Alside Excalibur windows

redjet1011March 5, 2009

As many folks on this forum, I am looking for replacement windows. I have read alot of posts concerning the subject windows and many other brands. However, the more I read responses from the experts the more confusing it gets in the selection of a manufacturer. For example: someone gets a price for lets say 19 subject brand windows and asks if its a good deal. A typical response may be - price isn't too bad but for that price you should be able to get better than a medium grade window. What does that mean?? What is a better grade for the money?? And what is meant by grade??

I have prices for the Alside Excalibur and the Simonton 5500. They both will meet the 2009 tax credit requirements so the glass portion should function pretty much equally for both brands. The frame is the only remaining item on the window unit. Is this where we decide the better grade?? If so, what should we look for??

Under warranty Simonton 5500's have a 20 year material replacement coverage but no labor coverage. After 20 years the numbers drop to about 50%. On the other hand the Alside Excalibur has a Life Time warranty that includes labor. I have read the Simonton warranty but have not actually seen the Alside warranty, but lets assume that it is for Life as stated. Now Life time sounds better to me than 20 years. Why would the forum experts recommend the Simonton over the 5500?? I also know that both companies have been in business for many years and therefore must be doing something right.

Let's leave the installer out of this - as I'm just trying to make the window selection. Also this is a general question and shouldn't be related to a particular part of the U.S.

Help me out here - what am I not seeing correctly??

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First of all you are misinformed about the warranty on the Excalibur. The warranty only covers labor due to a defect in workmanship for one year. Additionally the Excalubur factory from Alside will cover the original purchaser for as long as they own the house. If the house is sold, the purchaser is covered for 30 years from the date of installation. So as an example if the original purchaser lives in the house for 25 years, the new owner is only covered for 5 additional years.

Simonton covers the original purchaser for as long as they own the house and a subsequent purchaser for as long as they own the house.

Other items which affect the quality have to do with vinyl thickness, number of internal chambers, precision in the engineering process, quality of hardware such as type of balance system, quality of welding, quality of the application of the glass seal etc.

Another reason an expert will recommend one window over another has to do with his experience with different manufacturers. Some have issues with delivering the windows in the correct configuration, larger percentages of windows being delivered damaged, factory's willingness to provide prompt warranty service, percentage of failure of window components etc.

Suppose you just decide that all windows are the same and decide you are going to go with the cheaper window A even though the Pro's advise you not to because you figure they all have lifetime warranties so they must be the same quality. Three years later the balance system fails but you figure "I got a lifetime warranty so no problem". You cantact the factory and they agree to ship the new part to you. The part arrives and you look at it and say "now what do I do" so you call the company that sold you the window and they inform you the charge to come to your house and install the part is $85. 2 years later another balance fails and you go thru it again. 5 years after that, you notice cold air coming thru 3 windows. You call the factory and they say "gee, we are really sorry we will ship 3 new windows to you at no charge under the warranty but you have to pay a delivery fee of $80 per window. Then you find out the installation is another $150 per window and if you want them recapped thats another $85 per window.

Currently Alside doesn't charge a delivery fee but some manufacturers are starting to charge. What some of the Pro's are trying to tell you is that based on their experience with different manufacturers, some have higher failure rates on parts and more issues with overall quality than others do and you may not have the security of a Lifetime Warranty to protect you if you buy the wrong window even though you think you will.

What you are assuming is similar to deciding that automobile make XXXXX is better than a Lexus just because it gets better fuel economy, without considering the quality of the manufacturing process and the reputation of the brand. There are windows out there that have good U-factors and SHGC that could be considered junk while there are other brands that don't get numbers that are quite as good that would be a better buy due to their durability.


Here is a link that might be useful: Excalibur Warranty

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 12:35AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

I would rather have no warranty on a Toyota Camry than a bumper to bumper warranty on a Yugo.

