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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:53 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:41 pm
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We're just starting to look at windows and have gotten several bids. I can understand why so many people go with Alsides, window world, champion, etc. The difference in price per window is more than significant. I can get Alside Sheffields which the above gentleman says never to buy for $410/window installed, while Sunrise is $650/window installed. Soft-Lite is around $700 installed but can't tell for sure since the salesman said he could work a little with us??? We want to try just a few to start with and the Sunrise and Soft-Lite people are balking at this. The Alside salesman didn't balk at all. Considering govt. tests don't show that great of a return on vinyl window replacements on average, it is going to take me MANY yrs. to pay for the extra $250/window. I understand possible drafts but the windows R value isn't that great with a supposedly top of the line window. I can buy Larson interior storm windows for right at $100 per window which still puts me $150/window ahead. Any comments would be appreciated and am I totally nuts or am I missing something here???


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:17 pm 
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If you are purchasing windows strictly on an ROI calculation, none of the math will make particularly good sense.

The reason that most of the pros on here recommend the brands that we do (Gorell, Okna, Soft-Lite, and Sunrise) is because they have fantastic build quality that results in better deliverable product and consistency.

Improved thermal values, Design Pressure, Air tightness (lessened air infiltration) are all part of the equation.

As it pertains to the Sheffield comparison, there is tremendous glass loss with that window option and the clip in sill design leaves much to be desired.

There are plenty of folks selling quality windows that will fall more squarely into the 500-700 range and doing your research to sort through the bad and good will stand you in good stead.

If it is just an investment end of things for reductions in utilities, there are usually things that are further up the list than windows (air sealing, insulation, weatherization, etc).

What is the nature of the window inquiry to start with?


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:13 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:41 pm
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Our situation is one where the windows are very old single pane with worn out aluminum storms. The window companies advertise, and the salesmen state, great energy savings by putting in their windows. I take it you don't agree with those statements. Everyone always is planning on an ROI on a significant expense. If new windows aren't going to help, why put them in, other than for aesthetic reasons?? If the only difference between $410 and $650-$700 per window is greater glass area and a sill design, then there's no choice to be made. In today's economy, paying for a cadillac isn't practical nor possible in many cases.

I've read that the life of vinyl windows doesn't vary between brands. From seeing the weatherstripping, locks, and the very nature of weather on vinyl, I agree with that.

Fiberglass would be the choice, I think, for longevity. Wood is out as far as I'm concerned. With the fast growth, new wood that is the only thing available nowadays, I believe they would be my last choice because of rot and upkeep, let alone the expense. However, fiberglass is totally ridiculous pricewise unless you were building new or planning on staying in the house for 20+ yrs. and then it would require some hard thought because of the price.

My reason for being on here is trying to get some justification for spending extra money when it apparently will have very minimal, if any, return. Plus, the fact that the cadillac window suppliers aren't interested in little jobs, apparently, while the cheaper window suppliers don't balk. I know the old saying you get what you pay for. But at the same time you can get hung out to dry very easily nowadays too by thinking you are getting something you're not.

We aren't prepared to spend the money on doing our whole house. We want to try a few and see how we like them. Ideal would be one of each. That would be a fair comparison, but I know that isn't going to happen.

Question? Is it not true that the glass ratings are taken at the center of the glass? Do the people taking these readings go pull a window off the assembly line? I highly doubt it. I'm betting each company presents the raters with as near a perfectly assembled window as possible. We've been given the heat lamp and hair dryer presentations. Half smoke and mirrors to us.

Not to step on toes but is this an industry as deceptive as any in existence? On par with vinyl siders and roofers?? From reading, the key to any window is the install. I'm looking for some justification to spend extra money for little if any return. Sorry if I stepped on contractors toes there, but we haven't had good experiences with them.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:24 am 
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cautious, you have not stepped on any toes. You are absolutely correct that this is an industry filled with sharks, deceptive practices, and high-pressure. Purchasing a used car would probably be far more relaxing. There are, however, many honest and upfront companies out there. The guy selling Alsides sounds like one, it just so happens that his product leaves much to be desired. The thing is, manufacturers sell to different types of dealers all over the country. In your market, the Sunrise dealer may be a total schyster with his heat lamps etc, whereas in another, it could be a totally honest, stand-up company. If I were you, I'd just look for a better dealer that sells a good product. I understand where you are coming from on price differences, but 1. you may find a better product at a good price, and 2. you will realize the difference when you feels drafts in winter, and have to have the company come out and replace parts every year because sashes have bowed, locks don't work, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:33 am 
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cautious wrote:
Our situation is one where the windows are very old single pane with worn out aluminum storms. The window companies advertise, and the salesmen state, great energy savings by putting in their windows. I take it you don't agree with those statements. Everyone always is planning on an ROI on a significant expense. If new windows aren't going to help, why put them in, other than for aesthetic reasons?? If the only difference between $410 and $650-$700 per window is greater glass area and a sill design, then there's no choice to be made. In today's economy, paying for a cadillac isn't practical nor possible in many cases.

