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 Post subject: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:00 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:45 pm
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Hello,

I live in the Northeast and I'm starting to look at replacing my old drafty windows with new Vinyl windows. I've been reading this forum and it seems like people here really like Sunrise and Okna windows. But I really can't understand why. I went ahead and talked to a few window dealers from Sunrise and Okna and checked out their windows. To me, their demonstrations seemed all the same. They are all just glass and plastic with some fancy weatherstriping around it. They have the following specs

U-Factor
Sunrise Vanguard - 0.28
Paradigm Craftec LowE/Argon - 0.28
Okna Enivro Star Deluxe - 0.26
American Craftsman 8500 LowE/Argon - 0.30

So performance wise, what sets them apart? Pricing wise, obviously American Craftsman is cheapest with about under $200 per window (does not include labor). And Okna is the highest at about $550 a window installed. And what really confuses me is that I got two completely different quotes for installing Sunrise Windows. One Company wanted to charge $800 to install one Sunrise window while another one would charge less than $400 per window. How is that possible?

I am currently leaning towards using Paradigm since their specs are close to Sunrise and Okna but is less expensive. Their only drawback is that they are a small company from Maine so I'm not sure how long they will be in business.

Anybody else out there have Paradigm windows? If so, what do you think of them?


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 646
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
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If I had a perspective homeowner that wanted to know the difference between a high-end vinyl product like the I would take my hand samples to their house and go over every single component that comprises the build quality of each window. If you can't see the difference between an American Craftsmen/Silverline and a Sunrise or OKNA product than you clearly those sales guys aren't doing their jobs. In all fairness, a lot of sales guys are trained with smoke and mirror glass demos, company stories, and sales physiology as opposed to hard facts and technical details.

Virtually every single component that goes into building the American Craftsmen window is of the lowest quality available to a window manufacturer. It uses a very basic run of the mill PPG Intercept spacer and a low-grade ugly vinyl extrusion. The manufacturing tolerances are loose which one of the major reasons a window like this will never have acceptable air leakage performance numbers in my opinion, especially long term. The welds are horrible and the locks are cheap and dated. Even the color of the vinyl takes on a bluish tint which will not match virtually any interior whites that a homeowner may have on their existing trim and casings. Go into Depot and play with a full size double-hung display. When locked you can move both sashes around inside of the main frame, that's not good. I replace these things from time to time and homeowners that have made the mistake of purchasing them just about always have buyers remorse.

The Paradigm is an okay contractor's grade window. I would rank it in the mid-range classification of vinyl windows, but it's not in the same class as Sunrise and OKNA. I can't remember it they utilize 3-point weatherstripping contact on their sash to jamb design or not? I personally wouldn't have a 2-point design in my own house, especially on a larger window.

Regarding the variations in the Sunrise pricing, every dealer has a different business model. A large established dealer with tons of overhead is obviously going to have to charge more for their products and services than someone who has a smaller home based business and acts as an owner/operator.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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+1 to DM's comments. The Okna and Vanguard choices are much better and you really should be able to tell the difference in quality just seeing and operating the units. (I don't have any experience with the Paradigm). If you want an objective performance difference, look at the structural ratings of air leakage and design pressure. Major difference there, and those are the areas that will determine your satisfaction 5-10yrs from now. Is the window still sealing tight and operating properly? Or is it warped, won't lock, and very drafty?


Last edited by HomeSealed on Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:47 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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It is defintely a 3 horse race at this point because the AC window has no business in that comparison.

I would also encourage you to make sure you are going apples to apples on the comparisons to make sure that you are comparing similar products inside a given manufacturer.

I have seen, but never used, the Paradigm window and it appear to be a solid piece. I do not know what the structural and other data points are on it but I do know that the Okna and Sunrise are quite good and very likely at the top of that comparison.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:51 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 406
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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i would immediately rule out the american craftsman/ silverline. its a poorly designed window and looks cheap. as for all windows being plastic with glass; far from the truth. there are different grades of the vinyl itself, different sill designs, superior extrusions, different spacer systems, different lowE coatings, and last but not least, the companies that perform the install. Both Okna and Sunrise are definitely considered premium grade which means they use a high grade vinyl, they are well designed, energy efficient, and meant to last decades opposed to the lower quality brands. no one wants to invest in a window that will warp and leak air in a few years.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:58 pm
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Location: Northern & Central Illinois, Chicago suburbs
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Were the two different Sunrise quotes for the same Sunrise window series? The reason I ask is that if one dealer quoted the Restorations, Vanguard or regular Sunrise and the other dealer quoted the Sunrise Essentials then they would be miles apart in price. They are not even close to the same quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1403
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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Another high performing vinyl family is Soft-lite.
If you need something a step up from that look at InLine fiberglass.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:42 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:45 pm
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Thanks for all the feedback. I would tend to agree that AC is out of the picture. But at first, if you just looked a the U Factor numbers and Air Infiltration numbers, the AC 8500/9500 series isn't that bad. (U-Factor: 0.3 and Air Infiltration: 0.05). So someone looking at those numbers might think AC is good enough for them.

I do like the Sunrise Ultra Plus windows. But at about $800 a replacement window (labor + material), I'm not so sure I want make that kind of an investment. I have about 20 windows to replace. If I were to live in this house for the next 30 years then yeah sure, it may be a worth while investment. Another problem that I have with Sunrise is that they won't sell me the window directly but instead is directing me to dealers that does both the sale and installation. I have my own contractor that can do the work.

I understand that Paradigm is a small company up in Maine but it seems like most contractors around my area are using them for New Construction. The question I have is it better to do Replacement Windows or New Construction windows? Process wise, what is the difference doing a Replacement Window and a New Construction window. Because my contractor had recommended New Construction. He says it gives you more of a viewing area and it allows him to really seal up everything in the window. With Replacement Windows, I'm assuming there's still a chance that there are pockets in the window that is not insulated.

As for Okna and Softlite, performance wise, I think they are great windows probably even better than Sunrise. But they are definitely more costly.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
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Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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Your question about new consruction sounds like your exisiting units are wood windows.If that is true then you are discussing full tear out vs pocket insert...
in a full tear out you will gain 1.5" of glass in the width and 3" in the height, you will be able to insulate with low expansion foam between the window and the RO( much better than fiberglass batt), and you will have new interior casing. All of that comes with a slightly higher cost than a pocket insert method.
If your contractor has never used W&D foam I am not sure I'd want him to practice on mine.
With the qty that you have I would think someone would be able to do HiMark or Soft-lite at the upper range that you mention. But the whole scope of work has to be considered.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1886
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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bart wrote:

As for Okna and Softlite, performance wise, I think they are great windows probably even better than Sunrise. But they are definitely more costly.

Pricing is going to be dependent entirely on dealer. In my market, HiMark and Okna run substantially lower than the others, while another market may be vice-versa... I'd agree with anthony that in your price range, a premium product should not need out of the realm of possibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:45 pm
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I think you guys are misunderstood me. I didn't say I wanted to spend $800 per window. That's just way too much.

To answer the question on what type of Sunrise windows was quoted. I believe $800 one was for the Vanguard series. The $400 was probably for the Ultra Plus. Sunrise keeps on changing the names. So it's hard to keep track.

I think I'm going to give the Paradigm New Construction a try for a few windows and see it how it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunrise vs. Paradigm vs. Okna vs. American Craftsman
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1886
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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You quoted Okna at about $550 per window. There are plenty of variables that go into pricing, but that sounds very reasonable imo. If the other option was anywhere near that neighborhood, I'd recommend the proven performer.


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