So tired of looking. Suggestions in MN

stuckInMNOctober 2, 2011

I bought a house last year, a foreclosure. It needs tons of work, including new windows. I have been trying to decide on a window and an installer for sometime without success. Really hoping someone could help me'cause I'm ready to replace the windows with walls.

My existing windows have rotten spots (outside lower corners). I have been looking for vinyl windows as a) I don't mind the look, b) I like not having to worry about interior condensation (due to pets/high humidity in home) ruining the interior of the windows, c) it's a $200,000 house and I don't want to over-improve it and d) I have a million other projects to do on this fixer upper and I'd rather have money to put there than install Cadillac windows. I want horizontal slider/glider windows.

So, I'm looking for energy star rated vinyl horizontal slider windows at a decent price installed by someone reputable in Minnesota.

The best I have found so far is Minnesota Rusco. They sell and install (claim to have no subs) Thermal Industries windows. I had a guy out the other night to give me the estimate for 6 (101 They gave me a price on the Sellebrity 700 series windows of $12,000. Ummm'yeah no. But there was a one time opportunity (gag) to get the windows for $9000. Yeah'still more than I want to pay. Asked if they had any other options or possibilities to make the windows cheaper, i.e. could I install the interior trim on my own'he said there was nothing and the trim is included. He called the "owner" and got the price down to $8000. I decided to accept (3 days to back out of the deal).

Next day, I do a little research. The windows are NOT U-factor .25, they are .30. So, right there'irritating. BBB does show A+ but as I was looking another complaint came in, bringing them up to 9. Checked out AngiesList, B rating due to pushy sales staff. Hmmm'The windows themselves seem pretty top of the line, so no suprises there. Still based on all I found and the final price (still too high for me, really), I emailed back and said no, I'll be cancelling.

The guy emails me back and suddenly they do have another option that will lower the cost by about $500 per window. Seriously? It's the EuroWeld 510 series. Which actually has nearly identical nsrf ratings to the 700 series, difference seems to be in Triple Wall vs. Double Wall Slide rails, the look of the window (the 700 series has this picture frame thing going for it'looks a lot nicer from the inside), and the screen setup (the 700 series has it in a track'very sturdy deal).

I'm now irritated a lot with the guy, but still drawn to the company. It's a good window (the 510 series), the warrenty is still amazing, A+ on BBB is still good, B on Angie's List is fine'but so pissed off at being jerked around that I want to walk away.

The problem? I can't figure out a second option for the life of me. I feel like I should just go with the other guys, but I can't find the other guys. I hate wasteing time.

I would like to find an affordable window and then locate a reputable contractor who installs it. But I end up going in circles. I finally find a window I like, say'.serious windows'only to find that no one installs them here and I think they might be quite expensive'not that I'd know for sure, it's not like anyone puts their prices online.

Any suggestions? Approximately how many years does it take other people to chose a product and installer?

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stuckInMN

All that info and I forgot to add that the quotes were for full-frame replacement windows, which I need due to the existing rotten frames.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 1:01AM
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skydawggy

First of all, forget about this company. They took a shot at you and tried to rip you off for $2000 per window and when they got caught, suddenly the price drops to about where it should be. In addition, the only window Thermal industries makes thats even worth considering is the Park Avenue and it's so over priced that I'd forget about it too.

I don't understand why you would even consider doing business with this company. They have lied to you and misled you about the windows efficiency, the warranty is below average for a quality warranty and probably a good percentage of what this high-pressure salesman told you about their great service is likely B.S.

I would recommend taking a look at windows made by Sunrise, Soft-lite, Simonton and Polaris. They should be available to you. Just go to the manufacturers website and contact them and ask if they can give you the names of a few dealers in your area.

When you make appointments with a few companies, and the salesperson shows up, make it clear that you are getting several estimates and you expect them to give you their best price before they leave your house and that you will not accept them calling you later and offering better pricing. When you look at the windows, ask for manufacturers literature and read the warranties carefully. If you are unsure about anything, call the dealer or manufacturer later and find out.

