Big purchase and I want to do it right!

lmiskowiczMarch 13, 2014

Just found this site in my research on windows. Wow what a wealth of knowledge and experience! My family and I just took three bids on our home. (15 windows and a sliding door) Here are our options. ANY advice would be greatly appreciated. I am learning as much as I can but there is so much out there that it can be a bit intimidating! Here are the three products we were presented:

Renewal by Anderson Fibrex:
-SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive.
-.30 u-factor
-Sturdier than vinyl?
-Double Pane

Soft-lite Elements Ultra-S Glass
-Triple pane
-0.19 u-factor
-vinyl

Alside Mezzo
-Double Pane
-0.27 u-factor
-vinyl

I don't mind paying for quality if that is what I am getting. So I am not ruling Anderson out completely but the difference in price is significant.

We will not be doing inserts. This is an old house so we want to make sure there is a great fit.

How significant is the difference in u-factor?
Is the expansion/contraction of vinyl still a major deal if you get a good quality window? (I live in Minnesota so it will get cold!)
Is there anything else that I should be asking?

Thank you for ANY advice you can provide.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
windowsonwashington

This is about the easiest multiple choice test I have seen.

Without question, the Soft-Lite is the best choice of that bunch. Its not a really fair contest for the other two.

If you wanted to give the Soft-Lite some fair competition, throw and Okna 500 in the comparison along with an Sunrise Restoration and now we have a horse race.

The U-Factor is a big difference despite it being downplayed by folks. It raises the entire average of your wall assembly a good bit. In this comparison (assuming 75% wall and 25% window), the better window will raise the entire (the whole wall) wall assembly R-Value by over 20%.

Nothing about expansion and contraction poses a risk for a well engineered window.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lmiskowicz

Thank you very much for your fast response. I will look into those other brands and see if anyone in my area sells them. I want a few competent bids to choose from if I can help it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 9:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bpchiil

+1 to WoW's response.

I am personally not a fan of intercept spacers (Softlite) I would opt for Okna 500 or 800 or Sunrise Vanguard or Restorations.

There are dealers for both Sunrise and Okna in your area.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toddinmn

You may have a hard time finding Okna, but may want to add Polaris to the list. Soft-Lite is available with a Superspacer.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lmiskowicz

The Soft-Lite installer did stress the super spacer that they use in this model of window. Supposedly this help decrease the thermal conductivity between the panes of glass. I did have trouble finding Okna dealers near me but I did find a Sunrise Restorations dealer right down the road. I will check out Polaris as well. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lmiskowicz

The Soft-Lite installer did stress the super spacer that they use in this model of window. Supposedly this help decrease the thermal conductivity between the panes of glass. I did have trouble finding Okna dealers near me but I did find a Sunrise Restorations dealer right down the road. I will check out Polaris as well. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lmiskowicz

Just a followup on this. We have chosen to go with the Soft-Lite Elements Triple Pane (Ultra S) model and received a quote for 24k. This quote includes a full frame install of 16 double hung windows (including one octagon that is being squared off and turned into another double hung. This also includes a full fram install of a new Patio Door (Soft-Lite Kingsroyal Glide) that is custom (Wisconsin size?)

We were also quoted 5.8k for a new front Double Door by Albany.

How do these prices sound? Am I in a fair ballpark? What is the quality of the entry door? We were quoted on a provia from another company which I read in another thread was a very good door. But that was about 12k which pushed us over our budget. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toddinmn

Hard to say on the price without knowing all of the details. Make sure all the details are fully understood by both parties, especially with a full frame install. Does the price include new trim on the interior? If so is it going to match, is their a custom stain involved? Are they going to patch any holes in the wall? On the exterior are they going to Cap the windows, install new wood and paint or maybe a pvc trim. Is the profiles going to match existing? Is the house stucco, brick, vinyl or wood? Are they going to cut back the siding, How are they going to flash the openings? Are there windows on the 3rd floor, is lead based paint present, if so are RRP procedures included in the price? And the list goes on and on. It's about the details especially so with full framed windows.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lmiskowicz

Thank you for the list of detailed questions! I know for a fact they are going to handle all the trim and staining as we talked about which stains we want etc. He did talk about how they will work in behind the vinyl siding and make sure everything is tied in with the existing work. Pretty sure lead paint isn't an issue as this house is a late 70's build.

Would you say those you mentioned here are the big ones to get the answers for?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HomeSealed_WI

With full frames, casing, staining, etc, that sounds like a good deal. That is a LOT of work.
I have not done too many Albany doors, but I thought they were fine. Not bad, not great.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
windowsonwashington

+1

That is a bunch of work. That definitely drives the price way up.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fenmaster

Congrats.
I like the look and results from a full frame/full tear installation.

theWindowNerd...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:39PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Deciding between Grand Estates/Amcraft or Okna 500dx, advice?
Both are new construction. The Grand Estates is just...
happyallison
Quick advice re: matching door and window grills & transom size
I have french doors sitting between two sets of side...
happyallison
Curtain Finials
These finials were purchased a number of years ago...
cw8626
new construction vs "replacement" windows
I am somewhat confused from reading various company...
mmdoh
Time to replace the windows?
There has been almost constant ice build up around...
tonyzzztony
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™