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Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Posted by RicardoM (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 17, 12 at 20:34

Taking the installation out of the equation are the higher end windows such as the Okna 800 series and the soft lite Imperial LS series worth double the price of the simonton 5500 series?

I've gotten several quotes for windows and feel comfortable with all of the companies as far as installation goes. I like the look of the higher end windows better and they have some nicer features and better ratings but I just cannot make up my mind if they are worth the price difference. A simonton 5500 will run me $300 where an Okna 800 or soft lite LS will run me $600. I'm looking at 10+ windows.

This price is just for the windows. Installation is not included in the price.
Any insight to help me decide would be welcome.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

IMO, the Okna and Softlite LS options are WORLDS better than the Simonton. That said, the pricing should not be that far off. If you have a window with a Cadillac level of options (woodgrain, grids, colored exterior, triple pane, etc) then the Simonton is probably too low. On the other hand, if it is a white double hung with double pane glass and average size, those prices ($600) should be more like an "installed" price, than window only... Where are you located? Than can play a factor in pricing as well.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

The Simonton 5500 is a pretty good window and I would not hesitate putting them in my own house.The Elements is a better window but being WORLDS it is not in my opinion.The Elements should be about 20-30% more with the same options not 100%.pricing is up to dealers of course and Element dealers selling the window alone are in limited quantiy as compared to Simonton dealers.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

I agree. They are not WORLDS apart. In this case, the Simonton is the better buy assuming you get a great installation.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

I am not here to trash any product, and I happen to think that the Simonton is "fine", (I would install it by request), but you guys are kidding yourselves if you think that it is in the same league as the other two. I actually have a demo of all three next to each other (and a couple others as well) in my showroom and 100% of people that see the three lined up have the same opinion.
On the surface, the Simonton does seem like the legit price, but as I said earlier, a boatload of options could easily change that. Are you going to sell a 36 x 70 casement with sdl's, woodgrain, triple pane, and a custom color for $300? I think not.... Geez, where are the price police when you need them? Lol...


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Sorry, the Elements, while a very nice window is not worth twice the price of the Simonton in anybodys WORLD. Especially, since the Simonton now apparently has a A.I. rating at .07.Even at it's old rating of .13, it would still be a better buy.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

I don't think the OP said anything about woodgrains, grids, triple pane etc.. My comments are taking them at their word that the windows are similarly equipped. If not, then the OP needs to mention the differences for a more accurate answer.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Quick disclaimers on my remarks because I don't want to get into a back and forth discussion with Todd or Eco. That is not my point or aim.

The Simonton 5500 is a solid window and certainly better than a vast majority of the windows out there sold today.

Personally, I would agree that the Elements and HiMark are twice as a good a window as the 5500 based on my cumulative valuation of several factors (several of which are opinion).

The performance numbers are better on the other two windows on all measurable accounts (Thermal, DP, VT, Air Infiltration, etc). While we can go down the hole of argumentation on air infiltration and what it is worth, I have done a couple of test in/outs on home with the 5500 and was less than blown away by the results.

The aesthetics on the other two are nicer than the 5500. The frame and edge of glass to frame measurement on the 5500 is one of the bulky windows out there. With nearly 4" of frame/sash combo, you are going to be looking at a lot of plastic before you see glass. That extra 1/2" on either side tends to be a bit of a put off for many folks.

The exterior appearance and more molded look of the Elements/HiMark tends to be more well received.

At the end of the day, you (the consumer) need to figure out what is worth what to you and it is entirely a personal decision. All of the candidates in this case are good windows and will serve your purposes well.

I always tell folks to get the product that they will be happy living with for the duration.

At the end of the day, a $3,000 difference over the span of 10 years is about $0.85 a day.

Good luck and you have done better than a majority of folks regardless of the window that you go with.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

"Okna and Softlite LS options are WORLDS better than the Simonton"

That�s ridiculous they may be better but really there is no justification for twice the price.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

I appreciate everyones input. Below is the description of the simonton 5500 i was looking at.

5500 Reflections White Double Hung; Tip-to-tip; BOX;
Intercept;Low E Softcoat(Prosolar);Argon Gas;Double Glazed;
Regular Strength;Half screen Fiberglass Extruded Screen Mold;Foam Wrap;00 No Reinforcement; Two Air Latches;
Two White;Logo Lock;Head Expander;Sill Extender (UI=100");
DP:25;Test Number=91631.01;U-Factor:.31;SHGC:.26;
Cost is $234.52 for a 46 1/2" x 53 1/2"

5500 Reflections White Picture;Tip-to-Tip;BOX;Intercept;
Low E Softcoat(Prosolar);Argon Gas;Double Glazed;Temper All Inside;Double Strength(1/8");Foam Wrap;00 No Reinforcement;Head Expander;Sill Extender (UI=77");DP:.60;Test Number=95258.02;U-Factor:.29;SHGC:.29;
Cost per window is $218.94 for a 46 1/2" by 30"

To compare the Okna's are below.

Okna Insul-Tech 500 w/ the foam filled upgrade and tempered glass is $420

Okna 800 series Double Hung is $515.00.


Again i appreciate everyones help.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Why the tempered glass? Code requirement?

