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Opinions on window bids needed

Posted by rkb21 (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 15:01

First, I want to truly thank all of you, though I know I will have more questions. This forum and all of the experts have been a life-saver!!!

Sorry this is so long!

Here are the quotes I got. I know that they are not 'apples to apples' for various reasons, but each rep told me something different regarding tear-out vs inserts or being able to do casements vs dh.
I figure I can nail down details once I've decided which company to go with.
Is there usually room for price negotiation at all when it comes to windows?
Maybe someone could give me a good target price to aim for?

Marvin:
2 5ft sliding door/transom units [tear out, door measures 59x 79 3/4]
1 9ft sliding door/transom unit [tear out, door measures 109x80]
5 DH units [inserts, 32x71]

Windows:Clad Ultimate, LoE 366 w/Argon, Ovolo glazing profile, 14degree frame bevel, 3 1/4"jambs, alum screens
Doors: Clad Sliding Patio Doors

$16, 500, installed price

Kolbe:
Complete tear out, he bid out:
2 single casement/transom units
triple window casement/pic window/ transom unit
2 5ft sliding door/transom unit
1 9ft sliding door/transom unit

Ultra Series, lowE 270 w/argon, ovolo glazing profile

$32,000 installed price

Andersen:
inserts and the transoms could stay for windows and doors.
2 picture windows
3 DH units in the triple window
2 5ft sliding patio door
1 9ft sliding patio door

400series, lowE, smart sun glass

$14, 700

Soft-lite Imperial LS:
2 5ft sliding door
1 9ft sliding door
5 DH insert units

Windows: Imperial LS, low E/argon
Door: Soft-lite Kingsroyal

$10500, installed price

Soft-lite Elements:
2 picture windows [tempered]
3 DH units [inserts, tempered]
2 5ft sliding door
1 9ft sliding door

windows: Elements, Free Ultra S upgrade promotion [triple pane]
doors: soft lite

$14,300, installed price

THV Compozit
2 5ft sliding doors
1 9ft sliding door
5 DH inserts

windows/doors: triple pane, low e argon/krypton

$18,800, installed price

Here are a couple of pics of the space [the triple sliding door is on the opposite wall as the triple window]:
IMG_7019

Room overview


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

White interiors, for cost vs performance the Imperial LS is the clear winner, and would probably be my choice.
If you just don't like vinyl for the appearance, I'd go with the Marvin.
If you want the most extensive renovation, it looks like the Kolbe is that, but there also seems to be quite a premium.

At this point, you really have to assess you priorities for the project. If this was as simple as 5 vinyl insert options or 5 full tear-out wood options it would be easy to pick a winner, but you need to decide on material and installation style, and go from there. I know that was talked about in great depth in the other thread.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Homesealed: thanks for the input. I don't want a full tear out if I don't need it. As for wood vs vinyl: I'm really torn.

Do the prices for the bids seem reasonable for the number of windows (talking about all except Kolbe)?
Anything I should make sure they include in the bids?


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

+1

The LS is your best bang for your dollar there.

Solid window, good performer, bullet proof.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

WoW: Thanks for the input.

Are the prices pretty typical for the windows/doors we are replacing?

Kolbe is completely out of the running on cost alone. Compozit is also out of the running.

For the wood windows that leaves:
Marvin 16,500
Andersen 400series 14,700

For the vinyl windows that leaves:
Imperial LS 10,500
Elements 14,300

If I were to choose wood, I would definitely go with Marvin unless there are some surprises when I go to the showroom to see the window.

If I were to choose vinyl, is the Elements worth the extra money since it is an upgrade to the triple pane?

Thanks!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Elements and the LS are basically the same window.

Get a quote from the LS dealer in triple pane and see what the delta is. That will give you the most accurate comparison.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Well, the Elements rep said this is the usual price of the double pane, lowE, argon but they are having a special and upgrading to triple pane for free.

Also, the Elements rep said he would do tempered glass for all of the dh windows.

I could still ask the LS rep. I don't know if triple pane is necessary though.

Thanks!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

For what it's worth, I think the Elements is a nicer looking window. Performance wise it's slightly better than the LS ( which is also a very good window),


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Mmarse1: I agree that it looks nicer. I don't know if its worth the extra cost.

No one has mentioned whether these prices are reasonable for what we are getting. I'm sure it varies area to area but it would help me to know if these are reasonable quotes.

