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 Post subject: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 8:23 pm 

Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:27 pm
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Live in Houston. got two close quotes to replace 30 yr old aluminum windows. What is quality comparison between Simonton "grand estates" and the Home Craftman 8100?? Also, how does the side thickness (wall to glass frame) compare?? :?


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 9:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1400
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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Ask the vendors to give you the edge of frame to visible glass thickness.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 11:04 pm 
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Ask for the dimensions and look at the VT numbers?

Have you tried contacting Randy from the boards yet? He is, without question, the best window contractor in Houston.

You can find him here in this thread: http://www.vinyl-replacement-windows.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5468


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 6:10 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
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Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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Yep. I most definitely agree that you do yourself a disservice if you do not contact Randy.
Lots of great product, great installs, excellent person.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 8:49 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Avoid the Home Craftsman window, it's pocket sill, thin vinyl walls, minimal internal chambers, and poor performance ratings make it a bad choice.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 9:43 am 
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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+1 on talking to Randy. The Simonton is the better window of those that you are looking at, however Randy has a few choices that easily out-class both. Choosing a quality window is imperative in a climate like yours.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:52 pm
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Hi,
I am also looking at replacement windows and one of the companies is AWP Windows (if it's wrong to list the name please let me know and I will edit my post). I am only listing the name so that you can look it up and see the product they sell. It seems like they sell windows made by Home Craftsman. You guys are saying this window has a pocket sill and not so good ratings. However, reading through the website of the above mentioned company, it clearly states: "True-sloped Sill". I thought that is not the same with "pocket sill" but I could be wrong. Also, the ratings I see about it are not any worse than the Simonton 5500 Reflections series which I received in a quote from another company.
Also, regarding the aluminum reinforcement. Shouldn't I be glad about it and rely on it more than the strength of vinyl / plastic? It's almost like the radiant barrier which is aluminum foil. Some companies enforce that and put a mesh in between two aluminum foils. So the mesh provides strength but the aluminum reflects the heat. In windows, I would think it's good to have a good reinforcement while the glass package does the rest of the work. I am no specialist and I am looking to make a good decision, any help and input you might give will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Sam


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 832
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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If you're looking at their new double hung, it is a sloped sill apparently. The vast majority of their sales are the single hung, which is a pocket sill. I haven't seen a cut-a-way of the double hung yet, but I do have one of their single hung. The vinyl is thin, the chambers are few and large, and the water drains through the frame.

Aluminum reinforcement is a must in our climate, but so is a low AL rating. Ask for a copy of the AAMA report so that you can see for yourself how the window performs. In our hot/humid climate, air leakage is an important consideration as both heat and humidity put a load on the HVAC.

The basic numbers (U-Value, SHGC, VT) may indeed be comparable with Simonton, but then I consider Simonton to be a mid-grade vinyl window anyway. Where Simonton has always excelled is in customer service. The numbers I am more concerned with are Air Leakage and Design Pressure.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1400
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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AL/AI and DP are found under structural test data.
I let you know that because it is not normally on the NFRC stickers.
Randy is steering you right.
Listen, Consider, Heed


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:52 pm
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I can not find much technical information apart from one of the claims on their website in regards to the DP rating, "Plus/Minus 65". I will call tomorrow and request that report.
I mentioned Simonton 5500 for comparison reasons as this brand is quite reputable and that window in particular scores fairly good ratings. While it is not the best I also think it is not the worst. Just to clarify something here, I am looking for a good window but also for a good value price / quality. I am tight on budget and at this point I am even wondering if it's worth doing this. Here is the thing, with a few thousands I can have a garage apartment done and rent it out for a few hundreds a month. Or, install windows and save up to $50 a month in electric bill. It's just difficult to understand some of these prices I got. Here's an example: one person representing one window company, comes out to my house and tell me NT Window Executive Series (SilverGuard3 Glass with 3/4" IGU, 90% Argon filler, Triple Loe-E, EnviroSeal NXT spacer) is perfect for me and the total would be $11,000 (Yikes). Then we switch to only side and back of the house and the total comes out to $5,600 for aprox 160 sq ft of windows. I asked if there is another decent but cheaper option and questioned whether or not these windows are too good for me and too much for my budget. To my surprise he said there is nothing else he can offer and these windows are not too much or too good for me.
Then he tried to explain that for installation alone on 12 windows he has to charge anywhere between $2,000 and $2,300 and gave me all sorts of reasons for that. To me it seems a lot, that is 40% of the total cost.
I bored you enough, the question is: what would be your recommendation for a decent window that won't break the bank but also won't break itself in a couple of years?
Thank you in advance for your time.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 832
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Both the SImonton 5500 and the NT Energy Master would be better choices, in my opinion. Just about anything is better than Home Craftsman. Also, while flooring and granite is priced by the square foot, windows are not. The labor prices you were quoted are not unreasonable at all.

