"Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

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lsedels
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"Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#1 Post by lsedels »

Hello,

I have a 30 y/o attached townhouse with original windows. I am looking at least at starting the replacement process as I can feel cold air coming in during the winter in some spots.

I have eliminated Anderson for a few reasons. I've eliminated Marvin (although a very good window) because they only make fiberglass and the price point as a result is too high.

I've had Pella here to measure - don't have a quote yet. There are many others in our development who have had a local contractor do their replacements. He only uses Harvey Classics. I understand that Harvey is considered average and I also understand that others recommend manufacturers like Okna, Sunlite, etc. I live in the NY Metro area and no one has ever heard of them so they are very hard to find.

In any case, many here feel that given the construction quality of the homes, it doesn't make sense to spend "disproportionately" on anything better and frankly, I'm not sure I can afford it anyway. The Harvey's are still plenty expensive.

Here's the thing. The local contractor ONLY does new construction installs and won't do anything else. He claims that there's no way to properly install a replacement window and ensure that it's a quality job. He says that he commonly finds wood rot in the surrounding trim that needs to be replaced and other issues with deterioration that require repair that would never surface if he didn't do a new install. The flange also helps to seal and anchor.

When I asked the Pella installer to give me a quote based on new installs, he looked at me like I had two heads on.
"Why? We never do that. Replacement windows are fine". Didn't give me a feeling that I could feel confident in his ability to handle it.

So what's the collective opinion on new vs replacements?

Many thanks in advance.

Larry

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HomeSealed
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#2 Post by HomeSealed »

Each of those installation types has their place, and can be the "better" solution depending on circumstances. Full frame with nail fin is always most comprehensive, but there are many scenarios where the cost vs benefit ratio tilts toward replacements.

Regarding the windows, if you are spending a bunch of money anyway, I'd highly recommend spending a little more on quality. You are going to have much luck finding specific products if you just call random contractors, I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer of your choice for a local dealer recommendation, and a simple google search will often work as well-- although you may need to sift through competitors trying to capitalize on highly regarded brands.

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TheWindowNerd
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#3 Post by TheWindowNerd »

You can get Okna.
Try Nick at Window King.
Tell him theWindowNerd sent you.

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#4 Post by lsedels »

HomeSealed wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 1:27 pm Each of those installation types has their place, and can be the "better" solution depending on circumstances. Full frame with nail fin is always most comprehensive, but there are many scenarios where the cost vs benefit ratio tilts toward replacements.

Regarding the windows, if you are spending a bunch of money anyway, I'd highly recommend spending a little more on quality. You are going to have much luck finding specific products if you just call random contractors, I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer of your choice for a local dealer recommendation, and a simple google search will often work as well-- although you may need to sift through competitors trying to capitalize on highly regarded brands.
Thank you.

Would you care to elaborate any more on the scenarios where in your opinion, the cost vs benefit tilts towards replacements?
Last edited by lsedels on Sun Aug 28, 2022 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#5 Post by lsedels »

TheWindowNerd wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2022 7:08 am You can get Okna.
Try Nick at Window King.
Tell him theWindowNerd sent you.
Thank you.

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HomeSealed
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#6 Post by HomeSealed »

lsedels wrote: Sun Aug 28, 2022 10:36 pm
HomeSealed wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 1:27 pm Each of those installation types has their place, and can be the "better" solution depending on circumstances. Full frame with nail fin is always most comprehensive, but there are many scenarios where the cost vs benefit ratio tilts toward replacements.

Regarding the windows, if you are spending a bunch of money anyway, I'd highly recommend spending a little more on quality. You are going to have much luck finding specific products if you just call random contractors, I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer of your choice for a local dealer recommendation, and a simple google search will often work as well-- although you may need to sift through competitors trying to capitalize on highly regarded brands.
Thank you.

Would you care to elaborate any more on the scenarios where in your opinion, the cost vs benefit tilts towards replacements?

Factors that make replacement a nice option:

- The existing window frames are structurally sounds, no rot, no water leakage, and are insulated around the perimeter

- The design of the old window combined with the design of the new window would result in minimal loss of visible glass area -- OR-- you have good size windows and that's not a factor for you.

- You have a stone or other masonry wall cladding that makes installation with a new nail fin impossible anyway

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#7 Post by lsedels »

HomeSealed wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:27 pm
lsedels wrote: Sun Aug 28, 2022 10:36 pm
HomeSealed wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 1:27 pm Each of those installation types has their place, and can be the "better" solution depending on circumstances. Full frame with nail fin is always most comprehensive, but there are many scenarios where the cost vs benefit ratio tilts toward replacements.

Regarding the windows, if you are spending a bunch of money anyway, I'd highly recommend spending a little more on quality. You are going to have much luck finding specific products if you just call random contractors, I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer of your choice for a local dealer recommendation, and a simple google search will often work as well-- although you may need to sift through competitors trying to capitalize on highly regarded brands.
Thank you.

Would you care to elaborate any more on the scenarios where in your opinion, the cost vs benefit tilts towards replacements?

Factors that make replacement a nice option:

- The existing window frames are structurally sounds, no rot, no water leakage, and are insulated around the perimeter

- The design of the old window combined with the design of the new window would result in minimal loss of visible glass area -- OR-- you have good size windows and that's not a factor for you.

- You have a stone or other masonry wall cladding that makes installation with a new nail fin impossible anyway
Thank you.