What window companies or salesmen state should be taken with a boulder, not a grain, of salt. Most of them don't posses knowledge base to even understand what are the issues in a given home and certainly not enough to make projections as to what you might save. Even if they did, they would be very unlikely to disclose the proper information because it would shoot holes in their projections.

I did not say new windows are not going to help. The most certainly will, however, to what extent is determined by each application, the home, and the window performance.

The differences between a Sheffield and some of the more premium brands that you have seen at that $650-700 extend far beyond just sill design and viewable glass. The two products you have seen have appreciably more engineering built into them and have far better dynamic performance. You mention that you have single pane windows with worn out storms. I would imagine that the windows you have probably leak quite a bit of air too. By comparison, the Sheffield leaks about 4X times as much air as either of the other two windows you are considering. Couple that fact with the fact that the weatherstripping, tolerances, spacer systems, and frame design are much better in the other two windows and you will have a window (in the two better units) that will perform much better over the life of the window than the other window.

As I also mentioned, I would suggest that you continue your search. You would not go to one Chevy dealer to get a price on a truck and trust that you had gotten the best deal, service, etc from the first dealer you talk to. There may be other vendors in your area selling a Gorell for right in that price range of the Sheffield. Now you have a win-win situation.



I've read that the life of vinyl windows doesn't vary between brands. From seeing the weatherstripping, locks, and the very nature of weather on vinyl, I agree with that.

Life of the vinyl will not vary while looking at just the material substrate itself (assuming most brands use premium extrusions), however, the mil thickness, design of the extrusion, Design Pressure, are all factors that need to be considered. While the vinyl may be okay, the window could be completely shot and out of square if it is a thin gauge, weak extrusion.

Fiberglass would be the choice, I think, for longevity. Wood is out as far as I'm concerned. With the fast growth, new wood that is the only thing available nowadays, I believe they would be my last choice because of rot and upkeep, let alone the expense. However, fiberglass is totally ridiculous pricewise unless you were building new or planning on staying in the house for 20+ yrs. and then it would require some hard thought because of the price.

Fiberglass is a great material and some of the fiberglass windows that are out now are very nice. There is no real observable data to say that Fiberglass will outlast vinyl of even wood. In theory, fiberglass should outlast wood. I have no concerns telling my customers that the vinyl they choose will easily last 20+ years.

My reason for being on here is trying to get some justification for spending extra money when it apparently will have very minimal, if any, return. Plus, the fact that the cadillac window suppliers aren't interested in little jobs, apparently, while the cheaper window suppliers don't balk. I know the old saying you get what you pay for. But at the same time you can get hung out to dry very easily nowadays too by thinking you are getting something you're not.

I suggest you find other suppliers then. The reason that most of the pros on here make the recommendations that we do are based on observable data. I do not care for the design on the one window in question and I have had multiple issues with it in the several installed samples. I will never sell or install that product again and there are far better products on the market. The return will be significant if Window "A" leaks like a sieve and Window "B" does not.

We aren't prepared to spend the money on doing our whole house. We want to try a few and see how we like them. Ideal would be one of each. That would be a fair comparison, but I know that isn't going to happen.

That is probably not a viable option, however, go by and look at work samples of each. That may give you a good enough working sample of installed product to make your decision.

Question? Is it not true that the glass ratings are taken at the center of the glass? Do the people taking these readings go pull a window off the assembly line? I highly doubt it. I'm betting each company presents the raters with as near a perfectly assembled window as possible. We've been given the heat lamp and hair dryer presentations. Half smoke and mirrors to us.

Some manufacturers quote COG (Center of Glass) numbers, however, that is completely unrepresentative of real performance. Compare U-Factors, Design Pressure, Visible Transmittance, and Air infiltration for a more accurate comparison.

Not to step on toes but is this an industry as deceptive as any in existence? On par with vinyl siders and roofers?? From reading, the key to any window is the install. I'm looking for some justification to spend extra money for little if any return. Sorry if I stepped on contractors toes there, but we haven't had good experiences with them.

Nothing different about this industry than any others out there. I can find you examples of dishonest cops, doctors, attorneys, etc. Dishonest window installers/vendors did not drive the collapse of the US economy like the Banking industry did.



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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:17 pm
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Alside Sheffield windows installed late Oct. last year.

So far one sash with cracked glass. One sash not water tight. 4 sashes with low-E on the outside instead of inside and now weathering/decaying.

