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 Post subject: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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Hi everyone. First and foremost, I want to say I appreciate the information which has been supplied on this board. I have read many threads on here and gleaned a ton of useful information in my window replacement process.
Secondly, I want to prematurely apologize, as I am an engineer who over analyzes everything and am seeking some input from the board.

My case:
I live in Colorado, at about 6500-ft. elevation. My home is roughly 25 years old and has 30 windows. These are all wood windows, 5 of which are Pellas replaced by the previous owners about 6 years ago and are already failing. Of the 30, 15 face directly west and 10 face due east. Nice views, but this creates crazy temperature fluctuations in the home. Six large windows are in one 20x20 room, and it is unbearable in the summer because we do not have A/C.

In getting quotes, most contractors have recommended installing 3-lite sliders and large sliders where there are currently two or three vertical windows. This takes the overall number of windows down to 19 or 20, and provides massive cost savings. Question is if these are good route to go. Nobody around me has them.

After getting 6 quotes, I think I have narrowed it down to two options:
Contractor #1 with Simonton 5500 + superspacer.
Contractor #2 with Amerimax Craftsman.
Contractor #1 is lower by 12%
I did get a quote for Sunrise, but it was nearly 75% higher than the Simonton bid.

One of the reasons #1 is much cheaper is he is quoting what I asked for, 270 glass everywhere except the large room.
The Amerimax contractor quoted their Ag3 glass package for all windows. I brought this to the attention of Contractor #2 who said he didn’t recall me requesting the lower glass package, and could price it, but his professional opinion was that I shouldn’t reduce them with so many west facing windows. I think if he changed his bid, it would be close to the Simonton.

Neither contractor offers a great labor warranty. Both are 10-yr, with a little bit different language as to their responsibilities. Moot point, but I am not sure if we will be in this house for more than 10 years.

Things I need advice on:
1. The contractor with the better price doesn’t have a show room. I know some here say not to use contractors without them, but this guy has been in business for over 10 years here (same as Contractor #2). He is very highly rated on Angies List, and has the most total reviews, even though the majority of them are in the last 5 yrs.

2. Amerimax is made nearby, and the 3 contractors selling that brand all push the elevation change = lost gas in the window point. One guy even had an old Simonton model without capillaries which the glass had bowed out on to show. This does worry me, as I don’t want to pay for gas and it leak out via the capillary tubes or risk windows bowing. Is it a big enough issue to spend 12% more for a similar window?

3. I know most here would probably pick the Simonton if they were the same price, so it should be a no-brainer. But a lot of folks in my neighborhood have Amerimax and are quite happy. The ones that look like Simonton windows… all those neighbors seem to have bought their house with them replaced and don’t know what they actually have.

4. If the elevation change is nothing to worry about, then I also submit a 3rd option: Another reputable contractor came out selling the Vinylmax Newton. Vinylmax has upgraded their offerings in the last couple years. It has good ratings, and is the lowest bid of all. One of my neighbors even used this same company about 3 years ago and absolutely loves his windows. He did purchase the Edison, though. They looked pretty good, and his only issue was with a warranty claim on some screens.

Sorry to put so much forth at once, but I would appreciate any insight or general comments.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:59 am 
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Skip option 3 in my opinion.

You have a couple of solid choices in options 1 and 2.

I would opt for the better glass as the sun is super strong in Colorado and at that elevation. There is something to be said for making the window at a local elevation and not having to install capillary tubes.

Based on what I have read previously, folks do seem to like the Amerimax product.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:23 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Houston, TX
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I agree with WoW, and would just add that sliders are almost always leakier than single or double hungs. The wind in Colorado can be fierce at times. While combining two double hungs into one slider, you will save money, but you will also have more air infiltration/exfiltration - particularly when you’re experiencing high winds. Just something to consider.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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Thank you gentlemen. You are both part of my first comment of those who share a lot on this board and have helped immensely in my process.

I hadn't thought about the additional infiltration. Would that be the case only if they were DH? I have asked for SH, just because I don't see the need for DH. We do get high winds at my house for sure.

Another point would be that it seems the Amerimax has a deeper pocket sill (which I know WoW dislikes). Would that be beneficial in this case?

Would either of you be leery of using a contractor who operates out of his home, but is well established?


Last edited by Chrisjen17 on Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:31 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 988
Location: Houston, TX
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Double hungs will typically have a much better AL rating than sliders. There are a few exceptions, but not many. There are a few manufactures who make really good single hungs, but generally speaking, most manufacturers make their premium product double hung and then their single hung is a low budget offering with less weatherstripping, thinner vinyl walls, weaker balances, narrower IG units, etc.....

