Okna or Sunrise versus Andersen or Marvin

richard904December 23, 2012

I am assembling proposals for 16 windows in a belvedere (a room above our kitchen like a "widows walk"). So initially I am looking at Andersen or Marvin. However, many recent comments in this forum extol the quality of Okna or Sunrise windows which apparently can well match good wood interiors. We currently have 12 stationary windows and four awning windows in the belvedere with a 3x2 grid with wide muntins. We have a Marvin Ultimate proposal that apparently can well match the windows at $700/window before install. We do not have the install price yet.

The fancy trim around the windows is long leaf Tennessee valley yellow pine which cannot be replaced. If Okna or Sunrise can decently match the look of the interior wood, why are they not a viable option? There may be other considerations of good vinyl versus good wood windows that I am not familiar with. Also, we are in Franklin County Kansas just at the SW edge of the metro-Kansas City area, so there may be an issue with Okna or Sunrise dealers/installers in our area.

I really would appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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i dont believe Okna serves kansas. Sunrise probably does and i would think soft lite gorell does as well.
the marvin will probably be more than 700. you then have to pay to have jt stained as well as oay for the install and debris removal.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:54AM
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We might as well put this post to bed. After further looking at vinyl versus wood, there were enough postings in this forum to handle the problem. It appears there are not enough high end vinyl dealers in my area to make looking at vinly worthwhile.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Thermal King in Lenexa, KS is a high end vinyl dealer that knows how to do the job right.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:33AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


I think Okna, Soft-Lite, and Sunrise are all available in your region. Have you checked with the manufacturers?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:38AM
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i wasnt aware okna served kansas. you should call each of the those companies as WOW mentioned.
GLW GUY , why does Thermal King untilize a tin plated metal spacer? i would of thought , from your recommendation , that a higher end window would of used a non metal spacer system. intercept is such an old technology. i had no idea a few higher end companies are still stuck using old machinery that cannot handle the newer technology ( composite spacers) or at least a true stainless spacer.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Actually Thermal King uses a variety of technologies, including Intercept which is still a great option. They also have stainless and non-metal available if somebody wants to go in that direction.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 3:36PM
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they use UniFrame Windows ? intercept is old and more likely to cause seal failures based on my experience. you are telling me that UniFrame windows can come with either super spacer or a true stainless spacer?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:42PM
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They do offer the stainless now, mmarsel. Not sure about the conposite though. I suspect that the "GLW" part stands for Great Lakes Windows ;) ... Decent product from my experience, not elite level performance though as the other products listed in this thread offer. One could question the blatant self-promotion though...

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 3:31PM
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GLWGUY posted that Thermal King is a high end vinyl player in the Kansas City area. Do they make their own window? What is confusing to me is that there is a company Thermal Industries in Lenexa, KS, not too far away from Thermal King Windows, and Thermal Industries does make windows. Has anyone here seen the Thermal King window and compared it say to Okna? Is it really a viable competitor at the high end?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 4:54PM
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from looking at their website its quite obvious they are using UniFrame windows by great lakes. its a pretty good window if ordered with a true stainless steel spacer opposed to regular intercept. it will not render the same performance as the Okna , Sunrise, or Soft Lite. it is a definitely a step below but better than a simonton in my opinion.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 10:10AM
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My problem with this manufacturer/dealer is the shameless underhanded way he came on here to plug his windows in direct violation of the terms and conditions. I would disqualify he and his windows for that reason alone!

This post was edited by millworkman on Fri, Dec 28, 12 at 12:47

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Agree with the rather flagrant self promotion.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 12:32PM
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+1000 to both posts above. :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Okna tells me that it is not available in Missouri or Kansas.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 3:22PM
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There are a couple of softlite dealers and also a marvin dealer in the kc area. My marvin integrity casements are about 300 and the awnings are coming in a bit lower. That's window only, not sure if the integrity will have all the options you want but I think they're a very nice unit. Plan on using them in my new build.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:19PM
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I'm not a big fan of IGUs, no matter who makes them. Too many seal failures and the warranties reflect a lack of confidence by the manufacturers, as well. It's simply "the nature of the beast". I spent many years purchasing IGUs for structural skylights and in Florida, the failure rate in 20 years was 100%. Because the glass is over the atrium of a mall some 50 feet in the air, who notices?...and as long as it doesn't leak when it rains, nobody cares.

