Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

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1st2fall
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:00 am

Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#1 Post by 1st2fall »

Hi Everyone,

We're looking to figure out the best options to replace 11 windows. 3 of which are tall and skinny ones so I'm a bit conscious on losing viewing area. There are so many different options that it gets hard to choose. I'd say in terms of priorities I'm looking for energy efficiency, durability/long lasting, and as a distant third, decent sound barrier from crickets and cicadas.

Right now we've narrowed it down to a few options (All double hung and double pane with some sort of LowE), I'm currently in NW Atlanta for reference.

Window World (4000 Series) - $4600
Soft-Lite (Bainbridge) - $5700 (.27, .21)
WindowCrafters (900 Series) - $5100 |These seem to be a lower grade, no foam wrap, inverted window balance which looks like a spring
Window Universe (Berkshire Elite) - $5600 | Everything looks decent but its a metal space instead of super spacer?
SuperiorPro (WeatherLok 3201 Series) - $5200 | Is this a Reliabilt window? Model number has similarity and I can't find anything about WeatherLok
---Additional Quotes---
Okna 500 - $5800 (.26, .29)
Okna 800 - $6400 (.26, .29)
Soft-lite Elements - $6900 (.26, .21)
(U-factor, SHGC)

We got a few other quotes but these are the ones I remember/liked so far (Home Depot was over 7k and discarded). I'm new to finding windows and its really hard to find any sort of decent information :? . I saw a blog called WindowDog but it looks to be associated with Window Universe which makes me kinda question its bias. I've seen good perceptions of higher end Okna and Soft-Lite windows. We're open to anything so would love to get opinions and recommendations.

Edit: Is there a difference between this forum and vinyl-replacement-windows?
Last edited by 1st2fall on Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

masterext
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#2 Post by masterext »

Soft lite Elements and Okna 800 are the best options.
Last edited by masterext on Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

1st2fall
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:00 am

Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#3 Post by 1st2fall »

masterext wrote: Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:50 am Soft lite bainridge is the best option.
Hi Masterext,

Can you help clarify to me as to why that is? After reading around, it looks like theres alot of love for soft-lite and okna and not much for alside and co. but why are they better? Any numbers/specifics?

For example, I recall someone showing me a window that was extremely expensive but the spec sheet claimed that the window was manufactures to 1/16th of an inch, vs others that are only 1/8th, which seems like at least a legitimate point but not one I would pay 2x for.

The soft-lite dealer also sells Okna, so we've requested info on higher end models and will share them when I get them. I've also noticed a company called Universal Windows and Zen Windows in my area so will get post those too in an update.

masterext
Posts: 1321
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#4 Post by masterext »

You edited your original post.
Okna 800 and soft lite Elements are the best on yoour list.
You also have way too many estimates..lol
Last edited by masterext on Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Delaware Mike
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#5 Post by Delaware Mike »

I've installed many projects with the Bainbridge series double hung units over the years, however it's been a while as I'v sort of replaced that series with the OKNA 400 or 500 for folks with tighter budgets. It's a decent window. SL upgraded this series about 6-years ago into the Bainbridge LE (Luxury Edition) from what I remember and still have brochures for. They added some nice fiberglass meeting rail reinforcement and foam filling standard. Stainless steel Intercept spacing is now standard to many of the older SL platforms. SL always has had one of the nicest and strongest sill designs in the vinyl double hung industry.

I'm not familiar with WeatherLok as I've not heard of them being in my area? I will take just about anything over an Alside vinyl window, although I like their siding from time to time. Relibuilt built locally for Lowes is a re-branded Atrium product which is low-grade in my opinion. OKNA and SL put a lot of emphasis on product engineering.

1st2fall
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:00 am

Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#6 Post by 1st2fall »

masterext wrote: Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:45 am i meant the bainbridge is the best on the list of windows you already saw. its engineered and designed better than the others you already saw. has a foam filled frame as well as reinforcement. despite the claim that the berkshire has reinforcement and foam, it is a joke. they somehow call what they insert in their extrusions foam and reinforcemt but its not.
compare a corner cut of the bainbridge and berkshire elite and there will be a stark contrast.
if you have access to the higher end soft lites or okna, even better. there will be a higher cost but its well worth it.
I've updated the listing as requested with the higher end windows. I'm really struggling as to how to find proof one windows is better than another. The numbers for U-factor, SHGC, VT, Condensation Resistance seem to be tested by NFRC and it looks like air leakage is done by AAMA but I could only find Perf Grade ratings in their database. I understand that certain attributes are qualitative but I'm skeptical without any good way to verify. I've seen some demos of corner cuts, but everyone claims their design does this or that.

Supposedly for quantitative data everyone is tested but I cannot find certain models/manufactures in either database and it raises a red flag to me. I am looking here: https://cpd.aamanet.org and http://search.nfrc.org/search/searchdefault.aspx
Delaware Mike wrote: Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:48 am I've installed many projects with the Bainbridge series double hung units over the years, however it's been a while as I'v sort of replaced that series with the OKNA 400 or 500 for folks with tighter budgets. It's a decent window. SL upgraded this series about 6-years ago into the Bainbridge LE (Luxury Edition) from what I remember and still have brochures for. They added some nice fiberglass meeting rail reinforcement and foam filling standard. Stainless steel Intercept spacing is now standard to many of the older SL platforms. SL always has had one of the nicest and strongest sill designs in the vinyl double hung industry.

