Replacement windows - MD

2013kingJune 16, 2013

I am looking to replace my townhouse windows. House was built in 1986, we have the original wood windows. Looking to replace with vinyl windows, but would like to get recommendations.

I have estimate for the following windows:
- Vytex-Fortis windows, the double hung fortis ultimate, the price is mid-range cost $8K
- Vista windows, the triad 7, the price is mid-range cost-$8K
- Thompson Creek, expensive cost - $12K

Based on some of the postings, I wanted to find out which company offer hassle free warranty

Are the list of companies good brands for windows?
Are they durable windows?

thank you

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I like the Vytex out of the bunch, that said, i would look in HiMark Windows. I am pretty sure you have one of the best window companies in the country close by; windows on washington. I think you will be glad you contavted them.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:38PM
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thank you, I am somewhat skeptical on the Vytex warranty.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 9:00AM
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He did not give them a ringing endorsement he just stated out of those choices that he would use the Vytex, but in the next breathe mentioned a much better brand and gave you a recommendation for a possible installer.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:02AM
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I would second the recommendation to contact Windows on Washington - top notch products, integrity, and well trained installers.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Not familiar with the TC product, but I'd put Vytex and Vista in the midrange category, with the Vytex closer to the top performers.
I'd also give a strong recommendation for Windows on Washinton, and for Himark windows. The ratings of that product speak for themselves, and the people over at WOW are absolutely fantastic. Search his posts on the forum and you'll see a level of knowledge and ethics that is highly uncommon in this industry.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Be Careful. Whomever you choose, make sure that they are a window manufacturer who makes their own windows. (I recommend Champion if you are in the Eastern half of the US.) Most window companies are buying someone else's window, so you get a 3rd party warranty. No good. If you have an issue? The window maker will say it was installed improperly, and won't fix it. The installer will say the window was flawed and won't fix it; you get screwed (happened to someone I know.) If they make it & install it, they are responsible for it. A few of the best companies warranty not just the window, but also lifetime on labor and installation. That's huge. Also know that there are basically 4 types of glass anyone is selling right now: Crap, poor, better, and best. The cheap Home Depot windows have crap or poor, with weak vinyl (has chalk and clay fillers; not strong pure vinyl), and they aren't as cheap as you think. The $172 price? Add $60 or more for a "custom size" (they are all custom, there is no standard.) Installation is not included, so that costs extra with a subcontractor of dubious workmanship and warranty. It becomes a $450 window for crap that is poorly installed and no reliable service afterward.
Also beware of buying just a name like Renewal by Anderson. they make many grades of window from poor to excellent, and sell them to many window installers who may be of dubious ethics. they could show you a great window, charge you for a great window, and install just a good window.
Do buy Vinyl windows, not aluminum. Metal gets hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. Wood swells in the summer, becoming hard to open. In winter it shrinks, can have drafts or leaks, rots in the rain, and needs regular painting and maintenance too (great fun for 2nd floor, right?) Vinyl has nearly identical energy efficiency to wood, without all that maintenance, ease of use, and comfort issues.
If you are going to sell soon, you can spend less because no buyer will happily pay more for premium windows. They just don't know or care. But if you are going to stay for years more, get the best value (with "triple low-e" glass) and your energy bill will be reduced by a lot (for the whole house - a few windows won't change the bill much.) It will pay for itself over time. Energy prices are expected to more than double in the next ten years. Vinyl, being patroleum based products, only get more expensive when gas and oil go up, so get them sooner rather than later.
Also, like buying a car, the price is negotiable. Ask for a discount. Then ask again. Ask "Is that the best you can do?" But don't get confused that the lowest price is best, because the cheap windows are so bad, they really are the most expensive to buy and have to be replaced sooner. If the cpmany you choose makes their own windows, you'll get a factory direct price, so make sure they do.
The big name brands (like Pella, Anderson, etc) may just be a local franchise owner. If he quits, dies, retires, or moves out of state, what do you think happens to your warranty? Same with the local guy working out of his truck. Get an established company, factory owned, who make their own windows.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 4:00PM
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Wow, he is right he in an "AnnoyingKnowItAll" who also happens to be a veritable fountain of misinformation! I will not even begin to reply to the spew he is producing. And now off to find that favorite cat of mine!!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Thanks all for your responses, I will look into WOW and Hillmark
Renewal and Pella, were ridiculously expensive.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Knowitall, you have a few valid points, but several items are bad info as well. I'll just address a few things:

-On warranty: Install issues and product issues are generally very easy to decipher. Yes some guys will try to pass the buck, but generally speaking a good company is going to stand behind the product that they install. A consumer should never have to deal directly with the manufacturer on a warranty claim, so the dealer will need to get it fixed regardless of whether its an installation or product issue. As a matter of fact, I'd actually use that issue when screening potential installers: Who deals with the manufacturer for product warranty issues?

-I see that you recommend Champion while trashing other products which may give some insight as to your agenda. What particularly to you like about that product? I find it to be quite average and generally priced higher than it's performance and quality suggest that it should be. The Himark and Vytex products mentioned earlier in the thread will outperform it in every measurable area.

-4 types of bad glass? What on earth are you talking about here? There are only a few manufacturers (Cardinal and Guardian being the most common) that supply glass to most of the window manufacturers. There are different low-e profiles, spacer systems, etc, however the biggest difference between good and poor quality products will most often be found in the construction of the window assembly, not the glass. Even the cheapo windows out there usually have decent glass, it is the frames/assemblies that leak a bunch of air, warp, and fall apart. On top of that, you recocommend "triple low-e" which I'm guessing would refer to Champion's comfort 365. You also mention the Eastern half of the US, which happens to be an area that in large part will not benefit from "triple low-e", as it cuts down the SHGC far too low in the name of enamoring homeowners with a better u-value. Kinda shady IMO.

-RBA makes one window, not "many grades from poor to excellent". They do not sell to other contractors either. Perhaps you were meaning Andersen as a whole?

-Factory direct price from companies making their own windows?... REALLY? Anyone that advertises such a thing yet ends up quoting you MORE than all of the other guys should immediately be disqualified IMO for being dishonest. It may be factory direct, but why then isn't it offering any savings? I believe one of the companies cited by the OP may fall into this catagory as well. At the end of the day, the final price is what matters, regardless of how many middle men there are or how many wonderful discounts are applied.

-If the local Pella franchisee dies, I'm pretty sure that the Pella warranty does not die with him. I'm not advocating Pella here, but come on, let's be honest.

It sounds to me like you work for Champion. Whether you do or don't, it would probably be best to remove their company name from your post because your misinformation is looks either uninformed or dishonest and does not reflect well on that company.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 5:24PM
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