Hi windows folks,
I live in a down-scale condo complex of almost 200 units on the San Francisco Peninsula (where "down-scale" means that a 3/2 condo is selling for about $550K!!!). Some other homeowners and I are looking to replace our old aluminum windows with vinyl windows. The board has never allowed vinyl windows until now, mostly because they believed that vinyl windows would look too different from the old aluminum windows from the outside.
Some context: Our buildings are wood siding. Windows to be replaced are horizontal sliders of about 70" X 40". The board insists that they be installed "new construction" (nail-on).
One of our homeonwers found the Simonton 7300 series windows, which the board approved as being a good quality window and not looking toooo different from the aluminum windows. She got a price of about $1000 installed per window, plus painting the trim, plus $245 for the scissor lift (which would be split among everyone doing their windows on a single day). The installer is a construction company that is very highly regarded.
Since then, some other homeonwers have found some less expensive windows that they think may be just as good. Among these are Alpine and International. No one has yet gotten a quote on what these windows would cost installed.
I have four main questions:
(1) Does the price for the Simonton windows installed seem high, or does it seem about right given the high-priced nature of this area?
(2) What is the difference in terms of likelihood of problems between the Simonton or similar window and the less expensive windows (which the installer called "contractor specials")? What are the things that can fail in a vinyl window and cause problems?
(3) I've tried to get some information locally and keep hearing "Milgard, Milgard, Milgard." But the board has not wanted to allow Milgard windows because the sashes are so wide that they look really different from the old aluminum windows. What is the difference in quality for Simonton and Milgard windows of a similar price?
(4) A colleague at work told me that some vinyl windows can have panes that are very difficult to replace. Is that the case? If so, is the best type of design to hold the glass in the sash?
Thank you soooo much for your help. If there is other information that you think would be helpful, I'd love to have that too!