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 Post subject: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:02 pm
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Started the process of edumacatin' myself through this forum, doing my homework and getting bids. Now I'm dangerous - probably more to myself at the moment! Thank you to the "knowledgeable experts" for their time who have guided me on this journey. Live in the North Texas area. Overall advice is dual pane is good enough, triple pane might be overkill and not get much more benefit for the buck.

However, the experts here taught me that window quality is crucial, but that installation is key to the process. So we are not fudging costs to sacrifice quality. Bids are coming relatively close to each, (9-12k range), but waiting for several more.

Have 20 windows - 3 half rounds, couple of picture windows (small entry and large bath), the rest will be double hung and full screens. Couple of these tempered, 8 with grids per HOA. Cut my teeth on WW, and have since discounted the Alside brand thanks to the advice here.

Still gathering bids at this point, but the brands and styles under consideration are:

Milgard - Style Line Series
Simonton - 5500 Series - (impressive window)
Anderson dealer - offering a custom built, triple pane.
Pella - probably 250 Series
Sunrise - waiting for estimator appt
Softlite - waiting to hear from Softlite for dealer

So some initial advice or guidance from the pros on these choices would be very much appreciated. Will post more as the journey progresses.

Thanks
Chuck


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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If you go Simonton, I'd upgrade to the optional sash reinforcement. It's a fairly inexpensive addition to the base model, and will help the window stand up to the long hot Texas summers.

Pella and Andersen both offer sub-par vinyl windows in my opinion and I wouldn't recommend either one.

Milgard does well on the West coast where there aren't an abundance of choices available. In truth, they make a very average window and charge too much for what you're getting.

Sunrise is a solid company with four lines worth considering:

(1) base Sunrise - better than most, a step down from their better lines
(2) Vanguard - good solid window with nice features and good performance
(3) Verde - relabeled Vanguard with the same recommendation
(4) Restorations - cadillac with a couple more bells and whistles than Vanguard or Verde, not worth a lot more money

Stick with double pane, and get a good Low-E like Cardinal's 366, PPG's Solarban 70XL, or Guardian's 5527.

Let the perspective contractors explain their installation system with you, step by step. Don't lead them or they'll try to give you the answers you want to hear. Look for those who go above and beyond the very basic "caulk and walk" method that is most prevalent here in Texas.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:02 pm
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Thanks Randy.

Your name came up quite often as the "local Texas expert" in the forum. Will look into it. Look forward to a Sunrise rep calling me soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
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Not much to add as Randy answered all the questions perfectly.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:04 am 
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+1. Randy is the man down there.
If you are impressed by the Simonton, I think that you will really like the top tier models from Sunrise.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:02 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:02 pm
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Got my Sunrise bid.....whoops. Basic white, standard equipment, etc. Not sure which series of Sunrise specifically, but they came in 40-50% higher on materials than Simonton 5500 or Milgard, with labor cost being similar. Waiting to hear from rep on price justification.

I'm on the fence with this one. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:19 am 
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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1) It is a better window by a fair margin IMO. You are comparing a top tier product to others that offer middling performance.

2) Most pricing discrepancies are due to differences in size, history, and business model of the dealer. I saw that you have some half rounds, some tempered glass, and other options which can drive up the cost a bit.
Have you thoroughly vetted the dealers in question? Company history, physical location with a showroom, BBB rating, angie's list and similar reviews, etc can all be very telling and can easily justify that price difference.... That may or may not be the case here, just some food for thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Sunrise can get high when it comes to architectural shapes and oversized windows. I'd have a hard time justifying that much more money for the base Sunrise model.

Simonton's 5500, if upgraded with sash reinforcement is a reasonable mid-grade vinyl window. The frame is bulky, and the design is a bit dated, but you could certainly do a lot worse in the DFW area. I'd choose it over Milgard.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:11 am
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Does the base Sunrise have sash-reinforcement as an option? Would it be recommended if it didn't with it's narrow profiles?
Chuck, what did you find impressive with the Simonton window.(just curious). What Soft-Lite window is being bid?
Make sure all the dealers have a showroom and are of optimal size.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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I don't believe the base Sunrise window can be reinforced as an option. I always recommend it in Texas, and won't recommend a window without it.

