Feedback requested on replacement impact window options in FL

jenni232323April 16, 2010

Thank you in advance for any feedback you can offer. It's a long winded post, but I tried to get all the info out there.

My husband and I are looking to replace the windows in our single story 1979 block construction home.

We're in central Florida and are set on impact windows, white vinyl, Low E, Argon, insulated, screens, no grids - really anything would be better than the builders grade single pane aluminum windows we have now. We've researched and have had several quotes. We like to think of ourselves as pretty handy and are thinking about purchasing the windows and trying to install them ourselves (except the first large one noted below).

The windows we're replacing are:

(1) 105 wide x 49-3/8 high - looking to get XOX where the outsides slide inward (this is the only window that can be seen from the street) will likely have this one installed by a professional due to the size and weight of it

(3) 51-7/8 wide x 49-1/2 high in the bedrooms - to meet egress code, I understand we have to go with horizontal roller or casement - I think I'm leaning towards horizontal roller aka gliding or glider

(2) 25-3/8 wide x 25 high in the bathrooms - no temper required - will probably do single hung or horizontal roller

(1) 35-7/8 wide x 37-1/4 high kitchen - horizontal roller

Quote #1 - $3800 CWS Custom Window Systems on the front window and all others PGT WinGuard horizontal rollers, plus optional $500 install (front window separately matl's+install $1600, included in the $3800 price) - this guy's local and has been in business for over 50 years, seems reliable

Quote #2a - $3100 Material's only, we could install or hire a contractor - CWS Custom Window Systems 8200 series (horizontal roller)

Quote #2b - $3900 Material's only, we could install or hire a contractor - Simonton StormBreaker Plus 300VL horizontal roller with CWS for the large window (Simonton only option was putting 2 HR's together with a mull)

Quote #3a - $6400 Matl's, install, everything CWS Custom Window Systems (horizontal roller)

Quote #3b - $7500 Matl's, install, everything Simonton (didn't specify which series) (horizontal roller)

We're going to get a quote on Jeld-Wen impact HR's this weekend from Lowe's or Home Depot just to get all options. Lowe's is running a 20% off custom windows which may apply to the windows we need. We got a quote for 1 before and it was somewhere between PGT and Simonton's price, around $550 for (1) bedroom window, not counting the promo discount.

I don't know much about CWS Custom Window Systems, other than they're a local company (actually made about an hour west of us). Their price is about 15% less than PGT, and Simonton is about 15% more than PGT. We're going to apply for the tax credit (30% of materials up to $1500).

I've never actually operated a horizontal roller / gliding window. Most local showrooms are closed when I'm off work, but we have a neighbor who has them and I'm going to ask him how he likes them this weekend.

I guess my questions are -

1. Is Simonton really that good and worth the extra cost, I know this board or are they known so well because they're all over the nation as opposed to CWS and PGT who are more Florida focused? I haven't heard much about Jeld-wen impact either. Are there other good impact mfg's we should consider?

We're planning on being in this house for at least 5 more years, but want the windows to be great for the next owner too. And we're willing to pay the right price to get good, quality windows but don't want to get more than we need.

2. Are horizontal rollers better sealing and function wise than casements?

3. Do you think installing block construction windows is too much to take on? It seems pretty straight forward, even the people quoting said so.

4. I think the windows quoted are Low E 270, which will qualify for the tax credit, except the front large window would need to be Low E 366 to qualify - I don't know how much extra the cost is or if it's worth it.

The first quote for $4300 installed seems pretty reasonable, and I would assume with that company being in business for so long, they wouldn't try to sell window brands they wouldn't believe in.

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