that AI number?
Much of this has been answered, but yes. The price premium is completely justified due to a product that is going to perform better, last longer, and maintain said performance better over time.
WindowNoob94 wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm Anyways, I appreciate you commenting back to me. One of the best ways to learn for me is to go back and forth exchanging thoughts. At this point, I recognize that OKNA is superior, but not enough to justify the extra money in my particular situation. But who knows, maybe after these two ProVia orders I'll be able to tell the difference and will switch back to OKNA, we'll see.
All good. I suspect you will see the difference. Maybe not as much on day one, but give it a couple years. With that said, going back to my original commentary, you have a tough spot here based on the value of this home and the cost of windows. I don't think that there is a pro contributor here that would tell you that opting not to replace your windows at all is a terrible choice because of that (assuming that they are at least serviceable condition). What I'd hope to assist with though, and with literally no motivation other than to help, is to give you information to make a well-informed choice.... which I suspect is why you are here.

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