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 Post subject: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:13 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:26 am
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Hi,

My wife and I have decided to replace our 17 year old contractor grade wood windows in the front of the house (14 DH, 1 large DH Bay). These have an unobstructed southern exposure, we live in New England, and they are exposure to full sun, lots of wind, and unfortunately - wind driven rain & snow. We have been repairing numerous sill/trim rot (with marine wood based epoxy products), and a few broken seals, for some time now. To me, these widows had a design issue where the screen mates to the frame. Once the screen collects a bit of sediment (pollen, dirt, bugs) at the bottom where it mates to the sill, any water that passed through the screen is directed to the outside edge and the sill/casing joint. Over time, if the sealant in that area fails, water is allowed to wick in. I say this because all our sill issues have started in this area, and only on windows with screens (which is most of them). Sides and back of the house - a few repairs, but for the most part are in OK condition. We have woods on those 3 sides close by to offer some protection there. Tired of the constant repairs, . . . and given we have a half dozen or so windows with broken seals over this past winter, and some with sash rot, we feel it is time to try to get this resolved (without planting a bunch of trees in front to protect the house - which I think is what really needs to be done, . . . but that would block our view). :)

Anyway, we are going with vinyl for the windows of course. Our question is the best method to correct the wood trim issues for the DH. All vendors have quoted a new - full frame BAY, . . . and I agree, get vinyl everywhere on that except maybe the exterior trim. We have a few rotten sills (one back ~4 inches), and a few vertical trim boards (3" flat) with rot where they meet the sill. As stated, a number of the other windows have previously been repaired with the epoxy product - which are OK now, but we would like to be replaced if we are changing out the windows. We have been given a number of options by the various installers, and most have said they would do what ever we wanted.

We are curious what the experts think our best course of action might be. We will have the house repainted after the windows are completed - so painting is not really be an issue. Here are the options available to us from all the installers;

1) Go with Full Frame Vinyl replacements, re-trim exterior with wood
2) Go with Full Frame Vinyl replacements, re-trim exterior with Azek (for an upcharge, ~ $100. per).
3) Go with Vinyl replacements, replace compromised wood trim with new wood.
4) Go with Vinyl replacements, replace all wood trim with Azek (except for Mantle) for an upcharge.
5) Go with Vinyl replacements, replace compromised wood trim with wood, wrap with a vinyl coated aluminum.

We have opinions on this, . . . but would like to hear from those that do this often and know the long term benefits/risks of the various methods before we settle.

Thanks in advance,

Brent

Oh - and for what it is worth, we have quotes for the following:

1) Renewal by Anderson - Nice, . . . but is 2.5x the price really worth it ($25K)?
2) Champion - OK, didn't really care too much for the window water 'ports' through the sill. ($14K)
3) Excalibur by Alside - liked the window design (narrow lines, sloped sill, etc.) & install company has good reputation and been in business for ~ 40 years. ($10K, + $1.4K with Azek all around)
4) Harvey - Still to be quoted.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:35 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
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I hope you are not offended but I don't really like any of the options that you have listed.

RBA is gratuitously overpriced usually and the window does not have the performance to back it up.
Excalibur is mid grade at best ($590 per opening is kind of high for this window)
Champion is mid grade and usually overpriced too. ($825 is too expensive for that, or any vinyl window if you ask me)
Harvey is a mid grade product as well.

Simonton, Soft-Lite, Okna, Gorell, and Sunrise are all far better product options than any of the ones that you have listed above. Better thermal, air, and water infiltration numbers are important in your situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:57 am 
I've done so much research on vinyl windows (all relating to awards, certifcations and tech specs) and feel like I can provide unbiased homeowner advise.

The only two options I'd suggest are Soft-Lite and Gorell. The one I didn't look into that seems to have good feedback is Okna.

I would not recommend Pella, Anderson, Sunrise, Champion, Wasco, Great Lakes or Alside. Thats just me.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:38 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:26 am
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Windows on Washington wrote:
I hope you are not offended but I don't really like any of the options that you have listed.

RBA is gratuitously overpriced usually and the window does not have the performance to back it up.
Excalibur is mid grade at best ($590 per opening is kind of high for this window)
Champion is mid grade and usually overpriced too. ($825 is too expensive for that, or any vinyl window if you ask me)
Harvey is a mid grade product as well.

Simonton, Soft-Lite, Okna, Gorell, and Sunrise are all far better product options than any of the ones that you have listed above. Better thermal, air, and water infiltration numbers are important in your situation.


