Anyone know of Vector/Vinylite windows?

LeeLee77June 4, 2013

Hi, everyone. I am new to this forum and just getting educated on windows. We have had five windows replaced the last few years, and are now looking to get four more replaced next month and soon the rest will be replaced in the upcoming years. We have been happy with the vinyl windows our contractor (and cousin) has used previously, they are from a company called Vector windows (previously Vinylite) based in MN that purely sells to lumberyards. But we have always thought they were a little pricey. We have not done replacement windows, we always rip out the old and put a new one in with new casing. Anyway, this week I decided to go to retail stores and price out the beginning series Andersen 100 and Pella 25/350 series windows as well, and those are cheaper. For example, for a casement approx 2ft*4ft, Pella 25 was $270, Pella 350 was $370, but the Vector was $450. I am comparing the u-factor and they all seem comparable. Yet, I have seen some very mixed reviews from sites like this on the Andersen and Pella beginning series (many people not liking them), so its hard to understand if I should be taking more into account than the u-factor stuff?

We live in MN (cold winters). I am trying to make sure that as we move forward with buying another 15 or so windows that we are making the right choice and if we are going to pay more its for good reason. I can't find reviews of Vector/Vinylite because they are a smaller local company (5M in sales), so I guess people just don't review them as much? Like I said I think the windows have been good, but just want to make sure we are paying more for a reason. Prices for sliders/picture windows are pretty comparable to other brands, but the casements have defeinitely been more and we have a lot of those in our house.

Thanks for any advice you can give!

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HomeSealed

Not familiar with the brand, but generally anything marketed as "builder grade" is not going to be a top performer. Get the ratings for U value, shgc, VT, air infiltration, and design pressure. They will be very telling as to the quality.
Regarding Pella and Andersen, Pella's 350 is decent, although I avoid it due to the pocket sill. Andersen fibrex products are decent as well, but the 10 yr warranty turns me off. The lower end offerings from each company (Thermostar and Silverline/American Craftsman respectively) are truly entry level, "price-point" products IMO. Neither are even designed or built by Pella or Andersen, but they simply purchased existing companies and relabeled them.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:03AM
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millworkman

+1, which should also tell you why the alleged performance data is all about equal.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 12:51PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

+1

What we see of them in our area is typically used in price sensitive remodels.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 7:00AM
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LeeLee77

Thanks, everyone for your feedback. Excuse my ignorance, but what does +1 mean? Windowswashington, where do you live? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:20AM
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LeeLee77

HomeSealed, I know that any window we get probably won't be top of the line, but we are looking for a good vinyl mid-range window. The vector numbers are:

u-value: .28
shgc: .2 if loe3, .3 if loe2
Visible light: .47 for loe3 and .51 for loe2
air infiltration: casement - .06, picture window - .01 (these are the large majority of windows we will be replacing)
design pressure: is that the psf? if so, that is 4.5 for a casement

Can you tell me what you think of these numbers? I don't know much about windows, I'm just learning, so your help is appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:33AM
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LeeLee77

Also, do you know of a mid range vinyl window that does not have a pocket sill? If so, please tell me the brands. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:37AM
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HomeSealed

A few observations Leelee:

-I think that some of your info may be incomplete or inaccurate. You should see a change in the u value from lowe2 to lowe3, and the shgc should go down, not up.

-In MN, you should ideally look for a U-value as low as possible, and a shgc that is moderate to high, higher on the southern elevation if you have a fair amount of glass space that gets good sun. The better products are getting u values in the .25-.27 range in double pane with shgc still over .25+ (without grids).

-If you are looking at casements, pocket sills are not a concern, and air infiltration can be slightly less of a concern as casement units are the "tightest" configuration. That said, .06 for a casement is not very good. Higher and even mid-level options are getting as low as .01, if not at least below .05.
Design pressure will typically run in a range between 25 and 75 (some a little lower and some higher) and will be listed something like DP50, R50, or LC50, depending on where you look, how it is tested, etc. You really want to be over 50 on a casement IMO. DP tests the wind load primarily, and gives a great indication of structural integrity.

- A solid design and build does become paramount with casements. They take a tremendous amount of stress when open, so the quality of the unit will show itself rather quickly. I've seen builder grade vinyl casements warp and twist to the point of being nearly inoperable in less than 5 yrs. Probably an extreme example, but you get the idea.

-In MN you should have access to most of the better products commonly mentioned around here. Sunrise and Okna/Himark are probably my two favorite vinyl casements, but Softlite/Gorell, Polaris, and some others make great units as well.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:07PM
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LeeLee77

HomeSealed thank you so much for your comments!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:16PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

HomeSealed nailed it.

Not much to add here.

I am in Washington, DC area.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Karateguy

+1 is the equivalent of "like" on Facebook.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 9:05PM
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LeeLee77

Thanks for your help, everyone. We decided to go with ThermoTech windows. Our contractor said he liked them a bit more than Vinylite. I checked out some reviews, even on this forum, and everyone seems to think they make a really good product.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:27AM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Sounds great.

Post up some updates after you get them in. We love to see follow up stories.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:44AM
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