If you do a little internet research you will find out the problems they are having with hi-rise condos in Canada (Ontario, if memory serves) that have entire glass walls falling out onto the street.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicago Window Expert

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 2:58AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

How would you propose creating a more insulated glazing schedule on a high rise.

No matter the commercial application, most warranties are far less comprehensive than the homeowner/residential equivalent.

Most homeowner/residential applications have 20 year insulated glass coverages. Is that too short?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Here is the warranty from Andersen on their glass. They are the single largest manufacturer of wood windows in this country and would be the most legally protected given their formidable legal department.

Twenty (20) Year Transferable Limited Warranty
The glass in Andersen� factory glazed window and door units (including dual-pane glass, High- PerformanceTM Low-E4� glass, High-PerformanceTM Low-E4� Sun glass, High-PerformanceTM Low-E4� SmartSunTM glass, Low-E glass, patterned glass (including: obscure, pebble, fern, reed and cascade designs), FinelightTM grilles, divided light grilles and tempered versions of these glass options) is warranted to be free from defects in manufacturing, materials and workmanship for twenty (20) years from the date of purchase from the retailer/dealer. It is also warranted not to develop, under normal conditions, any material obstruction of vision resulting from manufacturing defects or as a result of premature failure of the glass or organic seal for twenty (20) years from the date of purchase from the retailer/dealer. Patterned glass (including obscure, pebble, fern, reed and cascade designs) is warranted not to develop, under normal conditions, any material change in appearance resulting from manufacturing defects or as a result of premature failure of the glass or organic seal for twenty (20) years from the date of purchase from the retailer/dealer. This limited warranty on glass does not apply to special order glazings, Andersen� art glass, insulated art glass for Andersen architectural products, impact-resistant glass or glass that is not factory installed by Andersen.
In the event a glass failure occurs as a result of a defect in manufacturing, materials or workmanship within the limited warranty period, Andersen, at its option, will: (1) provide the appropriate replacement glass product to the Andersen retailer/dealer you specify � labor is not included; or (2) provide a factory-authorized repair to the existing glass at no cost to you; or (3) refund the purchase price or the retailer�s/dealer�s price at the time of the original purchase, whichever is less. Such replacement or repair is warranted for the remainder of the original limited warranty period.

I see nothing wrong with that language whatsoever.

The reality is that if the glass seal have been compromised enough to allow moisture (beyond what can be removed by the desiccant) into the IGU, it is covered.

I don't know of any supplier that provides the labor to replace and if it is a vinyl manufacturer, most don't even both with just the IGU and provide the sash because it is an easy swap in/swap out function.

You are referencing a post that is over 3 years old. If you want the verbiage from the Okna warranty on insulated glass, it reads as such:

Insulated Glass
OKNA Windows Corp. warrants that the insulated glass units, including internal grids, will be free from obstruction between the glass, including film formation, including moisture on the internal glass surfaces caused by seal failure and including small marks, dust, and scratches. This Warranty is fully transferable to the next homeowner and covers glass imperfections as de- scribed in Federal Government Glass Specification DD-04516.
 Condensation may occur on interior and exterior of windows as a natural result of humidity within the house or build- ing area and changes in outside/inside temperature. This does not indicate a manufacturing defect and would not be included in this Warranty.

The idea that a warranty is only as good as the company applies to every facet of industry. That is nothing new and if you are going to hinge your decision on that factor alone, don't plan on buying anything from anyone.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 2:33PM
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My advice is to put your trust into a contractor with no dealership ties to any one manufacturer. Make sure that he has vast experience and good customer recommendations with window installations in your area. He is the one who knows which windows have the best track record, which manufacturers stand behind their product & warranty and which ones just plain last the longest. Your application is unique you will need the contractor's input to end up with a satisfactory finished project. Good luck to you. Would love to see pictures of the finished project.


I noticed that you are in the DC area. This may be why you only addressed the warranty issues of my post and side-stepped the others. I just happened upon the Vinyl Replacement Window forum today and found it quite informative and learned quite a bit in a very short time. I'm sure that a little more research on any reader's part will show the entire warranty not just the IGU excerpt.
Anderson has been around since the early 1900s and makes some good products. They have the advantage of being privately held and have no stockholders to please and that is what keeps them the strong company that they are today. If one can afford Anderson factory installed windows all should be well. I'm sure that you would agree that using them (or their warranty) as a gauge for the entire window industry is a bit short-sighted, at best.

