Need help with windows!!!

rkb21February 8, 2013

We live in St. Louis, MO and currently have double pane builders grade windows (not sure what brand). The house is about 20yrs old and we need to replace some windows and sliding glass patio doors due to draftiness. They are wood on the inside and something else on the outside, excuse my ignorance :).

We have neighbors that used a company called THV compozit windows [that is not a typo, that is the brand]. They are mostly in the midwest and manufacture their own windows and install them. Their factory is in ND. Anyone heard of them or their windows? They have triple pane with low E, argon and krypton gases. Their pricing is about the same is the Anderson 400 series.

We still have the Marvin reps coming next week to give us a bid.

I would like to change the double hung to casement windows because it seems like maybe they seal better, though the reps said their dh and casement windows are fairly equivalent in that regard.

I have spent so much time searching the various posts...I'm getting more and more confused about what to get :(

Any help from would be much appreciated!

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First, what do you want the windows to look like? Do you require a wood interior?

The THV is a cellular PVC product and the slight against the company has usually less to do with the product and more to do with the selling practices in my observations.

If you rep told you that the casement and double hung are equivalent in terms of tightness, they either produce a sub-standard casement or the rep doesn't know what he/she is talking about. I am going to guess the latter.

Are you doing full tear outs or inserts?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:49AM
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Changing double hungs to casements in most instances will require new construction (tearout's) and reframing the openings as the sizes are usually not close enough for simple replacement. Everything else wow is spot on, and do not mean to make that sound like he is incorrect just pointing out the framing issue as most HO would not even consider this.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Alot of manuacturers Double-hung windows could be considered fairly equivalent in air tightness if you go by the Air infiltration numbers. I guess it would come down to opinion as some might say that 0.02 difference is alot and some might say it would be virtually undetectable.

Changing double-hung to casemnet often does not require a full frame tear-out.

Being that your window are only 20 years old you would probally best be served going with a full tear-out wether going casemnet or double-hung.

THV windows tend to cost a bit more than non cellular PVC windows. I don't think they are worth the extra cost over a high quality vinyl.

The Marvin's have a very high air infiltration numbers, about the worst in the business. There all Ultrex windows are al ittle on the ugly side as well, but beauty is in the I of the beholder.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Thanks for the replies!

I don't think that I have to have wood on the interior. The windows will need to be white interior and exterior. I just want a good quality window that looks nice. Our home is a higher end home and I don't want to put in crappy windows.

So, in general, are casement tighter or the dh windows? We have double pane dh everywhere and every window is leaking air. We can't afford to do them all at once bc we have a lot of windows and around 11 sliding glass patio doors...too much to do at once.

We are doing 2 sliding glass patio doors, 1 3-pane sliding glass door, 2 windows that are about 32" x 70", and another window that is a triple window that is 98" x 70". The windows are currently all dh.

The whole window will need to come out. So I don't think those would be inserts, but I could be wrong. The THV rep said that the inside trim around the window would not need to come out b/c they measure for the windows w/in an 1/8 of an inch so that size wouldn't be an issue. He did a big production with a hair dryer to show the vinyl bending and then used some type of a meter to show how much the triple pane with argon/krypton was better than just a double pane with argon. Not sure how accurate all of that was though.

The Andersen person said they would have to pull back the siding to get the window in and properly seal/insulate. I could be using the wrong terminology, sorry.

I thought Marvin windows were highly liked...I haven't seen them in person yet. They're coming next week.

Still not sure what to do...Thanks for all the replies and if anyone else has anything to add or anything else I should look for in a good quality window, company, install, etc, I would truly appreciate it!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:08PM
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If you are going all white and the look of vinyl is fine with you then a nice vinyl window will/should cost a bit less than than wood, fiberglass.

The air infiltration numbers between casements and double will vary between different manufacturers but the casement has always been lower from what I have seen.Some companies are so close it will not make a detectable differernce.A casemnet from Marvin would have a higher air infiltration number than a double hung from Soft-lite or most any other mid to high end vinyl double-hung.

It sounds like the the Anderson's are a full frame tear-out and the THV's are an insert by the description. Make sure to get full details and ask lots of questions on the install since there is a big difference in labor cost.My guess is the Anderson bid will come in higher due to the more extensive labor and material cost.

The THV window is a plastic window just like the vinyl and it will also bend from heat.The time it takes each to bend will depend upon thickness and how many and design of the plastic he is bending.

Marvin's ultima line and wood Ultrex line are what alot of people like here even there air infiltration numbers are worse than many low end vinyl products.

Kryton triple paned glass will perform well but does come at a high cost that will have very long pay back periods.I would look at high performing dual pane glass package with a non conductive spacer or a triple pane with argon.

