November 13th 2010 at 4:49 am
I looked at 4 different windows from 4 different companies. Pella version from Lowes-Local contractor install. Simonton version from Home Depot Simonton from a local contractor CertainTeed from a local contractor While the Simontons did look like good windows, they were not significantly better in any way then the CertainTeeds. There was a noticable quality difference and feature difference between the Simontons,CertainTeeds and the Lowes version Pellas though. In the end, the CertainTeeds won out in the quality and value for money categories. The actual windows installed were the MI Xacts which are the identical model to the Bryn MawrIII CertainTeeds now made by MI in Gratz,PA.
Installed by Local Contractor of NJ
The installer was a local contractor but via references, he had installed thousands of windows in the area and in the Philly area as well. His work was precise, neat and clean. He took his time and did the job right. He trimmed all the interior with primed trim and I did the interior caulking and touch-up as agreed. I couldn't be more pleased with the installation. The windows look and work great!!
I was quoted a fair price I believe. $3580 for 9 windows.
September 27th 2007 at 12:02 am
This was the fully welded line of Certainteed double hung windows so is at least better than the Devon line. These were also Argon filled with a low-e coating. They seem to save me a great deal of money on electricity during AC season which makes me really happy but I'm not sure they save me much on my fuel oil bill during the winter - they probably do but its not as significant as the summer. Even given that positive, personally, I will probably never go with vinyl replacement windows again if I get another house. My perception of them now is that they are cheap and cheesy plastic and I can't see the installation really being that much different with new construction windows. This could also have a great deal to do with the people installing them but I can't get over the overall cheap feeling and loss of glass area over a regular window. They work great, they open and close easily so I don't really have any complaints there except the mechanism that the window tilts on and slides on was messed up on one of the windows on one side. Also, this window has a molded-in handle to lift the window which is at least better than screw-on handles, I think, but the edges on these should have been sanded down because they really can cut you. I also got a custom 5 panel bow that was pretty big and a another large window that also cranks outward two panes - can't remember what that's called (casement?). The impressive thing with these is the ease of the crank operation. It takes no effort to open these windows. The best advice that I can give and next time I will do this - you must physically see a window unit and pick it up and operate it and compare it to other manufacturers - this is very important. See it both loose and installed. I'm not even sure how or where you can do this but next time I buy windows I've got to see them and touch them before making a decision. As far as Certainteed is concerned, the company has been around for awhile but I don't know how their warranty works or even what it is. Would I buy these windows again? I suppose it could happen but I'd be looking closely at many other alternatives.
Installed by 1 Call Remodeling of NY
The worst contractor experience I have ever had. We had a package deal of roof, siding and windows but I'll focus on the windows. First of all, my advice is to not go with someone who does all three and does not specialize. The contractor is used to the windows they install and anything else is really beyond their scope. This guy spec'd the Devon line and did not understand why I wanted the Bryn Mawr line. He was only interested in putting in basic windows and did not really want to discuss doing anything interesting with different window styles - for example, I wanted to replace the two doublehung dining room windows with a large window that cranks out two panes from the middle so its a large window only split vertically. It was like pulling teeth to get him to discuss options. Likewise, many of the doublehungs being replaced were two windows next to each other so I wanted to know if it could be replaced with two windows built as a single unit versus two separate windows. The answer was yes but again he did not want to deal with anything complicated at first - and this was with no changes to the existing openings. I'd recommend going with someone who understands windows and can talk about options. Also, if they say something like "Oh, I have two or three different brands I use", pin them down or better yet, find someone who knows what they are doing. As far as installation is concerned, the windows have instructions included with them and 1Call did not follow those instructions. I even called Certainteed but they really don't care - they don't certify installers and have no mechanism to check on or review people installing their windows. The answer from 1Call is that this is how they do it. I do not feel that the windows are insulated enough around windows (air leaks in through the screw holes where the window is screwed to the framing) and to ensure that it was sealed, they caulked in a 1/4" x 1" strip of wood on the inside of the window around the perimeter. This does not replace adequate insulation. Also, trim was not included in the deal and I understood that but what they did with the 1/4" strip made putting the old trim up look horrible. In some rooms they put the old trim back and it was done poorly. In some rooms they "did me a favor" and trimmed the windows. In actuality, it was such a poor job it will cost me more money to make it look nice. This is probably the biggest reason I don't see the advantages of vinyl replacement windows over regular but then again, I did not get a quote on the alternatives. Also, one of the window panes was broken when installed and they sent a Devon window instead of a Bryn Mawr and refused to accept the fact they there were different - his supplier told him they were the same but you can visibly see the difference. Also, I guess either because this guy was used to ordering Devon or because his supplier was used to him ordering Devon, that's what showed up in my yard one day instead of the Bryn Mawr. To make it worse, they never would have known, I had to check the shipment myself and tell him that the wrong stuff was delivered. Don't let your contractor walk all over you. Contracts tell you what is included but do not tell you what is not included that might seem obvious - like trim. Check. I'm not sure if this is normal but try not to let someone put in a 'not responsible for incidental damage from vibrations, etc' clause. Make it clear that if they break something or their negligence causes a problem, its their responsibility to fix it. I've not signed too many contractor contracts so maybe that's a normal clause that you can't get out of.
The initial quote was a standard quote of something like $440 per windows installed and capped but that was for Devon so I was charged a bit more than that and had an expensive 10' x 5' 5 panel bow.