When it comes to insulated glass - no matter who makes it - the plain truth is that until pressure equalization technology improves, there will always be seal failures in the field. The more extreme the climate the higher the failure rate. The window industry is allowed the luxury of averaging the failure and Argon gas dissipation rates in the laboratory and steers clear of what happens in the field. I can't say as I blame them. Unfortunately this isn't made clear to the prospective buyer on any literature that I have run across. I'm hoping that you can post some on here if you have access to some.

No one lives in a "laboratory home" and that is all that laboratory tests reflect. In the end it's the real world that counts and real experiences that we rely upon - not theory or ideal lab conditions.

The internet and forums like this one and VRW help reveal things out that might otherwise not be brought to light. Many in the industry world (not just fenestration) would rather hide certain facts that have them dealt with. They are the ones who have hinged their hopes on a concept that, if found sub-par, would require much rethinking and lost revenue. Therein lies the rub and you can color that any way that you wish. The window industry will always be here but I think (and hope) that there will be big changes in technology coming.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Please tell me what other aspects that I "side-stepped"?

You posted about IGU failures and I posted the warranties relative to that from Andersen and the manufacturer (Okna) that you reference in your link back to another forum. The 20 year or lifetime reference was something that you pointed out.

What am I missing?

Do you wish to read the entire warranty?

Here it is:

Vinyl Frame And Sash Members
The vinyl extrusions and vinyl components used in the windows and doors are warranted to be free from defects that might result in blistering, peeling, flaking, corroding, and fading of the window or door for as long as you own your home. This war- ranty is fully transferable to the next homeowner.
 Factory painted standard or custom colors are warranted for a period of ten years.
Insulated Glass
OKNA Windows Corp. warrants that the insulated glass units, including internal grids, will be free from obstruction between the glass, including film formation, including moisture on the internal glass surfaces caused by seal failure and including small marks, dust, and scratches. This Warranty is fully transferable to the next homeowner and covers glass imperfections as de- scribed in Federal Government Glass Specification DD-04516.
 Condensation may occur on interior and exterior of windows as a natural result of humidity within the house or build- ing area and changes in outside/inside temperature. This does not indicate a manufacturing defect and would not be included in this Warranty.
OKNA Windows Corp. warrants that the hardware shall remain in good operating condition, for as long as you own your home. Warranty on hardware is also fully transferable to the next homeowner.
 Specified Metal hardware for coastal applications is limited to a ten year warranty.
Exclusions and Limitations
The following are excluded from coverage under this Warranty:
A. Any damage caused by wind, hail, lightning or other acts of God, intentional acts, accidents, negligence, or exposure to harmful chemicals or pollutants. This warranty excludes damage related to harsh or corrosive cleaning products, application of paints ( non factory applied ), and uniform fading or color change due to weathering. B. Any damage or malfunction caused by improper handling or installation of the windows, or any damage to the windows or components of the windows caused by settlement or structural defects of the building in which they are installed. C. Any defect, malfunction or failure to perform, which has occurred because of unreasonable use, improper application or failure to perform reasonable or necessary mainte- nance - see section " Maintenance & Cleaning." D. Any window, which has been repaired or attempted to have been repaired or modified by any person other than an authorized representative of OKNA Windows Corp. E. OKNA Windows Corp. liability is limited solely and exclusively to repair or replace, at the discretion of OKNA Windows Corp. and under no circumstances will OKNA Windows Corp. be liable for incidental or consequential charges such as, but not limited to, labor cost for any purpose, inconvenience, damage, or injury to persons or to property or any other expense.
Procedure And Conditions Of Warranty Remedy
The Owner must notify the Dealer/Distributor within thirty days after the defect has first appeared. OKNA reserves the right to inspect any window or door that a warranty claim has been made. Such notification must contain the following:
A � Name and Address of the Owner. B � Date of Installation. C � Description of the Defect.
If a product meets requirements of this limited warranty, OKNA Windows will at its option, supply replacement parts or product. Labor or reinstallation costs are not covered by this limited warranty.
Commercial Application
OKNA products installed in a building operated as a multi-family dwelling or used for commercial purposes or rental properties such as schools, churches, apartment complexes, government owned structures, etc. will limit this Warranty to ten years.
Product Changes
OKNA Windows Corp. reserves the right to discontinue or change any of its products or the parts utilized in any of its products at its sole discretion. If any window product or component originally installed in the building is not available at the time of any claim by you under this Warranty, OKNA Windows Corp. reserves the right to substitute any other model or component as a replacement. During warranty period replacement parts will be supplied at no charge to dealer upon return of defective part.
Maintenance & Cleaning
A mild solution of household cleaner such as liquid dishwashing detergent may be used to clean windows. Do not use harsh abrasives. This Warranty shall be null and void if harmful solvents are used.