I know I've asked a TON of questions but I really, truly appreciate the unbiased help from all of you!!!!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

At first glance they all seem slightly high to me. That said, since they are ALL high, that makes me think that there are some circumstances behind that. Tempered glass, triple pane, larger sizes, and a few details that make the install more difficult , etc can all bump up the price over what would be considered " normal" pretty quickly. I believe that is likely the case here. If anything, the Marvin quote sounds most in line, as that window is probably the most costly of the group. They can easily run $1k + per unit, while the white vinyls should be somewhere between $500-$800 or so. The patio door prices can vary wildly with a very general base price around $2k give or take, but 9' would be a bit more, and the transom situation can add to that significantly.
To sum that all up: I dunno... Lol.
Your project is a little bit more complicated than normal so it really just hardto say without knowing every detail... I guess based on everything that you've posted so far, I'd say that the Marvin and SL quotes are not outside the range of what would be considered reasonable. One thing that I'd definitely recommend is to get those SL quotes with apples to apples glass and options. Then you can decide if the minor differences between the two are worth the extra $$$.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Agree with HomeSeal's assessment . Side by side, Elements is just a prettier window ( over the LS ) in my opinion and as I stated before,there are some differences in performance albeit slight. Prices for Elements is basically in line with what I am used to seeing and you would be hard pressed to find a window equal in both structural and energy efficiency( performance) with the exception of the Okna / Himark 800 EnviroStar.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

You guys are truly awesome....thanks again for the help. DH doesn't have time or interest to get involved in these decisions, so I needed to do the research, narrow it down and then make a decision....a daunting task! Your help has been invaluable.

For the wood, I've narrowed it down to:
Marvin, $16500
Andersen $14,700
(I would choose Marvin, unless there are some surprises when I visit the showroom and there are some surprise extras they charge for)

Marvin rep said he wouldn't do the integrity in our home (not sure why?)

For the vinyl:
Just comparing the Softlite windows, 3dh, 2picture windows
One dealer does the LS, another does the Elements.
LS: $3578 (each dh $675, each pic $775)
LS ultra S(triple pane): $4983 (each dh $827, each pic $1251)

Elements ultraS: $6300 (they said this would be the price of db pane but they are having a free upgrade to ultraS, very reputable company, since 1892, fourth generation family business)

I didn't have sunrise since it sounds like LS and Elements are so good.
The sunrise dealer has the Verde line.

I plan on visiting showrooms for elements and marvin next week. I saw the LS which seemed ok.

I'm just torn on vinyl vs wood.

Anyway, after wading thru all the data, hearing sales pitches and getting awesome guidance here, I feel like I'm closer to deciding :)


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

rkb21 - I went through the same dilemma of wood vs. vinyl. After narrowing our search to Marvin Ultimates (wood) vs. Okna 800 (vinyl) -- thanks to the experts on this site -- we ended up going with Okna after nearly 12 months of research.

Although our Marvin quote was twice that of Okna, we were ultimately swayed by the energy efficiency numbers of the Okna (and not cost) and the virtually maintenance free lifespan. Given that we were going for a white interior we decided that the wood premium just wasn't worth it. The old "vinyl" horror stories of yesteryear simply do not hold true with today's high end vinyls - in my opinion. To be honest, unless you get up really close, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

My parents had vinyl (PVC) windows installed in our family home in England roughly 20 years ago without a single problem to date.

My only additional recommendation would be to do as much research on your installer as you are doing for the window itself. Try and see if you can go and view their work first hand. Preferably in the window that you decide.

We had our new Okna windows installed this past Tuesday/Wednesday and couldn't be happier with our choice.

Chris


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Chris: thanks for sharing your experience. I felt like I was in window hell when I started. I definitely feel better now, mostly thanks to everyone's help here! I think I would have given up and lived with our drafty windows if I hadn't found this forum :). How did you research the installer? I looked on Angie's list, BBB and asked questions about whether they use their own crews or subs. Anything else you recommend?

Any other specific questions I should ask about install practices?

I'm hoping that seeing the windows in person will really help.

It's true that the numbers for the vinyls are far better than the wood. In the room we are doing, we have so many windows and so large, that I really am leaning towards vinyl just for performance.

It's been great bouncing ideas off of everyone. My DH just says that since I'm doing the research, he trusts me to make the right choice. Nice that he trusts me but its stressful nonetheless :)


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Okna provided us with the installer as they only allow certain installers to use certain products. Like you we utilized Angie's List and BBB as well as using the web to search for additional reviews.

Although I think verbal feedback from references is fine, I much prefer being able to go and see their work for myself (especially given the amount of money that you're about to spend). It gives you a really good perspective as well as being able to see the window in a true surrounding.

You're definitely on the right track.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Mayhew: You're right...there's only one dealer for each of the ones we are looking at. I will take a look at the products in the showrooms again so hopefully, that will help.

I realized I made a size mistake, the sliding patio doors are 6ft and 9ft. Not sure if that makes a difference when giving advice on the bids.

Keep you posted!
Thanks!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Thanks for the follow up Mayhew.

Feedback from customers really help out other folks.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I would have expected the Marvin price to be much higher. That sounds like a great deal. I dont know a whole lot about the vinyl windows. I am guessing that The Marvin rep said he wouldnt sell you Integrity because he doesnt feel it fits the aestetics of your home which looks beautiful. I would agree with him. That is the same reason I would not use a Vinyl window. Regardless of how good the vinyl window is it will absolutely cheapen the look of your home. How far is the spread on the u factor? Im guessing the Marvin is in the .28 area. How much lower is the vinyl coming in at?


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

The Marvin is a .30 . High quality vinyl is as low as .25 . I disagree 100%, high quality vinyl will not cheapen the look. You obviously never saw a high quality vinyl offering.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I'm about to have 17 Andersen A Series DH and 3 small A Series casements ordered up.

