Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

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travel21
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Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#1 Post by travel21 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:07 pm

I recently bought a 2 family house in northeastern NJ and as part of the renovation process I am replacing ~30, 32" x 69" inefficient windows. I am planning on going with vinyl replacement windows and I am trying to find a mid range product, but the more vendors that I meet with, and the more I read, the more frustrating and confused I become. The vendors and quotes that have been given to me are the following:
*Hanson Brothers / Ideal Windows of Bayonne, NJ (U factor of .29, lifetime warranty) for $375 per window installed
*Universal Windows Direct of Fairlawn, NJ (triple payned glass, U factor of .27, lifetime warranty) for $375 per window installed
*Castle Windows of Parsippany, NJ (U factor of .29, lifetime warranty) for $350 per window installed
*Tri State Window Factory of Clifton, NJ (U factor of .24, lifetime warranty) for $500 per window installed
*JJ Windows and Door / Pella of Elmwood Park, NJ (fiberglass windw, U factor of .28, lifetime warranty) for $800 per window installed.
Between U factors, warranties, price, reviews, etc. I am truly struggling with what to do. Everyone tells you their windows are the best, but the more I learn the more frustrated I become. Hopefully help is out there for me.

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Delaware Mike
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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#2 Post by Delaware Mike » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:23 pm

Those are very low and suspect installed prices on most of the vinyl quotes. Can I assume that your install is very basic and doesn't require any exterior capping?

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HomeSealed
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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#3 Post by HomeSealed » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:27 pm

First of all, let me just say that you have yet to speak with the best Jersey has to offer. Masterext is a board contributor servicing your area, and you can find him here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5350
Just click the get a quote button next to his name.
Secondly, I'll say that any quote you have that is under $400 should be thrown out, as even that price would be suspect. A quality window and install really cannot be had under that, and in many circumstances even more.
Lastly, the way to compare is to look at structural ratings in addition to thermal. In NJ, the general rule is the you want the U value as low as possible(.28 or lower in double pane), the shgc # higher (.25 or higher), Air infiltration lower (below.1) and DP 50 or higher. All of those in addition to a true welded, sloped sill, will put you in a great window.

travel21
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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#4 Post by travel21 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:12 pm

The quotes for installation includes capping and insulation in the window pockets.

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#5 Post by Bill » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:51 pm

I would not even consider Castle and their expander on all four sides of the window install.
Ideal windows would certainly be mid grade.
I would expect a better ufactor from a triple pane. Did Universal reveal who manufactures the window they offer?
We have a lot of companies in NJ offering windows under $400.00 most are not very good but certainly cheap.
I always thought that I was the best NJ had to offer.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#6 Post by HomeSealed » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:02 pm

:lol:
Universal offers the Polaris Thermalweld (at least in most markets), although the Ultraweld would be my only recommendation from that manufacturer.

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#7 Post by TheWindowNerd » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:43 am

There are many great products and contractors to choose from in NJ.
In vinyl I would take a look at soft lite, Highmark, sunrise. All those mentioned will meet the high empirical standards that home sealed has mentioned.
Don't give up, you are becoming educated about two very important things, the right product and the right contractor.

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#8 Post by buddy110 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:13 am

I'll agree with pretty much all the advice you've gotten here so far. Less than $400 is a red flag IMO. Contact masterext if you can. He'll steer you in the right direction.

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#9 Post by Windows on Washington » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:18 pm

windowxpertsplus wrote:i agree with any window under $400. would probably not serve you well if your looking for quality. i am familiar, as most on this board are, with Castle Windows and find them to be average at best. Universal windows is a relatively new company and is compared to window world often, neither has a great reputation. The Tri-state window seems very interesting with a U-value of .24 at that price, Im assuming its vinyl, JJ windows with a fiberglass(not sure which manufacturer) seems to be priced right, and Hanson with the ideal window, average in # and performance seems to be priced ok as well. Was there any company/window that you liked more than another? Did anyone seem to stand out or give you something different? Maybe that will help with your decision. Hope this helps
That window at the U-Factor of 0.24 is the Hard coat Low-e combo.

While it does give some nice "numbers" type data, I do not recommend it at all because the condensation resistance suffers considerably with the Hard coat low-e. Even an insulated double pane window will sweat like a champ and you will not be happy with that performance.

That glass package is a great numbers grab but many manufacturers got away from it just for those condensation resistance issues.

I would make sure the window that you get is sub 0.30 in a double pane and has a solid air number (under 0.10).

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#10 Post by TheWindowNerd » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:00 am

The best advice for you that I have seen to to contact Masterext through this web site.
Find some of his post and click his "get a quote" button.

windowxpertsplus

Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#11 Post by windowxpertsplus » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:48 am

I have used a U .24 on many occasions and have never experienced any condensation resistance at all. As a matter of fact my customers have told me how much they loved their new windows, i called one last night just to make sure ( i did the job a few years ago) and he said the windows have been great. No air leakage no drafts, i would say that is a success.

travel21
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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#12 Post by travel21 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:51 pm

Some good information from everyone, very much appreciated! I am meeting with another vendor on Monday and he is going to show me the Okna line, so we will see how it measures up. I don't know who manufactures the windows from Universal, but the sales rep keeps the pressure up (keeps lowering the price, trying to sweeten the offer, telling me the deal ends in a day or two). If anything, when I finally decide who to go with it will be a more informed decision than it would have been had I chosen a week ago.

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#13 Post by HomeSealed » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:03 pm

travel21 wrote:Some good information from everyone, very much appreciated! I am meeting with another vendor on Monday and he is going to show me the Okna line, so we will see how it measures up. I don't know who manufactures the windows from Universal, but the sales rep keeps the pressure up (keeps lowering the price, trying to sweeten the offer, telling me the deal ends in a day or two). If anything, when I finally decide who to go with it will be a more informed decision than it would have been had I chosen a week ago.
I am not a fan of those tactics at all. It would probably disqualify that dealer for me, especially since their offering (Polaris Thermalweld ) is not going to fare well against the other premium choices. Even the entry level line from Okna puts it to shame, and the offerings of Softlite and Sunrise do as well.
Everyone will want to talk to you about gimmicks and fluff, but I cannot stress enough that the truth is found in the numbers as I specified above. Condensation resistance is an important concern as well, and that number should be as high as possible. A hard coat Low-e coating is not at all desirable, and is only acceptable in specific circumstances such as blinds between the glass, or special climate considerations.

travel21
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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#14 Post by travel21 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:59 pm

The final decision seems to be made and I am pretty sure I am going with a combination of Okna 400 series on one floor (the rental floor), and the 800 series on the other floor (my level). I am comfortable with the windows, the performance numbers on the line, the rep who showed them and the reputation his company has, and the reviews on the window and the installer. Thanks to all for their input and the information this site has provided. I found it all very helpful, and made my navigation of the window minefield a lot easier. Without it, I am fairly sure I would have ended up with a different decision, which I might have regretted.

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Re: Frustrated and confused:trying to find the right replacement

#15 Post by HomeSealed » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:07 pm

Excellent choice. I'm sure that you will be very pleased with your decision... Be sure to post back with your thoughts after the install. :D

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