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Best Vinyl Windows

Posted by tot09 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 18:22

I am new to this forum but have read a lot of very helpful prior posts. We are looking for some Vinyl Replacement windows to replace a couple Wood Anderson windows in which the sills have all rotted out. I have done some research and it looks like some good brands are Gorell, Okna, Simonton, Soft lite my problem is I can't find anywhere in my area (central NY) that sell these. Everywhere I call wants to sell me Kasson and Keller windows or Pella windows. When I have asked for these brands they tell me they can probably get them but they don't promote them. So my question is does anyone know of a brand that may be easier to get in my area and still quality? Or any resale locations?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

They CAN'T get them, they have to be a licensed dealer. Okna, Himark, Soft Lite, Sunrise, and Gorell are the higher end brands. Simonton is more of a mid grade offering.
Best thing to do would be to contact each company and ask them to send you the name of a local dealer in your area.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

+1. Contact the manufacturer(s) and ask them for a dealer contact in your area. In NY, you should have access to all of the above.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

+1

The premium brands are distributed via authorized dealers so that the manufacturers can quality control and make sure that their brand is not being jeopardized by poor installations and management.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Thanks for the responses. Found one Okna dealer in my area and another dealer who has Gorell and Softlite. Unfortunately neither want to be bothered with a small job. One was willing to offer Okna wholesale. Just sad that quality windows are so hard to come by.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Smaller projects are tough. While, in theory, you should be able to lump several smaller projects together and spread the labor costs over several windows, it never works out that way.

We also have a 5 window minimum or at least a labor minimum. Its a tough part of the procedure but the logistics and overhead of the project have to be spread over a minimum number of units.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Most anyone can get Simonton and Soft-Lite. The Soft-lite LS , Element ,and Bainbridge are exclusive here to authorized dealers and Okna is not available to my knowledge.If they were really concerned about quality they would not sell the other lines abroad nor would they allow them to be sold "wholesale".This is more about creating exclusive lines and marketing than anything else.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Todd,

That is true that many manufacturers do offer their entry lines via distributors.

That being said, most do not allow their upper end lines (Elements, EnviroStar, Insul-Tec, Imperial LS - not sure about that one, Bainbridge, etc) to be sold to contractors over the counter.

I agree that there is surely is an aspect of marketing to that but if they could push big volumes via OTC sales, I am pretty confident they would still do it. At the end of the day, the manufactures are obviously interested in selling volume.

Most OTC sales are budget orientated and maintaining the upper lines for dealer only sales does allow them to control the message a quality much more finitely.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

+1. The top choices of the better brands are generally reserved as "dealer only" products. It really benefits everybody, as it maintains the quality/integrity of the brand, allows the dealers to set themselves apart, and makes it easier for consumers to figure out who the upper echelon dealers are. Of course some of those guys may use some shady high-pressure tactics, but they are generally still very solid companies financially, and offer quality installation to go with the product. The companies that only care about the bottom line at the expense of product quality are generally not spending the extra $$$ to buy the premium products.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

I'd say it benefits the dealers the most. Most of said companies offer their entry level as well as a mid and upper mid level window OTC. I would not classify the Bainbridge as an upper window since there are better ones in the Soft-Lite line up OTC. If they really wanted to protect the quality of the brand they would not sell the rest of line up to every contractor with a pick-up.
In using the quality and integrity logic one should not be endorsing the Marvin Ultima and Integrity but the Infinity instead.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

I don't really recommend any window that is available by the pick up truck crowd, other than wood just because they have no choice. The best windows and installation are sold though authorized dealers. The only reason that the other guys buy from lumber yards is because they either don't care enough about the product that they offer or their company is not established enough, or financially healthy enough to buy direct. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but it is still the RULE at the end of the day. When you are talking about the window itself, I agree with the other guys in that the best products are off limits over the counter. There are a few quality pieces out there though if you do your research.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Great explanation karate guy.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Most of the brands that I would consider to be near the top end of the scale in vinyl do not distribute their upper product lines OTC.

I would agree that the Bainbridge is not the flagship by any means inside the Soft-Lite family.