I have the plastic ready to put over them this winter. They have been really hard to open this summer in the heat. Expansion I assume. Got some silicone spray but helped very little if any. The way the bottom hand rail feels and sounds they will soon be a problem. They are double hungs and the top sash falls down a little when you open and close the bottom sash. I try not to think what they will be in a couple yrs. when the weatherstripping smashes together and aging take it's toll.

It's too late for us to do anything. I hope some people read this and take note before buying. I swear on my Mother's grave, Crestlines my wife and I put in ourselves over 10 yrs. ago are better windows.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:52 pm
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I bought Window World windows for an apartment building four years ago. The most common failures to date have been the balances (things that hold the sash up). One of my tenants severely injured his hand when both balances failed causing the window to slam down on his fingers. Thankfully he didn't sue. After that, I started to notice that balances were broken in quite a few other windows. The window will operate with one balance functioning; however, it will be slightly harder to open and close. Other problems I had were cracked glass, frost forming on the inside window, and moisture between the panes. This should be enough evidence to demonstrate that Window World sells junk. Stay away from them.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:59 pm
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There can be a difference in the actual vinyl itself. Aside from virgin vinyl, some extenders use more compounds ,better compounds and have much more consistency with their formulations.
Then of course you have the design and thickness of the walls.
Most companies use "cookie cutter extrusions" and design the window to meet the most minimum standards. That's what separates the good designs from the poor designs.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:33 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:17 pm
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FYI, I'm the party who very ignorantly had Alside Sheffields installed Oct. 2010, except for three windows. About a month ago we had those three replaced with Sunrise replacements. I wish I could make you realize the tremendous difference we have seen. It's not real cold yet, but we've had some days in the low 40's with wind on these windows, one of which is about 4 ft. from an Alside window. We can not feel a breeze with these Sunrise. The Alside was it's typical self. Leakage is noticeable when you walk by. Get close and feel around the window and the sides where the sashes meet and you will realize you have a problem. But problem can't be corrected. I keep posting in hopes a fresh update and post will alert some new people about the Alsides. Please do NOT buy these windows. Spend a little more for your own sanity and pocketbook. We plan on covering all the Alsides with plastic this yr.
The contractor who sold us the Alsides, his installer and his supplier all blamed our house last yr. The Sunrise windows blow that theory out the water. We love the Sunrise windows, only drawback is it makes us hate the Alsides all that much more.
As mentioned, our problem can't be corrected. We can't afford to just throw away yr. old windows. But please listen to the pros on here and do your homework. Sunrise does have a cheaper window. The salesman said they sell some to contractors building apartments, condos, etc. who want them. He only sells the window we got to homeowners, because he knows we won't be happy with the cheap window.
Again, listen to the pros. I didn't find this site until it was too late and I was in a panic to try to see what could be wrong. The Alside window is wrong. BTW, I still stand by my statement...I swear on my mother's grave that Crestline windows my wife and I installed over 10 yrs. ago are better windows than the Alsides.
One last thing. We were looking at a new house built 18 months ago. Priced roughly at $150/sq.ft. and in a small town where lot prices are around $15000. What we found was cheap everything. Looks nice until you really look. Windows, doors, trim, tubs, fixtures, all cheap. I can see why it isn't selling. But some young couple or person will fall for it on the next price reduction and be sick.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Thank you for posting up your experience.

Hopefully some customer will avoid similar pitfalls and save themselves from similar mistakes.


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 Post subject: Re: What brand of windows should I definitely AVOID?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:17 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:17 pm
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Thanks so much for the weatherstripping offer. We have all the alsides covered with plastic already....and glad we do....but I will take you up on your offer on it. I can use it next yr. We bought some thicker plastic and it is clear. Very happy with it.
We are just tickled with the Sunrise windows. They are fantastic. We have had some 40+mph winds and they are great as far as air infiltration. I will tell you we bought 8 mil and 16 mil plastic and even the 16 mil plastic is bowed some on the alsides. We have done enough plastic it is on there tight to begin with and sealed with lathes. So the bowing isn't from a loose fit to begin with.
I'll just repeat again...the Alsides are junk!! They needed a better install with insulation wrapped around the perimeter not just a 1/4" thick piece of fiberglass poked in. Or better yet spray foamed around the perimeter. But bottom line is they are junk. If I could coil the outside myself I would take the $%^& things out and wrap them in insulation like they should have been. But that would still not correct the inherent problem they have. I have no idea how they are energy star rated with the amount of air infiltration they allow. PLEASE anyone thinking replacement windows listen to the pros on here. Take their advice, spend a little bit more and be all the wiser for it. Contractor grade windows suck. And I'm not sure Alsides even meet those standards. As mentioned old Crestlines my wife and I installed over 10 yrs. ago were tighter than the Alsides we replaced them with.


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