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 Post subject: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:58 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:17 pm
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After getting quotes on Home Depo 6500 Series, Weather Tight Restorations, Gentek & Weatherbeater, we have settled on two: Imperial LS Series by Soft-Lite and Signature Series by Clear Choice. Both quote double pane, Low-E, argon, super spacer, foam filled frame and interior faux oak for about $5,000 installed for 9 windows; two triple casements 27" x 64" & 27" x 50" plus three single casements 27" x 64".
:?:
How does Softlite Imperial LS and Clear Choice Signature casements compare?
Are Signature Series casements made by Vista Window Co. for Clear Choice?
Is the fine print in the lifetime guarantee really the same?
Should I be looking at triple pane and krypton gas for SE Wisconsin?


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:24 pm 
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Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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They don't.

The Soft-Lite is a superior product.

If you are out of SE Wisconsin, you should try to talk with HomeSealed. You can find him here: http://www.vinyl-replacement-windows.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4146


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:13 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:17 pm
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Thanks Washington, can U offer some reasons why Imperial LS windows are superior? Not much info out there on the Signature casements but Vista Window company who makes them has a good reputation. Details please for this inquiring mind. :?


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:21 pm 
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Vista is not a bad company and window. It is certainly superior to the Silverline options which is who is usually used by Clear Choice.

The Soft-Lite is going to have superior engineering (design pressure, structure, exacting tolerance, and overall strength).

This is less of a consideration on Casements as they are all going to be inherently strong and air tight if they are made by a half decent company.

The Vista window is not bad by any stretch so I think you will be just fine either way.


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:43 pm 
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Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
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I've installed both the Vista the Imperial LS casements. While the Vista isn't bad, there is an overall quality advantage to the Soft-Lite product. Pricing would be the determining factor for me. The welds, frame strength, quality and apperance of the screen, and weatherstripping are better on the LS.


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:20 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:17 pm
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Thanks for the advice. Softlite installer is a local contractor in business 20 years with good references. The Clear Choice installer is out of Milwaukee & has a good BBB rating of A. I supect we'll go with Imperial LS windows for the extra $50/window installed. Appreciate the feedback & will let U know how it turns out.


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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The LS is definitely the superior choice. I'd also worry about installation with the "other guys". Most companies who operate on that type of business model pay their installers between 25-50% less than the going rate. Draw your own conclusions as to what that means for installation quality... $500-$600 installed for a woodgrain casement is a pretty decent price on that product (LS).


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:13 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:17 pm
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Good point! Installation is a critical part of the warranty & that's another reason why we are leaning toward LS windows by local contractor with good references.
One more opinion please. Is the foam 'Super Spacer' a good upgrade from metal spacers?? I hear it helps with condensation at edges of window and seals last longer because it handles thermal expansion/contraction better. Appears to be $25-$35 extra per window. Is it worth it?


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:19 am
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Question for Homesealed on your comment about the installer, so do you think a local contractor does a better installation job than a larger company? That is one of the things we are debating currently. It's a local man who owns his own window and siding company with a few helpers vs a larger window and siding company that has a show room and multiple installers and employees (BBB rating is A+).
Thank you for any comments!


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
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Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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I would either upgrade the spacer to supercept(stainless steel intercept) or the superspacer.

I think that a smaller company has the best chance of providing superior installs.
Look at a couple of example of boths work.

the window nerd


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:56 pm
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Location: Morris County, NJ
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I think generally speaking the owner of the company will always do a better job than anyone else. It's his reputation on the line and ultimately if something goes wrong he's the one who has to fix it anyway so he has tremendous built-in motivation to do it right the first time. However, there are good and great crews who are working for companies as subs but there's no guarantee you will get one. Also, small owner operated companies have less overhead and usually no paid salespeople so they can keep prices lower.


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
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Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
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Well said TRC, I couldn't agree more.


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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IMO, you really want to try to find the best of both worlds. Companies that are too large can often treat you like a number and look at their clients as a revolving door. Companies that are too small are exponentially more likely to be out of business a few years down the road when you need service. I like a nice, established local company that is not too big to neglect the personal customer service, but large enough to inspire confidence.
... Picture yourself as Goldilocks, you don't want too hot or too cold, but just right. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:02 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:11 am
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Imo, a small business that has it's owner on sight working on every job and uses employee's instead of subs would be better at what it does.This would not be the case if the owner is using subs that are better than themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs Clear Choice Signature Casements
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:39 pm 
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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I've been an employer, employee, a sub, and an owner. In my experience, the whole "employee installer" thing is not only a scare tactic, but the opposite is actually true. If I am a highly skilled window installer and install a window complete in about 1.5 hrs, am I going to hook up with a local company as a sub where I can make $100 per window, or get hired as an employee for $20 per hour? It is simple math. The best installers generally refuse to be employees.
On the company size, the last thing that I want to do is step on anyone's toes, but while you will likely get a great install from a "one man band" (owner is the installer), the fact of the matter is that most installers are just not good businessmen and they fail within a few years. The exceptions to that rule would be the guys that eventually get off the jobsites and guide their company to success , and those that just stay small and are content to do a limited amount of work. Ironically enough, those guys typically will supplement the limited amount of work that they generate on their own by subbing some work from other companies.


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