By the way, who is quoting your that Simonton window like that? That is cost from a supplier.

I don't think its fair you can compare cost to what a dealer is selling you something.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

For that difference in price, the OP can upgrade the Simonton 5500 to triple pane glass and then the Simonton 5500 would be WORLDS apart in performance against the LS, Okna or any other double pane glass window.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Then the OP could take the savings and put it towards upgrading the attic insulation and sealing up any air leaks instead of blowing it all on what amounts to a minor difference in performance on the windows which he would never recover in a 100 years even by the most optomistic evaluations.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Eco,

Nobody would argue that fact. Much of my argument was based on the aesthetics and I was pretty clear in stating that much of what I listed was opinion and preference.

Despite that, we probably should refrain from posting up figures that are completely based on random numbers (i.e. the 100 year comment). Would the $3,000 be more well spent in insulation and air sealing if the client is going for maximum efficiency, you bet. Would a more efficient (0.25 vs. 0.31) and airtight (0.02 vs. 0.15) window take 100 years to pay for the $2,000 difference (comparing the Insul-Tec pricing), not at all.

Would you not agree that the prices the OP is listing are cost?

Lets not go down that road again for fear of the PGT guy coming out of the woodwork.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

My plan was for all of the windows to be tempered glass. We have alot of family and friends over with small children and pets. Alot of outdoor activities in the yard, etc.

So adding tempered glass to the double hung will bring the price up. I will speak with the window company and see what the price difference is.

The company i am purchasing the windows from is doing the install. I wonder if they gave me incorrect pricing? The first quote did not have all of the detailed information like i listed it. When i asked for more detailed information they added those lines. I'll see what happens once i sign the contract.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Simonton AI is now at .07 according to my rep. Apparently, they have decided to start using the same "testing methods" as some other window manufacturers.

Bill would have better information than me.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

AI claims are all over the map (some companies advertise best case, some worst case). I have no confidence they are apples to apples in general. Some companies may even base their claim on a test of a single unit that has been heavily tweaked. Buyer beware.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

When a window is Gold Label certified, it is supposed to be a representative sample of the window submitted for testing.

Looking at the Simonton window as compared to some of the tighter claiming windows on the market (Sunrise, Soft-Lite, Sunrise, Affinity, etc), you can see the difference in some of the design aspects.

If the Simonton is an 0.07, I can easily see a tangible difference in some of those above windows listed above and see what might equate to a tighter window.

That being said, this post is in danger of complete derailment.

I will renew my question/inquiry that the pricing listed for those units looks very close to cost.

A tempered glass 5500, with Low-e, DS glass, reinforcement, etc for $220 (even on a smaller unit) is cost or below in my area.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Just to clarify my statements above, while I do believe that there is a major performance/quality difference between the products in question, I was not advocating that the Okna/Softlite option should cost twice as much. In fact, quite the contrary, I said that something is out of whack, whether it was due to option content or some other unforeseen circumstance because there should not be such a difference. This was proven true, as the above prices show dealer cost on Simonton product (WoW nailed that one), is being compared to a fair sale price ($400) on the Okna 500.
Ricardo, if for some reason somebody is willing to sell you the Simonton at that price, you really can't pass it up. I stand behind my earlier comments on the difference in product, which is evidenced by both the ratings and a simple common sense when you examine the models. I'll leave it at that, as this should not become a thread to bash one particular company. Simonton is a solid company with a solid product.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

" If not, then the OP needs to mention the differences for a more accurate answer." -Ecostar ... That was my point in the first place. Thanks for coming around ;)


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

WOW: "When a window is Gold Label certified, it is supposed to be a representative sample of the window submitted for testing."

Gold Label/Hallmark test sizes are not worst case in terms of the air infiltration calc...the smallest size typically is. The difference can be be pretty large, and some companies base advertising on this worst case size scenario, some don't.

Also, some companies may seek that the claim has statistical validity (as in some sort of confidence interval), leading them to publish lower performing numbers in general. (Others just test just a few units, which can result in a higher claim).

Also, some companies take liberties with the phrase "representative," interpretating it to mean prepresentative of design intent, not necesarily production...the part size and placement variation that occurs over the production of many units can have large impact on air infiltration performance.

Without ensuring that the exact same approach is used, it's misleading to compare the numbers...


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

Just a follow-up. Although it can be misleading to compare AI numbers, you can get ballpark if you just ensure that the claims are based on the same sized units. Gateway size? NFRC test size? Some other size?


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

I was not speaking to unit size but unit construction and condition.

AI is based on leakage over the average size of a unit (I know you know this but just stating it for the reader).

This is how some manufacturers artificially lower their AI number by testing a sample size that is 140UI and larger. Most testing samples that I see with valid and repeatable results are 95-105UI range and not altogether unrepresentative of a window size in a customers home.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

both the Okna and Soft lite beat out the simonton in every category and by a considerable margin; from Ufactor to air leakage rate. simonton 5500 is a good mid grade window but by no means is it comparabe to the Okna 800 envirostar or the soft lite elements window.


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RE: Simonton 5500 vs higher end (Okna,sunrise,soft lite)

id be remiss in not mentioning Sunrise which is also a very well designed window.


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