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 Post subject: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:21 pm
Posts: 3
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Thank you to everyone for such a great forum! I've been reading a lot, and am trying to digest everything.

I live near Philadelphia. I've had 7 different companies come out so far to give me estimates to replace 5 of my old, 1970's era wood windows with new double-hung, double pane, low-e, argon-filled, vinyl windows without dividers. The reason for so many estimates is that I keep learning more about the windows and suppliers.

I originally started off with Home Depot, Lowes, Acre, and NuLook Home Design. These were the windows and quotes (including installation) for the 5 windows:

Home Depot (VantagePointe 6100's - $3141.90)
Lowes (Pella 250's - $2900)
NuLook Home Design - their own window - $3300

The Home Depot and Lowes guys were great! In and out reasonably quickly, with minimal pressure. I will give the NuLook guy credit, too. He applied a LITTLE bit of pressure, but not much. I make it clear to him that I was an anal engineer, that I'd be getting several estimates, and that no decisions were being made that day, and he seemed to respect that. I appreciated that a lot! I'm not sure whose window NuLook uses, so I can't do research on them, and that ultimately took them out of the running. Of the 3, I was leaning toward the Home Depot windows. I've read that the Pella 250's aren't that great, and that the VantagePointe's, while better, aren't much better either. I don't really want to buy a maintenance headache. So I decided to have others come over for estimates, and to try to find people who sold better windows. Here were my second round of companies:

Acre Windows (Anderson 100's - over $5000)
Alderfer (Interstate 6800's - $3175 or ProVia Aspect - $3060)
Volpe (Okna Precision Weld - $3255)
Window Universe (Revere Berkshire Elite - $2132)

I also called Window World to come out on Friday, and was adamant that I would not tolerate high-pressure sales. Told the guy that my wife and I typically aren't home at the same time, and that although we are ready to buy, no decisions would be made that day (we prefer to sleep on it and do additional research). The guy on the phone wasn't happy with it, but was going to send his people out this coming Tuesday anyway. I've already received text messages and phone calls "confirming" the appointment and reminding me that my wife and I need to be home. When they called me on a Sunday afternoon, I decided it was time to cancel the appointment. I've read decent reviews of the windows and the installations, but it just isn't worth it to me.

I learned my lesson after having Acre out. The Acre sales guy used all the typical high pressure sales techniques, and I never got an actual price even after an hour and a half and basically having to kick the guy out of the house. He was angry when we wouldn't sign, and his recommendation was "go buy the cheap windows from Lowes or Home Depot, grab a buddy, and slap them in, then call me in 2 years to put in good windows". I think I still have PSSD (post-salesman stress disorder). I also don't want to waste that much time with another estimate.

That leaves me with the Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, and Okna Precision Weld's.

I know Okna's are generally well regarded, although most of the discussion seems to focus on the 500's and my quote was for the 400's. The 400's were Volpe's recommendation over the 500's when I told them that we were probably only going to be in the house for another 15 years or so (it isn't really our "forever" home). The suggestion was to go with the "deluxe" version of the Preceison Welds, because one of our biggest concerns was air infiltration (we have a lot of drafts now, which is part of why we are getting new windows). The specs on those are: U-0.26, SHGC-0.3, VT-0.54, CR-62, Air Infiltration - 0.1, AMMA-R50. Does the 400-series make sense, or is the 500-series REALLY that much better for the Philly area? The installer was recommended by Okna, for what it's worth.

I can't find many reviews of the Interstate or ProVia windows. I like the local installer and the installer has a good reputation, but I am leery about anything that I can't research. Can anyone provide feedback on these windows?

I keep seeing differing opinions on the Berkshire Elite's. Some say they are "decent" and would be "just fine in most homes." Others say the frames are a bit small and flimsy, and that they are an upper-low-grade window at best. But apparently Revere redesigned the windows a year or so ago, and most of the more negative reviews appear to be from before the redesign. The Berkshire Elites are tempting because it would allow us to replace 3 or 4 more windows for basically the same budget. But as I noted above, I don't want a maintenance headache, nor do I want to have to replace them again 5 years from now. Can anyone provide current feedback on the Berkshire Elite's?

I wish I could see statistics for all of the windows side-by-side, along with a few reviews of each.

Thank you in advance for any feedback!


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 Post subject: Re: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:19 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 666
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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You are wasting your time with window world unless you only care about cost and completely ignore quality. Your Okna pricing is very good. I would jump on that if the offer still stands.


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 Post subject: Re: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:21 pm
Posts: 3
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Thanks for the reply. I received my last quote today for a Vytex-manufactured window. The installer (Green Star) says it is a window that is exclusive to them in this area. It has a .22 U factor and a 0.3 air infiltration rating. They are supposed to send me the full statistics for the window later (the estimate was done by phone due to a scheduling error). Their price for 6 windows (installed) is $3150 (note that this is one more window than with the other estimates).

Given the mixed reviews for the Berkshire's, I think I'm going to take them out of the running. At this point, I think it's down to the Okna and the Vytex.

The Vytex installer has generally very positive reviews (4.5+ stars on all the major sites), but has only been in business since 2014. The Okna installer has been in business for 30 or 40 years, but they are 3.5-4 stars. I'm realistic enough to know that a company that has been in business that long will have a set of detractors; that isn't a surprise. So the 3.5-4 stars doesn't really bother me. But what troubled me a bit was when we were discussing the installation plan, the Okna installer said that they don't use foam to seal around the windows. Instead, they use fiberglass batting, because the foam applies too much pressure on the vinyl and can cause it to change shape, which can lead to warranty issues. Everything I've read says that the low-expansion foam really shouldn't be a problem, and is preferable because the foam is closed-cell, which significantly reduces air flow.

I think I may have the Vytex guy come over tomorrow so I can see the window and try to make a list of all the features and specs. Then I'll stop by the Okna guy's showroom (it isn't far from me) so I can see his window again, too, and compare the two "side by side".


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 Post subject: Re: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 666
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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Vytex make a very good window as well and its a very good price. I wouldnt hyperfocus on a few mixed reviews from one installer or another. Unfortunately there are homeowners that just enjoy giving negative reviews. Further, if you install thousands of windows, no matter how good your company is, something eventually going wrong on a job is almost inevitable as much as we try to avoid it.


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 Post subject: Re: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 987
Location: Houston, TX
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AAMA certified foams are not a problem with vinyl windows for pros who know how to use them properly. The contractor who uses fiberglass instead of foam probably doesn't have the ability to use foam appropriately, so I wouldn't push him to do something he doesn't know anything about.


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 Post subject: Re: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:21 pm
Posts: 3
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Thank you both for the quick replies!


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 Post subject: Re: Too many choices- Revere Berkshire, Interstate, ProVia, Okna
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1669
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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I like the 800DX by Okna the best.
The 400DX which you were quoted is a very good window.
We use low expansion W&D foam as it is the best way, not the only way.


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