Abcleads.com BBB Business Review  NAHB member
Call us at
1-800-219-5332


All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:37 am
Posts: 5
Offline
Hi, everyone. I recently received several proposals to replace ten windows in my single-story, brick veneer home built in 1950 and located in the north suburbs of Chicago. The windows to be replaced are (measurements are W x H):

*Five aluminum awning windows that are 51.5" x 36.5",
*Two aluminum awning windows that are 51.5" x 48.5",
*One aluminum awning window that is 34" x 48",
*One aluminum awning window that is 17" x 36" (bathroom), and
*One glass block window unit that is 39.5" x 54.75" (bathroom).

These windows are to be replaced by white vinyl double-hung replacement windows with low-E glass, argon gas and half screens; the two bathroom windows will also have obscure glass on the bottom sashes. The installation will conform to the EPA's leadsafe renovation regulations and will include new primed interior stops, exterior trim and white aluminum capping.

Here are the two proposals I am considering:

Proposal A: $5,385 for Alside Sheffield or UltraMaxx windows (my choice)
Window Installation Firm A has an Angie's List rating of "A" and received Super Service Awards in 2010 and 2011. It is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an "A+" BBB rating.

Proposal B: $5,095 for Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows
Window Installation Firm B has an Angie's List rating of "A" and received Super Service Awards in each of the years 2006-2011. It is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an "A-" BBB rating.

Questions
(1) What do you think of the pricing on these proposals (fair, low, high, etc.)?
(2) Which is the best window of the three proposed (the Alside Sheffield, the Alside UltraMaxx, or the Soft-Lite Imperial LS)?
(3) Which of these proposals would you select, or should I consider other installers and/or windows?
(4) Bonus question #1 - None of the proposals I received mentioned installing sill pans or other flashing. Do I need them (all of my windows have limestone exterior sills, if that matters)?
(5) Bonus question #2 - Five of my windows are on the north side of the house, and the other five are shaded by trees and a neighbor's home. What Solar Heat Gain Coefficient should my replacement windows have?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Damon


Last edited by Window Damon on Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:21 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:58 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: Northern & Central Illinois, Chicago suburbs
Offline
The fact that either of the Alside window products are more than a top tier window like the Imperial LS is ludicrous. If anything, I would expect the Imperial LS to be 25-30% higher than the Alsides.
Either your Alside guy is a master salesman or your Imperial LS salesman is totally inept for you to come to the conclusion that Alside would be your "first choice". The Imperial LS is a better window by far in every category in my opinion.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:37 am
Posts: 5
Offline
The proposals were listed in alphabetical order ("Alside" comes before "Soft-Lite"). I apologize for the confusion. I edited my original post to refer to them as Proposal A and Proposal B instead.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 398
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
Offline
The soft lite is head and shoulders above the Sheffield.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:13 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 3678
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
Offline
Can't add much to what the guys said but that would be my feedback as well.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:37 am
Posts: 5
Offline
Thanks for the prompt feedback, guys. I suspected the Soft-Lite windows were the way to go, but your professional feedback has given me the confidence to proceed.

I noticed that each of you who responded are window dealers/installers. If you were installing windows on my home (brick veneer, limestone exterior sills, etc.), would your installation include a sill pan and flashing? Also, which SHGC would you recommend given the limited amount of direct sunlight we receive through our windows in the summer?


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:22 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1383
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
Offline
I can not comment on the install because I can not view all the details.
The LS is in the exceptional performance catagory of windows, the other mfg not so.

I would use the standard low e argon package, a minimum upgrade in spacer to at least supercept(stainless steel intercept).


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:08 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1851
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Offline
+1 on the Softlite. The product is not even in the same ballpark imo. Don't just take our word for, compare the thermal and structural ratings of each product (U-value, air leakage, design pressure) and you will see a clear distinction.

On the sill pan flashing, as anthony said, it is hard to say without seeing the details of your installation. That said, it is a procedure more commonly done in new construction/full-frame tear-outs. It sounds like you are getting a "replacement" style install for the fact that they are adding interior stops.

On the shgc, a moderate number will serve you well, around .25 or higher (numerically). The only way that you would want to go any lower than that would be if you upgrade to a triple pane package and get a phenomenal U-value that could push that down a couple points.

Based on the information given, the product and price for the LS quote sound good. Why does the SL dealer have an A- with the BBB though? If it is just due to length of time in business or something like that, then it is no big deal. If he/she has complaints that lowered it, that could be cause for concern. I would probably recommend getting another quote or two anyway just so you have something to compare. Dave (Window4U) who posted above serves your area and would be a great option. A couple products that are in the top tier with Softlite would be HiMark/Okna, and Sunrise.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:41 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:58 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: Northern & Central Illinois, Chicago suburbs
Offline
Window Damon wrote:

I noticed that each of you who responded are window dealers/installers. If you were installing windows on my home (brick veneer, limestone exterior sills, etc.), would your installation include a sill pan and flashing?


