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 Post subject: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:23 pm
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I received several competing bids for replacing 7 windows at my long-time home in Kentucky (just south of Lexington, in London KY). I have narrowed down to

[*] Window World ($3750), 4000-series, rebranded Alside
[*] Zen Windows ($3515), Soft-Lite Classic

Both companies have great reviews on Angie's list at a local-installer level. I've read on many review sites and the soft-lite classic is much nicer than WW 4000-series (our only criteria is efficiency and build quality, not looks).

Given that soft-lite is a better quality product and both would be a quality installation (please correct me if I'm wrong), my only question would be around the long-term warranty. Do I have to worry about the smaller company (Zen Windows, soft-lite) not being around to honor a warranty in 20 years?

Is there anything I'm missing before I pull the trigger on the purchase?


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:10 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:20 pm
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What you are misisng imo is a good option. WW is who they are purported to be. A discount window company. Not a great window, even more questions when it comes to installation. Zen is a fancy new comer with much of the same. Kind of disingenuous actually. Pricing projects site unseen is bad practice in construction, and picking the lowest end model from a good manufacturer that has a reputation built on their higher end stuff is dicey. I'd be shocked if they are around in 10-15 years. If you are fine with a 10 year warranty, I guess maybe that is fine. Thing is, for maybe another $50+ per window or so(less than $500 total or so on a project that will have a 30+ year service life) you could probably find a window that would be a high end performer from a company with an excellent, established reputation.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 988
Location: Houston, TX
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Quote:
Pricing projects site unseen is bad practice in construction, and picking the lowest end model from a good manufacturer that has a reputation built on their higher end stuff is dicey.


Very well said fridge.

Why not get another quote or two from local dealers who rep the following products: Okna 800 or 500 series, Soft-lite Elements or LS series, Sunrise Restorations or Vanguard series?


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:23 pm
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randy wrote:
Quote:
Pricing projects site unseen is bad practice in construction, and picking the lowest end model from a good manufacturer that has a reputation built on their higher end stuff is dicey.


Very well said fridge.

Why not get another quote or two from local dealers who rep the following products: Okna 800 or 500 series, Soft-lite Elements or LS series, Sunrise Restorations or Vanguard series?


The issue I have in my area is that constractors (including installers) are generally unreliable. I've already called the top-rated installers from Angie's list in the Lexington and London areas, but most either didn't return my call (House Doctors, Atlas Window & Siding) or they don't service my area (Gilkey, T. Smith). From what I've found, Zen and WW are my only remaining options.

Would the concern with Zen Windows be that they don't correctly estimate the cost, and therefore try to cut corners during install? They've been around for ~25 years now, so shouldn't a bad model have caught up with them by now?

I would prefer the Okna 500, but I can't figure out how to find a local installer who carries them. There's only one Sunrise dealer in Lexington, and they have zero ratings (so I'd be nervous about install quality). Zen is the only soft-lite dealer in my area.

I was under the impression that Soft-lite Classic was in the mid-range of the soft-lite line, with Bainbridge below it and Imperial LS above it. It was listed as one of the best mid-range windows here:
http://www.replacementwindowsreviews.co ... t-windows/

.. my zip code is 40744, if you want to try finding a nearby reputable installer that I haven't listed above :).


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:23 pm
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After looking in another state, I found an installer in Knoxville TN (CRS Exteriors) who sells ProVia windows. He didn't mention the specific window model, but he said for around $500/window (he'd come out for an accurate estimate) the vinyl ProVia windows would have fiberglass reinforcement and foam core. He compared them in terms of quality to a Sunrise window.

Would this be a better choice than Zen Windows with Soft-lite Classic (assuming good install quality)?


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:07 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 668
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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I would take the soft lite classic over any alside window all day long. The pricing is very good.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:48 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:23 pm
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masterext wrote:
I would take the soft lite classic over any alside window all day long. The pricing is very good.


What about Soft-lite Classic vs ProVia Aspect/Endure windows? I'm wondering if ProVia windows will be worth the extra 3 weeks wait time during cold weather.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 2352
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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I prefer the Provia product to the SL Classic. The Provia aspires to compete with SL's higher end offerings like the Elements and LS, and is a pretty good window from what I can tell. New design, not 30 yrs old like the classic.
I agree with the other on the dealers as well. Not a fan of either business model.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
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I do both the Soft-Lite and ProVia lines. I rarely install any non-premium Soft-Lite series these days as my pricing is better on almost an identical window (same extrusion) to ProVia's Endure and Aspect series. I did some classics in South Philly with a painted exterior this summer and I have to admit those things operated as smoothly as anything that I've ever installed. Overall u-factor with foam filled frames and stainless Intercept spacing (double-glazed) was a .27 with decent air leakage numbers. Not much to go wrong with that window and it has a very nice sill and meeting rail design. Quality locks too.