I would recommend at least getting some quotes from some upper mid range to high end vinyl windows.I would not worry about getting double-hungs either, since the air infiltration numbers on these are typically very low for either style of window.
Anyone know the air infiltration rating on the THV window?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:57PM
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I'm not sure about putting vinyl windows in the home...Is that taboo in very high end homes...I'm asking out of ignorance. I thought that composite windows or wood interior with some sort of exterior cladding were better options.

THV was a lengthy presentation...not too high pressured, but did give me the 30day guaranteed price and then lowered it again for a 'preferred customer rate' whatever that means. He knew I wasn't going to sign anything that day so just said that I should call as soon as I know. Who knows. It sounds like it's an insert not full replacement from the description above. He did keep commenting on how many windows we had in the house so maybe he was looking for repeat business and keeping it tame. Our deck alone has 11 sliding glass doors leading to it.

The Andersen install is through our contractor that we know and trust. He seems like he's got a lot of experience with window installs from what I've asked him. He's a really honest person. I don't quite know if it's a true tear out or insert, but he definitely said that the outside siding would need to be pulled back and something done to it before the siding was replaced. I honestly don't remember about the interior trim...

Both the Andersen 400 series and the THV were roughly 19k. It seemed high to me but maybe because of the size of the sliding doors and windows? The THV dh weren't that much cheaper...I think it was just 2k lower. THV seemed like I could get them down a bit more. I didn't even price out the dh Andersens.

What do you guys think of the pricing??? I roughly measured the openings in an earlier post...could be off by a bit though.

I don't have anything against the dh windows, but I think I'm just jaded that all of ours are so drafty.

I guess I should have a better idea of what to ask when the Marvin rep comes out.

I never knew I could spend so much time researching windows :)

I wish one of you experts were here in town to tell me what to do. Lol.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:05PM
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If you are using high quality vinyl, it's not taboo at all. Look into Okna, HiMark, Soft Lite, Sunrise, or Gorell.. These are all well designed and very energy efficient. They don't look cheap at all,.
you can also look at StarMark composite windows which are real sharp.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Thanks for the response...I think Soft Lite is another company I had called...Are they the same as Gorell? I will look into Okna and Starmark as well.

Any thoughts on the bids that THV and Andersen gave me for the windows/sliding doors?

What are the most important questions I should ask the reps to help decide on the quality of the window and the type of install they do?


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:24PM
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There are a lot of high end homes that use vinyl, usually not high end vinyl though.I personally don't care for the look of white vinyl on stained wood trim nor the look of white vinyl with most exterior color schemes.

If vinyl would work for you ,You are looking at some good brands.Keep in mind casements do cost a bit more than double hungs.Make sure that everyone is bidding the same type of install,how they are going to install, how they are going to address the exterior and interior trim, ect.

The THV bid would come in a bit higher than the 400's if it is an insert install vs full frame. The vinyl windows should come in lower than both if you are sticking with white and basic options.
Gorell is now owned by Soft-Lite, some of there products are same but I think Soft-Lites higher end stuff is superior. Some of the others could answer this better than me. Okna and Soft-Lite are pretty comparable as long as you comparing similare lines within the brand.

Would need alot more details to compare/comment on pricing.Sounds like you are on the right track, keep getting bids and decide what product will work best for you.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:15AM
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Okay, so another question...The sliding doors and 2 of the windows that we are replacing are west facing. We get a lot of sun in the afternoons. I usually have to close the blinds around 1pm to help keep the heat out in the summer time. The windows on the sliding doors get so hot that you can't even touch them for a long time...even if it's only 80degrees outside.

It's terrible in the summer, but nice in the winter [minus the draftiness from the windows].

So, with all of that sun/heat exposure, is vinyl, composite material or wood better? Or does it depend on the line of windows?

In terms of aesthetics, I don't really know how the vinyl would look with our white wood trim inside the home. I guess I'll have to see when they come over.

Do grids make a difference in terms of performance? Are the ones inside the panes better or worse?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Any well engineered wood, composite, or vinyl product will do fine in that application.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Thanks for the response on the sun/heat exposure issue.

I think I'm leaning towards wood interior bc my husband thinks that will look the best in our home.

Our contractor, who would do the Andersen 400series install, says he would do a complete tear out.

I'm still waiting on the Marvin rep to come on Thursday.
I guess I'll post again at that time to see what the price comparison is on both casement windows.

Does anyone know if the 400 series has an aluminum cladding or vinyl cladding? Is one better than the other for St. Louis weather?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:10PM
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The 400 has a fibrex/ vinyl cladding that is fine for your area. Marvin is a extruded aluminum.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:38PM
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