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Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Posted by angiebangie (My Page) on
Thu, May 22, 14 at 16:45

We are looking into replacing the aluminum Allenco (mostly fogged) windows in our 1977 home. The primary reason for replacing is to save on energy costs, secondarily for aesthetics and functionality. Our home has all windows on the north and south sides of the home on a heavily treed lot with very little direct sunlight. A door-to-door company named Energy One gave us their sales pitch this morning. A second company recommended going with either Anderson 100 or Don Young thermal broken aluminum for significantly less.

I have several questions and am hoping to get answers and opinions from the knowledgable window people on this forum.

First, we are pretty set on the outer color being dark bronze. Our home is stone, and white windows look terrible (IMO....no offense to anyone who has them). While beige would blend in and look nice, the bronze adds a nice detail. I would prefer the interior color to be either bronze or white, absolutely no beige.

Second, is there a huge difference in energy savings with triple pane vs. double pane? I'm getting a 50/50 response from the 4 window people I have talked to. Are the ones who are telling me that triple pane is much better doing so because of their profit margins?

We would prefer a window that can be cleaned from the inside of the house. Two weeks ago there was an unfortunate incident while cleaning second story windows that involved a 22 ft ladder and my big toe. I would love to avoid a repeat incident.

We are also concerned about warranties. The first company (Alside, although the warranty is serviced through the retailer and not Alside) offers a lifetime warranty including glass breakage with a transferrable 30 year if we sell the home. I am concerned by the measly 10 year Andersen warranty and the limited Don Young warranty.

Will replacing our old windows really reduce our energy costs? I'm assuming that the fogged aluminum windows we have aren't great, but how much worse are they than the replacements we are looking at? I have a Sunrise dealer coming out on Saturday, but he is one of the dealers focusing on triple panes.

Thanks for any advice you can give.

This post was edited by angiebangie on Thu, May 22, 14 at 22:45


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

I've heard it said that replacement windows can save 5-15% of your monthly energy bill; I've also heard it said that with quality windows it could take 20 years to break even considering window cost and installation.
I've seen articles that say it is much more important to caulk and do other stuff to prevent air leakage.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

We have caulked from top to bottom and are also looking into getting more attic insulation.

Another question....when comparing ratings, which do we pay more attention to for the Central Texas region: R, U, or SHGC?


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Double pane with a good low solar low-e is sufficient for Texas, no need for triple pane. The SHGC doesn't change enough for the additional expense and if they do add a coating on the third pane of glass it will make the windows dark, reducing the amount of light coming in.

In Austin, the most important rating is the SHGC and the Air Leakage rating.

Alside makes low-end to mid grade products. Sunrise is far superior.

For bronze windows, Don Young's thermally-broken aluminum is a great choice.

Not sure where lucille got the idea of "breaking even". Windows shouldn't be purchased to break even. We don't purchase new flooring, countertops, siding, or anything else to break even. Purchase windows because you want new windows and for the added efficiency they will provide.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

My concern with the Don Young is the shorter warranty and lack of glass breakage coverage. How is their warranty claim service?

We are currently comparing Alside's Mezzo line and ratings to the info that we found on Sunrise online (haven't seen that window in person yet). Alside's SHGC .21 and Sunrise is .28. Given that number, what would make us choose Sunrise over Alside?

Thank you for your help, I really appreciate having an "insider's" view.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Warranties are written to protect the manufacturer, not the consumer. Therefore, what's covered are generally things that they expect will very rarely occur. Glass breakage protection is nice when it's included, but very rarely used.

Don Young's warranty is only shorter in that it is very limited for transfer purposes. As long as you own the home, it's just like anyone else's warranty (other than glass breakage).

As to the SHGC, they will both be in the .19 - .21 range, if they are built with the low solar low-e. The rating you quoted for Sunrise isn't.

Sunrise enjoys a better reputation in the industry for quality materials and construction. None of Alside's products are worth $14,000.00 for 18 windows. The company offering them is a franchise operation out of Ohio who uses canvassing and the wow factor of triple pane glass in an area where few other contractors are offering it to get homeowners to overpay for a very average window.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

I think Ultra Windows covered it all right there.

Good post and information Ultra Windows.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Thank you for your replies. Sunrise dealer is coming to show us windows this morning, and hopefully we will have a price On the DY this afternoon as well.

I know it doesn't get terribly cold in this area as compared to the rest of the country, but I am concerned about loosing heat in the winter to the DY windows because of the R. Is that a valid concern or is the loss in efficiency when compared to a good vinyl window negligible? I know they are both energy star windows.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

While I think it's negligible, your concerns are not without some merit, as the TBA window will have a higher U-Value.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Ugh, this is getting more complicated and tiring. The Sunrise dealer was very pushy. I had to use my "ugly voice" (that's what my kids call it) when he started trying to pin me down and give him an answer. He was very pushy with the triple pane vanguard even after I called him before he came over and told him we had decided on going double pane. He offered me either the triple pane vanguard or the essentials. I asked he could get me some numbers on the Sunrise Standard and he said that there wasn't a line between the vanguard and essentials. I swear I read that on another thread, but perhaps I'm now completely nuts?

