Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

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Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

#1 Post by Baldar538 »

Hi -
I've gotten estimates from two windows contractors. One I used before on a previous property which worked out well, and another that came well reviewed by people I know. Given the same house, I was given two very different proposals.


The first is from a Soft-Lite dealer. They are proposing 20 double pane Imperial Elite windows + Kingsroyal Glide Slider. They will install pet screening on the slider, but said aluminum screens are not an option with Soft-lite on windows. We were looking for something that would not be damaged by cats. Their terms are "The old windows are to be removed, any rotted wood is to be replaced as necessary, the new windows are to be installed up against the existing interior trim, spray foam insulated around and the exterior trim is to be capped in white aluminum and caulked." The estimate total is $17,120 for the 20 Windows + slider with additional costs given for laminated if I choose to get them due to sound (I likely won't - it's pricey)


The second is from a Polaris dealer. They are proposing triple pane thermalweld plus windows. Their terms and pricing were:

1. 100 percent virgin vinyl windows
2. Triple pane glass ( not 20 year old outdated dual pane )
3. Aluminum screens to prevent cat damage
4. Foam filled frames and sashes
5. Our exclusive cam locks
6. Night security latches
7. Interior white
8. Outside white
9. All exterior white capping ( pvc capping not cheap flat stock aluminum )
10. Our exclusive formulated foam insulation
11. Our exclusive sealants to caulk each window
12. All debris hauled away
13. all windows washed
14. An on-site project manager to walk you through every window when the crew finishes and answer your question, show you proper care and maintenance.

The total currently to do this installation will be 20,295.00

A lot of things in the second quote kind of screamed marketing to me. He said they only do triple pane because double pane is outdated - but contractor #1 said triple panes are overkill for the Chicagoland area and I definitely shouldn't consider them. I have no idea on whether PVC or aluminum capping is better (although I'd assume as most things contractors do it likely depends more on the installer skill than the materials).

So, are these good prices for 20 Windows + a slider? Do triple panes matter, and/or are they worth $3k of upgrades? Do aluminum screens matter with animals? Is that something I can upgrade later if Soft-lite doesn't? Since neither is interested in doing apples to apples with the other (one insists on triple pane and the other refuses, one uses pvc and the other aluminum, one has "exclusive" foam installation and sealants which I imagine are marketing and the other doesn't). I see good reviews for both Polaris and Soft-Lite, are there significant differences between the products or is it splitting hairs?

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Re: Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

#2 Post by TheWindowNerd »

Ask both to provide AL/AI test results for the models you are looking at. The lower the test result the better, I want something .04 or less.

In your heating region TP probably does make sense. How long will you be in the home?
If you were buying a new home would TP have any value to you?


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Re: Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

#3 Post by Randy »

Doesn’t HomeSealed serve the Chicago market now? If he does, I would highly recommend contacting him for a quote. You won’t find a more professional, service oriented company.

As to the window brands, both are highly rated and solid choices. The first contractor is wrong to casually dismiss triple pane glass in your region and the second contractor is full of hot air (exclusive formulated foam insulation, exclusive sealant, etc....).

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Re: Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

#4 Post by Windows on Washington »

Definitely a bit of panache and verbiage to the second one, but I can't fault them too much. While its normal stuff, in today's society...we tend to applaud someone for their successes if they just aren't offended, let along accomplish anything.

You have a relationship with the one...I can't really see reason to break off from that to be honest.

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Re: Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

#5 Post by toddinmn »

I do not think triple panes are over kill for your area.
The PVC/striated is just a coating on the aluminum, sure it cost slightly more but what is best depends on what you have on the rest of the house or personal preference. These are both pretty much the same product used to cover the exterior trim.
Pet screen works pretty good IMO and I would take it over aluminum in a sliding door. If your cats have claws and like to climb. Window screens Neither are going to hold up. You could rescreen to either material if one doesn’t work for you. Exclusive foam is a good pretty funny. Seems ridiculous these companies are reluctant to give more glass options or recommendations. I think it is a personal choice. myself depending on different factors. The pricing seems in the ballpark for both. The Soft-Lite is the better window and excellent, the Polaris is Very good and a step or 2 below.

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Re: Apples to Oranges Window Comparison

#6 Post by Baldar538 »

Thanks Everyone!
The Soft-lite dealer is the one I had a relationship with before. When I do big projects like this I always try to get at least three estimates. Just because they won last time doesn't make them a shoo in this time. Honestly, last time I was less knowledgeable about windows and the other two contractors just rubbed me the wrong way. The Polaris dealer mentioned is borderline there with the overhyped marketing terms and plus I never met him. He said he had stopped by and looked at the house, which is possible but he never cam inside or measured plus he asked me how many windows we had (which should have been obvious with a walk around). He comes really highly reviewed by a few people I know, but I'm just not getting a great vibe there. I do think he has a point with the triple pane windows from what I've been reading, and I'm not really sure what the Soft-lite dealer has against them. He pretty adamantly said if you aren't up in northern Canada they aren't needed and didn't even seem interested in discussing them.

I'll reach out to the Homesealed company mentioned here. I saw them mentioned before I posted, but they are probably about 2 hours from me and I'm way out in the northern burbs. I just assumed I had the wrong company or someone was mistaken on their range, but I will definitely check them out as my 3rd option.

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