Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

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Cyclone
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Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#1 Post by Cyclone »

Hello everyone. I’ve got another “help me decide” thread. I searched and haven’t found much about comparing these two, hence why I also have “keep shopping” as an answer.

So far I have gotten two quotes. I’m trying to schedule something with Window World for a quote, but it is three week wait to get an estimate.

Quote 1:
- Private label of Slocomb 643 or 677 window.
I couldn’t determine the difference between these two to see which it correlates to, but they did say Slocomb manufactures the window for them.
- in business 20+ years
- Same installer that did my gutters last year
- They state all employees with no sub-contracting
- Will provide CoI before work begins
- Pricing firm even if things come up during install
- lifetime guarantee (if they were to go OOB, would Slocomb still provide coverage on private label windows?)
- 10% down payment, remainder on completion if pay cash, nothing until completion if I take 0% financing
- Double-hung, double pane
- Ultra Low E glass? based on the performance below
- Good Housekeeping seal
- U-Factor 0.22
- SHGC 0.20
- VT 0.44
- AL less than 0.3
- $1,000/window = $14,000

Quote 2:
- Norandex eXtreme 8000
- in business 20+ years
- Husband and wife team visit, but unsure if they are owners or someone on their team
- States that everybody has 1099 workers, and anyone saying they don’t “subcontract” are playing fast and loose with the term as they will still be 1099 workers. The crew they use works exclusively for and they are “factory trained”.
- They don’t work on commission
- Will provide CoI before work begins
- Pricing firm even if things come up during install
- lifetime guarantee by both the installer and Norandex
- lifetime glass breakage warranty
- 50% deposit and rest on complete if cash, nothing until completion if using their 0% financing
- Double-hung, triple pane
- Low E glass
- Good housekeeping seal
- U-Factor 0.21
- SHGC 0.21
- VT 0.35
- AL less than 0.3
- $750/window = $10,500

I understand that neither manufacturer is top tier, but I’m ok with quality mid-grade. Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

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TheWindowNerd
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Location: SE PA & NJ; DFW/Metroplex

Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#2 Post by TheWindowNerd »

I do not like either window. Nor the company spill from either.
A lot of companies do lie about subs vs employees, but not all. I use the employee model it is easier for QC.
There are good subs, it is hard though to get around they are paid by the piece, the faster they go the more they make.
I am currently managing a sub crew for another contractor, their work though acceptable to the HO, is below my mens standard level quality.
With out knowing all the product specs/takeoff, install specs/takeoff, and site agg, you can find MUCH better windows in the same price range and not be getting a blizzard of snow.

masterext
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Location: Window Pro-Serves All of Northern New Jersey. Bergen, Morris, Union, Essex, Passaic, Sussex Counties

Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#3 Post by masterext »

The slocomb is a decent window and will definitely be better than anything you see from window world.

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Randy
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#4 Post by Randy »

The issue of employee installers vs. sub-contracted installers is over-hyped, generally by contractors who need a talking point. The fact is, you can get great installations from either, and you can get hack installations from either. Quality control can be appropriately managed and delivered by any company owner who cares to provide it - subcontractor or employees.

To say, or at least infer, that because sub-contractors are paid by the window they have more incentive to rush through a job is as dumb as saying that employee installers are lazy and more prone to errors, since they don’t come out of their pocket. Both are generalizations that, in the end, are not helpful to consumers who are trying to make an informed buying decision.

Replacing windows can be an overwhelmingly difficult process for many homeowners, which is why this board is so helpful. My advice is to spend your time looking for a company with a long-term reputation for quality products and service, and don’t worry about their hiring arrangements with the installers. If they have built a great reputation over a number of years, they haven’t done it with hacks - whether subcontract or employee.

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HomeSealed
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison, Northern IL

Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#5 Post by HomeSealed »

Excellent feedback from Randy above. Subs may have an incentive to get done faster being paid by piece, but they also have an incentive to do a good job because they don't get paid when they have to go back and fix poor craftsmanship, the same can't be said for employees. At the end of the day though, this is a total non-issue, both can be great or terrible. Pick a company that has a great reputation for quality without regard to how uncle sam gets his cut of the installer's pay.

