Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

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Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

#1 Post by ElleZy » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:42 pm

Hello :) First off, I first researched windows about 5 years ago for my condo and now I have to do it again for our new home. I *thought* I understood windows and chose a great company, so I thought it would be easy this time around for the new home (13 windows and slider door compared against 3 windows and a slider 5 years before!).

I am now completely and utterly frustrated, because I feel like I'm too trusting with sales people, which is why I'm hoping I can get some unbiased advice (I love the idea of this board)!

Background stuff and kind of a mini-rant:
When I bought my previous windows 5 years ago, the salesman had told me:
1) You don't want metal as a spacer between glass since that promotes heat loss, that's why they use a polymer spacer and is better.
2) You won't lose sill (we didn't).

So, now I'm hesitant, because he told me yesterday:
1) We use aluminum spacers for strong windows, which is good.
2) You will lose sill, no matter what you do.
- at this point, I'm now no longer trusting him, because I don't feel like I'm buying the same product. - and then he had to throw in the 'you also get a 15% discount that only applies if you buy by Sunday.'

This then brings me back to 5 years ago where he had said the same thing and then the exact same flyer with the same sale was still being passed around, so I'm now unhappy with the company that I was sure I was going to get the windows from.

I have now talked to 2 other companies and have appointments with 2 more. I feel like all the companies are giving me completely different information on what is 'good' and what is 'bad,' and I would really appreciate any advice anyone can give me so I can ask better questions for the remaining 2 companies.

Actual questions:
I hope it's OK that I use actual product names? If not, then I'll edit the post and remove the names.

1) Company 1: Specializes in installation. Will install either Milgard Tuscany or Andersen 100 series. Seemed very friendly and low-pressure. Emphasized that 'install' is the most important part of windows and that's why we should go with them.

Claims. This is where I'd like to know if this is bogus or not.

Claim 1) Popping out aluminum windows with a collapser is a bad idea, which is why they remove part of the siding to remove the windows.
Question 1) Is this really true, because company 3 uses a collapser and pops windows in and out.

Claim 2) When they remove the siding, they put in 5 layers of caulking as well as flashing to ensure water will not enter the wall (in addition to window wrapping?? like a builder install). This is the proper way to install a window.
Question 2) Is this really true that this is the proper way? We would end up with a wood trim that would be needed to cover the removed siding.

Claim 3) They will do 3-4 windows at a time to ensure that the windows will be properly installed. Anything faster is at risk for bad installation.
Question 3) Is this really true that fast installs = higher risk of bad install?

Claim 4) They carry Andersen 100 series, which is the affordable version for those wanting to install Fibrex composite quality at an affordable price.
Question 4) I really like the Fibrex idea, but would I be trading in quality by going with the 100 series or is it really comparable to Vinyl windows?

Claim 5) They specifically add a wood trim around the windows to give it additional support so that the window won't just be hanging out unsupported.
Question 5) Isn't this why windows are nailed the walls directly? Why would a trim give a window support?

2) Company 2: Dealer for Andersen windows. I strongly suspect they hire out installers, so they're really selling the window, not the install.

Claim 1) There is no way non-Andersen window companies can sell Andersen windows. We would need to go through them to get quality Andersen windows.
Question 6) This really ties into question 4. He brought a series that they called series 2 and said it was the same as the 100 series, and it's crap. Opinions?

3) Company 3: Sells Procraft windows. Responsible for both windows and install.

Claim 1) We should go with them because since they do both install and the product, if there are any issues, we can call them directly and there's a warranty for life.
Question 7) Should I really be going with a company that does both so I don't run into the issue of manufacturer blaming installers and vice versa?

Question 8 ) With all these companies, The common consensus is that we will be losing sill no matter what we choose. Is that just how window install is now (because I didn't lose any sill 5 years ago)?

Sorry for the overload of questions, and thank you so much in advance to anyone who can at least answer some of these questions so I'll be less confused and be able to ask the remaining 2 company the right questions without the wrong bias.

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Re: Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

#2 Post by samantha77 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:13 pm

Well that certainly is an influx of questions :D Some of them can't be answers without more specific info, but I'll try to offer a little insight.

Install is very important. You do still need a good window, but even a great window will still not work well if improperly installed.

