Alside Excalibur or Okna?

rdw829April 6, 2012

We are looking to put in 4-5 replacement windows. I have a local company coming out to give me a quote. I understand that they install the Alside Excalibur, and for a typical, double hung window, it will be $496/installed. (this is a discounted group rate, so I have the rate but I have not seen the window yet).

I started googling and found recommendations (here and on replacementwindows.com) recommending Okna Windows. I found an installer in my area and will have them come out to give me a quote this weekend. The Sales Guy told me that the Okna's are $600 - $800/window, depending on options.

I am also working with a contractor on my kitchen - who could install windows as well - but I think I would rather go with a more typical window installation company.

So, my questions are Excalibur or Okna (and why?) - and do these rates sound reasonable to you? (I will not be making a decision solely on price - the Okna and Excalibur are close enough on price, I am really looking to distinguish between the products).

Thanks for any / all help!

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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

I might be construed as being over the top and dramatic, but in this case it is not.

There is zero (besides the fact they are both vinyl and glass) comparison between the two windows.

The Okna is going to have better performance on every measurable aspect and the margins are often of significance.

You would be very well advised to invest the extra dollars in the Okna product.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 12:19PM
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EcoStarRemodel

Okna..not even close.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:34PM
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mmarse1

Okna is a high end window while the excalibur is a low end contractor window. no comparison.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:10PM
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rdw829

Thanks. I looked at the Okna Envirostar yesterday. Window plus installation will be $740 - does that sound reasonable for Okna?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:32AM
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mmarse1

that price is in line and not far off. Okna 800 is a great window.
best of luck

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 1:44PM
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HomeSealed

As has been said, this really is not even a fair comparison. The Okna 800 is easily one of the top 3 windows available, while the excalibur is probably in the top 3 of "most poorly reviewed". If the price difference is a factor, I'd ask to see the 400 or 500 series as well. The 400 is Okna's entry level line, yet it still beats the Excalibur in every measureable area.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 1:08PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I am sure glad I saw this message concerning Alside windows. I had a contractor our to give me an estimate for doing several major construction projects on my house and one was to replace the windows; he indicated that he uses Alside Excalibur. Now I know to stay away from that window.

HomeSealed, if the Okna 800 is one of the top 3 windows available, would you mind naming the other two brands, please. In the meantime, I am going to Google Okna and see what I can read about them.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:59PM
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HomeSealed

In vinyl, I like the Softlite Elements/Imperial LS, as well as the Sunrise Restorations/Vanguard.
I highly recommend comparing the thermal (U value, shgc) and structural (AI, DP) ratings of any given product that you consider. This is how you can cut through all of the misinformation in the industry.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 3:35PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Thanks, HomeSealed. How am I to know what good thermal and structural ratings are? If there a website I can go to to gather that info?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:09PM
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HomeSealed

AAMA has minimum standards for certification, but they are pretty loose. Put it this way, the top vinyl windows choices will be in the following range: U-value .25-.28 (double pane)SHGC .25 or higher (unless you are in a hot climate), DP (design pressure) 50 or higher, AI (air infiltration) .05 or lower.
You can find good products that may fall slightly short in some areas, but the three I named above are on the better side of those ranges.... Unfortunately, there is not a specific "official" website that lists what is good or bad, but you can pick up a lot from this forum and others like it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 6:40PM
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mmarse1

HomeSealed gave a great explanation. i would add one thing; along with criteria mentioned above,you want a window contructed using a welded sloped sill. that means no snap in sloped sills and no pocket sills.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:11PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Thank you so much HomeSealed and mmarsel. I am trying to educate myself before making any decision.

Do you recommend that the windows be viewed and opened and shut before making a selection - I know this sounds like a stupid question, but I have never had to replace windows before now.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:58PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

Certainly.

I would want to see anything that I would be buying when a purchase of that magnitude.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:04PM
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HomeSealed

I definitely agree. While the ratings will tell you much about window quality, you want to see and feel exactly what you are getting. Most times this gives some additional perspective, as the operation of a well-built unit will feel different than one that is not.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:46PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Thank you so much, windowsonwashington and HomeSealed.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:48PM
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HomeSealed

:D ... Feel free to post back for further advice as you proceed through the minefield that is the window buying process. There is so much misinformation out there, these boards are often the only voice of reason.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:29PM
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carolmka

so as someone who has several Excalibur windows in my house. What's so bad about them? Is there anything I should be looking for? At the time we installed them, they were a huge improvement over what we had. Just curious.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:39PM
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HomeSealed

Comparatively to other choices: they leak much more air, and have more service issues-- in my experience. Not a good product by any form of measure, objective or subjective.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:09PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

+1

They will almost always be and improvement over existing but that should not be the litmus test.

We installed quite a few of them at one time and they are responsible for all of our service issues, seal failures, and air leakage complaints.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:31AM
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