I'm not familiar with WeatherLok as I've not heard of them being in my area? I will take just about anything over an Alside vinyl window, although I like their siding from time to time. Relibuilt built locally for Lowes is a re-branded Atrium product which is low-grade in my opinion. OKNA and SL put a lot of emphasis on product engineering.
In terms of product engineering, which window models are newer/newer refreshes? Do you know which manufacture has the best/newest facilities. I saw that the soft-lite elements brochure brags about their new facility made in 2005 but I see no mention of any renovation/refit since then so it seems pretty old to me.
Last edited by 1st2fall on Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#7 Post by HomeSealed »

The Elements or either Okna line present the best options here, and those are in a pretty small group of elite windows. You won't go wrong with any of those three. The Bainbridge is not half bad either, but the smallish premium to upgrade to Elements or Okna is well worth it.

Regarding your questions on air infiltration and "AAMA"/structural ratings, as you've discovered there unfortunately is not a "directory" type source for these like there is for the NFRC. Don't let that discourage you regarding their legitimacy however. While the window business has its share of bad actors, its pretty rare to find someone blatantly lying about a rating. If you are suspicious, you can request a copy of the structural testing data report to substantiate the claims. This is performed and certified by a third party lab.

uncle eddie
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#8 Post by uncle eddie »

You have some good choices there, I wouldn't bother with Zen or Universal

1st2fall
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#9 Post by 1st2fall »

HomeSealed wrote: Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:41 pm The Elements or either Okna line present the best options here, and those are in a pretty small group of elite windows. You won't go wrong with any of those three. The Bainbridge is not half bad either, but the smallish premium to upgrade to Elements or Okna is well worth it.

Regarding your questions on air infiltration and "AAMA"/structural ratings, as you've discovered there unfortunately is not a "directory" type source for these like there is for the NFRC. Don't let that discourage you regarding their legitimacy however. While the window business has its share of bad actors, its pretty rare to find someone blatantly lying about a rating. If you are suspicious, you can request a copy of the structural testing data report to substantiate the claims. This is performed and certified by a third party lab.
Hmm ok, I'm not exactly suspicious but I would not be doing my due diligence if I did not verify. The frames on both seem to be more bulky, is there any option for a slim frame like my current metal ones? I've been told you can try to expand the opening but I'm kind of surprised you can't install the window on the outside of the house so only the glass part is where the opening is. The more I look at the tall and skinny ones, the more concerned I have that it'll look weird (both for me and for resale)

Between the Okna and Soft-lite windows, could you breakdown what I'd be gaining by going up the models? I know the numeric stuff but even though soft-lite has brochures, they have so many buzz/marketing words that I'm not convinced on any of it. Okna doesn't seem to have any literature readily accessible besides their website that I can see.

I'd also want to point out that I'm by no means sure I'll go with any of these windows. We plan to comb through all available options in Atlanta eventually, and then send out a RFQ for the bidding process so I'm open to any additional make/models that I should consider. Just recently I've found a company who does insulation that also installed Simonton windows.

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toddinmn
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#10 Post by toddinmn »

Vinyl frames are always more bulky than metal ones, no getting around this. If you want less frame showing you would have to put your trimover the window closer to the glass. This can be difficult as you may need wider trim unless this is new construction. The Simonton is even bulkier unless you get there cheaper lines , even ther best line is considered below the Bainbridge. The difference is in the performance numbers and over all build, if you looked at them side by side you should be able to see the difference. Tall skinny windows can look odd especially doing inserts

timmy55
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Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:03 pm

Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#11 Post by timmy55 »

I would say you should go with a company that customizes windows to your exact specification. A lot of companies do have ways to customize your windows, but sometimes only to a certain inch. I found that Anderson and conservation construction are the best measuring your windows to their exact correct size. If you are needing the narrow windows these might be your best bet.

masterext
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#12 Post by masterext »

timmy55 wrote: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:07 pm I would say you should go with a company that customizes windows to your exact specification. A lot of companies do have ways to customize your windows, but sometimes only to a certain inch. I found that Anderson and conservation construction are the best measuring your windows to their exact correct size. If you are needing the narrow windows these might be your best bet.
That is the most ridiculous post i ever saw. customized windows!!!! Virtually every company does that. I think your recommendation is not only laughable but irresponsible, especially with regards to the company you are obviously spamming. You sound foolish.

1st2fall
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#13 Post by 1st2fall »

masterext wrote: Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:00 pm
timmy55 wrote: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:07 pm I would say you should go with a company that customizes windows to your exact specification. A lot of companies do have ways to customize your windows, but sometimes only to a certain inch. I found that Anderson and conservation construction are the best measuring your windows to their exact correct size. If you are needing the narrow windows these might be your best bet.
That is the most ridiculous post i ever saw. customized windows!!!! Virtually every company does that. I think your recommendation is not only laughable but irresponsible, especially with regards to the company you are obviously spamming. You sound foolish.
I have no idea who conservation construction is but Anderson's pricing was so high that we didn't consider their proposal after the discount. Its interesting though as I've heard alot of horror stories about window salesmen but even these guys never did any sort of pressure tactics or "buy today".

Gus
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Re: Looking for Feedback on Replacement Windows

#14 Post by Gus »

Which window did you end up going with and how satisfied are you with it and the install?

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