Another perplexing thing.....we have 3 openings that currently have two double hungs in each opening. Every other window person we have talked to said that we could cut costs by putting a slider in those openings. This guy completely nixed that and wouldn't even consider quoting it. We also have two huge openings (105x70) in the living room. His only solution was to continue with the three double hungs that are currently there, while all of the other companies have come up with a variety of ways to cut the number of windows in the opening with combinations of either pictures and other windows, or by combining sliders. I really wanted to find a way to make sunrise work because of all I've read on this forum, but the dealer is difficult to work with.

ETA: the openings in the windows in which the sunrise dealer feels that sliders will not work are 58x70.

This post was edited by angiebangie on Fri, May 23, 14 at 13:25


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

No, you're not nuts, you are correct. Between the Essentials and the Vanguard is the basic Sunrise line. The dealer you spoke with probably doesn't have access to it though. I would never recommend doing business with a contractor that makes you that uncomfortable.

While the contractors recommending sliders in the large openings are saving you money, they are also leading you down the road of future aggravation with sliders that large. That's not much smaller than a patio door, but without the heavy duty roller system to provide easy operation. I doubt you'd be happy with them in two or three years.

The Apex salesman isn't doing you any favors between the brand he sells (Alside) and the configuration he recommended.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Oh wow, thanks for your opinion on that. I wrongly assumed that since 3 different contractors mentioned it and priced it out that way that it would be ok. What would be the next least expensive way to do that opening? One of them is downstairs, so I would not be completely opposed to having to go outside to clean that one. However, the other two are on the second story. Being able to clean them from inside the house is pretty important.

This post was edited by angiebangie on Fri, May 23, 14 at 21:22


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Did you come to a decision on this?

I too have an 70's austin stone house with (failing) original aluminum windows & am having a bear of a time figuring out which way to jump.

I have looked for the more modern looking bronze exterior, so far andersen 400 series might fit the bill.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Actually, we just decided today. My little chat with Randy was incredibly helpful, and I'm absolutely calling him for windows if I ever move back to Houston.

We are going with the soft-lite classic, although we are still undecided on color. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to go with white instead of a painted finish. The window itself has a lifetime warranty, so it seems silly to me to invest in a great window that I fully expect to never replace on my own dime, only to have to replace it (albeit far, far in the future) because the paint faded or chipped. If they still had a lifetime warranty on the painted finish it would be a no-brainer.

With that being said, if we decided that the bronze color was the most important thing to us, we would have gone with the Don Young, but only the single hung windows because of the increased air infiltration of the double hung and the sliders.

I'm about to print out several pictures of my house on my home printer and "paint" different colors of windows and trim on the house. I want to have an idea of what it will look like so I don't go into shock when my beautiful bronze is gone.

AFAIK, there is only one soft-lite dealer in the entire area. He has been very nice to work with, and even called soft-lite to tell them that I had a hard deadline of July 1 (daughter will be in the hospital for most of July). They offered to make my windows priority so that I will have them in plenty of time.

This post was edited by angiebangie on Wed, Jun 4, 14 at 8:13


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Good follow up and goodness knows if you are ever in Houston Texas or other parts, you would be well served to call Randy at Ultra Windows.

Great guy as you clearly noted.

Good luck with the project and let us know how it turns out.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

I have heard good things about soft lite. Glad you have made progress.

Question though, soft lite's website appears to have bronze as an exterior color listed? From the above post it looks like you have changed your mind on bronze? I'd be interested to know your rational for this choice... thanks!


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

In paragraph 2 in the above post. I still think the bronze looks best on my home. If you look at "Texas Limestone" exteriors on Houzz, a majority of them have bronze windows. If I were sure we were going to be moving in the next 5-10 years I would do bronze and let someone else deal with the potential fading, cracking, and peeling paint. However, I want to die in this house. If I'm going to spend money on windows with a lifetime warranty, I don't want to have to replace them in 15-20 years because of peeling paint. It may last for 20 years or longer, but it certainly won't last as long as the rest of the window. At some point it will have to be dealt with.

I printed out several pictures of my home yesterday and have been playing with crayons and trying out different trim colors that will work better with the white windows. Although I do love the bronze, I think I can paint my trim in such a way that the white will look fine. I think I'm going with a slightly off-white color that will be close enough to both the white windows and the creamy white of the limestone to make everything flow nicely.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Sorry to keep prying, but this question is very much on my mind & this thread is very helpful!

Are you saying that all of the bronze exterior windows you have looked at are painted? I checked out the andersen 400 woodwrights yesterday at the mirror gallery on 71. The bronze exterior is fibrex clad (not painted). Just FYI.

Are you using your own installer?


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Yes, all of the vinyl ones we looked at were painted or laminated. None of them have an extruded bronze, although I think there would be a good market for it if they did. We only looked at vinyl and Don Young TBA. I'm not familiar with the Anderson 400. I did see an Anderson 100, but it was single hung only and had a 10 year warranty.

I enabled email in my profile, so feel free to email if you need more specific answers. Pry away!


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

Am I allowed to say the name of the installer I am using? I don't want to break any forum rules.

If you have a subscription to Angie's list, it's at the very end of the list.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

AB,

thanks for the reply, very helpful. I think we are going to try the andersen 400 route. best of luck on your windows.


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RE: Replacement windows in Austin, TX

After printing out pictures of the front of the house and coloring in different windows and trim, we have backtracked and have ordered bronze windows for the front of the house. The white windows just wouldn't have looked right without painting the trim, and I absolutely will not have time for that for the rest of the summer. Hopefully the fact that our windows one really get any direct sunlight will slow the fading of the paint for many, many years.


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