New Construction - Windows matching doors?

JimLeuteFebruary 14, 2014

Hello all, long time reader, first time poster. Thanks in advance for reading.

We are building a new house and have somewhat settled on the Pella Impervia fiberglass windows based on several factors, including cost. However, I need 4 sets of french doors and 2 other single entry doors, that are all windows. The Pella doors are way more than our budget... 4x as much. Is it common to use one manufacturer for the windows and another for doors? Trying to figure out a solution as to not go over budget by 14k on doors.

Maybe our builder messed up the door budget, but our door budget doesn't cover the same materials that our window budget does.

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windowsonwashington

Its not uncommon.

Did you price out the Marvin Integrity?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 5:54PM
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mmarse1

Settling on the pella impervia must only be cost related. Not only is it flimsy and cheap looking, but it has a very HIGH air leakage rate. Is that the kind of window you want in your home? I can almost guarantee, whenever its very cold, you are not going to be able to sit by those windows without a jacket.
Why are you wasting your money.
Higher end vinyl look much nicer than the garbage sold at homedepot, so dont think about vinyl in that regard.
Some high end vinyl would be Okna/ Himark, Sunrise( Vangauard), Quantum 2 by Kensington, Gorell, and Affinity ( especially the Ultra series).
All of these brands have higher structural numbers than the pella fiberglass, look nicer, and are MUCH more energy efficient. Plus they may even be less money.
Yes, you can use 2 different brands for windows and doors. Thats extremely common.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 5:56PM
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JimLeute

The Pella Impervia were the second highest rated window by Consumer Reports. It's supposed to be very energy efficient. The only downside to the window is the looks. Do you have conflicting info?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 4:26PM
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mmarse1

I dont know anyone that trusts or values Consumer Reports when it comes to building materials. Consumer only reports on products sold through retail outlets and not the higher end brands only sold through selected dealer networks.
I can guarantee Consumer Reports can evaluate windows about as good as i can evaluate Samoan cuisine.
Again, Pella Impervia are poorly designed and leak alot of air. Of course you will get your contractor who installs anything his supplier has tell you he has installed plenty and never had a complaint.
i dont know what else you want us to say.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:53PM
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millworkman

mmarse summed it up pretty well. If you advertise enough in their magazine I am sure they will give you a better review as well. They are not at all objective in my opinion and do not look at the enitire picture. All window pros I know will never and I repeat NEVER recommend most or any of the lower end Pella products and I in good conscience will never recommend anything Pella.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:26AM
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mmarse1

Great post millworkman. Spend enough on advertising with Consumer Reports and you will get a great review. Pella spend alot on marketing.
Talk about a racket !!!! I think JD Powers are the same. I always wondered how all that low quality junk was able to achieve high ratings on consumer reports.

This post was edited by mmarse1 on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 10:57

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:30AM
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lkbum_gw

Not to hi jack this thread too badly, Consumer Reports makes a big deal about the fact that they accept no advertising nor money from producers. That said, I have found their reviews worthless, contrary to fact and their selection of products for comparison mind numbingly absurd. Boards like this one (all though this one is rare), are your best source for real world information.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:06AM
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windowsonwashington

Another vote for the lack of accuracy in CR when it comes to building material evaluations.

They are best at consumer electronics and washers and dryers.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:28AM
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fenmaster

Tell me a lot about the windows.
Style? DH, CA etc
Options? color, grids, etc
Where is the house being built?
I often use Andersen 400 doors for hinged units.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:21PM
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JimLeute

Mixture of Double Hung, Casement and fixed. No grids. We had planned on doing a burnt red exterior, but we were willing to be flexible on the color in order to stay in budget. The house will be in N. GA.
Currently looking at:
Pella Impervia and Proline
Anderson 200
Monarch Alum clad

All of these seem to be in our budget.

Now we are looking at Therma Tru doors.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:34PM
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JimLeute

I have no interest in vinyl based on feedback from people I trust and posts on here, etc.

The windows mentioned in the above post are in the budget. I'd appreciate any recommended alternatives at similar price points. I understand that Marvin's are better, etc., but I can't afford them.

I've been told stay away from wood doors, stick with fiberglass, even messes up our budget. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:43PM
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windowsonwashington

Jim,

Have you priced out the Marvin option? I know that historically they are more than the some of the other units out there but pricing is completely regional and shop specific.

I don't know what else you want me to sell about the Impervia but I will refrain specifics. If you want to email me offline, I can share more detailed information.

I would encourage you to look carefully at both windows in that comparison.