I looked closely at Marvin, both the Integrity wood/ultrex and the Ultimate or whatever their top line wood is called.

I prefer the look of the Andersen - there is more detail in the wood profiles.

Regarding the 400 Series of Andersen - do yourself a favor and check out the 400 Woodwright DH window. The jamb liner is not the flexible plastic track as on the base 400 Series. It is a wood clad track - WAY nicer looking and it functions better. It's identical to the A Series.

I literally just received my quote on the Marvin Integrity wood/ultrex option and it's almost identical to the deal I have negotiated on my Andersen A Series. Moving to the full wood Marvin would add thousands to the Marvin quote. I might be able to negotiate some of that off, and get the Marvin windows for about the same price or perhaps a little more than the Andersen A Series, but again, I prefer the look of the Andersen.

The Woodwright makes use of the Fibrex material for exterior surfaces, whereas the A Series uses Fiberglass for the exterior of the window panes, and Fibrex on the stationary surfaces like the sill.

For what its worth, the Dashwood vinyl quote was about 30% less than what I'm paying for the A Series. We're doing a full brick-to-brick tear out in a 100 year old solid brick home. It has 30 year old aluminum inserts sitting in the original wood window frames, leaking air around the windows like nobody's business. So they're all coming out to be redone properly with foam etc.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Well i have seen high end vinyl windows, and i stick to my opinion, which is only my opinion.

A note on the U Factor. Do you know why windows are the only building profuct thay does not ise R-Value. Its because if you knew that the average window had an R-Value of less 3 you might just put plywood on your opening. To put that into perspective a wall might be R30 and a Roof R40. To calculate r value from U Factor. Just figure out how many times the u factor goes into 100. For example a .25 U Factor represents an R-Value of 4. So in this case the Marvin has a U-Value of 3.33 vs 4. I doubt you would save more than $100 a year. I think its important to understand this before you make your decision based on numbers.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Window Mike,

Your numbers are a bit off. Unless the wall is SIP, ICF, or staggered wall, nothing approaches and R-30 wall. Not even close.

Most walls, even well built 2x6 walls, will have a net clear R-Value of about R-13 - R-15.

A U-Factor of 0.25 vs. a U-Factor of 0.30 will have a 15% better total wall (windows and wall) R-Value.

Windows are weak points in the wall systems and the while a small difference in U-Factor may seem slight, the overall impact on average R-Value can be significant.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I guess it depends on where you live. 21 is reccomended here plus sheathing adds about 6. So i may have overshot. 13-15 is not whats being used in this region. Lets say 18-20 to be fair. My point really was that most people dont realize that even a good window is pretty terrible at keeping in heat.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Window_mike: thanks for the input. The vinyl vs wood is still hard for me to decide. I think that since the interior is all white, maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be so glaring as if it were wood grain trim. It's a tough call for me:(

I know no one can decide that big decision point for me. Lol. I don't want to make the home "cheaper" but at the same time, I don't want to spend extra if I don't need to. I have a lot of other windows that need to get replaced (all due to draftiness).

The elements low-e, with super spacer: ufactor 0.27, shgc 0.28, ai 0.01
The LS low-e, super spacer:ufactor 0.29, shgc 0.28, ai 0.02

The marvin insert dh, 11/16 low-e366 argon, ufactor 0.3, shgc 0.18, can't find AI rate for Marvin's
The Andersen 400 series insert dh: not sure, I can't find it at the moment.

Toronto-Tim: thanks for the advice on the woodright vs 400 series, but I was told by the rep that woodright is the same as the 400series so I was confused...are they 2 different lines or names interchangeable or maybe only the 400 has an insert?

Given that the Andersen and marvin quotes are not too far off, I would go with marvin (if i choose wood) unless there is something off about the quote or they don't look nice when I go to see them. Andersen didn't quote me the A series but it would likely take it to equal to marvin, not sure though.

Our space is like a fish bowl with more window than walls...so I know nothing can insulate better than the wall but I want to try to minimize draftiness as much as possible.

Does anyone know the AI for marvin clad insert double hung?
Or the specs for the 400series dh inserts?

Regardless of actual numbers, am I correct in surmising that the Marvin is overall a better made window?

Otherwise, if I go with vinyl, I'm deciding between Elements and LS. Both good, I think I would choose based on price at that point.

Thanks for the extra info!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Window are weak spots in wall assemblies to be sure.

R18 - R20 is much more reasonable with a good 1-2" of exterior foam.

I have been seeing some less than stellar feedback on the Andersen 400 lately as it pertains to air tightness.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I assume a side by side comparison is out of the question? I dont know, you might have to flip a coin.

The windows being white interior would soften the need for wood a little bit. Vinyl tends to be a bit glossy campared to painted wood. Also if you go woth a factory pre finish on the Marvin you will still see a hint of wood grain coming through. Will you be refinishing your trim to match the windows?

Also in response to the person who said you could only tell the difference between wood and vinyl from up close. Lets assume thats true. Your pictures indicate that you will be sitting very close to the units. In fact who doesnt get close to the windows in their own home?


