The estimates are in....which one?

angiebangieMay 29, 2014

After meeting with several different window installers, I've narrowed the field down to three. All options include the bronze color outside and white inside. There are 16 openings (currently containing a total of 24 single hung windows) including three 70Wx58H and two 105Wx70H. All twins and triples will be converted to sliders. The primary reason for getting new windows is to cut energy costs. We really like the current slim bronze frame of the old aluminum windows, but they are leaky and fogged.

1. Sunrise Vanguard double pane, $13,400. This installer is the one who sent out the salesperson who wasted 2.5 hours of my time and ignored everything I had to say. After a very colorful conversation with the owner, he has bent over backwards to try to make me happy. This option stands out because I've actually seen the window in person and loved it, and it includes Euro sliders in three openings instead of standard sliders.

2. Soft-lite Classic, $12,800. I loved this company's practice of no BS. They offer only Soft-lite windows and they have no sales pitch. If you want windows, you get a quote and that's about it. This was great because I do not want to sit through another sales pitch. This company stands out because they can install within the month. We will be out of pocket for the month of July, so the other companies will have to wait until August to install.

3. Alside mezzo $11,800. This is the cheapest option which appeals to my husband. This company has not been as responsive to my phone calls and emails, although they do eventually get back with me and have excellent ratings on Angie's list. Despite the difference of opinion on this forum (and, quite frankly, the rest of the Internet) he believes the Mezzo addresses all of the previous failings of Alside and is a decent window.

Because I know you guys are going to rule the Alside out for me, can you give me any concrete numerical reasons to go with the Sunrise or Soft-lite over the Alside? Are there any air leakage numbers that I could compare? Failure rates? I wish there were a website like "Edmunds" for windows that rates "true cost to own", particular problems associated with a particular brand, etc.

Company 3 is also giving me a quote on Don Young aluminum windows, but all downstairs windows will be single hung, and I don't believe I will be able to clean the sliders completely from the inside. Does anyone have clarification on that? The salesman wasn't sure?

Thanks for your opinions!

This post was edited by angiebangie on Thu, May 29, 14 at 20:59

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angiebangie

Adding one quick thing....
Company 3 also carries Simonton and WeatherLok by Atrium. Are either of those windows that I should consider?
Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 6:21PM
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millworkman

Anything Alside or Atrium should be eliminated immediately in my opinion. And Simonton would be a fairly distant third from the Sunrise and Softlite

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 8:59PM
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angiebangie

Thanks! I just got an email from the Sofi-lite dealer telling me that after some changes that we discussed I will receive a new lower estimate in the morning. I think that is the way I'm leaning!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 10:49PM
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windowsonwashington

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater on the Sunrise window. Sales guys are sales guys and can be a bit thick from time to time. Many times they have a strict script that they are supposed to follow and can't seem to open their ears and talk at the same time.

Of those options, I prefer the Sunrise over the Classic.

See if the Soft-Lite dealer can get you a number on the Imperial LS. That is a great option and if the numbers are comparable, that would be my recommendation over the Vanguard.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 7:51AM
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angiebangie

How much thicker is the frame of the Soft-lite compared to the Sunrise? We want to loose as little glass as possible.

The Soft -Lite dealer carries the Barrington but said that it isn't available with the bronze finish on the outside. I'll check on the Imperial LS. Can I ask why you would choose the sunrise over the classic? Realistically, I don't think DH is going to go with the more expensive window if there is a good option that is less expensive. I haven't met the Soft-lite dealer in person, but I am really pleased with how the Sunrise dealer is bending over backwards to make up for the rough encounter with his sales person.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 8:15AM
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windowsonwashington

The Sunrise will probably be about 0.5" (1/2) narrower on either side as compared to the upper end Soft-Lite (LS and Elements).

The lesser model Soft-Lites (Barrington, Bainbridge, Pro, etc.) run about the same width as the Sunrise.

The Sunrise will have a more detailed frame and is, by my accounts, a bit better looking.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 2:47PM
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angiebangie

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I haven't seen the soft-lite in person, so this is helpful. I definitely liked the appearance of the sunrise compared to the Mezzo. How does the soft-lite compare in looks to the mezzo.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 10:07PM
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toddinmn

Sounds like your soft-lite dealer cannot get the element or LS. I see if they could get the pro. The classic should be ordered with sash reinforcement since it is a cheap option and significantly increases the air infiltration number(0.11 vs 0.07 an and the structural performance will improve as well.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:53AM
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angiebangie

So does that mean the soft-lite classic is not a good window? Unless the Sunrise dealer can come down further on the price or is willing to price the Sunrise Standard, we will not be going with that one. I know it's only a couple thousand $ in difference, but we just can't swing that right now.

Because of pricing, we are choosing between the mezzo and the soft-lite. I think we have completely ruled out the Don Young, as we have yet to get a quote from the dealer.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:44AM
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toddinmn

No , it's a good mid range window, so go Soft* Lite and add sash reinforcement if you go classic since it is inexpensive. Consider glass, spacer upgrades and glass breakage warranties as well.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 6:26PM
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angiebangie

My estimate says it has foam in the frame, and the brochure says it has an interceptor spacer. What are sash upgrades?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 6:37PM
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toddinmn

No , it's a good mid range window, so go Soft* Lite and add sash reinforcement if you go classic since it is inexpensive. Consider glass, spacer upgrades and glass breakage warranties as well.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 7:01PM
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angiebangie

The Don Young estimate just came in at $11385, about $400 cheaper than the Soft-lite Classic vinyl.
Don Young pros: cheaper, slimmer frame, bronze inside and out, cardinal glass, great installer reputation on Angie's list, uniform color throughout the whole house.
DY cons: shorter warranty if transferred, glass breakage and labor not covered under warranty, no vent lock to prevent kids from opening upstairs windows too far, higher U-factor

Soft-lite Classic pros: lifetime transferrable warranty on everything but bronze color on outside, all cleanable from the inside of the house, vent locks, installed by the end of June, better u-factor
SLC cons: 10 year warranty on exterior bronze paint, thick frames, haven't actually seen the window in person, installer has a good rating on Angie's list but only about an 8 month history, installer has never installed the Soft-lite because he just started carrying it

Am I missing anything? I think I'm about to flip a coin.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 4:23PM
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UltraWindows

Just so readers don't think I'm ignoring the OP, we just spoke on the phone. You're to be commended on doing such a thorough job of researching the options. You can't go wrong with either product, so it's really a matter of personal preference now. Best wishes on the project.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:08PM
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angiebangie

Thanks Randy! You were immensely helpful.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:10PM
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