Pocket sills do help somewhat with sash deflection during high wind, however, their inherent weak design with weep holes allowing air to blow in through the sill negates any positive benefits. Pocket sills should be avoided at all times, IMO. It’s simply a cheaper way to build vinyl windows, providing more profitability to the manufacturer with no benefits for the homeowner.

I know some of my fellow pros will probably disagree with me here, but no I wouldn’t be hesitant to use a contractor who has a good reputation, built over 10 years of being in business just because he operates out of his house. Maintaining a showroom and warehouse are expensive, and while the warehouse is a must, the showroom is rarely utilized (in my experience).


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:11 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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Thanks, Randy.
This worries me some, as we will be installing 8 large sliders and 4 3-lite sliders. Maybe I should focus on finding a better window... I sure wish those Sunrise numbers would have come in more competitive. But, the two sunrise dealers both sell and push Amerimax.

Would this be a reason to step up to the 9800 or the Prism series? My skepticism makes me think they are all pretty much the same thing. I have read some that say as much, and others who say they are different. But if I can spend a little more and get something much better, I want to go that route. And with that in mind, what are the best upgrades to go with if I stick with the 5500? superspacer, reinforced frame, and ??


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
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Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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I would agree with Randy that a showroom is not the best vetting tool.
There are many good companies that do all their sales in home directly, carry hand samples and or use vendors showrooms as needed.
A hard thing for all of us as consumers is that cheaper does not always mean worse nor does more expensive mean better.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Houston, TX
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How large are the sliders going to be?

If you go Simonton, absolutely get the sash reinforcement. Super Spacer is a good upgrade as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:36 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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Randy, I dont have the measurements handy, but off memory:
4 sliders are replacing spaces with 2 standard Vert. Windows, about 4x5 (HxW)

2 3L sliders are 6x9 (.33,.5,.33 layout)
(these are stacked on top of each other in the room I mentioned is unbearable in the summer). Current configuration is two rows of 3 windows (4 Picture and 2 casement). I had gone to a second 3LS to save $, but this may be where I should go back to 3 picture windows on the top row to minimize AI, as these 6 get the worst of the elements.

2 3L sliders are 4x7.5 (.33,.5,.33)

Indeed, WindowNerd. Many times, you can just catch someone in a work lull or has low overhead and can offer a better price. It doesn't mean they do bad work. I work in transportation construction, and I know the pains going with the 'low bidder' or the team who has a few bad projects because of things 'out of their control.' Back in 2009 when I was in Dallas, we had major interstate contractors who usually did $100M projects coming in as low bidders on $500k City Street projects cause they just needed the work.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 988
Location: Houston, TX
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Those are pretty large units. Using picture windows where feasible is a good idea to reduce AI as much as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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Thanks, Randy. I see I mistakenly put .33,.5,.33 instead of .25,.5,.25.
I have the actual dims now and
2 are 72x60 (wxh), west facing
2 are 108x72, west facing - one set of these can be changed to pictures for +$600
2 are 108x60, east facing

I have put in two information requests with Simonton through their site to verify they would ship windows to me without capillary tubes as the contractor said, but I haven't heard anything back. Does anyone know of another avenue to contact them?

Lastly, when talking to my contractor about possibly going to 366 glass on all windows instead of the 270, he mentioned "Climatech" packages as being an option. Is this the same thing?


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:10 am 
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Climatech can be any number of coatings. You will need to get that clarified by the salesperson on the quote.


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:05 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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Well, after getting a few more quotes, and more importantly having our first child, we are moving forward with our window purchase.
I have decided to work solely with the Simonton dealer/contractor. Using all yall's information, I asked for the typical upgrades of the superspacer and reinforced sash. He came back saying that was $50/window, but then reduced it to $40/window when I commented it seemed higher than what I had expected. From old posts, it seems like that is well above what most people said it cost.
Am I wrong in that assumption? I mean, that increases our project significantly, by almost 10%.
Opinions?


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Houston, TX
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Glad to hear you’ve made a decision and feel confident about your choice.

I honestly don’t think $40.00 for the upgrades is unreasonable. Best wishes on the project!


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 Post subject: Re: Window Choices - Colorado
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:27 pm
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All,
My project is officially signed up and moving forward. I now have a new question.

So I bought 366-package windows for the west facing, plus the superspacer, reinforced meeting rails, etc. How do I actually verify this is what arrives? Will these items be listed on each window, a bill of lading, or what?

Thanks!


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