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

WoW: yes, it seems like Andersen is definitely not a favorite amongst the window gurus here :)

window_mike: we are doing a small amount of kitchen work as well, replacing the countertop and backsplash. We will be repainting the whole area, along with the trim. Why do you ask?

I completely understand the 'glossiness' of the vinyl. I guess it's a tough choice for me. Maybe I need to have one of them bring out the window again to compare to what we have.

Thanks for all of the help...it's been an experience!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Whenever i put a high end vinyl offering next to moulding which is usually finished with white semi gloss, any concerns regarding " glossiness" and mismatch quickly disappear.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I ask because all whites are not the same. An option if you were going to repaint the moldings would be to use the same paint formula as the window so that everything was an exact match. Not a huge deal and not necessary but it does look great when done that way.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

mmarse1: Thanks...that helps for when I need to choose a paint for the trim. I'll make sure it's semigloss finish, especially if we choose vinyl. If only I had some extra trim that I could take with me to the showrooms :)

Thanks!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I ask because all whites are not the same. An option if you were going to repaint the moldings would be to use the same paint formula as the window so that everything was an exact match. Not a huge deal and not necessary but it does look great when done that way.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I've yet to see a vinyl window I've liked the look of from the inside, and would love be educated on what a 'good' vinyl window looks like. Every one I've seen seems very utilitarian in appearance, with little effort made to look good.

The exteriors are fine for the most part, especially if they do a decent job with the welded corners. But I haven't seen one that does anything to try and look like anything special from the inside. Not saying they don't exist, but every time I go to a recommended vinyl window website, I don't see any pics detailing the interior or much discussion on them.

These are my Andersen pics that I've snapped. Will post my Marvin in a minute.

Andersen A Series in the factory applied primer.

 photo 2013-02-15170213_zpsbbc89be5.jpg

 photo 2013-02-15170218_zpsfe9b8a8f.jpg

This is the 400 Woodwright in a stained wood finish

 photo 2013-02-15172628_zpsb481ebdc.jpg

 photo 2013-02-15172633_zps562bb979.jpg

This is I believe the base 400 Series although I could be mistaken and this might be an Eagle - once I saw the jamb liner I stopped taking pics

 photo 2013-02-15172650_zpse7cd60c4.jpg

This is a Dashwood (Andersen) vinyl interior

 photo 2013-02-15164744_zps2d245439.jpg

 photo 2013-02-15164757_zps03faaf66.jpg


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

These are the Marvin Integrity - I quite liked these, and like the fiberglass exterior construction, but when the quote came in as high as the Andersen A Series, and the Ultimate quote added another 30%, I decided on the Andersen A Series.

Honestly I believe Andersen and Marvin manufacture windows high quality, and I'm sure I'd be happy either way. One of the major factors in my decision is also the company I'm working with who happens to be an Andersen dealer. They're great people and I trust their work. If they sold Marvin I'd be buying it. The people installing your windows are in my opinion more important than the choice between competing brands of windows at similar quality/price points. The best window in the world is going to be horrible if it's installed poorly, and a good installation can make a run-of-the-mill window a joy to have.

Integrity:

 photo 2013-02-16152036_zpsd611da6a.jpg

 photo 2013-02-16152053_zpsb81679ce.jpg

 photo 2013-02-16154543_zps6aa479a5.jpg


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

TorontoTim

I have a question regarding A series. Did it bother you when you tilted the sash and saw that there is only a razor thin veneer on the interior? I think its a nice window but my concern would be how the interior is going to hold up. I have seen the window a hundred times but had never bothered to tilt a sash in. I was shocked at what i saw.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Window_mike: thanks for tip on painting the same color...not sure how I would do that with vinyl? Since its open to the kitchen, we will likely have to pick something to match the crown on the kitchen cabs as well. We will also be painting the vaulted ceiling bead board. I am NOT looking forward to choosing from the hundreds of whites out there. Lol.

TorontoTim: thanks for taking time to post the pics. to be honest I didn't pay that much attention to the looks of the window as I had never given our current windows a second glance. We never open them and only open the patio door when we need ventilation. We've never painted the wood interiors of the windows in the 9yrs we've lived in the home. Did you look at the Softlites when you were researching vinyl windows? They look nice but then again I didn't look at too many other vinyls to say they are better looking than other vinyls out there :)

Wood vs vinyl battle in my mind continues. Lol.

I think bc we have white interiors, it makes a little less difference but I will pay closer attention when I go to the showrooms this week.

Towards the front of our home, we have a wood paneled study...in there I may think twice about vinyl and spring for wood to keep in style of the look of the room.

Thanks again!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Take a piece of the trim or a sash (in good weather) to the paint store to be computer matched or most companies have a formula available for the more popular paint lines.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Is that only if we get wood windows? Can they paint match vinyl interior windows? Would I want to paint match to the vinyl?

Sorry if these are silly questions, I am clueless when it comes to this stuff :)


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Well you cant paint the vinyl but i guess you could bring a sash to the paint store and have them color match it. I finally was able to find a good photo of the Okna window. It looks good for a vinyl window, much better than the average vinyl. It still is not even close to the look of the Marvin. Theres no contest at all really IMO. The picture that i saw was the 5500 which i think is the top model. It had 2 sash locks which would be a deal breaker for me. Vinyl companies do this to prevent the check rail from sagging due to the lack of strength, although they will probably say its to create a better seal.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Mike - now you've got me wondering :) I'm going to have to go have another look to see what you mean.

