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 Post subject: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
Posts: 31
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I must say that I'm quite daunted by the information out there on windows. I've only had one quote so far for EnvironView windows from a local window business for just under $15k for the whole house. We have some dry rot in the original windows of our 10 year old house (especially on the top floor) so looking for vinyl so I don't have to worry about maintenance. Especially looking to replace 3 specific window openings which consist of 1 single paned window (probably with a double hung), 1 double paned (it has 2 crank out windows) and 1 triple paned window (it has 2 crank out windows and one center pane that doesn't come out at all), the estimate on those 3 alone was about $2.5k.

The spiel with these windows was "The Activator 12 filled insulated glass unit with Nitrogen Stabilzed Argon (AKA Climate-Tech Elite Glass package)" - apparently it has 12 layers of "metal" in it and when given the heat lamp test on a test window we could not feel any heat coming through the other side from that, some heat from a "standard" Lowe window and lots of heat from double paned window? I feel so ignorant of all this information I'm trying to diseminate.

I'm starting to solicit other bids on the area, but would like to get a jump start on this project before the end of the year so I can take advantage of the tax credit. Any advice? Some colleagues suggest getting a one-man show to do it? I'm not so sure about that though? Other options in the area I've seen so far aside from above are Sears, Anderson Replacement and Pella (but Pella is mostly wood, right?).

I must say I feel overwhelmed right now, but appreciate this site to voice my query and plea for help.

Respectfully,

Someone near Madison


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
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Oh, and other place is offering windows by Seaway if that means anything?

I'm trying to get windows that although vinyl have a wood grain look to them so it matches the trim in our house, etc ...


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 3675
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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There is a poster on here that is the go to guy in WI.

HomeSealed is his name and you can get his information here if he is covering that area. He is out of Milwaukee so it depends on what side of Madison you are on if he covers your area. I can guarantee that you won't find a better guy, window, or install in WI.

http://www.vinyl-replacement-windows.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5027


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
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Thanks Windows of Washington. I'll see what HomeSealed has to say.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:19 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1382
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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I concur that Homesealed would be a best choice.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:28 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
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All set to meet up with them. Also meeting with Sears, and Champion as well ... I'll see what happens!

Thanks for the tips!


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1382
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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Well you should experience the difference between a dream and a nightmare.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
Posts: 31
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LOL, you have a good analogy there Anthony ... and it's fairly accurate!

I've had 3 people here so far, with 4 more planned. I must say ... I've definitely had a range of things thrown at me, the first 2 were varying degrees of pressure sales (i.e. I can only get this special deal if I sign with them right away). They were definitely nightmares of a sort, albeit different ones.

The third one I saw today was more like the Dream ... no pressure, didn't even give me a quote on the spot (emailed it later on) ... and actually answered my questions without putting off the feeling I was insulting their business! Also gave me more solid answers that I was looking for in the other 2 visits ... I figure I spent about 5-6 hours in visits with the first 2, but learned more in my meager 1+ hour visit with the 3rd one!

I've been doing reference calls, and checking on line after all the businesses I'm going to meet with. I must say in some cases it's hard, what business is going to give you a bad reference to call (tho' it happened to my Dad when he was doing his porch ... all the references he called gave the guy a bad review! LOL). Also online seems to be hit and miss with some of these businesses getting A+ BBB ratings, I learned from one of the companies though that to get that A+ rating you have to pay $480. As for Angie's list, some of them are there and others are not, or don't really have enough ratings to really see it as a viable source of information.

I've checked with the Chamber of Commerce today, but they didn't really have much input either. They were however willing to look into it however, which was nice - although they couldn't really give me anything solid on products, just a general unease on sales practices. However it has been an adventure of sorts as I talk to the salesman ... they each give me ideas on how I could be put in a bad situation by ANOTHER salesman ... which fortifies my questions in each successive round.

I think at the end of this process I will definitely feel I've made the right and informed decision ... but I'm going to be exhausted!!

