Softlite Window Review by DIY Installer

Softlite_CustomerJanuary 1, 2011

I recently (October 2010) purchased and installed myself 18 SoftLite Elements Windows that I purchased from Morris Energy Solutions in Cincinnati, Ohio and thought my experiences may be of interest to others.

Overall I really like the engineering design of the windows. They seem to really seal well and have some nice design elements that I appreciate (mechanical engineer). However, the manufacturing/quality of them need to be commented on. I brought the following items to the attention of the CEO, Mr. Anderson, as well as the Sales VP, Mr. Irving for their response (I'll get to in a minute).

(email to SoftLite)..."[i]Upon my installation of the windows, I found numerous issues that have me

questioning the quality of these units.

Of the 18 windows:

a) One had a spacer that was bowed up beyond the top of the white vinyl

frame at the lock. It appears that the black caulk/adhesive used, bulged

the spacer making it a noticeable eyesore.

b) The service sash supplied to replace the window in "a" above did not

seal. Upon further investigation, the middle of the window sash was bowed

inward more than an 3/16" inch preventing the side seals from contacting the

frame. This was confirmed with a metal straight edge and tape measure.

c) Three windows were supplied with black caulk/adhesive chunks "stuck"

between the glass and the glazing bead. These are out of reach to remove

but extremely visible against the white window.

d) Several windows had black caulk/adhesive dripped across the glass. While

this could be scrapped off, I don�t find this acceptable of something I

newly purchased.

e) On two windows, I found screws for the lock to be almost falling out.

Obviously, I was able to tighten these but upon doing so, found chunks of

plastic from the drilling of the holes prevented the screws from fully

seating.

f) One screen had broken at the rubber gasket. I can agree that this may

have happened during shipment. The screen was repaired by Morris Energy

solution'>Solutions.

g) One screen�s slide lock is broken in that the spring element is

non-existent. I can still lock the screen by sliding it over, I just note,

that this is not how it was intended.

h) Two sashes had incomplete cuts on the handle section resulting in a sharp

whisker left on it. A razor blade was used to complete the cut.

While I feel some of these are minor, collectively they push the limit of a

product that would be deemed "high quality". Of the 18 windows, almost 50%

had some kind of issue/s with them. Just about all of the above should have

been caught at the factory and corrected prior to shipping.

I am not asking for an apology because in truth, Morris Energy Solutions

would deserve it based on all the efforts they made to correct the problems.

Even though I was the installer, Mr. Hillebrand and his tech came out to

my house a total of 4 times to help with these issues. I appreciated their

efforts but ultimately I became frustrated with Soft-Lite�s lack of evidence

of quality.

Mr. Hillebrand has offered to replace the sash�s with the spacer issue and the black

caulk/adhesive chunks. I have tried to be reasonable and accepted his offer

only for the bowed spacer. I have installed (where possible) some of the

"chunk" windows in locations where they are less likely to be seen.

I note that both Soft-Lite�s Mission and Vision Statement are focused on

"quality". I question how these are being implemented prior to shipment of

windows given the experiences I had. I have been very pleased with the

design engineering of the window. Unfortunately, it�s the quality that

prevents me from recommending these windows to neighbors and friends. This

becomes unfortunate not only for Soft-Lite, but more importantly Morris

Energy Solutions as our neighborhood of over 100 homes is currently active

in replacing 20 year old windows.

When I investigated Soft-Lite on the Internet, I found very little in the

way of reviews. The few I did fine were mostly positive although a couple

years old. I am not out to bad mouth Soft-Lite, I only want to share

factual experiences of the quality and design that I noted so future

potentials buyers can have more information to reflect on which I would have

found helpful in making my decision.

I would like to give you this opportunity to respond if you so choose before

I share my experiences with Soft-Lite on a few web forums."(end of email)

While my email was immediately responded to in a positive manner by both Mr. Anderson and Mr. Irving, the promise of sending someone (a rep) from Cleveland never materialized as promised in the timeframe they committed to. I sent pictures to Mr. Irving showing the above noted issues. Since then, it has become apparent that there is no interest in resolving this issue. While this is unfortunate, I do think my experience is worth noting and thus I share it with those interested in SoftLite Windows.

I also would share that as a serious DIYer, I can't recommend doing this project yourself. I may have saved a few thousand dollars, but the time required, hassles and cleanup are probably not worth it. Overall, I would rate the design of the windows as an "A", manufacturing/quality as a "D", and followup by SoftLite and Morris Energy Solutions as a "C". Just my two cents.

SoftLite & Morris Energy Solutions Customer in Cincinnati OH

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Softlite_Customer

Soft-Lite Elements

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 1:32PM
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Softlite_Customer

Since my post on New Year's Day a few noteworthy things have happened:

I received an apology for Soft-Lite representatives not making it down before the holidays and a request to come this week (today actually). The Regional Sales Manager and the Director of Technical Services drove about 4 hours this morning to review my concerns along with Mr. Hillebrand of Morris Energy Solutions.

I was very impressed with their response. They were able to correct all the problems while here except for the bowed spacer sash which will be replaced and packaged differently for shipment. Their explanations for the root causes were honest and I believe they are correct. The three windows with the black “caulk” were corrected by removing the glazing bead and pulling out the offending black “blob”. The screen with the broken spring action was disassembled and reassembled to allow proper action.

I have had a few hours since they left to reflect on their commitment to ensure the satisfaction of their customers. They informed me that the production team had seen and discussed the photos I had sent a few weeks ago. From the CEO down, all have shown a true pride in their windows and correcting the noted issues.

In summary, they have actually done a remarkable thing...turned a bit of a critic into a fan. I learned that a lot of the frustrations I ran into would have been corrected by the installers during installation. Since the homeowner (yours truly) installed them, I found them and did not necessarily know how to correct all of them. Given the magnitude of their response to correct the issues today, I have to update my grading of both Soft-Lite and Morris Energy Solutions to “A”. I am not only satisfied but appreciative of their efforts and feel I can now recommend both Soft-Lite and Morris Energy Solutions.

---A Happy Soft-Lite & Morris Energy Solution Customer in Cincinnati OH

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 6:53PM
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notaplumberbychoice

Curious, how are your windows holding up?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 11:04AM
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devineluck

I am glad things worked out better for you than for us. We bought Gorell windows - a whole house full - and they went out of business and were bought by Soft-lite who is not honoring our warrantee. I am just sick, mad, feel robbed, and so many other things.

Soft-lite will replace our windows - we have to pay for the quote, we have to pay for the window, and we have to pay for the shipping.

I am embarrassed that I fell for all of their promises - careful on your warrantees folks.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Windozing

This is terrible.

Another Soft-Lite "Customer" that is left out to dry.

What state are in? Please keep me posted if you inquiry nets you anything. Perhaps we should pool resources?

Isn't there a website that someone was starting?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Paul551

I also had some quality control issue with the Imperial LS Soft-Lite windows. The grayish superspacer was uneven in most of my windows and on at least two widows the spacer hangs down into the glass.

This post was edited by Paul551 on Sat, Jul 5, 14 at 18:40

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:23AM
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