Down to 4 options
We live in Southeastern Wisconsin and are looking at having 21 window openings replace (48 panes). The house has LOTs of oak wood trim throughout the home and lots of wood integrated throughout the home. We have done a thorough job of interviewing 6 different installers/manufacturers. I've studied online the Keystone ratings vs AAMA ratings, etc... (one company really pushed the AAMA ratings as the "Gold" standard - no pun intended).
Currently, we are considering vinyl and composite (the Okna composite). The one advantage to the Okna Composite is that they can match the actual wood grain of our trim throughout the house and what is currently around the windows. Vinyl cannot do that. With vinyl, we will be changing the color of the window while keeping the current look of the 1x4 wood trim around each window. If we go this route, we'll be choosing a wood grain color that is a few shades darker than our vinyl trim.
We are also considering tear-out vs insert. Tear-out gives us more glass space while insert saves us money. We are budget conscious. This project is already going to cost a lot of money due to the size of the house. We can't afford a $40,000 project.
We are down to the following 4 firms who all provided solid appointments:
1) HomeSealed (installs Okna, Polaris, and Marvin) at http://www.homesealed.com/. They are recommending the Okna Composite to match the wood trim around the house. The vinyl swatches were not as good of a match as the Stanek wood vinyl swatch (and the salesperson was great because he openly acknowledged that fact). The appointment was refreshing because he wasn't pushing one line of windows over a another (since he represents several strong brands). We were meeting with the owner and you can tell he cares deeply about customer satisfaction (can't find a negative review about them anywhere online). In fact, his company has FANTASTIC reviews on Angie's List. Okna was also recommended to me on another online forum.
2) Great Day Improvements at http://www.greatdayimprovements.com/ which installs Stanek (and is part of their conglomerate). Of the vinyl companies, the Stanek window wood grain provides the best match for looking nice in our home. The rep has been thorough and great to work with throughout - actually come out to our home twice already. They promote the fact their windows are put together as one in the factory (welded frame vs attaching 3 separate windows together onsite during installation).
3) All-American Windows at http://www.allamericanwindow.com/ who sell Soft-Lite windows. Their vinyl wood grain was also a good match. They really push the fact they have the "Gold" standard from AAMA and that they have the strongest windows in the industry. I was a bit surprised the salesperson who has been in the industry for over 11 years had never heard of Okna or HiMark (same manufacturer). He was nice. I had previously been recommended Soft-Lite windows from a few online sources.
4) WASCO at http://www.wascowindows.com/ which makes their own windows (factory is 15 minutes away) here in Wisconsin. Everything is local and they seem to have a strong reputation locally.
Thoughts and feedback?