This is the cross section of the base 400 Tilt Wash series - note the solid wood with cladding.

This is the cross section of the 400 Woodwright. The darker edged material is the Fibrex wood/vinyl composite.

And the A Series - the white edged material is fiberglass.

The fancier it gets, the less wood there is ;) The wood is more or less entirely cosmetic and for good reason. Fiberglass is stronger, expands/contracts less, etc. And it's likely cheaper and easier to produce with fewer natural resources.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Thanks for the extra info.

Window_mike: I thought the elements dh only had one lock. I can't remember on the LS.

Toronto_tim: thanks for the cross sections. I should really pay more attention to them next time.

I have a feeling I'll be dreaming about windows tonight. Lol!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

A series is only fiberglass on the sash. The frame, sill and trim are Fibrex. I would be concerned with how the 2 materials age over time next to eachother.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I am not sold on Fibrex as a material at all. As I've said before: it is the answer to a question that nobody asked. It essentially adds wood flour (sawdust) to vinyl, which does nothing other than add an organic component to the vinyl that can degrade. Cellular PVC and Fiberglass are much better "composite" alternatives IMO. I'll never recommend anything with fibrex after seeing some 9 yr old Renewals that were TRASHED from condensation.

Double locks are going to be standard on most vinyl and composite windows over a certain size (typically around 25" wide), and many wood windows as well. They add additional strength and security. I can't say that I've ever run into a client that rejected double locks based on appearance. The comment about the double locks being necessary to prevent the check rail from sagging is pure bunk.
@rbk: On the wood vs vinyl, forgive me if this point was already made (didn't feel like re-reading the entire thread, lol), but resale is definitely a consideration as well, and on that, there is really no clear winner. One group of potential buyers will be swayed by an Ultra High performance product with triple pane glass, super low air infiltration, lifetime warranty, no painting, etc, while the other group will be more impressed by the beauty of real wood. I will say though that as I mentioned earlier, painting the window really detracts from the latter IMHO.
@ Mike: I've attached a link to the HiMark/Okna 800. That is their flagship vinyl offering. The 5500 is a new construction version of the 500/Insultec. Mid-level in the line. The pics actually don't do it justice in terms of looks. That said, I don't think anyone here would argue that ANY vinyl window can match the looks of a high end wood window like the Marvin. That is precisely the area where the wood products hold the advantage.

Here is a link that might be useful: HiMark 800


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I agree with the above two posters. Not crazy about fibrex. Sometimes I think that the Andersen engineers get bored and challenge each other to see how many different materials that they can possibly use in one window.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

rkb,

My comment about the air tightness (lack there of) on the 400 was from personal observation.

I am not an Andersen opponent by any means. I think several of the models that they make are quite nice and very well built.

There have been some comments about the 400s lately and that was my point. My customer is the one that actually pointed out the issues and threads on the matter.

The RBA is not in the same category as the upper end Andersen wood.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

"The comment about the double locks being necessary to prevent the check rail from sagging is pure bunk. "

I was told by the owner of a fairly large vinyl window manufacturer that thats exactly why the 2 sash locks are needed. Otherwise why would you need 2 locks only when you get to a certain size. There are wood windows that are 5ft wide that dont need 2 locks. The longer a piece of vinyl gets the more it is likely to have sagging or bowing. The idea that its for security is "bunk"


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

homesealed: we hope to remain in the home for many years to come so re-sale isn't a huge issue, but again, I wouldn't want it to effect it in the future. Honestly, I could care less of the material and all these years we've owned the home I had no idea that they were wood or cared what they were...just that they were drafty. Lol. I'm definitely not a vinyl 'snob' but want to make sure that I don't make a mistake that is completely out of line with the home that we live in. Also, I want to make sure what we get will last.

The Kolbe guy said, 'the only people that get vinyl are the people that can't afford wood." I was turned off by that comment [as I was by his bid of $32k for the windows].

WoW: is the RBA the same as getting the insert double hungs 400series?

Does anyone know if the Softlite Kingsroyal is a welded unit or a 'knock down' unit that is put together in the opening?


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Rbk:
-The kingsroyal is welded, which is preferred.
-RBA/Renewal is a completely different product. It is a full fibrex window, sold and installed only by RBA dealers.
-That really is a ridiculous comment by the Kolbe guy. People that can't afford wood, or perhaps people that are looking for higher performance and less maintenance, and are okay with a slight sacrifice in appearance.

@ Mike, I'm not going to question the truthfulness of your comment that "the owner of a large vinyl manufacturer" told you about double locks, however it is bad info whether anyone actually told you that or not. Double locks improve performance (higher resistance to deflection, ergo higher design pressure ratings) as well as the other things that I mentioned. I have seen lower end vinyl windows WITH double locks with warped sashes. Ultimately, the thickness of the vinyl, type of glazing, extrusion design, reinforcement, etc are all going to dictate whether or not it will warp or sag. I can't say that an extra lock can't possibly help, but it is far from the reason for it, and should not be looked upon as a negative feature. If in fact the locks were so crucial in keeping the upper rail of the lower sash from warping/sagging, what exactly is keeping the upper rail of the upper sash from doing so? No locks there.

