Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

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gmeluk
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Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#1 Post by gmeluk »

The double-hung windows in my townhome are 15 years old and are condensating between the glass. I am beginning to look at replacement.
The original manufacturer is MI http://www.miwd.com/ .

I called them and they offer a sash replacement (LOW-e, Argon Filled, grid) for $225 a set. That makes replacement sashes (into existing window frames) approximately $3k delivered for all I need to replace.

I like the idea of sash replacement, if effective for the following reasons:
- Cheaper, Cleaner (the job), DIY work, No need to concern with casing, messing with the aluminum siding, etc
- I will not live here forever, meaning it is NOT my dream home. I will be here for a few years more, that is it.

Couple of questions:

1. Does replacing only the sash increase energy efficiency?
2. What do I look for, when determining if sash replacement is sufficient?
3. Has anyone heard of MI? How is thier product?
4. Are my observations and ideas rediculous, meaning replacement sashes are a waste of money?
5. If I do the job, I assume I can also do some "maintenance" to the frames. Anyone have any pointers on what to do?
6. How would I determine if the frames are intact and sashes would be sufficient?

Thanks a bunch!
David

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#2 Post by Windows on Washington »

1. Yes, if the current sashes are not fitting properly and allowing measurable air leakage or are not equip with Low-e/argon
2. Square and rot-free frames. Many windows are out of square and suffer from frame and sill rot. These applications are not usually good candidates for sash replacements.
3. Yes. We replace quite a few MI windows if that is indication of quality.
4. Not necessarily.
5. Most maintenance that might be done to the frame will likely create a larger eyesore than is currently there. This is one of the benefits of the capping that is done as part of a replacement project. It covers all that up and protects the frames.
6. Visual inspection and a sharp pointed object (screw driver, knife, scratch awl, etc) should be able to tell you where the rot is.

beaver
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#3 Post by beaver »

I would make sure that you will be getting a complete sash and not just a replacement IG unit which would require being re-glazed into the existing sash frame. Do you know if you have a vinyl window? My guess is that it is if you are certain it is an MI window.If that is the case,rot is unlikely within the window itself. You may also want to get a quote for replacement windows just for comparison. A window 15 years old may also have other problems such as bad balances or other hardware that may not be as apparent as the seal failures.Who will be responsible for measuring and ensuring that the replacement sashes ordered correctly? Another question to ask is what will be your warranty on the replacement glass or sash?

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#4 Post by Windows on Washington »

beaver wrote:I would make sure that you will be getting a complete sash and not just a replacement IG unit which would require being re-glazed into the existing sash frame. Do you know if you have a vinyl window? My guess is that it is if you are certain it is an MI window.If that is the case,rot is unlikely within the window itself. You may also want to get a quote for replacement windows just for comparison. A window 15 years old may also have other problems such as bad balances or other hardware that may not be as apparent as the seal failures.Who will be responsible for measuring and ensuring that the replacement sashes ordered correctly? Another question to ask is what will be your warranty on the replacement glass or sash?
You are correct. I was PPTCC (posting prior to coffee consumption) this AM. I mistaken read the OP question as MW (a very flawed wood window) instead of MI window.

If a vinyl window (very likely) you will want to make sure you are getting the full sashes instead of just the IGU (Insulated Glass Units) as beaver mentioned.

The rest of his post is spot on too! I would make the analogy of putting a transmission in a car that is 20 years old. What else might go wrong in the meantime that would facilitate replacement.

Where is the home located? There are companies that will come out and drill holes in the IGU to relieve the condensation and fog without having to change the glass. I don't really care for that option but it is the cheapest way from point A to point B in your case if you are moving in a couple of years.

gmeluk
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#5 Post by gmeluk »

beaver wrote:I would make sure that you will be getting a complete sash and not just a replacement IG unit which would require being re-glazed into the existing sash frame. Do you know if you have a vinyl window? My guess is that it is if you are certain it is an MI window.If that is the case,rot is unlikely within the window itself. You may also want to get a quote for replacement windows just for comparison. A window 15 years old may also have other problems such as bad balances or other hardware that may not be as apparent as the seal failures.Who will be responsible for measuring and ensuring that the replacement sashes ordered correctly? Another question to ask is what will be your warranty on the replacement glass or sash?
Ok. Thanks for the replies and great advice. Couple of updates.

