replacing rotting wood windows with aluminum clad

jeanneclaireJune 29, 2010

My all wood windows are a maintenance nightmare! I'm interested in an extruded aluminum clad window. I have a stucco (EFIS) exterior which also has maintenance issues. I want to make sure I choose the best windows that I can afford and have them installed properly to prevent further stucco problems. So far I've looked at Marvin, Semco, Windsor, and Jeld-Wen. I'm looking for suggestions in choosing the best windows and best installation methods to insure a proper seal around the stucco. The home is in East Tennessee.

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I guess I should mention that I want double-hung windows. I really like the look of the Semco and Marvin windows. The finishing details of both seem superior to Windsor, and Jeld-Wen seems a little too plain. Also, the window movement seems to be quite smooth on both the Marvin and Semco. Is the Hardware used in Marvin and/or Semco superior to the others?

I'm also debating if I should choose interior grids. I can see the benefits as far as ease of cleaning, but the permanent interior/exterior divided lites are so much more attractive. Are they worth the added cost, and how do the exterior clad divided lites hold up?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 7:30PM
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Does anyone know about Semco? Their service record, product reliability? It seems that all their service centers are in the upper mid-west.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:50PM
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In all honesty I have been in thew window and door business for almost 25 years, and have never sold nor do I know anyone who has ever purchased a Semco window. So I cannot offer an opinion on their product other than that. However I truly feel there is no way you could go wrong with the Marvin windows and would in my opinion that would be the window I would use.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:23AM
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I'd say the decision is hanging right there in front of you.

On one hand you have a company like Marvin who has been in business for a long time and has a good reputation for quality products and customer service and you like the appearance. They also have a very searchable history and you can find thousands of positive reviews over many years.

OTOH you have a company like Semco, who may very well make a nice window but, there is no history of quality, no history of positive reviews literally almost nothing you can verify but, you like them too.

My only question is, why are you trying to convince yourself not to buy the Marvins?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 5:46PM
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Thank you all for your reply. It's greatly appreciated!!

Skydawggy, I met with the Marvin Window representative today, he took measurements, and is working up an estimate for me.

I guess my reason for considering Semco and Windsor is simply, because I've been given the impression (from the other window dealers in town who also sell Marvin) that the Marvin Windows are very pricey. And although Semco and Windsor are by no means inexpensive, I do have a budget, and I guess I'm just anxious to see how far apart they are on price with Marvin. Which is why I decided to contact the Marvin rep. directly.

Do window dealers make better commissions on certain windows, or do some dealers get better pricing from manufacturers that others? I'm curious. The Marvin dealer here sells Marvin windows and doors only, whereas the other dealer sells Semco, Windsor, Jeld-Wen, and Marvin.

In the end, it seems that the Marvin rep. really wants the job, work is slow, I have 36 windows to replace, and he's already said that he will give me contractor pricing. Which would be great. If Marvin can fit my budget, I will definitely go with those windows for all the reasons you and afsa have posted above.

Thanks again for all your input, and for helping me work through this. Anything else you have to share of interest particularly regarding EFIS stucco would be appreciated. :-)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 10:48PM
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I would steer clear of Lincoln windows. My original Lincoln windows are completely rotted and falling within the framework. Would never purchase from this company.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 7:56AM
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ohio, I did not year them ask about Lincoln Windows. They specifically asked about Marvin Semco etc but not Lincoln. I am not sticking up for Lincoln windows at all but i just love people who come on here and rip window brands and never once prove that it is the windows fault. People wood windows require maintenance and care, they do not paint themselves. Not every rotting problem is the window, roof's leak siding leaks, alot of times poorly installed and flashed windows cause problems. Just remember it is not always the windows fault!!!!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 7:51PM
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I agree, afsa, we have been diligent about painting and caulking these all wood windows which I believe were either Huddig or Huttig (a local company which sold out to another local millwork company) for about 10 years now. I'm just tired of fighting against the elements. Every year I have rotten sills and rotten brick mold in the lower corners of the windows. I even had my painter remove the tracks that hold the sashes to caulk and paint behind them where water was obviously penetrating. The sashes are warping and the gas seals are failing, and worst of all there's wood rot in the sheathing below the windows behind the stucco . . . again!! I don't know if this is primarily a window problem, an installation problem, a stucco problem, or some of all, but my experience with all wood windows has not been good to say the least. Hopefully, new windows, installed and sealed properly will keep my home from becoming a bigger money pit! With all that we have spent on maintenance and repairs, we could have paid for at least half of our new windows by now. I a hopeful to find a solution :-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 1:42PM
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jeanneclaire, my response was not to you but to ohiopal who hijacked the thread. Of course i understand where your coming from and i was not saying it is always any one problem but just wood windows in general. As you have found they do require maintenance and some brands will be better than others no doubt. My problem was with the people who come on here and lay the blame completely on the product with no thought whatsoever to other potential issues.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 3:41PM
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afsa, I appreciate your input. I want to learn all I can, which is why I've been reading a lot of posts on this forum. As a consumer, and as someone new to this forum, it's difficult to differentiate between those who may have reasons to recommend certain products, and those who truly want to offer helpful advice as it pertains to a particular situation. Everyone has their opinion, and answers to some of the queries on here are probably subjective, but I'm in no way knowledgeable enough about windows to figure that out. I do enjoy the bantering that is exchanged between those of you who work in this industry though!! It's actually helpful (if you read enough posts) in figuring out who has an agenda and what brands they sell. :-) In all seriousness though, I'm still not sure which windows I will choose. I'm still waiting on bids, so I guess my budget may the the determining factor.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:16PM
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We have Windsor windows...they were new 11 years ago and the wood is already rotting so we are in the market to replace our windows. I found out that Windsor does not warranty their wood from rotting. These windows were maintained very well...too bad that they make such a terrible product...don't buy Windsor. We are looking at Soft-Lite windows...not replacement. We are tearing back to the studs and want to put in vinyl with a wood grain look inside. Any comments or suggestions. These are all casement windows.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:01PM
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@Istblt -- Help me understand about the rotting. Did you tend to keep the curtains or shades drawn over the windows most of the time? If so, that can cause condensation on the windows and could be the reason for the rotting.

I learned this from personal experience -- I have Marvin wood windows and if I keep the shades pulled in winter (which I tend to do since it's dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home), I end up with condensation and ice. The reason is the window covering restricts airflow to the surface of the window and condensation forms since a pocket of cooler air develops between the shade and window. This will happen no matter what the brand.

Also, with today's tighter homes, humidity tends to be higher and if it's cold, even what we'd consider a fairly low level of humidity can turn to condensation on the glass - even with dual insulated glass. If you're interested in learning more, here is an informative article from Cornell University:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Hey this is a good choice to replace extruded aluminum clad window with your old wooden window.
All the best :)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 5:30AM
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Good points by research gal...
On the window brands, I have to say that I replace more Semco, Windsor, and Jeldwen (and all of the companies that they purchased) and maybe Pella, than any others, but certainly lack of maintenance plays a role. Probably also has to do with the fact that those were the most widely used products in my area over the past 25 yrs.
It is wise to at least consider vinyl is high performance and low maintenance are near the top of the list of priorities.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Despite the idea that a clad wood window is protected, they absolutely require periodic maintenance to preserve the frame and organic components.

There is a reason that they only have 10 year frame warranties.

If you are wanting true maintenance free, you are going to have to get away from wood and into the composites, vinyl, or fiberglass.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:20AM
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