I jumped to NFRC's site tonight to take a look, ugghhh ... of course some of these windows aren't even on there ... and I decided to throw in the towel for now and post my experience in case it helps anyone else out there.

Good night all!


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:48 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1382
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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You are doing good.
You will get your second wind and then be able to conclude this.
I would not do any more high pressure sales appointments, you can tell if they demand both heads of household be present. Do not get me wrong I think it is best for all the decision makers to be there, but when it is demanded it is a hard close presentation, yuk.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
Posts: 31
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I had Champion over, and he got the picture right away that I wasn't going to make my decision today. He didn't lay into me with the heavy sales and was impressed with the questions I was asking. Appointment was just about an hour ... WOW!

I actually came away impressed with Champion today. I'll have to look into them a bit more.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:58 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: Northern & Central Illinois, Chicago suburbs
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Did you like that pocket sill that captures your rainwater and puts it inside the sill extrusion?


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
Posts: 31
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Yes, that was unique I thought. The only thing is I was kind of worried about water freezing and what it would do with that sill extrusion. It seems cool otherwise.

The readings I was given were:
u-factor .28
SGHC .21
Condensation Resistance 54
Air Infiltration .11 (DH)
.16 (slider)

It was interesting ... they use a foam coating installation ... not sure what I think about that.

Apparently they have good ratings on JD Powers, but haven't investigated that yet.

What does other people think of Champion?


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:25 am
Posts: 64
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kcascade,

I think Window4U was being a little facetious, pocket sill windows aren't well regarded.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 3675
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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There is a whole bunch that is wrong with the Champion window in this application.

- SHGC is way to low for your region of the country and specifying Low-e 366 is a huge Red Flag that you window contractor doesn't understand the first thing about glass technology and window design.

- Thermal numbers are okay but far from class leading at a 0.28.

- Pocket sills are very substandard designs and can create issues for you down the road between freezing, water infiltration, and generally yucky conditions inside of them.

- Air leakage rate is okay at a 0.11 but far from class leading and anything to market as good.

- JD Power and Associates have zero (read 0) merit in the indication of what a good quality window, in the long term, will be.

- What is a "foam coating" during installation? If you are referring to a foam collar around the window, that is basically worthless and provide no barrier to air infiltration around the window. If that is all they are going to do...run, don't walk...away from that installation.



I don't want to make it seem as the Champion window is a terrible piece of junk, it isn't. That not withstanding, it is far, far from being considered in the premium class of products that are out there in the Okna, Soft-Lite, Sunrises of the window offerings.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Replacement Windows in Madison, WI area
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:31 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 am
Posts: 31
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OH, I stand humbled on the pocket sill reference. Wasn't sure if that was facetious or serious ... :oops:

WoW ... thanks for the comments. That does put Champion in another light. I was kind of wondering how freezing water would treat the windows ...

As for AI though, per Okna's literature the standard is .2 on average for AI, and at .11 and .16 ... isn't that quite a bit better than the "average". Granted with Okna at .01 or .02 in some cases they blow the Champion window away, but the price I was given for the Champion Windows was almost $1,000 less than any other quote so far!

I'm still internally deliberating between quality and price ... I guess a question I wonder is how much money does each .01 in AI, u-factor and SGHC save you in the long run (assuming they are all energy star equivalent)? If I were to pay $1,000 less on windows that make the energy star grade ... how long would it take to make that up if I were to say get Gorell or Okna that definitely have better numbers ... but cost more?

I haven't ruled out going the quality angle ... and I see the point about pocket sills which didn't really sink in before ... but I have 2 more guys coming out tonight and 1 more tomorrow ... and if they have better designed windows and offer a really good price ... I may be talking about them next in the context of my previous paragraph?

I must say I am impressed by the Okna's though ... however I haven't had an opportunity yet to get a quote on Sunrises or Softlites ... I'm not sure if they are even offered by anyone where I live :?:

I really appreciate everyone's feedback, even if it is in jest ... thanks!!


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