Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

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dan4jc
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Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#1 Post by dan4jc »

I am looking to replace all 23 vinyl windows in our house in central PA that was built in 1999. Of those, 19 are double-hung, 3 are picture windows, and 1 is half-moon. I've narrowed it down to 2 quotes and would appreciate some feedback.

Quote 1 - Softlite Classic Plus installed by Zen. Lifetime transferable warranty and Zen offers a lifetime warranty on labor. Total cost $18,655.
Quote 2 - Okna InsulTec 500 HeatSeal Deluxe package installed by Choice Home Remodeling. It's a local, family-owned business that has been around for almost 30 years. All installers are employees, not contractors. They actually recommend doing new construction installation, so all old windows will be removed (including nail fin) and they'll inspect the surrounding wood and frame behind the siding. They also said this helps ensure a better weather seal. Lifetime transferrable warranty on the window, 2-year warranty on labor. Total cost $25,047.

I do like the idea of doing new construction installation, and after comparing the two windows, I feel the Okna is the better of the two - not that the Softlite is a bad window. I'm just not sure those two factors are worth over $6k.

Any feedback or additional questions I should ask would be greatly appreciated.

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toddinmn
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#2 Post by toddinmn »

I would say the price is closer than that due to the install methods. The 500 is better and the method is better.

masterext
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#3 Post by masterext »

The Okna is more because they quoted you new construction. Had Zen quoted you for new construction, I am quite certain the soft lite would of been more.
Were there any grids with either quote?

dan4jc
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#4 Post by dan4jc »

Both windows have the same grid pattern.

I understand the new construction window and installation is what caused the difference in price. I guess my question would be: is it worth it to go with new construction over replacement? I did get a few other quotes that were much more (Pella, etc.) that all went with replacements. I don't know enough about getting windows replaced to answer that myself, so I'm looking for guidance.

Everything else being equal, on average, how much more per window would you expect to pay for new construction, including installation?

masterext
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#5 Post by masterext »

You were quoted for grids between the glass on both top and bottom sash?
Both quotes include the grids?
New construction adds a substantial amount over replacement.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#6 Post by HomeSealed »

I'd agree with the other sentiments in that the installation difference will more than make up for that price difference.

Do you need a full frame install? Hard to say without seeing the job. It's definitely more comprehensive though. I know that Zen bids jobs site unseen, essentially taking a cookie cutter approach. Personally I think that's unprofessional and I'd never recommend doing business with a company that does that. Your situation (is a full frame needed or not) is a perfect example of why.

What is the cost associated with the full frame install? This can vary depending on exactly what is involved, but something like $300+ is a fair starting point IMO. Add pre-finished interior woodwork, new exterior trim boards, etc and that can double and triple in price quickly.

Softlite makes some very nice windows, but this model is middling at best IMO. The Okna 500 is much better. You would need to get a quote on the Elite or Elements for a closer comparison.

If you move one side either up or down so that the comparison is apples to apples (elite vs 500, and same type of install), once again, it looks like you'll find that the Okna option will be less, and from what sounds like a superior company to boot.

At this point I'd toss the SL quote and discuss with the Okna dealer what their reasoning is for suggesting the full frame install. If they simply like it better that's one thing, but if they've found some other issues to suggest that it would be wise (such as leaking, rotted frames, etc) that is a different story.

dan4jc
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#7 Post by dan4jc »

Thanks everyone for the great feedback.
masterext wrote: Mon May 22, 2023 2:27 pm You were quoted for grids between the glass on both top and bottom sash?
Both quotes include the grids?
New construction adds a substantial amount over replacement.
Yes, both quotes include grids between the glass on the top and bottom sash. We thought about not having grids, but drove around a few neighborhoods and definitely liked the look of grids better.
HomeSealed wrote: Mon May 22, 2023 2:31 pm What is the cost associated with the full frame install? This can vary depending on exactly what is involved, but something like $300+ is a fair starting point IMO.
The Okna quote works out to $278 more per window, so I guess that's a good price for a better window.
HomeSealed wrote: Mon May 22, 2023 2:31 pm At this point I'd toss the SL quote and discuss with the Okna dealer what their reasoning is for suggesting the full frame install. If they simply like it better that's one thing, but if they've found some other issues to suggest that it would be wise (such as leaking, rotted frames, etc) that is a different story.
The Okna installer said they recommend new construction windows any time they're replacing vinyl windows, as they've found removing the nail fin allows for an improved weather seal to better ensure no water leaks. I don't think there was anything specific about my house other than that. What he says sounds good, but no other installers I've talked to have mentioned new construction, only replacement. I can reach back out and see if they offer replacements or only do new construction.

masterext
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#8 Post by masterext »

The majority of window installations are replacement and if done correctly, there is no need to worry about any leaks.
Conversely, If a new construction install is not done correctly, air leakage and water will be a problem. That being said, I defer back to homesealed, unless there is a specific reason such as ubiquitous wood rot ect…, a replacement/ insert would be 100% acceptable and the norm. Again, we can’t see anything first hand and therefore can only give you general opinions.

dan4jc
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#9 Post by dan4jc »

Thanks, masterext. I did send an email to the installer to ask about replacement options instead of new construction.

For comparison, my neighbor just had all of his windows replaced with Pellas installed through Lowes and I believe he paid around $23K. Even with new construction, the $25k quote is probably going to be my best option if I throw out the Zen package. Pella was $35K and another local company was $38K.

masterext
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#10 Post by masterext »

As an fyi, Okna is a much better window than pella.

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toddinmn
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Re: Feedback - Softlite vs Okna quotes

#11 Post by toddinmn »

A full frame job with nail fins is superior hands down. iIf you casing that can be removed to access nail fin it is the way to go . When you have siding butting up to the the window and you have to unzip the trim then things get more complicated.
Ideally those providing bids walked through the process and plan of attack. I think you need to ask more questions . A lot remains to be in question Imo.

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