Appreciate the feedback on the windows. Couldn't agree more on the RBA (at least the overpriced part) :-). We have essentially excluded them from this process solely based on that.

One note on the pricing, this include a full, large bay replacement and that does skew the cost per window a lot. For instance - if you subtract out the Bay, the Excalibur quote comes out to ~$490 per DH. This also includes replacement of a number of sills/trim boards as previously noted - which I am assuming, adds to the cost per window. If that is 'standard practice' - I would like to know.

I would also like to hear what you have to say about the Alside Excalibur (and Harvey - which we haven't seen these yet). Right now, they are our leading contenders. Will look for dealers/installers for the others you noted - but none are listed in the yellow page as options.

That said - We really would like to focus on the options of the existing wood sill/trim rot for now as this is our primary concern. Replacing the window with an insert without mitigation steps to correct the rot does little good. Once we figure that out, we can then select what we feel is the best window option for us (vendor, installer, price, etc.). We are not opposed to mid grade windows - as long as they get installed properly, I believe they will meet our needs. Most important - we want the best 'value', . . . which to us is a balance of quality and cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:47 am 
I am also a Homeowner who has done a lot of research. I like the Alside Sheffield window, the Simonton 9800 series window and the (Starmark 900 series window which may be in the $600 plus range)


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
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Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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Is the bay window a complete unit replacement or integrated to the framing of the home?


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:54 am 
Surprised you like the Sheffield, you lose so MUCH glass space its not even funny....plus the air infiltration rating is 0.20!! I'm in Milwaukee and thats not good.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:26 am
Posts: 7
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Windows on Washington wrote:
Is the bay window a complete unit replacement or integrated to the framing of the home?


Replacement - single unit full frame vinyl window assembly (2 DH, 1 stationary) back into the original framing's rough opening (no framing modes needed). That said, this does includes replacement of the roofing, and a lower exterior build out under the seat for added insulation.

FWIW - the Alside quote here was ~ $2900.


Also - Local Simonton dealer out of business, . . . no Soft-lite dealer services our area. Have an EMAIL into Gorell to determine if there is a local dealer, . . . still looking into the others. :) Rarely hurts to have too many quotes.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:01 pm 
In any vinyl window you loose glass space. The sheffield with the right glass package is a good middle of the road window.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:26 pm 
That is false, I am actually going to gain glass with my installation. Going from wood to vinly.

Also the Sheffield had the largest frame (least glass) I've seen from 8 different windows, so based on the windows I looked at it was by far the worst.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:42 pm 
Whaas

Good I am glad you are happy. What window are you going to go with.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood Window Replacement - Rotten Sill Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:36 pm 
Soft-Lite Element


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 Post subject: Update
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:37 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:26 am
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For what it is worth, I ended up going with:

5) Go with Vinyl replacements, replace compromised wood trim with wood, wrap with a vinyl coated aluminum, . . . only the cap/wrap will be white aluminum (no vinyl coat).

Still a bit concerned here, in that I have read that capping wood can create more issues by trapping moisture in. That said - it seams to be fairly common practice in the replacement industry, so have to believe that if it is done correctly, we should be OK. This installer has done this on most all their jobs, been in this business for 30+ years, uses their own crews, . . . and has good recommendations. He does charge by the replacement for the sills/trim, . . . but went around and inspected each sill to determine what he thought we needed (I added to this - to be more conservative). He said the installers would verify during the install and # of units could go up or down and we would adjust final payment accordingly. One other thing I liked - which the other guys didn't talk about, but when they cap, they will cut back the wood siding the wide of a saw blade and push the cap back to the seathing then re-caulk. Sounds like the correct way to do this - he mentioned some installers will take a short cut here.

We also ended up going with the Comfort Plus window made by Harvey Industries (but only sold though certain dealer channels). Didn't find too much information on this particular window, but this dealer likes it and also sells the Alside so was able to contrast the 2 windows for us nicely. We liked this window a bit better (solid, foam filled frame, clean weld lines, lifetime warranty - including glass breakage). Giving up a bit of glass - but think we are getting a better window in our opinion. Total quote was $11K (with over-estimating the # of repairs needed), . . . but also includes the aluminum capping which was not in the original Alside quote. The Bay window was $1,000. more on its own (~$3800 - full replacement on this one). Of course - he felt we would be getting a better bay window. :-)

We will see how in all goes in about 6 weeks.


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