This post was edited by HomeSealed on Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 16:07


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

, what exactly is keeping the upper rail of the upper sash from doing so? No locks there?

Nothing, they sag as well Lol!!! Also you admitted that it makes the check rail less likely to deflect which is basicallu what i meant. It may not be the only reason its there but it absolutely plays into the inherent weakness of vinyl ( i am sure i will get blasted for that). I dont question that there is high quality vinyl. I just feel that once you get in to the price category of the upper vinyl manufacturers the better value is the wood/clad window, especially if that window is a Marvin product.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Your point is invalid as it pertains to vinyl, because double locks are going to improve the same areas in any window regardless of material.
Three final points:
1)There will still be a substantial price difference between high end vinyl and high end wood
2)If a vinyl sash warps after 10 yrs, it is replaced under warranty. If a wood windows is rotted out after 10 years (and yes, the "big" brands do as well), it is in need of replacement. In fact, a fair portion of my vinyl sales are this very situation.
3) I sell vinyl, wood, and composite because each has distinct pros and cons, and can be the right choice in different situations. That is inarguable.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Ok, so what would you reccomend to the owner of this thread that the two of is have completely hijacked?


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I have already made my recommendation: that it depends on the OP's priorities and goals for the project. My own personal opinion is that it is hard to justify the extra cost for wood when it is getting painted white anyway, but if the look and feel of the new units are at the top of the list, wood is the winner there. I believe that I stated the pros and cons pretty thoroughly throughout the two threads on the subject. Personally, I don't believe that the OP can go wrong either way, but again, it depends on whether looks or performance are the top priority.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Hehehe! I don't mind the friendly banter [or hijacking]. It's always informative to hear the experts debate points for or against a product.

All of you have been a great source of info on ALL of my threads, which somehow end up very long. Lol.

I asked my DH his opinion and he just said 'whatever is fine' but he didn't really care wood or vinyl b/c in his mind that decision won't change our 'quality of life' and therefore, would make spending extra money on wood not worth it. This from the man who in a heartbeat would spend 'extra' money on his cars :) I guess it's just personal preference, priorities, etc.

I digress...Anyway, my priority is to replace the windows with a very energy efficient window given that our space has so many windows/patio doors. I do care somewhat about looks, but in one year, I don't think I'll even give the windows a second thought [unless there is something wrong with them]. Mostly, I don't want to choose vinyl and then find out that in our neighborhood/ cost bracket of home that vinyl is taboo. That being said, I'm leaning towards one of the softlite products.

Anyway, once I visit the Marvin showroom, I'll have more of an idea on that window. I will go back to see the LS and the Elements. The elements dealer is having a promo to upgrade to the UltraS for no extra cost, which sounds interesting.

My job is getting in the way of my progress in deciding on windows. Lol. Hope to make some decision by the end of the week :)

Anything I should specifically ask about each companies installation process to ensure they are going to do a good job?

Thanks again!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I don't see any hijacking here, nor do I see an argument among experts. I don't post here often, but it looks to me as though the honest professionals are in agreement. Only one self proclaimed "window guy" disagrees, and typically that is indicative of someone that is either uninformed, or has questionable motives. Just my 2 cents


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Oh god help me!!! Karateman has spoken. I shall leave this forum never to return. My motive is to help someone make a decision. This web site for whatever reason has a very heavy pro Vinyl following. lets say i am here for balance. Living a couple of thousand miles away from rkb21 what alterior motive could i have. i will certainly not benefit from the sale in any way regardless of which way they go. Your comment is Kind of stupid. I have been in homes that have had some of the vinyl windows that have been talked about on these forums and have seen some very terrible results. 3 or 4 year old high end Vinyl windows failing miserabley, including Soft-lite, Simonton, and Tri -State. Oh and Gorrell. I have not run into Okna or Sunrise. My opinion based on what i have seen is that these products do not perform over time. No doubt they will perform when first installed. Vinyl does not hold up in heat, it has a terrible thermal expansion co-efficient and is aestetically inferior to other products.

Rkb21- i cant remember if it was discussed since this thread has become epic. If looks are secondary to performance what about an all fiberglass window. Fiberglass is a great material. The sash and frame expand and contract at almost the same rate as the glass making it a very stable product. It is stronger, holds up to sun light better and in case you are a green person it is a more renewable product.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

window_mike: yes, this has become quite long...sorry...so many questions. I'm trying to become well informed and hope that I haven't become a nuisance to all of you. It's just a bit daunting.

What fiberglass windows would you recommend? I hadn't really looked into them except the THV compozit.