That is best analogy I can come up with.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:50PM
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I've installed many Excalibur Alside Windows over the years and found it to be a top of the line replacement window. But installers' aside, the dealers' reputation for good, fast and courteous service is at the top of my list for choosing a window.
After all, window manurfacturers' warranties are for the benefit of the the window maker, not the buyer anyhow.
The list of exclusions that void each window mfgrs' lifetime warranty are too numerous to list.
Just read the small print in the warranty page. For example, the number one cop out for a mfgr is "Warranty void if window is improperly installed."

Just pick out a dealer thats been around for a while that has good installers and cares about his customers.

All the best,

the Porchguy

Here is a link that might be useful: My Album

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:49PM
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Thanks for all of replies. I will try to remember them as I proceed in this effort.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:34PM
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Try looking at Alside's Preservation window. Lifetime warranty and the warranty goes with the sale of the house one time. welded frames, block & tackle for operation, interlocking meeting rails. Different colors to choose from, dbl pane and triple pane. Our dealer is selling triple pane for the price of dbl right now. A 32x45 dbl hung is about $500 And the installer makes a difference

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:20AM
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I looked at that Preservation window.

Very blocky frame and you lose alot of glass. The vendor was very candid about the design issues as well.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 2:22PM
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Is there a reason you are considering Excalibur over Ultramaxx? I am considering Ultramaxx and would appreciate any comments--am also comparing with Thermal Industries' product---anyone have any knowledge of these?? Your wisdom is much appreciated!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 12:35AM
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The Excalibur has a smaller frame and sash profile than the Ultramaxx. Additionally, the Ultramaxx uses a snap-in pocket sill which allows water, pollen and atmospheric dirt to drain thru the interior of the window leaving open the possibility of mold and mildew. Especially after the weep holes become clogged with this muck. I don't care for the Excalibur either but at least it uses an extruded sill.

There are plenty of better windows available in the same price range as these two. I'd suggest getting a few more estimates.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 1:20AM
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Excalibur and ultramaxx are considered poor quality by pro's on this board. Why throw money away on something that won't last?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 12:20AM
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ok, my inlaws chose the okna 500 series. although the ultramaxx and excalibur were both alot cheaper,it just made no sense because they were obviously low quality.
the contractor was the same guy i used a while back for my okna 800's. he made alot of sense how a low quality window will wind up costing alot more we want to replace them in 3 years.
thanks for the education guys.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 3:10PM
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They will be very pleased with the Okna's. Good choice.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 8:24PM
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I've read the many posts here than criticize Excalibur windows, favoring say Okna 500... But the quotes I'm getting have the Okna 500 running 50% more (Alsides is just really cheap around here, ~$275/window installed). I've found one installer that does both who also prefers the Okna, but confirmed the price differential. I recognize the Okna 500 is the better window, but is it really 50% better? When I'm purchasing say a car or TV, something must be substantially better for me to spend 50% more and I'm curious if anyone has any input toward this.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:36PM
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You pretty much get what you pay for.

At $275 and opening installed, you are getting a substandard install as well. The product will likely have failings on both the product and install end of things.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Ten years from now when you can't lock your Excaliburs b/c the vinyl sashes warped and cold air is pouring through the bowed frames and Alside tells you their warranty will cover the cost of new windows but not the labor to install and cap, you will understand why most Pros (except those who sell Alside Windows) don't like them.

You WILL get what you pay for in windows. There isn't such a thing as low priced, high quality windows.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:53PM
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perfectly put skydawggy

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 9:14AM
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I got new windows that were reported as consumers digest best buy. BULL from day one they leaked cold air I had the guy that installed them here 3 times NOTHING! The rep from Alside 4 times. NOTHING believe me these are JUNK. The good thing fresh air blowing on you when your siting on the sofa. I was told these were a lifetime warranty. Buy different brand dont spend you money on this junk they dont stay behind their product