I think part of the problem with replacement windows is you don't know if you have rot until someone makes the effort to pull back the siding a bit and inspect the window area. Once you hire someone to do replacements, they are not going to do that, they are simply going to remove the old windows and replace them with the new windows. When you purchase new construction windows and hire someone to install them, the install is going to be more expensive for a reason - the installer is going to inspect and replace any rotted trim and repair any holes in the other components. In a 30 y/o home, I tend to think there is risk of some deterioration, no?

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HomeSealed
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#8 Post by HomeSealed »

That's a fair question, but in short, I'd say no. Most rot is visible without major deconstruction. Its extraordinarily rare to see a pristine looking wood frame only to pull it apart and find rot on the outer edges of the jamb or something like that. Furthermore, rot discovered during install should be fixed regardless of whether its a pocket or full frame, and in both cases if it extends beyond the area of the components being removed, it would be added work.

With that said, once again, full frames are certainly more comprehensive and are removing more material that could conceivably be rotted. Some might say that they type of company that prefer full frames is more likely to do their due diligence on fixing adjacent rotted areas given that they prefer that more comprehensive approach, but that can be misleading as well. Many companies that push hard for full frames these days do so for sales related purposes and end up cutting corners on those installs.

My best recommendation is to use a company that does both and will offer the installation best suited for your home.

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#9 Post by lsedels »

HomeSealed wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 7:12 pm That's a fair question, but in short, I'd say no. Most rot is visible without major deconstruction. Its extraordinarily rare to see a pristine looking wood frame only to pull it apart and find rot on the outer edges of the jamb or something like that. Furthermore, rot discovered during install should be fixed regardless of whether its a pocket or full frame, and in both cases if it extends beyond the area of the components being removed, it would be added work.

With that said, once again, full frames are certainly more comprehensive and are removing more material that could conceivably be rotted. Some might say that they type of company that prefer full frames is more likely to do their due diligence on fixing adjacent rotted areas given that they prefer that more comprehensive approach, but that can be misleading as well. Many companies that push hard for full frames these days do so for sales related purposes and end up cutting corners on those installs.

My best recommendation is to use a company that does both and will offer the installation best suited for your home.
Good advice. Thank you.

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TheWindowNerd
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#10 Post by TheWindowNerd »

Homesealed nailed it. "My best recommendation is to use a company that does both and will offer the installation best suited for your home."

We enjoy doing both.

theWindowNerd

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#11 Post by lsedels »

TheWindowNerd wrote: Mon Sep 05, 2022 5:01 am Homesealed nailed it. "My best recommendation is to use a company that does both and will offer the installation best suited for your home."

We enjoy doing both.

theWindowNerd
Agreed. Finding one doesn't seem to be easy because the ones I've dealt with all seem to have their biases.

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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#12 Post by TheWindowNerd »

Yup that is true of most companies.
Contact the the contractors you have from any of the mfgs and ask them if they do both just as easily? You could also ask if they have a technical sales rep instead of just a sales rep. If some ask us that ? then Brett or I go, but not Kristin, she is a great caring person but never installed a window or door.

theWindowNerd

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#13 Post by lsedels »

So as I think about this, I am not sure of how practical it is to have a contractor who does both do the work (not to mention how difficult it is to find one). The windows have to be preordered - sometimes months in advance. You have to know whether to order new construction or replacement for each window. According to the "new construction" contractor I am working with, he will not know whether there is rot or other damage that needs to be repaired until he pulls back the siding and for bay windows, removes the "roof system".

By the way, this same contractor has come forward with his quotes. He only does Harvey and only does new construction. His quotes for regular double hung single windows aren't that bad ... about 150% of the quote I got from Pella for a replacement (and of course, the Pella contractor doesn't do new construction) and his quote for a sliding door is only about 10% more . But his quotes for a double window and a bay window are 214% of the Pella replacement window quote. A 3-tiered bay window (16"X60" + 35"X60" + 16"X60") is $6000 (Pella is $2800) with roof system. I have three of them.

Here's the kicker. When I asked him what happens if he finds rot, vaper barrier, or other damage ... he told me that it would be an ADDITIONAL COST for both material and labor.

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HomeSealed
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#14 Post by HomeSealed »

By "both" we mean that they offer both types of installation and will prescribe the best one based on the circumstances of your home and your goals for the project. This decision process takes place at the time of contract, you are correct that its not practical to order windows and decide once you start pulling things apart. They are measured differently depending on install style.

As far as extra costs, yes, if damage is found upon getting things apart, extra work means extra money. With that said, I'd refer back to my earlier commentary in that there are generally visible signs upfront that something is wrong when it comes to windows, at least when its something significant like water leakage, rot, etc.

lsedels
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Re: "Replacements" for Attached Townhouse

#15 Post by lsedels »

HomeSealed wrote: Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:19 pm By "both" we mean that they offer both types of installation and will prescribe the best one based on the circumstances of your home and your goals for the project. This decision process takes place at the time of contract, you are correct that its not practical to order windows and decide once you start pulling things apart. They are measured differently depending on install style.

As far as extra costs, yes, if damage is found upon getting things apart, extra work means extra money. With that said, I'd refer back to my earlier commentary in that there are generally visible signs upfront that something is wrong when it comes to windows, at least when its something significant like water leakage, rot, etc.
Understood. But my feeling is that the pricing is pretty steep if it doesn't include any materials should any damage be found. I would think a 25% or maybe 50% increase at the absolute limit over a replacement window for the extra labor and flange is more than fair. Over 200% more for a double window or a bay window IMO seems very excessive to me if it doesn't include the materials/labor for any repairs that might be necessary. He's not doing anything other than removing the old window and installing the new one with the flange. How much more work is that in reality than doing a replacement window if there is no additional damage to repair?

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