1. Yes, they are vinyl
2. I am responsible for measuring. MI provides an order form with measuring instructions.
3. Not sure what is meant by other HW issues, balances and other hardware? The windows fold out and can be lift\tilted to take them out of the slides. What else would I look at?
4. I am told that they are welded full sashes. Not sure what\how vinyl is "welded". Melted maybe? FROM THE ORDER FORM -->> Send complete set of welded sash replacements at a cost of $144.00 per set.
5. Can you explain "IG unit" vs. full sash? I assume you mean the glass without the frame around it vs. the complete unit. What I was told was it is a basic remove old and pop in the new one.

Thx
DAvid

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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#6 Post by Delaware Mike »

The MI products that the regional/national builders install typically in my area of are of the lowest quality. Most are single hung, not double hung. The builders all want the absolute lowest cost product that they can get access to, thus Patriot and Capital/MI are happy to have the perfect product. Unfortunately for the future homeowners they are left to deal with not only improper installation and flashing in most cases, but a product that they are lucky to get 5-10 years out of.

If the sashes have good lift rails (not broken on the edges) and the pivot bars aren't severed, you could consider having a glazing company come in with new IG's (just sealed glass units) that might/should feature low-e and argon gas in warm edge spacer. The most common spacer that we see for a product like this would be glazed with a Intercept flexible steel spacer (shaped like the letter "U"). The sash beads that hold tension against the glass unit must be in good shape. If they are old and brittle they could break coming apart to service the glass. I've re-glazed these units before and it's not so hard. In the hands of a glazing company it's very easy for them. The pricing that they gave you for new sashes seems very high to me. I don't know the sizing or if any are tempered glass. It's a shame to see the price of new sashes cost considerably more than what the window actually cost..........

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#7 Post by Windows on Washington »

gmeluk wrote:
beaver wrote:I would make sure that you will be getting a complete sash and not just a replacement IG unit which would require being re-glazed into the existing sash frame. Do you know if you have a vinyl window? My guess is that it is if you are certain it is an MI window.If that is the case,rot is unlikely within the window itself. You may also want to get a quote for replacement windows just for comparison. A window 15 years old may also have other problems such as bad balances or other hardware that may not be as apparent as the seal failures.Who will be responsible for measuring and ensuring that the replacement sashes ordered correctly? Another question to ask is what will be your warranty on the replacement glass or sash?
Ok. Thanks for the replies and great advice. Couple of updates.

1. Yes, they are vinyl
2. I am responsible for measuring. MI provides an order form with measuring instructions.
3. Not sure what is meant by other HW issues, balances and other hardware? The windows fold out and can be lift\tilted to take them out of the slides. What else would I look at?
4. I am told that they are welded full sashes. Not sure what\how vinyl is "welded". Melted maybe? FROM THE ORDER FORM -->> Send complete set of welded sash replacements at a cost of $144.00 per set.
5. Can you explain "IG unit" vs. full sash? I assume you mean the glass without the frame around it vs. the complete unit. What I was told was it is a basic remove old and pop in the new one.

Thx
DAvid
2. Look inside the head jamb of the window for a serial number. That will give MI all the information that they need to remake the sashes properly.
4. Vinyl is brought to its molten temperature and they are bonded together at that point, effectively becoming one piece of vinyl.
5. IGU = glass only, Full Sash = IGU + vinyl frame of sash

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HomeSealed
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#8 Post by HomeSealed »

I'd pretty much agree with all of the assessments above... The only thing that I'd offer, is that given the "low-end" nature of the existing windows, I'd probably be reluctant to spend much if any money on them. I like WoW's transmission analogy: To me it would be like spending $7k to put a new transmission in a Kia when you could get a newer, better car for not that much more.