You are referencing "pressure equalization" and I reference that in the other post that you made. What additional scientific developments do you think need to happen. Is the fenestration industry going to "UN-INVENT" the law of partial pressures? There is no development needed in "pressure equalization" just better and better sealants and gas impermeable sealants to whatever the inert gas fill is.

Andersen learned a valuable lesson with this and did a fine job of warrantying items after the fact when it was discovered that their IGU were gas fill permeable but impermeable to the larger molecules of atmospheric air.

There is not much science to develop here. While vacuum IGUs are interesting and exciting developments, they are several years away from reaching mass distribution and acceptance. If you think that gas permeability presents challenges, vacuum presents far more challenges.

Temperature shifts do present sealing issues to IGUs but if we can make sure the windows inside pressurized airplanes and vehicles that go outside the earth's atmosphere stay together, something in Desert Valley doesn't seem that tough.

In applications where windows go above a certain altitude, breather tubes are inserted for equalization if they are not made near said altitude.

The are certain aspects of the window industry that are pretty tried and true and I am not sure you layman's review of their cycle testing is accurate or based in any observable fact. I have been through several factory were they life cycle test these materials and they are comprehensive to say the least.

No laboratory can ever truly duplicate a real world environment but they compensate for this most times by making the extremes more extreme to simulate worst case scenarios. The engineers at Pella, Andersen, and Cardinal would probably take umbrage with your less than factually vetted review of their testing and materials developments.

Do they have failure rates, surely. This is why you get a warranty. Even in those situations where materials are manufacturer robotically, there is a human hand and potential for error at any number of locations in the process.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 5:11PM
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There you go again, hiding in the lab. What variables does the lab take into consideration during their testing - for the bowing of a house wall from humidity or the settling of a foundation? How about vibrations from 200 semis passing on a daily basis on a nearby highway? Maybe about planes from a nearby airport? Howe about seismic episodes?

My guess is that you already know the answer. I don't see you as that ill-informed. My whole point is we only have data on what HAS been tested and what is deemed important by the industry. You can't test for everything, so salespeople simply need to be upfront about it at the time of sale.

How difficult is it to say, "My product isn't the best but it does this, this and this extremely well, but it doesn't do that as good as another product"?

You can list all of the data and calculations that you want to, but I'm guessing that it won't mean much to the homeowner who bought 20 new windows 10 years ago and has 4 of them that have condensation in them. He also won't be ecstatic to find out that his ABC Window Lifetime Warranty will make him pay half price for the replacement window (if the manufacturer is still in business) and he/she has to hire out the installation. What about the poor homeowner who bought windows and the company has since folded during the recession? I think I can get a list of most of them. How many can you name?

And that's not to say that they didn't have a good product, either. Suppose the windows were fine but the neighborhood hoodlum shot them with his Christmas BB gun? Now the homeowner has to buy completely new units and pay AGAIN because replacement parts aren't available.

What about the poor salesman who worked for one of those companies and he gets a call at his new job and has to unsuspectingly face the displeased homeowner who happens to remember him? My guess is the lab tests in his briefcase won't be much good this time.

Like xoldtimecarpenter tried to explain - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. When it is broke, fix until you come up with something better. Until something better actually is better, keep working on it. Don't just call it better and start promoting it because you have a boatload of money invested in it and you need to get it to the marketplace to start getting a return. Investors and stockholders tend to push for those types of timetables and have caused many a faux pas.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I don't think continuing to promote a product as something that it isn't.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 7:30PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Hiding in the lab...?