I'm surprised that the company separated out labor from materials at all.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:57 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:52 pm
Posts: 5
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I understand that with windows it's not the same as with counter tops or floors, I was just trying to provide the surface that will have to be covered by windows.
I think he separated the cost because I said that it is too much for me and I thought I would save money by going with a company that sells and installs. But that it looks I would be better off buying directly from ABC Supply and hire a crew to do the installation. That is when he tried to explain his charges and broke down the cost of the job.
You were correct on that company above, I called this morning and they do sell mostly the single hung Home Craftsman 8110 which has a pocket sill not a true slopped sill like the double hung. Well then, mystery solved, at least with the sill. I have yet to find and see the performance ratings on this window, on their website and on the manufacturer's website. The guy tells me on the phone it's on their website or it should be, I had to tell him it's not and if he finds it to please let me know. When asked about the AI rating he said he does not know it, he will have to look into it, hmm. How does one sell windows and does not know one of the top 4 benefits/features for a window in Houston?
My issue at the moment is that I can find many offerings for a single hung. I got a quote for that NT window in single hung but it costs more then Simonton DH 5500. Is NT that much better that it justifies being more expensive yet only single hung?
The only other single hung options I got are Simonton Pro Finish Builder series and Burris windows. Mixed reviews and feedback on both of these, still looking though.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 832
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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The truth is that very few window salespeople know much about windows at all. They know just enough to sell, and since most homeowners don't do much research, that's typically enough.

The NT Energy Master single hung should be a little less expensive than the Simonton 5500, but of course the company has the right to set their prices as they see fit. While I'm not a big fan of Burris' vinyl window, you could do much worse, like the Home Craftsman. Might be worth investigating further since you're on such a limited budget.


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1883
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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SamSam wrote:
I think he separated the cost because I said that it is too much for me and I thought I would save money by going with a company that sells and installs. But that it looks I would be better off buying directly from ABC Supply and hire a crew to do the installation.

You are absolutely right, it would be cheaper because you would essentially be acting as the General Contractor. There is a substantial amount of work and accountability that will come with that role such as:
-measuring and ordering the materials accurately (huge one)
-providing the miscellaneous materials such as coil, caulk, woodwork, fasteners, shims, insulation foam, etc, etc.
-coordinating the schedule of materials and labor
-managing the installers
-being the "middle-man" when there are any future issues that arise (the installer will blame the product, while the manufacturer will blame the installation)

In addition, the top quality products and installers are generally not available directly to homeowners. You really take on an awful lot just to save a few bucks, so the real question is: Is it a better value?... That is up to you to decide.

I agree with all of Randy's advice so far. Whether or not you consider him for your project, he has provided tremendously valuable advice. :)


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 Post subject: Re: replacement comparision
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:52 pm
Posts: 5
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Yes, good advice and thank you all for your input and suggestions.
So today I met with one guy from the company I mentioned earlier and had a chance to see the Home Craftsman window in person. Not too impressed and I also find the pocket sill to be an odd design. While it somehow makes the window look more flush or flat on the front, I can't help but think that those drainage channels might or will get clogged at one point including the weep holes. Also, the opening part of the window did not feel tight when closed. I was able to move it slightly back and forth , up and down. And on the Air Infiltration rating, still no word. They either do not know the number or do not want to say it because it is not good. The quote was almost identical as one I received for NT Window Executive window. However, on the Home Craftsman they would include tempered glass on a 59"x93" picture window, rain obscure glass on 3 bath windows and triple strength glass over double strength glass. I think the last one is a pretty big upgrade.
However, I am not sure it is worth it, I do not like that pocket sill design and the fact that the window had a little bit of give, left and right and up and down. I was also expecting them to be lower in price. Even when I mentioned I do not want to have triple over double strength, he said it's included and that's that. Oh well...
Almost forgot, on the installation part he said they do not use any minimum expanding foam when they put in the window. The reason for that is because the space in between walls is there to help the house 'breath'. They do seal it from the inside and outside, but not around the frame of the window. What are your thoughts on that?


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