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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#9 Post by TheWindowNerd »

I think the sash replacement is an easy cheap way for you to go.
How long will you continue to live there?
How are your energy bills? You will get little to no additional energy savings, unless the new sash have low e argon and the old unit were plain dual pane.
Based on your 1st post I would think that premium vinyl replacement windows would cost > $8000.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#10 Post by HomeSealed »

anthony wrote:I think the sash replacement is an easy cheap way for you to go.
How long will you continue to live there?
How are your energy bills? You will get little to no additional energy savings, unless the new sash have low e argon and the old unit were plain dual pane.
Based on your 1st post I would think that premium vinyl replacement windows would cost > $8000.
At $225 per window (not installed), I'd hardly call that cheap. I cannot get behind recommending a $3000+ expenditure in attempt to "polish a turd".
To put that in perspective gmeluck, if you have some mechanical ability, you could probably educate yourself on diy installation and get a brand new, mid-range product for about that price. For just a bit of elbow grease, you'd have a product that would be tighter, look better, have a better warranty, and increase the value of your home... and for the record, I'm not a huge proponent of diy window installation, however in this case I think you'd be better off if your budget does not allow full replacement. The only way that sash replacement would make sense is if you were only doing one or two that had the seal failures.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#11 Post by Windows on Washington »

HomeSealed wrote:
anthony wrote:I think the sash replacement is an easy cheap way for you to go.
How long will you continue to live there?
How are your energy bills? You will get little to no additional energy savings, unless the new sash have low e argon and the old unit were plain dual pane.
Based on your 1st post I would think that premium vinyl replacement windows would cost > $8000.
At $225 per window (not installed), I'd hardly call that cheap. I cannot get behind recommending a $3000+ expenditure in attempt to "polish a turd".
To put that in perspective gmeluck, if you have some mechanical ability, you could probably educate yourself on diy installation and get a brand new, mid-range product for about that price. For just a bit of elbow grease, you'd have a product that would be tighter, look better, have a better warranty, and increase the value of your home... and for the record, I'm not a huge proponent of diy window installation, however in this case I think you'd be better off if your budget does not allow full replacement. The only way that sash replacement would make sense is if you were only doing one or two that had the seal failures.
I thought he said $144 in an earlier post.

Not a fan of "polishing a turd" :lol: :lol: either but $144 is probably the cheapest fix you will fine (minus drilling the IGUs to vent them).

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HomeSealed
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#12 Post by HomeSealed »

gmeluk wrote:The double-hung windows in my townhome are 15 years old and are condensating between the glass. I am beginning to look at replacement.
The original manufacturer is MI http://www.miwd.com/ .

I called them and they offer a sash replacement (LOW-e, Argon Filled, grid) for $225 a set. That makes replacement sashes (into existing window frames) approximately $3k delivered for all I need to replace.....


David
I was going by this ^. I see the $144 too, not sure where the two different figures come from... I dunno, even at $144 I'd still recommend spending another $50+ per window to get a decent product rather than waste money improving that one from terrible to bad. Just my $.02

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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#13 Post by TheWindowNerd »

I think that it is reasonable to expect a HO to be able to swap out sash.
To expect them to be able to do a finned prime removal( especially if in stucco) and then choose the right product, measure and install of a good to premium window is highly unlikely. That is why I think the cost comparsion is more 3000 to >8000. Don't get me wrong I think that replacing the windows not just the sash is the best thing.
Also of importance is the question of ROI, thus my question with how long will the OP be in the home.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Replace window or just the sash - MI Windows

#14 Post by HomeSealed »

anthony wrote:I think that it is reasonable to expect a HO to be able to swap out sash.
To expect them to be able to do a finned prime removal( especially if in stucco) and then choose the right product, measure and install of a good to premium window is highly unlikely. That is why I think the cost comparsion is more 3000 to >8000. Don't get me wrong I think that replacing the windows not just the sash is the best thing.
Also of importance is the question of ROI, thus my question with how long will the OP be in the home.
Where did it say stucco?

My recommended course of action would be to either do the least possible, which would be the IG repair that WoW mentioned, or replacement of only the IG's that are bad.... or replace them entirely (whether diy is a possibility or not). Anything in between is not a good investment imho, but we can agree to disagree. :)

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