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 Post subject: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:23 pm 

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I've been getting a couple quotes from various window contractors in Denver area. Amerimax Craftsman windows came in lowest however another window contractor indicated due to the depth of my current windows the Craftsman if installed flush on exterior will leave a gap inside and suggested I go with Masters Grande. I am not sure if it is a valid statement. I believe Amerimax windows are mid-grade. I was not able to locate a dealer that sells Okna windows.

I plan to replace 22 windows in varying sizes including patio sliding door. A quite few windows are same in size - 70"w x 58"h. There are 2 large picture windows and 6 smaller picture windows and the rest are sliding windows. Current windows have tint film applied but it makes windows hot to touch so I ask all contractors to include low-e 366 or better.

1. ~17K for Amerimax Masters Grande; over ~21K for Sunrise Vanguard
2. ~17K for Simonton Impressions (triple pane)
3. ~12K for Amerimax Craftsman
4. 17K for Park Avenue (Thermal) windows - the cost doesn't include patio sliding door which easily add another 2K
5. 21K for Sunrise
6. ~15K for Zen Nirvana (believe that is Soft-Lite but not sure which collection - they offer Lotus triple pane for additional 1K)
7. ~19K for Soft-Lite Pro; salesperson indicated additional $2500 for Imperial - does not include patio sliding door and salesperson will send me another quote but mentioned it would be additional $3500 for patio sliding door

I realize I've gotten a quite few quotes. I'm not in rush to make a decision and would appreciate your feedback on window brands and whether I should look at other brands not listed here.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:14 pm 
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Which model Sunrise?

I don't know the Amerimax lines that well, but the company seems to make a good product all around.

How do the install companies stack up?


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:36 am 

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The install aspect is equally important but I haven't really looked into it at this time. Most if not all offer warranty on installation ranging from 1 to 2 years.

As for #5 (Sunrise), I wasn't particularly impressed with the salesperson. I asked him which collection / model and he just said "Sunrise". I mentioned Vanguard and he said it is private label. He had to borrow my pen to write down measurements. I got an email from a different salesperson to follow up on my decision so I'll ask.

For #3, I asked the salesperson to validate whether Craftsman won't leave 1/2 gap. The other company indicated there will be a gap and is trying to convince me to go with Masters Grande or better Sunrise (upselling?).

I like the 12K tag while the rest seems to be on the high end (Zen Nirvana probably is the next lowest price tag). I'm seeing about 1K or so per window on most quotes. Perhaps that is about right given the size of the current windows?


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:36 am 
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Your list is mostly solid choices. The American Craftsman would be an outlier IMO, not really comparable.

The base Sunrise would be my choice assuming that is what it is (based on product alone). The Softlite Pro is pretty decent at what it does. The Zen choices are the Softlite Pro and Classic if I am not mistaken, with the Classic being the base and the Pro the upgrade. Given that their whole pitch is transparency, I'd expect that they would share that with you.

Amerimax is primarily a West Coast offering, but as WoW stated, feedback is generally decent. The Thermal Industries Park ave was a pocket sill last time I checked (not desireable), but I know that they have redesigned some products recently so perhaps that has been updated as well. Maybe someone else can chime in on that.

On pricing, $1k per windows is typically on the higher side for a basic replacement, but considering that you have a bunch of quotes in that same range, it is clearly due to some function of options, installation, market pricing, or perhaps the quantity. Given the 70" width that you mentioned as a common size, I'd guess that is the case. That is a triple or double unit, and those should be counted accordingly when figuring a "price per window". I'd add that the common price that you received of $17k is a bit under $1k per, being in the $700's. If those include a patio door as well, they are in the $600's. Those prices range from middle of the road to reasonable depending on other factors.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:48 am 

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Thanks and for clarity the 12K tag is based on Amerimax Craftsman Portrait - not sure if it's the same as American Craftsman?


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:18 pm 

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Just spoke with Park Avenue salesperson and he confirmed the window is pocket sill design so that is out. I'm looking at 19-20K for Park Avenue windows including the patio sliding door.

There are mixed reviews on Amerimax windows so I am not 100% comfortable - most reviews are generally good but there are customers that aren't happy with windows themselves or warranty service. I was not able to find out air infiltration values other than verbally from a salesperson. I'd like to see that in writing e.g. brochure. Simonton Impressions line has .30 cfm so that is out. I still like Sunrise but I'm looking at least 21K or so which gives me a heartburn. That leaves Zen windows - I confirmed with the owner Lotus is Soft Lite Pro and I'm looking at just a little less than 17K for Lotus windows including the patio sliding door (all are triple pane). Reviews on local Zen dealer are positive - almost 5 stars.

I should make a decision later this week or next week. I'm hoping one more Sunrise dealer will give me a quote after sending him the window measurements but he's slow to respond.

Thanks for your input thus far. It is unfortunate that I was not able to locate Okna dealer in Denver metro area.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:16 pm 
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If you make enough windows and for a long enough period of time, you are going to have some unhappy folks no matter how hard you try.

If you like the Sunrise, why not get the better window. At $4,000 delta, you are looking at a dollar a day for the nicer unit that you already like better.

We probably leave that much in the car cup holder on a daily basis.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:52 pm 

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True. By the way, the Sunrise dealer I was waiting on for a quote came through and it pays to shop around. He quoted 16.8K for Sunrise Restorations. I wasn't able to find performance specs for Restorations at Sunrise web site so I don't know if it is any better than Zen Lotus (Soft-Lite Pro). I believe Restorations line is a step up from Vanguard (which one of the ~21K quote is based on).