Finally, never, never sign a contract on the first visit no matter what the salesperson says and no matter how good the deal seems. If it's an honest company, they will not have a problem with you thinking it over for a few days. If they do have a problem with that and tell you the deal is only good for today, calmly walk to the door, open it and ask the salesperson to leave, then slam the door behind them and tear up the estimate. The sooner consumers start letting these kind of companies know this type of high-pressure tactic will not result in a sale, the sooner they will stop using it to rip consumers off.

After you get at least a couple of estimates, post back and some of us can try and help you decide which way to go.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 3:01AM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

+1

Run, run, run.

Schist'ers to say the least.

I would keep researching and find another company. I might also consider changing operators to double hungs (twin double hungs) for a better window (i.e. more air tight).

Are you sure you need full frame tear outs. We deal with quite a bit of rot and it does not necessitate a full tear out in a majority of the cases.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:52AM
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dennisgli

"I like not having to worry about interior condensation (due to pets/high humidity in home)..."

Just curious - how do pets cause condensation?

But I agree with others - just accept that you wasted your time with these guys. At least you learned what kind of company you do not want to do business with! You should have expected to get a couple other quotes in any case.

And are you sure that the rot is in the frame and not just in the outside trim? You can install inserts and still replace the outside trim. And save the cost of replacing the inside trim.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 3:44PM
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skydawggy

You ever have a dog breath in your face? Lot's of humidity there.

I think he means they have pets and run a humidifier to keep them from getting dry skin. Did kind of make me scratch my head for a minute.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 5:54PM
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stuckInMN

Thanks all. As I was writing up the experience, I think I was starting to think the same thing...all this...why am I even considering these guys anymore! :) I'll suck it up and move on. Investigate some of the other manufacturers mentioned.

As I understand it, pets, people, plants are all sources of moisture (i.e. humidity). I have 3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 adults, plants, and condensation on the windows.

Per the rot...when the window is shut, I cannot see the rotten spot at all from inside the house or from the outside of the hosue. When the window is open, I can see rotten wood in the lower corner. When I say rotten, I mean that when I push on the wood in that corner it moves and makes a squishing noise. Pretty. So, I have been assuming this means full frame.

Thanks so much for the input. So glad that MN allows for a 3 day cancellation of these kinds of contracts.

Now, back to the drawing board. :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 9:32PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

Your rot does not necessarily mean full tear out.

We repair sills all the time prior to installations of insert/pocket windows.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:16PM
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dennisgli

As I understand it, pets, people, plants are all sources of moisture (i.e. humidity). I have 3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 adults, plants, and condensation on the windows.

I bet the 3 adults emit more moisture than the 3 cats and 2 dogs combined. :-)

But seriously, if you have a problem with condensation on the windows you need to address that - and probably not just cover it up with a vinyl solution. That may be why you have rot but I suspect that it is due to other issues.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 6:47PM
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doug_gb

I have Marvin windows. They have factory trained installers, and you will get the full warranty.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 1:10PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

Do not be under the misguided impression that factory trained = good installation.

The two are not mutually exclusive but the factory trained option is a nice addition.

A good installer is a good installer regardless of the certificate after their name.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 7:10PM
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happy_home_decor

Great info on this thread. Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 4:06AM
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doug_gb

@windowsonwashington: "Do not be under the misguided impression that factory trained = good installation"

I agree. However, if you go with a factory authorized installation company (and they are solvent), and there is a problem - either the Factory or the Installation company will fix it - because their business relationship - one of them is liable - and you won't have to argue with anyone.

If you go with an independent and the factory says the product has failed because of some installation problem, the independent can simply argue that the factory is wrong. And you are left holding the bag. Sue the factory? Sue the independent?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 1:24PM
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skydawggy

If you deal with a reputable window manufacturer and a reputable installer, then you don't have to worry about it. The best warranty is a quality product and installation. Don't try and portray all factories as sleazebags. The better brands will stand behind their products and their dealers.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 12:07AM
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