I think the discussion about distribution is probably limited to the vinyl family of products. Given that wood and fiberglass represent such a smaller portion of the market, it is tough to apply and identify trends in those cases.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

The vinyl market kindo takes a 2 headed aproach that caters to the low end and high end market. These 2 markets attract the most misinformation and sharks in the industry or you could say apply and identify trends. This typically leaves out the upper midrange windows which are more than often a good fit for many customers since they are often priced well below the upper end windows are well made and have pretty good performance numbers. I think the markets and trends have been identified with wood windows ,they are just different especially in the low end market.
There are alot of us pick-up guys that do installs for the high end companies that often only have a sales crew and sub out there work.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Fair point on the installation quality POSSIBLY being equal from a guy in a pick up. Having said that, that is certainly far less likely statiscally, and two, even when that is the case, there is something to be said for the security of dealing with a company that will pickup the phone in 8 years (or 8 months if it is a typical "contractor grade" product) when there is a service issue. Their name is on it, so even if Joe the installer left town, they still take care of it. On the flip side, if Betty the consumer saved $100 per window by having Joe do the install as a side job ,and now he moved to the Virgin islands to build mud huts and smoke wacky tabbacky, she is SOL on getting service. Take it a step further and Joe did a poor install becasue he drinks beer when he is on his own jobs (which is obviously not allowed when working for XYZ window company), so Betty has had water leaking into her home causing major structural damage, mold, etc. This isn't just some hypothetical situation that "won't happen to me", this is commonplace and is one of the reasons that contractors have such a bad name. I'm dealing with one such situation currently, and it is absolutely heart-breaking. All in the name of saving a few bucks. SMH

Kind of like buying that display model TV that has 1000+ hours of use, no warranty, and saving $150 on a $2000 purchase. Just not a wise investment. Or actually, a better analogy would probably be just buying that TV that is "like new" off of craigslist, having no idea where it came from, and nobody to call if anything happens.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

The installation could even possibly be better.There are many small contractors that have been in business for that long and still answer there phones.The consumer can weed out bad ones through references and other sources. The process should be the same regardless of size of company.Typical contractor grade is pretty vague, that could range from Crestline to Polaris.I think most of the smaller, non-elite dealers would not fit the description you're trying to paint and I don't think the ones that do are hanging out in the Virgin Islands. That's a nice horror story your telling there but I don't think it is very typical of a contractor that is licensed,insured, worker comp, pulls permits and has good references. The 1st analogy was not very good at all and the better one was even worse.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

I am looking to replace approx 17 wood windows in my home. I like the look of the wood but parts that were used to slide the windows up and down are now ineffective. In some cases the windows when you raise them, come out of the frame. Some of the windows don't seal properly. Prior owners used store bought insulation which has dry rotted and in some case affected the sealing of the windows. I would like to keep the wood, but can replace if pricing was reasonable. Is there any thing that can be done with current windows. Also if replacement is necessary, what replacement windows would be mid range, but good functional windows.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

@fay, there is always something that CAN be done, it just becomes a matter of whether or not it will offer a good ROI. The best thing to do would be to have someone come out and take a look for you.

@todd, not trying to continue the debate, but I get calls for service from folks who's installer went out of business (or was never really even IN business) on a regular basis. I'd agree that few if any of them are currently in a tropical paradise, lol, but the first part is not off base, nor is the analogy IMHO.
It is completely illogical to argue the fact that a small guy working out of his home and purchasing through distribution is as likely to be around in the future as a larger, more established company. Statistics show otherwise, and in a major way... And please don't take that as me putting down the little guys as we all have to start somewhere, all I'm saying is that there is added risk associated with the savings, and many people would rather pay for that peace of mind and security.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

If the windows are jambliners type windows you can could replace the jambliner or rebuild the jambliner.
Would love to see your source on statistics.Lumping the local neighborhood handyman or local drunk who needs to do a job to buy beer or whack tobaccy to a small contractor who works from home and has been in the trade is crap.Using that as your basis, then sure the analogies make sense.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

How about Harvard? See fig 9. Optimal size for a window, siding, roofing company is at least $750k per year. I doubt that many guys are doing that from their homes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvard study on contractors


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Nice

This post was edited by Karateguy on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 5:57


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

I like the first line of the Harvard study in the optimal size for remodling contractors. It reads,"Inspite of the considerable fragmentation of remodeling contractors,little research has been conducted to identify the optimal size of a firm serving this industry".
There are a few reputable compaines on another board we frequent that work from home. Can't speak personnaly for there sales volume though.

Karateguy,
Would love for you to identify my motives and why they are shameless and transparent.
Thanks for the advice but I think I'll be alright.I'll leave the lying to you.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Any suggestions for good manufacturers and dealers of vinyl windows in the Kansas City area. I have had three bids from independent dealers and each one has presented different manufacturers: Heartland, Allside and Thermal. Prices have ranged from 5,0000 to 10,000. The middle dealer offered the Allside product, lowest bid was Heartland and highest was Thermal.


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RE: Best Vinyl Windows

Alside is NOT quality, either is Alco or Silverline.

Okna, Soft Lite, Gorell, and Sunrise are all very high quality. However, i am not sure which of those brands are available in your area. I would contact each company.


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