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:29 pm 
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Restorations is the flagship offering from Sunrise. And yes, it's a step up from the Vanguard. It will feature the combination lock/tilt actuators which eliminate the tilts atop the sashes as they're built into the locks. Also, I believe the Restorations has more fiberglass reinforcement stiffeners to the sashes, but don't quote me on that as it's been a long time since I've seen a Restorations brochure. We do the Vanguards.

With equal glass packages to the older Soft-Lite series such as the Pro I'd still expect a tiny bit of an advantage on the overall u-factor to be tipped to the Soft-Lite. The Pro is glazed with the non-metal Super Spacer while Sunrise utilizes Cardinal's XL-Edge stainless spacer. I think the Restorations with double-glazing and regular low-e argon would come in a .28 and the Pro should be a .27. The Sunrise will beat in regards to air leakage performance due to the triple weatherstripping on the sashes while the Pro has only double. .04 verses .07?

I like the Restorations as you also get an outstanding warranty from Sunrise that covers everything for life.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:46 pm 
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Sounds like you found a winner there. The Restorations is the top offering from Sunrise and is very good. The Softlite Pro is similar on paper, however I'd put the Sunrise ahead. Are you going for the triple pane?


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:34 pm 

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The Sunrise dealer was here earlier today and we went over some things. I find it a bit odd that Vanguard has better air performance than Restorations (.02 vs .04). At least the brochures I have for both show that. I understand these are for double hung and sliding window will have higher value. The dealer believes it is .07. Triple pane is an option however they are not available in larger sizes so if I wanted triple pane it would be on certain windows while others would be double pane. I don't think I'd like to see different shades (tint).

Also, the dealer mentioned the window does not have argon gas between panes so it doesn't dissipate over time. So, the performance specs for Sunrise Restorations and Zen Lotus (double hung):

Sunrise double pane: U-Factor .26, SHGC .21, AL .04
Sunrise triple pane: U-Factor .23, SHGC .22, AL .04 (not available in larger windows)
Zen Lotus triple pane: U-Factor .22, SHGC .26, AL .06 (argon gas between panes)

The assumption is AL will be higher for sliding window. I'm going to ask Zen dealer for AL for sliding window.

The dealer suggested the patio sliding door to be a bit shorter. Instead of almost 8 feet tall, it would be under 7 feet tall and a foot or so picture window on top of the sliding door. He said it would strengthen door and reduce amount of air leakage. There wouldn't be additional cost for this.

He has been in business for more than 20 years and warranty on installation is better than others. He prefers Sunrise glass without argon gas for high altitude.

Thoughts? I was about to commit to Zen Lotus but now I'm uncertain.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:15 pm 
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Interesting feedback and to be honest, first I have heard of it.

The air infiltration numbers should be the same from unit to unit. 0.04 is the number that I know of.

The idea of no argon fill is a new one to me and I have never heard of that out of Sunrise or any of the other manufacturers.

The Sunrise is the better window in this comparison based on my observations.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:24 am 
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I'd agree with WOW for the most part.
Ask the Sunrise dealer for the condensation resistance rating on that double pane glass package. You want that to be around 60+. I suspect that he is offering you a unit with a surface 4 coating, where the low-e is on the surface that you can touch from inside the home. In cold climates where condensation is a concern, I'd recommend against that. Perhaps you don't have much of a concern with condensation in your location, but if you do, I would definitely look into that further. If that is the case, your best bet would be the triple pane, followed by their standard low-e and argon that just misses the .27 required by Energy Star for the Northern Region


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:26 am 

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Sunrise glass is Latitude Glass with Summit Technology. The dealer is going to connect me with Sunrise rep so I can get more information. If I'm not mistaken, double pane has 12 coatings with low-e interior coating (hoping to find out directly from Sunrise rep). The CR for double pane is 44, for triple pane, it is 50. I do have condensation issue with my current windows - they are cheap Milgard builder grade and I have cellular shades which I believe made things worse. I have to keep about 1 inch open on the bottom of the shade to significantly reduce the condensation on window in wintertime (and adjust the humidifier accordingly based on outside temp). Sunrise dealer doesn't think I would have condensation issues with double pane.

I don't know the CR for Zen Lotus - I sent an email to Zen dealer.

I like Sunrise Restorations a lot but the downside triple pane option is not available in larger sizes. I'll have to decide if double pane would suffice.


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 Post subject: Re: Input appreciated on couple brands
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:42 am 
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eshenem wrote:
Sunrise glass is Latitude Glass with Summit Technology. The dealer is going to connect me with Sunrise rep so I can get more information. If I'm not mistaken, double pane has 12 coatings with low-e interior coating (hoping to find out directly from Sunrise rep). The CR for double pane is 44, for triple pane, it is 50. I do have condensation issue with my current windows - they are cheap Milgard builder grade and I have cellular shades which I believe made things worse. I have to keep about 1 inch open on the bottom of the shade to significantly reduce the condensation on window in wintertime (and adjust the humidifier accordingly based on outside temp). Sunrise dealer doesn't think I would have condensation issues with double pane.

I don't know the CR for Zen Lotus - I sent an email to Zen dealer.

I like Sunrise Restorations a lot but the downside triple pane option is not available in larger sizes. I'll have to decide if double pane would suffice.

Double pane may suffice, but not that package. CR of 44 is terrible and you may actually see more condensation than you have already. Terrible recommendation by your rep. IMO, the better options would be the non-Energy Star rated standard low-e and argon, or the triple pane where it is feasible.


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