Minus the color option not being available (which appears to be less of a must have option), I think you might find the Marvin Integrity (wood - ultrex combo) to be a great option.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 5:22PM
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JimLeute

IâÂÂm no longer settled on the Impervia. I just have to find something in my budget. Again, Andersen 200, Pella Proline, Monarch clad are the ones that look to be in the budget. IâÂÂm happy to listen to any advice, but I donâÂÂt want Vinyl and I donâÂÂt want to over my budget. Unfortunately Marvin quoted 10k higher for their fiberglass line.

This isnâÂÂt directed toward anyone specifically, but the mid costs windows get bashed on here regularly. I know it might not be a popular notion with so many window connoisseurs on here, but there is significant risk to paying 10k or 20k more for Marvin windows. Unless you are in a very high end home, if you decide to sell in the near future, you are out the vast majority of that money. Very few buyers (outside of people from the window/construction industry) will pay a premium for the window. There might be some slight ascetic appeal to them, but the value of the house IâÂÂm building wonâÂÂt go up 20k by me adding top of the line windows. I know my bank isnâÂÂt going to loan me $20k more. I know my appraisal when I go to get financed will not change $1. So, when someone is asking about Anderson or Pella mid-grade, that might be the best choice for them. Systematically bashing these windows without offering a suggestion in the same price point doesnâÂÂt help. Again, this is to no one in particular. IâÂÂve just read a bunch of posts on doors and windows and there seems to be some distain for the more economic choices.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:03PM
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fenmaster

Most of us window specialist share from decades of experience. Our businesses are built on replacing the low - mid range products.
In windows the best bang for your buck will be vinyl. I mean that in duration and performance. The best you can do will be Okna 5500DX DH and 4700 CA. They will provide the price point you are looking for without sacrificing performance and quality. You can get all white, the cheapest, make your exterior trim red, or almond , or you can get split finished red exterior/ white interior, that is probably a budget buster. I am sure WOW can get windows to you, if not have him contact me I will quote for you. Fiberglass by Inline would be my next choice.
As for the doors , you want frame saver on all therma tru exterior doors, for your price point stick with SS( smooth sta).
theWindowNerd.com

This post was edited by fenmaster on Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 8:22

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 5:52AM
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mmarse1

Jim
Unfortunately your budget or lack of, will prevent you from getting quality.
You my save money today but you will be spending alot to replace in a few years. Of course you can live with a low quality product and just convince yourself " its better than what you had".

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:18AM
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geoffrey_b

Just an opinion of a DIY engineer: Don't skimp on the infrastructure. You can always 'redecorate' a room, or buy better appliances - but something like doors / windows go in when the house is built.

This is not intended to be an insult: But maybe you don't have sufficient income / financing to build as much house as you want. When I read "4 French doors" it impressed me that this was a 'higher end' home. Not many folks I know of here in Minnesota have four sets of French doors.

Often the cheap turns out to be expensive.

Also that CU magazine is worthless.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 5:26PM
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JimLeute

No insult taken. IâÂÂm a CPA. IâÂÂve got the finances dialed in. In fact, the point of my previous post is that many posting on this board donâÂÂt understand the economics of these decisions. While I totally agree buying high quality windows is a great investment if you stay in the house long term, itâÂÂs a losing proposition if you donâÂÂt.

For example, I was at my partnerâÂÂs 1.5m house today. It had all wood windows, no cladding. My main house is a nice house, $600k. It has builder grade, all wood windows. If I replace them with nice Marvin windows, does the value of my house go up more than if I replaced with mid priced Anderson windows? The answer is not much. No one, especially appraisers (who unfortunately now exert significant influence on the marketplace), care too much about the type of window in the house provided they are not in disrepair. So, the only way to get the return on your investment is to stay in the house long term. Should it matter to buyers? Of course. But, people are short sighted and/or donâÂÂt understand windows. I didnâÂÂt appreciate them until I needed to make some decisions about my new construction.

Case and point: The reason builders use builder grade is because that creates the highest profit for them⦠and the same would be true for anyone replacing windows who intend to sell their house in the not too distant future.

So, on the contrary, it is my understanding of the finances that is driving my decisions. The fact I can afford the best possible windows, doesnâÂÂt mean itâÂÂs a good idea for me to buy them. Also, the house is in N. GA. I would imagine windows are a bigger deal in more extreme climates. IâÂÂm also doing geothermal heat and air (probably another losing proposition for the short term, except that the tax credits cover most of my additional costs), so my energy saving from nicer windows would not result in as much saving if I would using more traditional energy sources.