I guess we should continue to splash planes into the ground and kill test pilots instead of doing the projections on a computer..?

The laboratory can never account for all the real world conditions because they are so varied and wide. Should we not build anything in California because we cannot duplicate an earthquake? No. You build based on what you know the conditions will reproduce and test it in a lab.

Can a lab simulate a real earthquake (or the vibrations from semis, planes, trains, and automobiles), no. But you build to the best possible standards you know and that work in those situations.

In Japan, they new the nuclear plant was near a fault line and engineered it as such and it still failed. Probably prudent to not build near a fault line but we are not talking about the abject collapses like those in Haiti.

You make inferences as is people who sell replacement windows are actively defrauding the customer.

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Customer, this window is warranted against seal failure and you are protected in normal circumstances but I cannot account for any seismic events. Just giving you a heads up."

Should that be the new disclaimer?

"this extremely well, but it doesn't do that as good as another product"

What other product? If you are referring to storm windows, this has been hashed out and while you can try to undermine the "data calculations" the fact is that they are fact. You can't claim that data shows "X" and use that as the backbone to undermine something and then selectively ignore the data when it shows something contrary to your argument.

Re-read the thread "Repair, Don't Replace"....the whole thing and you will get the full picture and rebuke of this idea that storm windows outperform sealed IGUs. It is not supported by facts. Sorry but the are stubborn things.

What window company are your referring to? Instead of providing hypotheticals, give some real examples.

There are no partial fees for the companies that I deal with and most are happy to supply sashes. The only instances in which the vendor or customer might incur some expense is in the case of a picture window or other fixed piece of glass that would require re-glazing.

The glass warranty from Marvin, Pella and Andersen are all about the same = 20 years.

If you are referencing new construction warranty provisions, those are not at all representative of the replacement industry. New construction applications usually use the cheapest crap they can get and have very loose and less than comprehensive warranties. If you have issue with that, take it up with the builders as they clearly know what they are buying when they buy it.

Since when does a glass breakage require a completely new unit? Most glass of the last 10 years is based, in large part, on about the same glass spacing. Even if the full sash is not available, a suitable alternative to the glass is usually available and re-glazing a window is not that big a deal.

You can quote all the theoreticals that you want to but they are not at all representative of what would happen if a customer chooses a good contractor and good company.

Glass breakage = new sash or, if not available, new glass. Difficulty = 2
Seal failure = new sash. Difficulty = 0
Seal failure = new glass if sash not available. Difficulty = 2
Fixed window seal failure = new glass. Difficulty = 2-3

I don't even know how to respond to your theoretical salesperson scenario. I guess the salesperson could help them by coordinating with the old company to obtain replacements or if the install company is out of business, to work with the manufacturer to get the parts.

If you are going to quote xoldtime, you should probably quote the entire argument and read the whole thread. Nearly every claim that he made was shown to be exaggerated or altogether incorrect. Don't get me wrong, I like xoldtime and we had a very good discuss in that thread but using his own studies that he supplied, his claims were shown to be inaccurate.

Do storm windows have a place in historic applications and on wood windows that are worth preserving...absolutely.

Should you start slapping storm windows on windows from housing stock that is less than 20 years old...not a chance.

As I mentioned in the other thread:

Storm windows have no application though dealing with:
-failing vinyl windows
-double pane wood windows that have frame failures
-people that don't want the hassle of dealing with storms
-people that don't want to change the outward appearance of their home
-windows that are rotted out and require significant rot/sill repairs or a full tear out
-people that don't like the look a storm creates when from inside the home

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Just for anyone that may be referencing this thread (and regarding the original subject), the header of LIFETIME warranty is missing from the Okna warranty verbiage pasted above. Okna warranties their glass against seal failure as described for lifetime, and this coverage applies to you as the purchaser and also transfers fully to the next homeowner. There is no pro-ration whatsoever. I don't have a copy of the Sunrise warranty at hand, but I believe it offers similar coverage. Andersen and Marvin OTOH, are 20 years, which is actually still quite good :)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Are you saying the poster deliberately omitted the word LIFETIME is the Okna warranty. If so, Okna would not be very happy about that inference.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 11:07AM
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No, WoW posted it... I think he just missed it in the copy and paste process ;)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Ok.. Got it. I didnt realize that.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 2:41PM
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