A sill pan would be a methodology used for new construction installs where you are down to the studs. From your description of the "insert" installs you were quoted, a sill pan would not be used.
If you had vinyl siding for example, then yes flashing with drip caps is very important. If you are doing an insert install into brick, then no, it would just get aluminum wrapping.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:57 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1383
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
Offline
Sorry, I missed the area.
Window4u would be who I would contact.
Great products.
Excellent installs.
Super guy.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:20 pm
Posts: 61
Offline
I like Softlite and Okna in the Chicago area.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:37 am
Posts: 5
Offline
Thanks again to all of you who have responded to my request for help in choosing between two proposals I received to replace the windows in our home. You have unanimously recommended the Soft-Lite Imperial LS window over the Alside Sheffield and UltraMaxx windows, and in very strong terms:
• “The Imperial LS is a better window by far in every category.” (Window4U)
• “The soft lite is head and shoulders above the Sheffield.” (masterext)
• “The LS is in the exceptional performance catagory of windows, the other mfg not so.” (Anthony)
• “+1 on the Softlite. The product is not even in the same ballpark imo. Don't just take our word for, compare the thermal and structural ratings of each product (U-value, air leakage, design pressure) and you will see a clear distinction.” (Homesealed)

As I said in an earlier post, I was leaning toward the Soft-Lite proposal anyway, but I decided to take Homesealed’s advice and look at these three windows more closely, and guess what I found? They really aren’t that different after all, at least in terms of their thermal and structural ratings:
• All three windows have U-values of 0.29-0.30 and solar heat gain coefficients of 0.27-0.28, and
• The AAMA performance class and grade for all three windows is LC-40.

I might add that Window World, the largest replacement window installation firm in the country, installs private label Alside windows (for example, Window World’s top-of-the-line 6000 Series window is the Alside UltraMaxx). Moreover, four of the Chicago area’s top 10 rated replacement window installation firms on Angie’s List—including the #1 rated firm--are Alside dealers. And the Alside UltraMaxx is the #2-rated vinyl replacement window in Consumer Reports.

So, are the Sheffield and UltraMaxx windows really as bad as you suggest? What is it that makes them so inferior to the Imperial LS window?

Again, I’m already leaning toward the Soft-Lite proposal, but not because I believe the Soft-Lite windows are better than the Alside windows, but because the firm that made the proposal has significantly more awards and positive reports on Angie’s List than the other firm. In other words, I believe the quality of the installation will be at least as good, if not better, than the quality of the installation I will receive from the other firm. The Soft-Lite dealer does have an “A-“ BBB rating, as Homesealed noted, but not because of any customer complaints (it has not had any), but because of the “length of time business has been operating” (which confuses me since the firm has been in business since 1928 and has Super Service Award ratings from Angie’s List for 2006-2011, so it's not a "new" firm).

I apologize if I’m stirring up a hornet’s nest…


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:35 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 3678
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
Offline
Sheffield uses a clip in sill to covert a pocket sill window to a sloped sill window.

The result is still having weep holes, high air infiltration numbers and considerable glass loss.

The Ultramaxx is a pocket sill window and has all the associated risks with a pocket sill window.

Compare the air infiltration numbers and look at the windows side by side. I think the difference will be more clear at that point.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Help needed in selecting between two proposals
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:07 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1851
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Offline
+1 to WoW's comments.
Unfortunately, you missed one of the most critical performance ratings:
1)There is a substantial difference in the air infiltration rating which IMHO is very indicative of the overall quality of the product, as it directly reflects both the manufacturing tolerances as well as the weatherstripping profile. These are two points which play a large part in distinguishing levels of quality and performance among the thousands of vinyl window manufacturers that are available to you.
2) Consumer magazines must be taken with a grain of salt on this topic for the following reasons:
-they only survey a limited scope of products
-their results are predicated on consumer sentiment within a short period of time after purchase (most people are just pleased to have shiny new windows that actually operate, and don't start noticing/experiencing issues until further down the road)
-Consumers that purchase windows for "$189" (or know that they are from the same manufacturer) will generally have lower expectations than those paying a premium
-and last but not least, what do these consumers have to compare to? For most, this is the only replacement window that they have ever owned. Conversely, most of the professionals that are commenting on blogs, etc have sold/installed hundreds if not thousands of the various models that they are commenting on. I believe that every poster that has commented on this thread is drawing upon significant experience either installing or at least selling and servicing the product in question.
3) The sill design cannot be overlooked. Both the pocket sill and snap-in sloped are going to drain water (and all of the debris that comes with it) through chambers in the frame. This is antiquated design imo. It was used by various manufacturers for two reasons: First and foremost- It is cheaper, as it is the same extrusion lineal that is used on the sides and top in most cases. They do not need a separate sill design. Secondly, it can help a window that is inferior in other areas achieve better structural ratings. The thing about that is, the newer products with welded, sloped sills are now achieving superior structural ratings than those old pocket sill designs. They do that without the potential issues associated with the pocket sill which can get clogged up and be difficult if not impossible to clean out. This is especially critical in a climate like yours that experiences a high frequency of freeze/thaw cycles. Think about ice damming on your roof, now picture that in the sill of your window, only that the water can potentially have nowhere to go.

I would also recommend the super spacer on the LS which takes the U-value to a .27. Along with the AI rating of .02, that puts it in the elite class as far as double-pane performance is concerned.


Top
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group