Replacement window questions

novidaveMay 21, 2007

I am so happy I found this site. Here is my situation. House is 10 years old and the Weathervane windows are crumbling before my eyes. Rot, leaks, breaking seals, you name it. Of course, they went bankrupt years ago so I have to start replacing a LOT of windows. I want some quality, so currently am considering Anderson or Marvin, although open to others. Have read a lot of horror stories regarding Pella so why bother.


Wood vs. Vinyl - I like the idea of low maintenance. A lot. Are there other advantages or disadvantages?

Reputable company in SE Michigan - please share if you have had a good or bad experience

My neighbor claims he purchased aluminum windows from Renewal by Anderson last year and he raved about them. I know nothing about them, but I did hear that the local Renewal franchise was just seized by Anderson due to questionable business practices. Hmmm.

I contacted one company to come out and discuss options. They carry most of the major brands, but I heard the scariest words I have ever heard from a contractor. "Don't worry, I will educate you". HELP!

Appreciate any help you folks can send my way, Any websites that may steer me in the right direction? Needless to say, I don't know much but I need to learn a lot fast. Thanks.

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Your contractor should have probably explained his "educational" advise a bit better than that. In his defense, he's not telling you he's coming over with Chinese food, a box of chocolates and a rose in his mouth to tango on the patio (I Hope). There are so many different options to consider when choosing windows, it's almost like teaching a class in most cases. Educating the customer on all these choices is the best way for us to get you what you want or need. Even if you don't use this contractor, hopefully he'll teach you many of the things you'll need to make a wise decision. I use the same theory with my customers as well. I just don't throw it at them as he did to you. I also use these forums to help others get the education they need to make the right choices. I know it can be a frustrating battle when you hear one person say something completely opposite from the last person you talked to.

Let's try and give you some answers to your questions. First off I'm sorry to hear your existing windows have failed you so miserably without warranty. It seems to be the norm lately. You can't imagine how many multi-million dollar homes I've been in that are under 10 years old that have junk windows. There are so many contractors out there who really cut their costs by throwing garbage windows into their high end homes. There are a lot of unhappy people out there and a lot more to follow ounce they figure it out.

The difference between wood & vinyl is really maintenance and appearance. The vinyl window tests out better than the wood window, but is really limited to interior and exterior color. The aluminum clad window brings you a rainbow of exterior colors and interior stains (or paint). Vetter has a vinyl window, the Pro V Wood Window, that has a real wood interior for your choice of staining and a vinyl exterior. They also have their aluminum clad units with 8 choices of interior woods. Schuco vinyl windows carry the best testing scores (by the NFRC linked below) of all windows. Their vinyl window has a much better appearance than any other vinyl on the market today IMO. They also have the price tag to go with it. Marvin would also be a very good choice to make. They have one of the best aluminum clad wood windows out there. Eagle Windows (recently purchased by Andersen) is also another very nice aluminum clad wood window.

The bottom line is the vinyl window on average carries a smaller price than the clad units. The vinyl windows also carry less maintenance issues than a wood interior does. It's really how you want your windows to look on the inside and how deep that checkbook will let you go. The most important thing of all is the installation of your new windows. You can buy the best windows on the market and if they're not installed right, they're nothing but junk! Finding a good installer is the key to your entire project. Good Luck & I hope this helped!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: National Fenestration Rating Council

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 7:57AM
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It helps a LOT! Thank you for taking the time to respond. I just have a natural fear of home improvement sales people. Some are great and with some, I feel violated the minute they walk out the door.

The replacement guys are doing well in this area. As you said, the windows they put in these homes were just awful. This board (and your post) is the first time I have heard of Schuco windows. I will certainly take a look at them. I think based on color and durability, I may be most interested in vinyl windows. The house trim is white and I don't see that changing. I just want windows that actually shut when you turn the crank, keep the rain out and don't rot in 10 years. Is that so much to ask for :-)

Thanks again. I may ask your advice down the road. Man, these are going to be expensive!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:34PM
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I'm SO not a window expert but can offer you my experience. We're replacing our 26 year old aluminum windows with Simonton vinyl windows. From what I can tell, the window industry is a lot like the mattress industry. They both change the names of a product so you can't comparison shop (easily). My research led me to go with Simonton (rated #1 in a recent JD Powers report). I first discovered Simonton thru Home Depot. They have their own version of Simonton and wanted $5500 for 9 windows. We kept looking because we weren't keen on HD installers BUT in the meantime had read so much GOOD about the window. Next, we let Sears give us a bid on their version of Simonton. $7500 :o The horror stories I read on line about Sears installers scared us away from them too. Thanks to this site and others, I forged ahead till I found a local-ish dealer of Simonton. They do their own install (no subs or day workers)and he's been in business for 30 years. His price for the same Simonton windows...$3500 :)) If there is any difference in windows from the other dealers, it's minimal and from what I can tell, nothing important. Good luck with your decision!
Monica might want to ask the experts here what to look for when looking for vinyl windows. Things like Low E2 (or 3), what percentage of argon, virgin vinyl, aluminum reinforcements, how much space between the glass and more.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 2:44AM
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