Michigan window replacement

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samstar
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:34 am

Michigan window replacement

#1 Post by samstar »

Hi All,

I wanted to use search but I have no idea where the search box is - it doesn't show up anywhere on the page. I messaged the forum admin but never received a reply back as to why the search box does not show. So excuse me if this or a very similar question has already been asked.

In any case, as the title says, I'm in Michigan and need to replace many builder grade windows in my home. They will be full frame replacements because the frames themselves have rotted in many places. I also want to change from sliders to casements. I'm changing the windows in stages (for example 6-7 this year and the same again in a couple of years).

Ideally the dealers will supply and install. Assuming a mid-grade window from each, I was wondering what everyone thought comparison-wise of these makes: Northstar, Polaris, and Sunrise (Okna is not available in MI).
Sunrise is hard to source but do-able. Midwest Building Supplies (who supply Polaris) are about 40 miles away although they don't install (but can recommend installers). Northstar can be supplied and installed by a local dealer.
All will be double glazed, Low E coated, Argon filled, welded corners, full weatherstripping, warm edge spacers, no muntins, and possibly foam filled frames.

What are the views on these different makes in terms of quality, performance, and price?

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HomeSealed
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Milwaukee & Madison area

Re: Michigan window replacement

#2 Post by HomeSealed »

Polaris and Sunrise have lines that are good quality and performance (stay away from the entry level in each IMO). As far as pricing, that will vary more by dealer than anything. If you find established, reputable companies in your area they will probably fall in the same ballpark price-wise.

samstar
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:34 am

Re: Michigan window replacement

#3 Post by samstar »

Thanks for the reply.

Polaris's website is great because it displays the different ranges but Sunrises is terrible. All it talks about are the different types of window styles (casements, sliders, etc) and nothing about their different ranges.

The local dealer I spoke with has just started stocking Sunrise but he also didn't seem to know about the different ranges.

Which one should I really be looking at if I want to go mid to high-end ? And how can I find the differences between the different ranges?

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HomeSealed
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Location: Milwaukee & Madison area

Re: Michigan window replacement

#4 Post by HomeSealed »

What do you mean by ranges samstar? Are you referring to model, glass type, performance ratings, or something else?

As far as the models, The Restorations is the best offering from Sunrise with the Vanguard and Verde being good as well (similar content). The base Sunrise is as low as I would recommend from that manufacturer. Also be careful about the glass choice. Sunrise does not achieve Energy Star for the Northern Zone (in double hung) with a standard single surface low e coating on double pane glass. They resort to glass coatings that are not ideal for your climate. You would be best served going to triple pane, or in this case actually better served getting the single coat low e and not technically meeting Energy Star.

As for Polaris, the Ultraweld is a proven performer. The new-ish Thermal Weld plus seems to get good feedback as well, although my experience was with the old Thermal Weld which I didn't love.

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

Re: Michigan window replacement

#5 Post by masterext »

The newly designed thermal weld plus is a pretty good window.

JonnySTL
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:13 am

Re: Michigan window replacement

#6 Post by JonnySTL »

I was in a similar situation looking at windows starting about 3-4 weeks ago. Had a chance to see a Polaris Ultraweld sample window and it is stout. Unfortunately, quote was about $6K higher (18 total windows) than similar performing windows, including Sunrise Restorations. It was a similar setup that you describe where there is a building supply company here in St. Louis and they recommend installers. Figured the huge price difference to be an extra layer of margin in there instead of an installer being direct with Polaris. Just my educated guess though. Good luck.

samstar
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:34 am

Re: Michigan window replacement

#7 Post by samstar »

HomeSealed wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:48 pm What do you mean by ranges samstar? Are you referring to model, glass type, performance ratings, or something else?

As far as the models, The Restorations is the best offering from Sunrise with the Vanguard and Verde being good as well (similar content). The base Sunrise is as low as I would recommend from that manufacturer. Also be careful about the glass choice. Sunrise does not achieve Energy Star for the Northern Zone (in double hung) with a standard single surface low e coating on double pane glass. They resort to glass coatings that are not ideal for your climate. You would be best served going to triple pane, or in this case actually better served getting the single coat low e and not technically meeting Energy Star.

As for Polaris, the Ultraweld is a proven performer. The new-ish Thermal Weld plus seems to get good feedback as well, although my experience was with the old Thermal Weld which I didn't love.
By ranges I mean like with Polaris who have their ranges shown on their websites as : 'Dynaweld / ThermalWeld, Ultraweld. In this way, one can compare the good/better/best ranges.
Sunrise does not give any such information. As I said, all they show are different styles of window but nothing about which is their good/better/best range of windows. So how does one know whether they are buying the better or the best range?
And what are their names? I've read on the forum about the 'Restorations' range (which I believe is either better or best) but Sunrise's website does a really bad job of explaining any ranges they have and the differences between them.

samstar
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:34 am

Re: Michigan window replacement

#8 Post by samstar »

JonnySTL wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:27 pm I was in a similar situation looking at windows starting about 3-4 weeks ago. Had a chance to see a Polaris Ultraweld sample window and it is stout. Unfortunately, quote was about $6K higher (18 total windows) than similar performing windows, including Sunrise Restorations. It was a similar setup that you describe where there is a building supply company here in St. Louis and they recommend installers. Figured the huge price difference to be an extra layer of margin in there instead of an installer being direct with Polaris. Just my educated guess though. Good luck.
You'd think companies like Polaris would make it easier for regular homeowners to get a supply and install price by having a network of approved installers. I really don't understand the 'supply only' aspect of their business model unless they're catering towards builders only. For most homeowners self-installation is not an option and they must be losing a hell of a lot of business from consumers who cant be bothered to go one place for supply and then figure out installation through a separate company

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HomeSealed
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Location: Milwaukee & Madison area

Re: Michigan window replacement

#9 Post by HomeSealed »

The Sunrise hierarchy is :
Restorations
Vanguard
Verde
Sunrise
Essentials

There may be one that I'm forgetting, but I think that's it. The top 4 are all based on the same "chassis" with different levels of options like sash reinforcement, foam fill, etc. Even then, I believe it possible to add options to make them nearly the same. Its not a strict hierarchy as much as it is a multitude of "brands within a brand".

As far as a network of installers, manufacturers most certainly do. If you were to call Polaris or Sunrise and ask for dealer/installer of their product in your area, they will gladly recommend one or pass your info along to one. Frankly, this is one of the best ways to go about finding an installer in my opinion. "Companies"(I use that term loosely) come and go in this industry daily, the manufacturer is going to refer you to someone that pays their bills, has history, a good reputation that represents their brand well, etc. These are companies that are going to offer an "installed" package, not just the window or install separately. I'd recommend avoiding the latter. Sure you can save a buck doing that, but when problems arise you have fingers pointing in each direction (installer says its a product issue, supplier says install issue).

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