On the windows, they leave something to be desired as well. The Norandex is a relabeled Simonton last time I checked, either way they don't make their own window (makes the "factory trained installers" claim interesting).
Where are you located? We may be able to recommend a company or some preferred window options based on that.

Cyclone
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:51 pm

Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#6 Post by Cyclone »

Thank you Window Nerd, MasterExt, Randy, and HomeSealed!

I have been asking around for references to installers my friends are familiar with, but only have one possible hit. I am in Charlotte, NC. A family member lives in Greenville, SC and highly recommends the installer he used last year. Supposedly the installer is located in Charlotte, but I have a hard time believing someone’s service area includes installs 2.5 hours south. But you never know. He is going to find his paperwork and send me the details.

I would be ecstatic if a pro on this board services my area. I didn’t see anyone when I searched for Charlotte on the forum, but I am new to the site too and could have missed something.

While I understand the good install is the most important thing, I appreciate the feedback on the windows. I would thoroughly check around about any installer, but I couldn’t find many details about windows themselves. I did see a thread from 2018 referencing the Norandex eXtreme 8000, so that very could still be a Simonton rebrand.

Other than Okna, are there any particular brands (knowing they all have different tiers of windows they produce) that I should have on a preferred list?

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toddinmn
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#7 Post by toddinmn »

The 8000 is an Atrium window rebranded for Norandex. Atrium and Simonton are now owned be Ply-Gem. This window has a 0.04 air in filtration and DP 60 rating , sash reinforcement and super spacer.which is pretty good stuff but It does seem to have a cheaper feel and look compared to top brands.
Never seen one besides on there showroom floor.
You could look for Soft-Lite, Polaris or Sunrise For other options.

Cyclone
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:51 pm

Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#8 Post by Cyclone »

Thank you Todd! Indeed, comparing the brochure on both websites, the Norandex eXtreme 8000 is a rebranded Atrium 8900.

I’ve submitted a few requests for other local installers that have plenty of great reviews and a long history. I noticed some installers are using private-label windows, and one even explicitly said they are locally built. I don’t know if that’s a pro or a con when considering future warranty coverage and parts.

Well, I’m off to read up on Atrium and check out another thread here I came across where someone in TN (I think) was looking at locally-produced windows.

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TheWindowNerd
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Location: SE PA & NJ; DFW/Metroplex

Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#9 Post by TheWindowNerd »

The locally produced window is a bit risky.
There have been many window companies come and go in Philly.
Okna, which is local, has hit the mid range size and still building excellent product. It will be interesting to se how things go when the 2nd gen takes over. I will be watching that one from my rocking chair.
wayne

Cyclone
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#10 Post by Cyclone »

I got a third quote today and so far, I'm much more impressed with this installer zenwindowsnc, than others. I got their name from the NextDoor app and saw a number of people recommending them from installations (supposedly) over the past 6 years. The local office in Charlotte has only been in business since 2014. I had sent them the measurements of my windows and desires, and they worked up a quote after looking at my house photos via online tools - i.e., no house visit. As with the other installers, this is the price, so any hiccups found along the way would not result in an increase.

One potential downside is if what they install is different. When I asked if this was a full-frame replacement, I was told no, they do not do full-frame replacement where you would replace everything all the way to the studs. The other two installers didn't say full-frame replacement (I didn't know to ask then), but did say they would mount into the stud. Does this mean the others were doing full frame? Or are they doing the same with the other two just calling out how things are mounted. They did say I don't have to replace my trim and this third installer said that full-frame would mean I get new trim around the interior of the window. All three mentioned replacing any rotten wood.

- Soft-Lite Classic Plus
- Nothing paid up front. If I pay cash/check, 3% discount will come off the totals provided
- Pricing firm even if things come up during install
- lifetime guarantee, including accidental glass breakage, product, labor, and is transferable
- double-hung, double-strength, double pane
- Solar LowE glass. The "solar" is an premium coating over standard LowE for my southern climate
- Stainless steel, warm-edge spacer
- Foam filled, frame and sash. Metal-reinforced frame.
- Half-beveled finished
- U-Factor 0.27
- SHGC 0.21 (or 0.19 if I get grids)
- VT 0.49
- AL 0.08
- $615/window = $8,610

Or I can go with their higher tier
- double-hung, double-strength, triple pane
- SuperSpacer
- Foam filled, frame and sash. Fiberglass-reinforced frame.
- Full-beveled finished
- U-Factor 0.23
- SHGC 0.19 (or 0.17 if I get grids)
- VT 0.39
- AL 0.06
- Capping exterior trim with coil and sealant
- $800/window = $11,200

Cyclone
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#11 Post by Cyclone »

And as I was writing the above reply, a fourth quote came in. They did mention "we are not tied to any one window brand, so if you are interested in something else, please ask."