Soft-lite isn't available in Texas anymore, with one exception. Apparently a company called Zen Windows is shipping them in from one of their offices in another state. I think it's the Pro, but I'm not sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:11 am
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Can't be Zen, he would of had his quote before posting and they would be installing as we speak. It's that easy.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:06 am 
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Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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toddinmn wrote:
Can't be Zen, he would of had his quote before posting and they would be installing as we speak. It's that easy.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Hilarious sir. You get funnier in the winter when you aren't able to get outside very much.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:04 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:02 pm
Posts: 6
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toddinmn wrote:
Does the base Sunrise have sash-reinforcement as an option? Would it be recommended if it didn't with it's narrow profiles?
Chuck, what did you find impressive with the Simonton window.(just curious). What Soft-Lite window is being bid?
Make sure all the dealers have a showroom and are of optimal size.


Soft-Lite not available here.
The Simonton appeared to be a good window overall, Cardinal 366, DH duals, the installer has been around a long time, knowledgeable, and saw some recent installs he did. Overall it appeared to be better than Milgard and some of the other bids/demos I saw. However, still learning all the basics. Sunrise line is the tier above the Essentials, and yes we do have a lot of various configs and requirements out of the 20 windows.

Three half rounds (2 - 48w & 1 - 36w mulled with 36x60),
one large bath picture 48x48 - rain glass/tempered, 1 picture 36x18
4 - 36x60 (3 oriels) one mulled set,
4 - 36 x 60's
3 - 48 x 60 (one bottom tempered)
1 - 60 x 60 mulled (1 bottom tempered)
2 - 24 x 60

Talked briefly with dealer on price justification, have not seen demo yet. Frame R factor of 13 versus R3 on others, air leakage less, foam filled frame, better looking frame inside and outside, etc. Seems to be very high quality. Just not sure if we want to go that high. Resale we could get most of lower bid cost back in 3-5 years, just not sure if we could get all of Sunrise cost back.

Labor cost not broken out on Simonton bid, but Milgard and Sunrise labor equivalent at $31-3500 range. Total bid - Milgard and Simonton in the $9600 range, Sunrise $13.6k range. So the materials price difference seems pretty significant for standard white options.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1946
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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The "frame R-factor" stuff is bogus. Compare by total unit u-factor. Air infiltration and DP are also important.

...In that window, at that 48 " width (assuming it's a DH) the sash reinforcement would definitely be advisable if you can get it.
I'll defer to Randy's experience on what holds up well in your conditions, as its quite a bit different up here in Siberia :D


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on replacement bids/brands
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 851
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Since Soft-lite left Texas, there's only one premium brand of vinyl window left and that's Sunrise. While Sunrise makes a very good window, the prevalence of large sizes and architectural shapes in Texas houses can make the price tag for them unreasonable. Do they make a better window than Simonton, or NT, Wincore, or MIlgard? Absolutely! Are they worth 100% more, or even 50% more? I don't think so, and therefore I can't in good conscience tell someone they are.

A good mid-grade vinyl window, with the right upgrades perhaps, can be a good and reasonable choice for Texas homeowners, particularly when it's not their "forever" house. First, internal reinforcement is a must. Never, never, never buy a vinyl window that doesn't have aluminum, steel, fiberglass or composite reinforcement, or it will deflect (sag or warp), given enough time and heat. Once that happens the operation of the window can become difficult, air leakage increases and the potential for water infiltration goes up as well. Make sure the Low-E you're getting is either Cardinal's Low-E366, PPG's Solarban 70XL, or Guardian's 5527.

Ask the contractor for the step by step details of their installation and avoid any who simply caulk the window to the brick or siding without any type of air sealing (foam) around the perimeter. If they try to tell you that fiberglass insulation or window foam tape is just as good, take their quote and shred it. This is a fairly sizable investment in your home, no matter which window you end up going with. It's worth doing right the first time.


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