Questions on replacement windows, Renewal by Andersen
I've been reading with interest the posts on Windows Forum about the merits/demerits of the various window replacement options, since for months I've been considering replacing the windows in my old 1930s colonial.
I want to replace them for aesthetic, not functional/structural reasons. The old wood windows have storm/screen systems and are in reasonable condition--no rot, leaks, etc. But they are small and the grilles make them look smaller, plus they have been painted many times and look tired....Inside the house decor is contemporary --I would like to put in some windows without grilles to give the house a more modern feel and open it up visually.
Early on I decided that vinyl would not look right in my 1930s house. (My kitchen remodeling contractor put in a new vinyl window three years ago, it looks fine but I know it's not the look I want for the rest of the house.) That eliminated a lot of options. My research also suggested that when replacing windows, the choices are more limited than buying windows for new construction, since many brands do not come in custom sizes. So I looked at Pella and Renewal by Andersen replacement windows. I much preferred the RBA in terms of aethetics and detailing. I have also been wondering whether to do full replacements or inserts, just saw tonight another discussion forum entry on garden web about the person whose Andersen full replacement windows were warped/bowed, etc.
I got a quote from RBA for $12K for 10 windows, this seems like a lot of money but from other estimates cited on this website does not seem out of line for RBA....
Here are my questions for the window experts:
1. Is replacing my functioning windows a reasonable thing to do or fearfully extravagant? Should I just make my peace and continue to live with the 80-year old windows as I have done for the last twenty one years?
2. Should I be considering inserts or full window replacement?
3. Am I mistakenly enamored of Fibrex and RBA? Are there other less pricy (non-vinyl) options I should be looking at that would meet my requirements? And how good exactly is Andersen's record? I do realize having read some of the other discussion threads and postings that a lot of folks who opine on this site have pretty strong reactions to RBA, although as one individual noted this may reflect lack of familiarity with the product since Andersen controls the whole process from sale through installation.
I've been stringing the Andersen rep along for months....I'd appreciate any expert advice I can get to help me make a decision! And thanks so much in advance for your help!