- Alside Mezzo
- in business 20+ years
- Alside Lifetime (30 year) warranty product and glass breakage warranty, labor and shipping not covered
- Installer 10 year product, labor, and glass breakage warranty
- double-hung, double pane
- "ClimateTech Elite" LowE glass
- Stainless steel, warm-edge spacer
- U-Factor 0.28
- SHGC 0.20
- VT 0.64
- AL 0.04
- $610/window (unsure if this is before or after tax vs. after tax for the others)

Or I can upgrade to triple pane:
- double-hung, triple pane
- Stainless steel, warm-edge spacer
- U-Factor 0.23
- SHFC 0.24
- VT not listed in doc sent to me
- AL 0.04
- $730/window

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HomeSealed
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#12 Post by HomeSealed »

Not really excited about the new quotes. Softlite makes a good window, but that is their bottom choice and there is plenty of info to search out about that dealer/franchise as well. If you can find a local company (preferably one that has been around a little longer) that carries the Elements or LS (Elite ?) you would be in good shape. The upper end Sunrise windows are nice, upper end Polaris models are proven performers, and you may be able to find an Okna dealer down there as well.

On the other option, not great window and its never good for a contractor to say that they aren't partial to any window brands, and they can get whatever you want. Not only does that not speak well for their knowledge and dedication to their craft, but its not easy to get good service when you don't buy a bunch of product from a given vendor which affects you as the end consumer when service is needed. Thats not to say that you should only work with dealers that carry one product, but a smaller group of top choices depending on the needs of their customers would be preferred.

Cyclone
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#13 Post by Cyclone »

I had thought that seemed odd with that last quote. Like you stated, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he said he also works with X or Y I didn’t like what Alside offered, but to just say you work with anyone made it feel like hiring a random helper to install windows I buy elsewhere vs. someone who feels one or two brands are best to work with.

I will keep looking and may reach out to the Soft-Lite installer to inquire about getting one of the other series. I don’t see it on their website, but it is worth asking.

I’m not saying I’m going to do this, but if I did end up choosing between the first three, would the Soft-Lite Classic Plus be ahead of the Slocomb 643/677 and Norandex eXtreme 8000/Atrium 8900?

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HomeSealed
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#14 Post by HomeSealed »

I'm not sure that I would put the Classic ahead of the others. Softlite is a more highly regarded manufacturer, but don't confuse their entry level window with excellence just because of the brand name. Its not junk, but its also not to be confused with the Elements/LS.

If you stopped getting quotes today, based on everything that you have presented so far, I think that the first guy with Slocomb sounds like the best overall option. You've already worked with him and had a good experience (I assume) as well, that is worth quite a bit of weight. If you can find a different Softlite dealer with a higher end model or one of the other top tier choices that have a reputation similar to that guy that would be compelling, otherwise from these choices the first guy sounds best based on the info that you have conveyed.

Cyclone
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Re: Norandex vs Slocomb vs. Keep shopping

#15 Post by Cyclone »

The third quote company is continuing to impress me. It’s 5:45 pm local and within 10 minutes I got an email reply to my question. That is the $710/window quote I had provided. I didn’t realize the Imperial would block more of the glass. One of the things I didn’t like about the Norandex is the low VT as I like a bright house. Losing glass would be a negative, but it wouldn’t mean I don’t get the Imperial if that would indeed be a much better window.
Zen Windows NC wrote: The Lotus is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Pro.

With the Elements and Imperial LS (Same window - different lock), we have the Imperial LS. The only challenge with going up to these lines is you will lose more glass. These have a thicker/beefier extrusion and as a result you lose more visible glass.
The gentleman I was speaking to has left the office already though, so he said he will send an update quote with the Imperial as an option tomorrow.

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