However, as Homesealed mentioned it's a dated design. ProVia just was named a best buy in the premium price range by Consumers Digest for their Endure series. I've been a loyal ProVia guy for last 15-years and I'm a big fan of their doors, however I'm not sure that they get the whole vinyl window thing? I've seen their current lower end vinyl offerings be a total disgrace and insult to quality control.

All in all I think that the Endure is a better window than the SL Classic, but if the Aspect or Endure is a lot more than a Classic, I would have a hard time justifying spending too much extra for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:23 pm
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Thanks to you all for the help. I called the additional installer (CRS Exteriors) today and confirmed that they were estimating the ProVia Endure for about $500/window. He will come and do an official estimate in 2 days, then depending on price I will either go with him or Zen Windows for the Soft-lite Classic.

I'll try to come back and update this thread with final pricing.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
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That is an excellent price on the Endure and not the norm that I would see from larger ProVia dealers in my area.

Keep us posted.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 4351
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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+1

Post up some before and after photos and keep us posted.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:11 am
Posts: 449
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I would ask Zen to price the Pro series it would be closer in performance to the Endure.
Don't see a problem with giving an "estimate" without seeing the job, is this what the Endure installer did and. Fridge with his estimated price to for Soft-Lites upper lines? Expect the estimates to be more if tempered glass is required or anything that would complicate the job.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:21 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:23 pm
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The quote from CRS Exteriors was higher than the rough estimate over the phone, but I also changed the number of windows and included more triple-sliders. Each triple slider needed 1-4 non-load-bearing mullions removed. The quote was $10,431 for 17 ProVia Endure windows:

2 - 38x52 double-hung
2 - 38x38 2-lite slider
1 - 38x38 picture
1 - 38x42 double-hung
1 - 24x34 double-hung
1 - 82x32 3-lite slider
1 - 120x40 3-lite slider
1 - 82x31 3-lite slider
1 - 120x48 3-lite slider

2 - 40x31 double-hung
2 - 40x48 double-hung
1 - 64x55 picture

This averaged to $611/window. Granted, it was higher than the estimate of $500/window but I agreed to work with CRS Exteriors because they also agreed to do some roofing work (additional cost) I need done before winter arrives. I've called 5-6 local roofing companies and gotten no response, so there was lots of value in them taking both jobs. They also had lots of A+ reviews on Angie's List, so that tipped me even more in their favor.


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 Post subject: Re: Window World (Alside) vs Zen Windows (Soft-lite)
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 2352
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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swackerl wrote:
The quote from CRS Exteriors was higher than the rough estimate over the phone, but I also changed the number of windows and included more triple-sliders. Each triple slider needed 1-4 non-load-bearing mullions removed. The quote was $10,431 for 17 ProVia Endure windows:

2 - 38x52 double-hung
2 - 38x38 2-lite slider
1 - 38x38 picture
1 - 38x42 double-hung
1 - 24x34 double-hung
1 - 82x32 3-lite slider
1 - 120x40 3-lite slider
1 - 82x31 3-lite slider
1 - 120x48 3-lite slider

2 - 40x31 double-hung
2 - 40x48 double-hung
1 - 64x55 picture

This averaged to $611/window. Granted, it was higher than the estimate of $500/window but I agreed to work with CRS Exteriors because they also agreed to do some roofing work (additional cost) I need done before winter arrives. I've called 5-6 local roofing companies and gotten no response, so there was lots of value in them taking both jobs. They also had lots of A+ reviews on Angie's List, so that tipped me even more in their favor.

The $500 estimate was probably for their typical white double hung. As you acknowledged, you have picture windows, 3 lite sliders, etc. This is exactly why professionals recommend against quoting site unseen. As a matter of fact, the BBB recommends against that as well. There are a host of other things that could come up including but not limited to the need or lack thereof for lead safe procedures, installation style, interior woodwork, exterior trim, product colors, sizes, configurations, hardware colors and upgrades, grids: type and color, and so on and so on. A $500 ballpark can go up and over that $611 to $700 or $800 pretty quick with a few high price product and installation upgrades.

For what its worth, both options fall within the normal price range of reason.


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