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 6:53PM
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I got a quote for excalibur windows from all weather seal 21 for 10grand. I live in a 1850 home my windows now are wood windows single glass pane and leak air from the top and sides. I can't afford a more expensive window but im thinking I will be saving in a long run. My consumers bill will pay for the windows type of thought. Now what is your opinion. My bill is 400 amonth.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 4:31PM
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I would never recommend putting a cheap window in just because that's all you can afford right now. I would put in a good quality window even if you have to do a few at a time. You could also visit the old house forum on this site for some suggestions from pople who own older homes and ask about less expensive alternatives to replacing all your windows. Typically in a house the age of yours, new windows will not be a panacea for energy efficiency as there are too many other areas that need to be improved on first such as attic insulation. new windows will only be of a great benefit if everything else has been addressed first.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 5:44PM
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We got an estimate done for our windows, we're replacing 19 windows and one patio door. Double life time warrenty that covers everything, the company has been around for over 45 years and standing strong. The warrenty covers parts and labor. They're replacing all the windows, bad rotten wood and recapping everything including garage door. The windows are the Alside excalibur Energy Series 3000 with Milenium windows? The estimate was for 10k...Pellas would cost us around 25k and we can't afford that at the moment. We've had other estimates done ranging from 8,500, but the warrenty and windows aren't as "good" as what we got from the Alside estimate. Is 10 k for that many windows and for all the work and warrenty fair?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 6:45PM
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After reading all the posts about the low quality and poor design of the Alside Excalibur and you are still asking if 10k is a good deal? I don't get it.
You need to increase your budget and buy a quality window in stages.
Okna, gorell, soft lite and sunrise seem to be the windows most professional window guys recommend.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 10:16PM
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If you pay any more that $350 installed for Alside Excalibur windows, you paid too much.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 11:31PM
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My My what scathing reviews on Alside windows.
If one didn't know better they'd think the forum was dominated by other window reps.
I'm 59 years old been in construction since I was 17
I have run a window and siding business for the last 32 years.
I have put in just about every window on the market.
The rap the Alside windows are getting in here range from laughable to absurd.
Is it the best window on the market, definitely not.
Is it the quality that some are claiming in here, absolutely not.
Do you need to buy a Mercedes to get 200,000 miles on the engine?
I have installed 1000's of Alside windows over the years from Eternal welds to the Ultramax dog.
I also offer a 15 year personal labor warranty on any Alside window we install.
I can assure you my phone is not ringing off the hook with claims.
I have had Alside windows in my house for the past twenty years. Outside of replacing a few finger pulls and re-screening they have performed flawlessly. No twisting,balance failures,or wind infiltration. Contrary to what has been said on this forum, installing Alside windows doesn't turn your home into a portal to Hell.
Most of the complaints in this forum are consistent with installation flaws.I would be a bit more leery of those making the claim than the product
In closing let me say this: Anyone who would pay more than $350 for a window installed in his house is an idiot.
Those of you who are having such problem with repairs should look to lower your cost for the product and spend the money on quality installers.
Those of you who have had them installed by "reputable" companies may need to do a bit more research before agreeing to a contract.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:28PM
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saying if anyone pays over 350 a window is an idiot is a very idiotic and irresponsible statement. you are obviously the typical contractor that installs whatever his supply house sells. that is a huge disservice to your customers who will most likely be doing their window replacement job twice. windows are NOT a commodity and you will definitely get what you pay for. i dont know how anyone could get a quality window with a quality installation for anything near $350 per window; thats just ridiculous and not realistic. alside excaliur is a low quality window as is the ultramaxx and sheffield.
higher quality window brands are Okna, Polaris (ultra series) ,gorell,sunrise,and soft lite. of course a quality installation is paramount. that means not using a guy that installs windows, tile, paints, does plumbing and carpet installs. get the drift !

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:43PM
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I've had the Excalibur windows for 9 years, and they have been fantastic! I actually had an estimate to
compare/replace the remaining windows in my home, for a more pricey Andersen window, and the rep was impressed with the condition of mine.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 5:28PM
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Other than the fact you just registered today and this is your first post to a 3 year old thread, why would you get an estimate from Andersen if you were so happy with your 9 year old windows?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 6:26PM
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