Southwest US replacement windows suggestions

NMJoeNovember 2, 2012

Hello,

I've been doing some reading on this forum, as well as manufacturers' websites, etc., as part of my research into replacement windows for the 20-year-old home my wife and I just purchased.

We live in New Mexico, at 6000', with a lot of sun! We get very little rain (5" YTD and we're entering our dry season), we get a fair amount of wind, summer highs average the mid 90s, winter lows average in the low 20s. The existing windows in our house are metal framed, "Alenco" that are almost impossible to open or close, and are easily the worst windows I've ever owned.

We would like to avoid high-maintenance wood windows, so we are considering vinyl or fiberglass (or other options that you suggest). It seems that our brand options here in New Mexico are quite limited. We have the big names available: Andersen, Pella, Marvin, and Simonton. Beyond that, we have a lot of "locally produced" brands. Of the reading I've done here, the top rated vinyl brands don't seem to be available here, e.g., Sunrise, Okna, etc. What do you suggest? We most certainly are looking for great energy efficiency, well-built, great warranty, long-lasting windows. Price is, of course, a consideration, but we will spend what we need to for quality, longevity and great installation. Our existing windows range between 5' wide and 4' tall, to 8' wide x 5' tall, in single hung configuration or sliders.

I appreciate any feedback you may have.

Thanks for reading my very long post!

Joe

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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

Soft-Lite in vinyl might be available in your region.

In the fiberglass options, InLine is probably not available in your region so my next recommendation would be the Marvin Infinity.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:43AM
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NMJoe

Thanks, WoW.

We are going to look at Marvin today, as well as one of the locally manufactured vinyls. Unfortunately, Soft Lite only gets as close at Colorado, so no luck in New Mexico.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:28AM
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HomeSealed

The Marvin Infinity/Integrity choices are pretty good, and Simonton is a decent vinyl choice.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:36PM
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NMJoe

After going out today and seeing the local brand, I have a little more information. The windows are Accent Windows out of Albuquerque, NM. Their windows are manufactured by P.H. Tech, out of Denver, which seems to now be part of Accent Windows in Denver. The window has great specs, but we did find it less attractive than the Marvin fiberglass option. That being said, if I put performance first, and the specs are true, these would be hard to beat.

Does anyone have an opinion on Accent/P.H. Tech out of Denver? Does the fact that they are manufactured at elevation have a positive benefit to me living at 6000', or are stories of seals blowing out going from low to high elevation exaggerated? Any thought will be greatly appreciated.

By the way, we don't have pricing yet, as they are coming out on Friday to measure and discuss the various options. That being said, from the reviews on Angie's List, most people say that their quotes were about mid-range for the market.

Thanks very much for your help!

Joe

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:06PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington Ltd

What were the performance numbers like?

The fact that they are made at altitude eliminates the need for breather tubes and will allow for a gas filled IGU in a sealed capacity.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:31PM
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NMJoe

WoW, here are the specs from their data sheet:

Entry-level window:
U-Value .28
SHGC .28
VT .52
AI .03 (yes, .03)

Mid-level window:
U-Value .27
SHGC .20
VT .46
AI .03 (yes, .03)

Top-level (uses a thin, plastic membrane that is suspended between the inner and outer glazings as the third glazing):
U-Value .23
SHGC .18
VT .41
AI .03 (yes, .03)

For all three windows, the frames appear to be identical. It is only the glazing that changes. One thing I would like to mention is that their NFRC ratings are not posted on their display windows as I have seen on others. They are simply printed out on their own MS Excel-looking sheet. Should this make me question the legitimacy of the figures?

We're going to look at Simonton and Marvin on Friday.

Any further thoughts on this Accent Window?

Thanks,

Joe

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:14PM
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NMJoe

Update:
We are waiting on quotes to come back on the following:

Accent Vinyl
Champion Vinyl
Simonton 7300
Marvin Integrity

Specifications wise, the Accent windows seem to be quite good, but their parent company in Denver has had some financial problems over the past few years, which makes me uneasy from a warranty perspective. I also felt like the windows were a bit less refined looking.

The Simonton window didn't impress me and seemed "cheap".

The Champion window seemed a little better than the Accent and Simonton, in terms of looking better / refinement, but its performance numbers were not as good as the Accent. They seem to have a bad reputation on this site, but no one can seem to tell me why. It sounds like they do solid installs, stand behind the few warranty issues I've read about, and the windows seems solid, middle of the road. Other than their reputation to come in high on price and then play the pricing games, I don't see why they are disliked. Are the windows or the company really that bad?