As for claim 1 - this is not true in my opinion. We collapse aluminum and steel framed windows every single day. You do need an installer who knows what he's doing as this can be a little tricky. For an expert installer this is absolutely no big deal and it's an everyday thing.

Claim 2 - I would say removing the siding to install windows is not at all necessary. If you happen to also be replacing your siding this is a very fine method, but if not I wouldn't suggest approaching a project that way.

Claim 3 - This is not true. Most installation crews will work in a team a little bit like an assembly line. This helps to get more done in a day and helps to keep everything uniform. An experienced crew could easily replace 8-15 metal windows in a day without any trouble.

Claim 4 - The Fibrex is tricky. They make so many bogus claims about vinyl being horrible that I wonder what else they are misleading about. Vinyl carries a lower price, a better warranty and more energy efficiency.

Claim 5 - Trim does not give a window support.

Company 2 - You can buy Andersen windows at box stores so they are not correct about that, but I think the confusion here is about the Renewal window specifically. As far as i'm aware that specific window is only available through Renewal by Andersen dealers and it's really not worth the money they try to charge. I would not suggest meeting with or working with them.

Company 3 - I am not familiar with Procraft, but there are many fine installation companies that do better work than some 'manufacturing' companies. I don't think this should be a huge factor for you.

Question 8 - this depends on the type of windows you had before the replacement. If you had wood windows you would not experience any loss of sill. If you had metal you might. I would bet the difference here is the type of windows you have now compared with the type you had before. I don't think anyone is trying to mislead you about that.

I would bet company 1 typically installs new construction windows which is why they are approaching the project from that angle. If that's true you would probably be better served by a company that specializes in replacements. If they do specialize in replacements that is a new sales pitch to me.

You might try Angie's List or check with coworkers and neighbors for reviews on companies in your area. I hope all of that helps, good luck with your project!

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Re: Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

#3 Post by ElleZy » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:00 pm

Thank you very much, Samantha77, for your advice and answering my questions!

Some of the companies had talked about Angie's List, but I wasn't sure if it was a really good resource to check. I've mostly been using google to check out what reviews people have given about certain companies.

One last question though since I think I understand the "collapse vs cutting into siding" option now (I just talked to an installer that does both). He says, " "cutting into siding" means that you're putting in a window with all around flashing and since they would be adding in a 2x2 cedar trim, that adds extra protection since they would be adding another wood-to-wood caulking layer. Since it's also the manufacturer's intended way for the window to be installed, it's the best way to install since those flanges are there for a reason." - paraphrased of course ;)

From his explanation, it seems that cutting into the siding so they can nail the windows using the flanges instead of nailing in from the sides of the windows seems like a better idea, but I wanted to double-check what others thought. Since he will do both for the same price, it doesn't really seem like he's trying to overcharge me for something that's not needed.

I'm also looking at Simonton 7300 windows in addition to the Renewal and Procraft ones. It seems like a good window :) Oh, and my current windows are double-paned aluminum.

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Re: Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

#4 Post by Windows on Washington » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:53 am

Good Advice from Samantha on this one.

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Re: Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

#5 Post by samantha77 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:13 am

Thanks Washington, I promise I'm not all bad :wink:

As for the second question about the nail flanges, the contractor is right. Those flanges are there for a reason and the reason is for new construction installation. Replacement windows do not come with nail flanges because they aren't necessary.

Some replacement windows can be ordered with nail flanges, but no replacement windows come with them all the time. That is one difference between new construction and replacement windows. I would ask him if he typically uses replacement windows and if not, you might want to at least get a quote from a company that does. New construction is a different business. I worked for a builder many years ago and believe me the stuff that went on would not fly if someone was living in the house. Remodeling companies have a MUCH higher level of attention to detail.

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Re: Window Installer Claims - True or not? (Seattle Area)

#6 Post by ElleZy » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:09 pm

Samantha77, I think I've picked out a great installer and window with your and this board's great advice! Thank you so much! I never knew getting windows installed would be so confusing!

For those wondering, I'm going with Simonton 7300 with a company owned by the same guy for ~50 years and has a salaried install crew (i.e., doesn't contract out). He doesn't do mass mailing advertising and gets business mainly through word of mouth and referrals. He has great reviews online. I decided to go the 'collapse' method for install so I can decide later on if I want to add a trim or not on my own :)

Thanks again!

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