I appreciate everyoneâÂÂs input. My point is that buying the best isnâÂÂt necessarily the best choice for everyone, in every situation.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:06PM
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lkbum_gw

Jim,
You make some valid points, although you are off base on a couple. The appraisers do note quality of materials. More so, home inspectors do. Selling a home now involves dealing with educated home inspectors, I was shocked at the level of detail done on the house we sold in Alpharetta. In additon, my Insurance company (Nationwide), made specific notes about our windows. There was a lot of fraud during the housing bust and buyers, lenders and insurance agencies now pay alot more atttention to details. I'm in your area, I built a high end home on lake lanier. I did not get the most expensive windows available, I chose the one that provided the best maintenance options in a style that fit the house. AVI of atlanta was our window dealer and they gave outstanding guidance and advice. If you are in the area, come by and I can show you the differemce between builder grade and reasonably priced alternatives. See my link below from when I was building.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to windows in N Ga

This post was edited by lkbum on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 8:48

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:46AM
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mmarse1

Great points Ikbum.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Window-Geek

I wouldn't worry about matching doors and windows. One advantage that Pella has is the doors have the same cladding on the frames as the windows, so it is an integrated system, but the Pella doors are very expensive. I would say they are over priced. I've used their clad frame fiberglass doors on several projects. The panel is made by Therma-Tru and Pella simply builds their own clad frame for it.

I see some comments on air leakage above. We do blower testing on most of our projects and I've never had a problem with any Pella, Marvin, or Kolbe windows.

Price Marvin windows. In my market they are priced about the same. Depending on the project, sometimes Marvin is less, sometimes Pella is less. Different distributors have different markups on the product.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:56PM
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JimLeute

Thanks,Ikbum.

I have to say I've had much different experiences with recent appraisals. I've had 3 appraisals in the past 2 years and they didn't care about any upgrades, finishes, remodels, new floors, screened porches, etc... nothing. They took a comp value per sq/ft and applied it to the size of our house (or projected house). Done. They made some very small adjustments to the comps, but they were ridiculously immaterial. Again, I think they are exerting too much control of the housing market.

But, back to windows... what did you use? BTW: I'm spending 50k on windows and doors. It's not like I'm try to sneak by on the cheap. That's 10% of my construction budget.

It's nice to know so many people posting on here make a living off of replacing windows, but they are still happy to give you honest advice... despite the fact that could very well mean less business for them down the road. Good group of people here.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 10:16AM
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lkbum_gw

Jim,
See the link in my previous post (also below) we used Marvin Integrity with Wood interiors. They were less than Andersen Composite Framed windows.

I have also had the same experience with appraisals when refinancing or borrowing money against an existing property (comps drove the price so they did virtually nothing other than measure the square footage).

However, when we sold our house in Alpharetta (May of 2013), they were meticulous. They noted appliance brands, counter top construction, furnace and AC efficiency, window type, molding type etc. I think this came from a push from Realtors to overcome the devaluation of foreclosed comps. I was really surprised.

Next was the home inspection on this house. Holly cow, 28 pages of additional notes over their standard form and I was told ours was relatively short. Once again, I think this was a push from realtors to offset foreclosures and the cookie cutter houses builders were using to fill their vacant lots. I'm sure you've seen the in fill homes in what started as high end subdivisions... the 'new houses' are cheap, cheap, cheap. Realtors need to show value in houses over these and you see this reflected in appraisals.

Lastly, when we went to insure our new house, Nationwide required a detailed inspection for a policy over $750k. I was a little surprised by this and asked why. It appears that fraud from the housing crisis was the cause. If you had an in fill house in a high end subdivision and suffered a loss, insurance companies were being forced into replacing with a higher quality more expensive product because of the other high end homes nearby. The discrepancy between low cost and low quality was not previously distinguished and they were taking it upon themselves to protect their liability. Our 'insurance' inspection lasted 4 hours. He noted every thing in the house. Windows, appliances, counters, flooring width (hardwood floors wider than normal), plumbing (copper vs plastic), trim (style and grade), plumbing fixtures and on and on. Virtually everything that would add to the price of a home vs builder grade. I was really shocked at how thorough this was. Funny thing, when all was said and done they came within a few percent of what our actual build cost was. Had we gone the builder grade route, we could have saved 20% to 25% on construction costs.

See the link below for the windows, this was during construction. Again, we did not use Aluminum clad windows (like Marvin Ultimates) as I describe in the link. You are right on your comments about this board. I chime in every now and then as a consumer where I feel I can contribute because it was so helpful to me during our building process. Here's the link also..
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/windows/msg04131741864.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Windows in N Ga

This post was edited by lkbum on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 10:17

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:13PM
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JimLeute

I went back and ck'd my quote for the windows you used. They are closer than i recalled. About $7k more than the Pella Proline. $4k more than Pella's fiberglass window.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:03AM
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lkbum_gw

It would be worth the price difference to me. AVI of atlanta has been out twice in two years for some minor adjustments. These guys are great, I would pay more to have them install.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:51PM
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nepool

I am in the same boat as OP. Looking for the best mid range window. The prices I got on the Andersen 400 are a bit out of budget. Do the 400s fall within the 'these are junk' bucket opinion here on GW?

