Andersen vs. Simonton for little country house

dej142July 11, 2008

My husband and I bought some acreage with a little hunter's cabin on it. It's a modest house--1350 sf, metal siding, odd finishings that the previous owner probably found or got a deal on--but we've grown to like it. We originally planned to build a new house on the property but have decided to just remodel. We will need to replace most of the windows.

I'm ok with vinyl windows and they're in keeping with the value/style of this house. I had decided to get Simonton vinyl windows based on posts on this website, but I read elsewhere that they leak wind badly. It's pretty windy here so I'm now thinking of getting Andersen 400 series. I will need 4 or 5 large double hungs and a large sliding window (or two short double hungs) on our north wall and two other sliding windows on other walls. The windows will be new construction vs. replacement b/c we're having exterior walls completely redone to add insullation, etc.

My questions are:

- is it stupid to put fairly expensive windows in a home we lovingly (but somewhat truthfully) call our shack? I think we'll realize the value in energy savings plus comfort if we stay here a while, but guess I'm looking for confirmation that it's worth it.

- assuming proper installation, do Simontons really leak air badly? do Andersen 400s?

- the double hungs I'm looking at would be about 3'10" wide by 4'9" tall. I think that's unusually wide but I'm trying to capture the view to the north and thought that'd be a good way to do it. Any problems with double hungs that wide?

Thanks so much for any input.

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Simontons better windows (9800, 5500, 5300 series etc.)do not leak air badly. If you go with vinyl windows, I'd recommend sash reinforcements for those sizes.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Over the past 15 years of construction, my practice has been to refrain from using plastic or vinyl windows in insulated structures. My opinion on the disposable aspect of plastic/vinyl windows was confirmed in a late '07 Consumer Report study. Plastic/vinyl windows do not provide longevity in performance ratings once exposed to the environment.

Wood remains the most practical material for window construction. Adding an exterior cladding also adds low-maintenance benefits to the wood construction. I would suggest that the lowest quality wood window would still provide at least twice the long-term benefits in energy efficiency over the highest quality plastic/vinyl window.

In regards to your comment on the removal of the exterior siding in order to add insulation, this would be the ideal time to purchase the best window within your budget. Generally, the major expense involved in window replacements (i.e. retro-fitting) is "custom sized" replacements, or the labor involved in retro-fitting new "standard sizes". If you elect to install a disposable window today, it will cost you a lot more in 5-10 years when you have to replace/retro-fit replacement windows within your "new" walls.

Regarding your question on sizing, double hung window sashes generally operate more effortlessly when the width-to-height ratio is at least equal, or the height dimension greater than the width (per sash). However, I don't believe that you would have any energy performance issues.

Lastly, keep in mind that both window products you reference utilize a large percentage of plastic within the window construction, and plastic = disposable. There are likely many other window dealers in your area that can provide all wood windows or wood windows that utilize a metal cladding, which will far outlast plastic construction.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 7:59PM
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I am looking to purchasing vinyl windows. Which windows are better? I have been considering Paradigm Tapestry, American Craftsman 9500, and Alside Excalibar.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 11:49AM
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My list in order of preference would be Paradigm and AC 9500.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 12:01PM
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