Need help choosing replacement windows

jennifer_in_kansasNovember 11, 2011

We're looking for double-hung replacement windows and need some help. We've read a lot but are overwhelmed.

All of our neighbors are choosing Alside. Based on comments from this forum, I immediately told DH no way. The installer suggested Plygem due to our budget and color preferences (dual color). He said the Plygem is a true extruded vinyl, not factory painted, so color durability shouldn't be an issue. We almost pulled the trigger but realized Plygems Dark Bronze is really Light Brown. We've spent too much on the exterior painting and hardscapes to go through with something we thought was aesthetically displeasing.

We would really like to find a true Dark Bronze or Dark Brown exterior. Three windows need to be honey oak interior but the rest are white. We could hire someone to paint/stain the interiors but hopefully we can find a product that doesn't require this option.

We are open to vinyl, aluminum clad or fiberglass.

We live in the Kansas City metro area

Windows will all be due east or due west.

No structures or trees shade the home.

Need double hung.

I would like tilt in/out for easy cleaning.

We get hail every year so would like a exterior color process that can withstand these events

We do use a whole-house humidifier during the winter but regulate it fairly well.

Midrange price. We can't afford the Cadillac but will pay more than a Yugo...something like a Ford

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,


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Do you have a Kolbe and Kolbe distributor near you? They are made in Wisconsin and do have a clad window in dark bronze. We just ordered some (wood) for our remodeling project. They are nice windows, IMO.
And yes, it is quite a project picking out windows isn't it? Took me 2 months of back and forth and forth and back...
Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 6:50PM
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Deedles - Thanks for the Kolbe reminder. I've read several posts that suggested this brand but completely forgot about it. I have a dealer in the area...not particularly close but it's now 2nd on the list.

WOW - As far as clad, Marvin is now 1st on my list. I have a dealer right down the street. Too bad they're only open 8-5 M-F, it'll be tricky getting to the showroom since I have a full time job.

Both suggestions are aluminum clad. I did say I was open to it but I guess I was hoping someone would suggest a vinyl that would fit my needs. Maybe I'm wrong (and correct me if I am) but I have this idea that vinyl is less expensive, as well requiring less maintenance. BUT my parameters are pretty specific. Geez, maybe that's why I stalled this project earlier this year!

Anyone have a vinyl suggestion?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 10:45AM
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Hi skydawggy! I did look at Softlite but they only warranty the exterior coating for 10 years. I've lived in this house for 5 years and every year we've had hail. For this reason, along with the dark brown color choice, I would really like to find something warrantied longer.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 12:08PM
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Okay, I'm on the Marvin Integrity website but can't find the warranty information for Exterior finishes. I'm sure it's right in front of me but I must be missing it. Can anyone help?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Most manufacturers only warrant exterior finishes for 7 years or less. Marvin only warrants for 5 years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marvin Warranty

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:21PM
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Thanks Skydawggy

I did see the warranty you linked to but because they specifically mentioned the Interior warranty I was looking for a section on Exterior.

Interesting info about the industry, though. All the websites I've been to tout how great their exterior paint holds up vs. others. I guess they expect most people to pay attention to their marketing department and not the warranty.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:31PM
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I don't know of any manufacturer who covers damage to their products due to hail storms or other causes other than normal usage. Certainly not specific to window manufacturers. My car isn't covered against hail damage, fire, flooding or vandalism either.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Haha, no, I'm not crazy enough to think I can outsmart mother nature! That's just asking for trouble.

I equate warranty life with quality. In my head, the window with a 20yr warranted exterior will do better with the elements than a 5 yr.

I'm still learning about windows and not really sure all the info I need. I'm compiling my pros vs cons list, comparing it to my budget and will hopefully be able to make confident, informed decision.

Then again, this money sure would take me on a nice cruise!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:01PM
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Take it from someone with nearly 30 years in this business. A warranty will not protect you from acts of nature. I don't care what a salesperson tells you. Nearly all windows have "lifetime warranties" this does not mean they will last a "lifetime". Nor does not mean that every manufacturer handles warranty claims the same way. There is a major manufacturer who offers "lifetime" on their glass seal. However, they charge an $80. delivery and processing fee. The best warranty is to purchase a quality product from a manufacturer with a solid reputation and then get the windows installed by an installer with a lot of experience.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Before you buy new, you should check out . He makes a good case for repairing old wood windows.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 4:39PM
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Though you live in Kansas, this site can give you a pretty good idea of what window types you might consider from whichever closest contractor you go with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Premier Windows

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Kork, since that is your first post it would appear as though that is your business, and that you are shamelessly plugging it. Hopefully I'm mistaken, as that would be a violation of board rules, and show very poorly on the type of company that Premier Windows is.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 4:08PM
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One question I have is even after you choose which replacement window you want, what options are there for covering the exterior wood of the window that the replacement window does not cover? With a new construction window that would be handled but not the replacement. Do you use aluminum or some wood composite like Azek, or something else?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Yes and yes Chris. The standard, common option is to clad the wood in aluminum. At a clients request, we can install azek or other composite brickmold, ect. Obviously there is some extra cost associated with that, and some companies may or may not even offer it.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 7:42PM
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