Thanks!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Fiberglass is a viable alternative as well. The guys with an anti-vinyl bias will make it seem like it is the "end-all, be-all" of window materials, but it is not. Just another material with its own pros and cons. Inline makes a great fiberglass unit with a very low air infiltration rating. The Marvin Integrity/Infinity are well built as well, but lacking in performance in comparison to the Inline (and a few other Canadian fg products) and high end vinyl.
This has gotten to be quite a debate! Lol...
The bottom line is this rbk: regardless of what anyone expresses as opinion on the topic, every window of every material is tested for thermal and structural performance by an independent third party. These ratings of u-value, shgc, air infiltration, and design pressure (there are a few others tested but those are the big ones) are going to give you a comprehensive view of how the window will ACTUALLY perform, and are also very indicative of the design and build quality of the unit. We can talk about all the pros and cons of each material, and all of the other cool features like glass packages, spacers, etc, but at the end of the day, those ratings are truly a sum of those parts. The strength or expansion coefficient of a 20 ft lineal of one material vs another is utterly irrelevant. What matters is the strength of the unit as designed and assembled. In my opinion rbk, what you are weighing here is the balance between appearance, performance, and cost. The only one of those three that is not black and white is appearance, as that is up to your personal preference.

@mike, could you elaborate on the softlite/ gorell, and simonton windows that you have seen "failing miserably" after 4 yrs? I've installed hundreds if not thousands of those products and found them to be pretty good. Anytime I see an issue, it is a seal failure, stress crack, or an installation issue, all of which are common across the various window materials. Either way, any product issue would most certainly be covered under warranty.


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I would not call trashing a product based on out-dated, exaggerated, or inaccurate info "balanced". Just sayin.
Vinyl is installed in the southwest with no problem, so heat is not an issue unless you live somewhere that sees temps over 150 degrees. Uv exposure is no concern either with a good product.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

homesealed: Thanks for the info. Yes, it is a personal preference wood vs vinyl for the aesthetics. My philosophy is just bc you can afford it, doesn't mean you should choose it if there's something just as good that is more cost effective :)

karateguy: vinyl that is higher end does seem like a great option.

Well, in a couple of days, I will finally get to see the Marvin windows and can have a better handle on that.

I'm just surprised on the pricing of the Marvins. With them doing a full tear out of the 3 patio doors, they are just about 2k more than the Andersen quote.

Anyway, thanks everyone!!!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I think that you are on the right track rbk :) . As I mentioned earlier you won't go wrong either way, its just a matter of which aspect you value more. You definitely want to see and operate each unit, and then sit down and make a decision based on all of the info that you have. Be sure to let us know which direction you choose. :)


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Mostly seal failure with condensation between the glass, and yes i realize this can happen to any window. A common problem that happens with viny install is that deductions are not taken off of the meaaurements to allow for expansion and contraction, or at least not sufficient deductions. So when the window expands it has nowhere to go so it caves in on itself causing all sorts of problems. I would attribute this to may of the Vinyl window issues. I would second what Homesealy said about the inline and Marvin(we were bound to agree about something eventually). The one thing i will say about the all ultrex is that it has kind of a modern/commercial look to it so o dont know if it would fit the look of your home. With the wood interior window you get the benefit of fiberglass on the exterior and wood on the interior. If you are going to look at marvin anyway i guess you could ask to see the Integrity as well. It will also be a lot less expensive, similar to Andersen.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I appreciate that we have found some common ground Mike:) ... That said, you know that I still have to correct you on the expansion/seal failure issue, lol.
1) all windows should have cutbacks to allow the new window to be installed square, as most existing openings are not. A window that is stuffed in too tight is not going to operate or seal properly because it will be racked, but even then, that has nothing to do with the glass seals, nor is that specific to the material (ie: wood vs vinyl).
2) Again your characterization of the expansion coefficient of vinyl is exaggerated. You could take a 72" UPVC frame manufactured at a temperature of 60 degrees F, and it would only expand or contract about the thickness of a nickel at 110 degrees or 10 degrees. Further, the windows are engineered with this fact in mind (weatherstripping , etc), so as to avoid air leakage, binding, etc.
On glass seal, ALL windows are designed to allow independent expansion/contraction of glass and sash frame. There is no correlation there between material and seal failure. To that end, there are vinyl windows made that actually integrate the IGU into the vinyl sash frame and while I'm not a big fan of that, they are not failing at any incredible rate. Google "sashlite" to take a peek at that.
The one thing that I will say about vinyl is this: There are literally thousands of vinyl window manufacturers in the US, and many of them make junk. In fact, probably the majority of them do. In addition to that, being that vinyl windows are less expensive, every hack and his brother that wants to sell cheap windows is going to sell vinyl. Now take an industry where most of the products are cheapo garbage, and many of the installers are "caulk and walk" hacks, and what you get is a material that has a bad reputation, undeservedly so. The point that has been made on numerous occasions in this thread and others is that it is unfair to take the worst products and portray it as an accurate representation of the material that it is made of.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Window Mike,

How much do you think a 6' piece of vinyl (uninsulated and therefore subject to the full temperature swings) expands in a 100 degree temperature swing.....the thickness of a nickel. Hardly an amount of expansion that will create a seal failure if properly engineered and clearanced.

I have taken apart a bunch of vinyl windows and with the exception of the Sash-Lite windows, I have never seen a window (vinyl or otherwise) that would foster a seal failure issue as a result of frame expansion and contraction.