The Marvin Integrity seems like a nice window, but I know it's going to blow me out of the water when it comes to price. I also have some concerns with the fiberglass in my environment (6000', 310 days of full sun, hot, windy conditions). Performance numbers also don't seem as good as a much less expensive vinyl.

Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of other options here in Albuquerque. How do you all feel about Milgard Tuscany?

I feel lost after having the aforementioned people in my house and have no idea what to do.

Your input will be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:04PM
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mmarse1

With regards to Champion, they use a snap in sill opposed to. " true welded " sloped sill. Snap in slopes and pocket sills are design flaws. That is why most pro's refuse to recommend them. I would ask them which sill design they are using.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:27PM
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NMJoe

I've looked around and I am unable to find anything that helps me understand what a snap-in sill is? Does anyone have a link that does a good job explaining what I should look for? Pictures or other visual reference material will be helpful for me to better understand what I should be looking for and asking about.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Xena99

What did you decide NMJoe? I am in Santa Fe and resuming my research on replacement windows for my 10-year old house so your information is helpful.

I have a southern exposure that has destroyed the original vinyl windows (Jones, apparently made in SLC) and have read that such extreme UV exposure wrecks vinyl and fiberglass windows. Wood doesn't seem to be an option so I am not sure where to turn.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 12:15PM
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NMJoe

We ended up going with Milgard Tuscany, casements and awnings. For me, based on my research, it came down to finding the best combination of window quality, warranty, manufacturer size and longevity, performance numbers, all tied to a very good installer.

Do I think there were perhaps better windows, from a performance standpoint, that we looked at? Perhaps, but those windows were associated with high-pressure sales and vague quotes, or they came from companies that I worry may not be around in a few years, or they had bad reputations on their installs.

I do wish some of the eastern window manufacturers had a presence in our part of the country, but since that was not the case, I went with what I feel was the best option based on all the criteria I mentioned above.

The windows should be installed in the next three weeks, so time will tell if I made a sound choice or I made a large mistake.

Good luck with your search!

Joe

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 7:11PM
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swhatch

I'll be getting a quote from Accent SW here in Albuquerque this week and was impressed with their product and especially their warranty (seemed extremely clear and comprehensive compared to others). I'd be interested in if you are happy with your Milgard choice and how cost competitive their quote was. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:38PM
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vieja_gw

We in 2008? had 'Accent Windows' out of Colorado with an outlet here in Albuquerque (5200 ft. elevaton) replace our 1953 old original (good still!) steel casement windows & have been very satisfied with the windows & the excellant installation that was done by 'Accent'. We chose aluminum frames in front as we wanted the dark brown color like the original windows & can't get the dark colors in the vinyl, but had the beige vinyl put the rest of the way. Unfortunately 'Accent' sold their local outlet here to another company with a very similar name & they do not havve the same good reputation I hear! Maybe 'Accent Windows' in Colorado is still in business.. it was family run I understand. We had no reason to install 'top of the line' windows in our old home but are very satisfied with the windows we purchased.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:09PM
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uncleross

I have purchased a home in Santa Fe and need to replace some windows. I was wondering, now that it has been a while since the last post - what has your experience been? Recommendations?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:17PM
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NMJoe

As I mentioned, I went with Milgard's Tuscany line in all Casement/Awning. I, too, was impressed with Accent's window, but their recent sketchy financial background (do some Google searching) made me think twice about using them since I was fearful they may not be around to fulfill their warranty support. I also read a few reviews on Angie's List about their local installs that made me more cautious (in my research here, I've decided a middle of the road window installed well is better than a top grade window installed poorly). Based on our time with the window, the Milgard is a decent window, but it is obvious to me after reading MANY posts on this site that we are knee-capped from the onset based on the windows that are available in our geographic area. I went with what I perceived to be the best of the worst (the West seems to get few, if any, premium vinyl options). If you step up to fiberglass or wood, your options (and price) look up. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:15AM
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nmsunlite

The sketchy financial background was for Accent Windows from Denver who's ABQ outlet went bankrupt and was bought out by Accent SOUTHWEST Windows who has a strong following and ratings on Angies as a locally owned family bizness. Our neighbors bought some and were very pleased with the high performance ratings and mid-price.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Esko

Milgard makes a good window and you should be happy with your purchase. It's hard to beat their lifetime warranty. Did you look at their Ultra series, (fiberglass line)? I usually suggest Ultra for harsher climates because fiberglass is more stable than vinyl, it usually doesn't have the chalking effect commonly associated with vinyl. The finish is also very durable and should the window ever need to be refinished you can easily repaint it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:38PM
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