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 Post subject: Struggling to decide among three quotes--help please!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:49 am
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We have gotten several quotes for replacing the windows in our house, and are just about windowed out! We've come down to three quotes in roughly similar price ranges, and would appreciate input into which would be the best choice. We live in Denver, so have altitude, wide temperature swings, hail, strong sunlight, and very dry air to contend with.

We are doing 16 windows, a mix of double-hungs and sliders, with an awning window in the kitchen and including four small basement windows, which in all the quotes are quoted at a lesser quality window than the other 12. The current windows are vinyl windows of varying vintage; the basement windows are original aluminum.

All quotes are double-pane, white on both interior and exterior.

Quote 1: Simonton Platinum Prism

Quote 2: Zen Windows Nirvana (which I understand is equivalent to Soft-Lite Classic)
This quote includes hopper windows in the basement rather than sliders, and all the screens on the sliders and double-hungs are half-screens.

Quote 3: Amerimax Craftsman Portrait
This quote has a slider for the kitchen window rather than an awning window, and single-hung windows instead of double-hungs (7 of the 16 windows). The installer made a big deal of the fact that the windows are made in Colorado, and so the argon does not leak out in shipping from lower altitude to higher (something to do with the capillary systems manufacturers put in for higher altitudes). I've tried to do some research on this claim, and what little I've found seems to indicate that yes, argon can and does leak out because of the altitude, but that this doesn't seem to really matter (??!). The installer also says that single-hungs, in addition to being cheaper than double-hungs, provide better insulation because one panel is fixed, and also avoid the problem of the upper sash having to be pushed up hard in order to close the window (we have this trouble with most of our current double-hungs).

All three installers get great reviews on Angies' List, BBB, etc, but for whatever reason, we like the guy with the Simonton windows. I am hesitating, though, because I'm concerned it is not the best window of the three. I want a solid window that I will never have to think about again. Thermal performance is important, but I think our wall insulation is pretty minimal, so there's only so much a window can do there. I'd like a large glass area, but not at the expense of flimsier windows.

We've owned the house one year, and from what I can tell, five of the windows were replaced in 2009, and two of these (the two double-hungs--the rest of these are sliders) cannot be closed. I think this is pretty appalling for windows that are only seven years old (I cannot figure out who made them), so I definitely do *not* want to have the same problem with any new window I buy!

Thank you so much for any thoughts--I am completely overwhelmed by the variety of factors to consider.


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 Post subject: Re: Struggling to decide among three quotes--help please!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:01 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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Nothing about the Simonton isn't solid. It is a well built unit and probably as good as the Soft-Lite window it is being compared to in this scenario.

I would say that options 1 and 2 are your best.

Only caveat about option 1 is the fact that is does run on the hefty side as it pertains to frame size. Check air infiltration rates as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Struggling to decide among three quotes--help please!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:49 am
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Thanks for the reply! I was wondering about the Soft-Lite in particular, since I've seen a number of posts that say the Soft-Lite Imperial LS is superior to the Simonton Platinum Prism, but have not found anything comparing the Soft-Lite Classic.

There are so many different models from different companies, it seems every match-up is different.

Our current windows are vinyl, some from 1991, some from 2009, and two from an unknown date--these two do not have mitered corners, though (they are overlapped square corners), which everyone seems to think means they are quite old. Interestingly, they are also the most solid of the vinyl windows in the house, and the only double-hungs which close properly. All of the current windows are fairly bulky, though, so I think a bulky window replacing them would not be the same shock as we had going from 50s-era aluminum to vinyl in our last house :-).

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Struggling to decide among three quotes--help please!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:27 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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The Classic is a fine window. It is just an older design from Soft-Lite and doesn't have some of the better performance data as it pertains to air infiltration and Design Pressure that the upper end Soft-Lites do.

If your dealer is selling the Classic, ask him for a price on the Imperial LS.


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