NT Traditions - install without insulation?

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cranstonmike
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Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:26 am

NT Traditions - install without insulation?

#1 Post by cranstonmike »

I'm replacing 25 windows - black exterior/white interior, many of them large, a few need to be tempered, 9 with SDLs. Location is Dallas-Fort Worth area; plan to be in the house a long time.
  • Burris Tectview AC - $24K
  • NT Traditions - $35K (will get one more quote on the Presidential line, but do prefer the minor upgrades the Traditions dealer gets)
  • Anlin Del Mar - $45K (ruled out)
Sunrise is now MI Windows which has pretty bad reviews in my area; Okna is not available to my knowledge.

I know Randy is not a fan of Burris, but given their Cardinal IGUs with 366, I'm having a hard time understanding why. However I do see that NT is a nicer offering with overall better design.

What I've realized is I'm having a hard time finding even-handed info. People seem to take a hard line on different topics and very convincingly tell you why the other method is wrong. Everyone I've talked to has a good reputation via reviews and personal references. It starts to make me wonder if there is no "better/worse," simply preferences and as an amateur I'm going to have a hard time telling them apart.

I'm leaning toward NT Traditions but have these concerns. Am I on the right track thinking NT Traditions are worth an extra $10K?

Are these concerns warranted or unnecessary?
  • Installer only uses high-quality caulk, no insulation. One installer tells me this is horrible and the cavity should have insulation added. The NT Traditions installer tells me they used to use the spray in insulation, but later found it caused mold issues. This seems very believable to me in the DFW climate, but could be a good story about why they cut a corner?
  • Black exterior is a paint product ("the same way automotive paint is applied") with a 15 year warranty. Sun is intense on my house; some other vendors said a laminate type finish is preferable.
  • Installer uses 2-man crews and estimates the project will take 3-4 days, which has the benefits of finishing one room at a time but also seems a little odd and disruptive compared to everyone else who either used a large crew in 1 day or a medium crew in 2 days.
  • NT is a sloped sill, Burris is a pocket sill. Lots of claims each is better than the other.
  • Burris buys IGUs from Cardinal with a stainless steel XL edge spacer. NT assembles their own with a foam SuperSpacer. Some reports foam spacers are more prone to sun damage and fall over time. Supposedly has a lifetime warranty but I'm a bit suspicious of the warranties on both to be frank - the legal language about "aging and exposure" gave me pause. Sun is very intense on my house and if that's a risk for a foam spacer, perhaps I am better with a stainless steel?
Apologies for the length. I've found this to be a very complex decision-making process with what feels like tradeoffs on any option.

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HomeSealed
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison, SE Wisconsin

Re: NT Traditions - install without insulation?

#2 Post by HomeSealed »

cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am
  • Burris Tectview AC - $24K
  • NT Traditions - $35K (will get one more quote on the Presidential line, but do prefer the minor upgrades the Traditions dealer gets)
  • Anlin Del Mar - $45K (ruled out)
Sunrise is now MI Windows which has pretty bad reviews in my area; Okna is not available to my knowledge.
The Sunrise models are still made by the same folks in the same factories, it's a very good window. If you have concerns about the fact that they were purchased by a manufacturer with a questionable reputation and what that could mean down the road that's one thing, but again, the product at this time is the same.
Okna may be available down there, not sure...

cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am I know Randy is not a fan of Burris, but given their Cardinal IGUs with 366, I'm having a hard time understanding why. However I do see that NT is a nicer offering with overall better design.
I won't speak for Randy (and I certainly defer to his knowledge of the options in your area), however speaking more generally, there are TERRIBLE windows out there that have good glass. The differentiators from a great product to a poor one will have far more to do with the engineering and assembly of the unit as opposed to the glass.

cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am What I've realized is I'm having a hard time finding even-handed info. People seem to take a hard line on different topics and very convincingly tell you why the other method is wrong. Everyone I've talked to has a good reputation via reviews and personal references. It starts to make me wonder if there is no "better/worse," simply preferences and as an amateur I'm going to have a hard time telling them apart.
Not trying to make this even more difficult, but on some topics sure, there is a matter of preference. On others, there is a very clear "better/worse". While its tough to discern which is which at times, that's why sites like this exist :)


cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am
  • Installer only uses high-quality caulk, no insulation. One installer tells me this is horrible and the cavity should have insulation added. The NT Traditions installer tells me they used to use the spray in insulation, but later found it caused mold issues. This seems very believable to me in the DFW climate, but could be a good story about why they cut a corner?
It could be an experience that they had, but most likely falsely diagnosed. Foam, properly applied, would not cause mold. Mold would be caused by some other issue where too much moisture is present where it should not be.

cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am
  • Black exterior is a paint product ("the same way automotive paint is applied") with a 15 year warranty. Sun is intense on my house; some other vendors said a laminate type finish is preferable.
More of a preference here imo. A laminate may have a slight edge in durability, but has its own pro and cons. Paint can always be reapplied as well.

cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am
  • Installer uses 2-man crews and estimates the project will take 3-4 days, which has the benefits of finishing one room at a time but also seems a little odd and disruptive compared to everyone else who either used a large crew in 1 day or a medium crew in 2 days.
This wouldn't be on my radar at all. 25 windows completed in anything less than a 5 day work week is solid depending on specifics of the job. 2-4 guys is a pretty normal crew.
cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am
  • NT is a sloped sill, Burris is a pocket sill. Lots of claims each is better than the other.
Definite right/wrong on this one. A sloped sill is superior.
A pocket sill is primarily designed for cost savings, helps windows with weak engineering get respectable structural numbers, creates more glass loss, and is a poor method for water drainage that often results in future issues.

cranstonmike wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 9:48 am
  • Burris buys IGUs from Cardinal with a stainless steel XL edge spacer. NT assembles their own with a foam SuperSpacer. Some reports foam spacers are more prone to sun damage and fall over time. Supposedly has a lifetime warranty but I'm a bit suspicious of the warranties on both to be frank - the legal language about "aging and exposure" gave me pause. Sun is very intense on my house and if that's a risk for a foam spacer, perhaps I am better with a stainless steel?
Again, preference here to some degree. The Cardinal system is excellent, but the higher end composite/foam spacers also perform very well and are very reliable when assembled by a high quality manufacturer.

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Windows on Washington
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Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC

Re: NT Traditions - install without insulation?

#3 Post by Windows on Washington »

Foam is preferable to insulate larger gaps, but if the gaps are small, the reality is that it won't provide a massive amount of benefit over a small void that is filled with caulk. Really installation dependent. As far as the mold, that is a non issue and wouldn't have anything to do with the foam or the window opening. Mold on the backside of brick veneer wall is normal and happens as part of solar vapor drive.

I used to be anti paint as well, but it holds up as good, if not better, than darker foils. If you are really worried about it, got with anodized aluminum.

Don't see any issues on the work completion timetable. Really depends on crew size and how they like to go at the job.

Sloped, assuming similar performance data, is vastly superior and more long term durable proof.

Zero concerns as long as both are from reputable companies. Have never seen any issues with the spacer systems any longer. Pretty well vetted tech now.

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