I'm considering Andersen 200s or Pella Proline. Does anyone know what price-point the Kolbe windows fall in (more expensive than Pella but cheaper than 400s?) I only have my 400s quote, which includes 2 patio doors.

Which is 'worse' (or better, depending on perspective)- Andersen 200s or Pella Proline. A builder I know (not my builder) used Andersen 200s on his own home.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:05PM
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millworkman

Kolbe will be quite a bit more than those as it is a premium window (one of the best commercially made wood windows available in my opinion). If those are your only two choices it would have to be the 200 as I would not use Pella in a dog house. That being said I am still not a fan of the 200 but it is better than quite a few windows made.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:21PM
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nepool

Wow- you really dislike Pella, I take it. Since the lawsuit, I wonder if Pella has changed their windows, and maybe opinions of them would change- or do you think the quality continues to be horrible? My brother got them on his new build- they 'look nice' - but who knows what will happen in 5 years. I have Andersen casements now, and they are OK after 25 years (wood exterior and interior starting to rot out now).

Regarding Andersen-and mixing- Do the quality reviews on 200s vs. 400s carry down to patio doors? Meaning, are the Andersen 200 French and Sliding doors 'just as crappy' as the Andersen 200 windows, in your opinion? If I'm trying to stay on budget with Andersen, where does it make sense to splurge for the 400s (say for all 27 double hungs) and go with the 200s for the 2 patio doors, 2 large Fixed windows, 1 casement, 1 smaller fixed window)?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 7:58AM
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JimLeute

Update: I went thru the Integrity quote this a.m. They had 3 windows costing $6k. The apparently weren't available in the Integrity so they quoted their aluminum windows.

I'll call the architect and make some changes. Pretty happy to ended up with Integrity, at the same price Pella.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:30AM
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nepool

Jim,

I'd love to know how the numbers pan out. I'm rather surprised that you are getting a quote of 'Integrity at the same price as Pella". The only quote I have in hand is for Andersen 400s, but I've seen my brother's Pella bill and the double hungs were almost 1/2 the cost of the Andersen 400, although the patio doors were about the same price. I thought Integrity was even more expensive than Andersen 400.

If we can get Integrity even at a couple thousand more than Pella, that would be great. But I'm surprised the quotes are that close. Do you have a lot of patio doors-is that what's giving you the differential?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 12:14PM
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windowsonwashington

Jim,

Are you going with the Integrity then?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:00PM
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JimLeute

I think i'm going to go with Integrity, once we figure out how to get those 3 fixed windows down from $6k to $1.5k (see above). I'll go without those windows if necessary.

Oh, no doors are in these quotes. Did that separate. My doors are all covered and out of sun/rain. I used wood.

Once we resolve those 3 windows, we will be at a similar price as the Pella Architect series. And only slightly higher then the Pella Impervia.

The Integrity is more limited in sizes and colors which will affect us. So, it's not perfect, we are making come compromises.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:31AM
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nepool

I didn't realize you were looking at Pella Architect, I thought you comparing Proline & Impervia only.

I haven't seen any of the windows in person (yet). The reviews on all these products is mind numbing- no consistency. What concerns me about Integrity is that the undertone of the reviews (even on this site) is that they are well made, but may be leaky - or leakier than others. That concerns me. I really want a window that is not drafty. We don't open the windows that much so the 'solid feel' doesn't concern me as much.

Jim, who did you go with for your patio doors? My patio door quotes from Andersen 400 series are scary.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:55AM
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JimLeute

The Integrity windows were about 13% more than the Pella Proline.

Unfortunately I didn't realize that these 3 windows caused the original quote to be 25% more, or I could have saved some time.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:24AM
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nepool

That's less of a price difference than I thought. I'm seeing a 60% difference between the double hung Proline and Andersen 400s...similar differences for the other window types (fixed, casement, and large decorative).

The difference is much less dramatic on the patio doors. The Pella ones are almost as expensive as 400s.

Did you do Therma Tru for your patio doors?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:42PM
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JimLeute

I got some locally made wood doors for the french doors. They are all covered and the doors were given to me. I will use the Threma Tru for the front door. It's covered as well, but will likely get winter sun.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:03PM
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