The real issue with most vinyl seal failures is that there are a ton of vinyl manufacturers that turn out cheap crap and buy/make cheap crap.

The other concerns that you raised about twin locks and the sagging issues were addressed. They are not required for material failure for bowing but more so to maintain a tight window under pressure.

I think all of the choices mentioned so far are great.

Customer has their pick of the litter.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Is there an echo in here?...lol
Truth be told, WoW had the "nickel" analogy first. Don't worry, it is listed in the bibliography. :D


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

You and me...best friends forever...!!!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

LOL.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Wow! Thank you all!

Although, I am not the OP, I think we may be married to the same man. As rkb21 said, "DH doesn't have time or interest to get involved in these decisions, so I needed to do the research, narrow it down and then make a decision....a daunting task!"

Well, I am here for the same reason. I did some research last year but we never got around to actually looking at windows, so I came to this forum to brush-up on the little I once knew and had since forgotten. I learned more in this one thread than I did in all my previous research.. Thank you so much. I am sure I will have some questions later, but you all have given me an incredibly solid base to start.

You guys ROCK!


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Tell your friends!!!

Keep us posted and we will help out however we can.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

I'm the 'DH' in my equation, and frankly, can't fathom who wouldn't be interested in knowing all the details related to such a large and important one-time investment like new windows.

But then again, I plan and manage all the reno's in our house. Never hired a contractor - chose my own trades and synced them all up, whether it was the 2 bathrooms or the full kitchen gut job.

I run a very large vintage motorcycle forum, and frankly post information here as much to help inform the question of the moment as well as to create a repository of information for Google and other search engines to find and direct people to. Soon enough all the billions of pages of information on the web will be cataloged in real time and available to us instantly. You'll think of a question and the answer will be in the palm of your hand.


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anemome2000: That's really funny! I've been racking my brain and posting a TON of questions here. We haven't come to a final decision yet, but I am SO happy to have found this forum and get help from everyone who has contributed! Good luck on your window journey :)


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TorontoTim,

What forum do you run?

Eric


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

This message if for rkb21. I'm in St. Louis also and it sounds like we're married to the same man! I'm getting to do all the research and make the decision and he trusts me and doesn't care! Anyway, the real reason for the email, are you working with a particualr contractor or just going to window dealers and this time? Who are you dealing with? I'm in the process of seeing if Sunrise is in the area. Do you know the answer to that?

Take care, Stephanie


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

swmotz: Lol...it's been a long and tiring journey. I've been trying to figure out the windows/doors and planning a kitchen remodel. I'm working with a contractor but for windows, I've contacted the dealers here for Marvin windows, Kolbe, Softlite, and Andersen. I think there is a Sunrise dealer, but we didn't end up calling them b/c we decided to stay with wood windows. I think we're going to end up with Andersens, but I'm still waiting on final numbers from one other window dealer.

Best of luck and happy to help!
[For some reason, I never get emails, not sure what I'm doing wrong on the settings.]


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

rbk21. I'm the same way! I keep trying to change my settings and cannot get emails. I just keep checking the thread. :) I think we're going with Fiberglass. Did you ever get far enough along in the process to get any recommendations of people who had Marvin fiberglass windows and get their opinions?

Take care, Stephanie


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

My choice would be Integrity if Marvin is too pricey. But that Marvin quote seems REALLY reasonable. MAKE SURE THEY KNOW H!OW TO INSTALL THEM .I would insist upon asking their installlation process, materials, etc. It matters when you are installing high end windows
Wood is warm, acoustically superior, solid to the touch and just FEELS better than vinyl. Wood is more versatile painted or stained, can be changed if redecorating. My biggest problem with all the vinyl/PVC in the building industry is its environmentally a nightmare.
I have always told people .....windows are life furniture for walls. Sometimes a beautiful wall of windows needs nothing else around them, they can be so beautifully done. And yes your house is beautiful. I would cringe if you choose vinyl. Vinyl is for track homes. Which Yours is not.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Lot of well thought out posts on this thread, not sure about that last one though. I like Marvin and integrity, but if you take a premium vinyl and set it next to an all ultrex integrity, 9 of10 people will chose the vinyl. That without out even considering the major difference in price and air leakage. The " environmental" comment is off base as well. I won't go as far as to call them super green, but they are all made with some recycled content, can save more energy throughout their life of service, and so on and so forth.
It is becoming more common to see vinyl in very high end new construction where people want the top performance and the peace of mind that they won't need to replace rotted windows 10 years down the road.


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Saying vinyl is an environmental nightmare is simply
Not true. High end vinyl is made without harmful plasticizers.
I can give a bunch of reasons why wood windows are Bad for the environment. Maybe we could talk about ruining our forsetry and polluting the air with wood window stains and paint. Then we can talk about how wood absorbs moisture and doesnt last nearly as long as high end vinyl; more tree's get cut down.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

+1. Each material has some pros and cons in terms of environmental impact, none really leaps and bounds better than the others with all things considered.


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RE: Opinions on window bids needed

Even the wood and fiberglass windows have plastic/vinyl parts in them, especially the wood.


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