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 Post subject: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:43 pm
Posts: 2
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WOW, has this process been a pain. I have 5 double hung windows that need to be replaced in Chicago. Here are my estimates so far:

Home Depot - Simonton Vantage Point 6500 - $4966
Feldco - "Sophia Series" window - $3220
Pella - No idea. He never wrote back to me on his estimate
Gilkey- High Performance Windows (23 chambers and triple pane glass) - $4250
Chicago Window Pros, they would install Lindsay Windows, the Sunview type - $2750
I also have another company coming next Tuesday. It is a company called Window Wizard

There are two issues I am having with this whole process. 1. They pretty much all give the same salesperson pitch. Lifetime warranty, we have 23 chambers, we have 17 chambers, we fill our extrusion with insulation, we test each and every person for use of drugs, etc... Oh and don't get me started with the warranty garbage. "We have a lifetime warranty!" "We have a lifetime warranty THAT is TRANSFERABLE!" "We MAKE our own windows so you only have to deal with us." Blah Blah blah. Want I want is a window that will last for 15-20 years. I do not need a lifetime warranty. Last time I checked, EVERYTHING breaks. Just from wear and tear. Don't try and sell me something that I know is B.S. just to get the sale. Tell me the truth.

It is all a big song and dance and very time consuming. The heat lamp thing was pretty funny too. Needless to say, I have concerns dealing with a salesperson when choosing what window but then I have to deal with a foreman for the installation and if I have an issue, I have to deal with the service department. If I could find a company that had a project manager that dealt with everything, then I wold do with THAT company.

2. I am only going to live in this condo for the most 3 years, so I really do not need the top of the line window. BUT I do want the top of the line installation. I think there are more problems with just the installation problems vs. the window. I just wish there was a way to find a good installation person. Has anyone used Angie's List? The Better Business Bureau website is pretty much useless.

In the end, I may just go with the cheapest, watch them install the windows like a hawk and be done with this. I enjoy buying a car more than having to deal with windows. UGh

bvlado12000

p.s. Sorry for the grumbling. I had to vent. On to happier things.


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 Post subject: Re: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:19 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 406
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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do not go with the cheapest, that will be a total waste of money whether you are there for 3 years or 3 weeks; windows do differ greatly.
the best way to start is by looking at the numbers. i like using double pane glass for comps.
Ufactor should be .28 or less
air leakage rate on double hung of .07 or lower
DP rating of 50 or higher
then make sure its a truely welded sloped sill and NOT a snap in sloped or a pocket.

i believe there is a pro who frequents this board who goes by the name "Windows4U" that serves your area.. he is a true pro and also a very nice guy. trust me, you wont get a used car salesman pitch from him. do a search of his name snd click his contact button.


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 Post subject: Re: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:12 pm 

Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:58 pm
Posts: 14
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I would definitely recommend contacting Dave aka Windows4U. I'm in Elmhurst and Dave is who I ultimately chose with an Okna 500 window. My windows should get installed next week.

Angie's List isn't a bad place to look, but I found this site helpful as to the window. For example, I found a local company with fantastic reviews, but they sold the Alside Sheffield, and once learning more about that product from this site, decided I definitely didn't want that window and unfortunately that model was the only one this particular installer sold.

Personally, I was turned off by the type of advertising done by Chicago Window Pros - though I do like the Sunview window by Lindsay (with its slimmer profile). Only 5 windows and 3 year timeframe? Based on your current list, I'd go with the Sunview - assuming you know what you're looking for while, as you say, watching them like a hawk. But I'd still try and find Dave. I'd just give you his website address, but don't think this forum allows that. You can page down on the topics and find my post from a few months ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:24 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:43 pm
Posts: 2
Offline
Allmost Done,


Thank you. I read your post and it looks like you went through the whole process of finding a good window. I looked at the OKNA Window and they do look very nice. I have tried to reach out to Windows4U at his website. It sounds like he is very busy and hopefully he gets in contact with me soon.

If you don't mind me asking, what was the price of the OKNA compared to the Sunrise that you were originally going to go with. Also, did you have to order the windows yourself and windows4U is going to install them OR did windows4U take all the measurements, place the order and install them? I am not sure I trust myself in dimensioning my windows and ordering the correct ones.

Thanks again for your post.


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 Post subject: Re: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:26 am 

Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:58 pm
Posts: 14
Offline
I ended up getting 23 windows and a sliding patio door, so I'm pretty sure my pricing per window on the same products would be better than you'd get with 5 windows. Since Dave posts here, I don't think I should specifically say what I got with him, but do know that I got my Sunrise quote down to about $575/window and Dave was able to beat that, and I got a much much lower price on the door. This included lead-safe installation. My lowest price, with lead safe install, was about $445/window with the Alside Sheffield. If that window wasn't so darn big and ugly, for your situation of a 3 year timeframe, that wouldn't necessarily be a terrible choice.

Dave took all of the measurements and one of his strengths is the detail he goes in to the product and installation. He's also very knowledgeable with other products, not only other brands that he sells, but as well as some that he doesn't. I liked that he didn't put down the Lindsay window, for example.

He does seem pretty busy lately, but last night I got an email confirming my intallation starting on the 7th - which is right when we thought it would be when we signed up.


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 Post subject: Re: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1886
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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bvlado, your experience has been pretty typical thus far. If you want to be satisfied with the results of your project, you want to get a quality window AND a quality installation. One or the other will be wasted money as masterext alluded to above. Finding a quality window is actually pretty easy despite all of the "salesmanship" that you've described above, as the non-biased, black and white performance ratings (both thermal and structural) will tell you exactly how all of those fancy features will benefit you.
On the installation, while it is certainly reasonable to monitor your installers very closely, do you really know what you are looking for? You need to TRUST that the company that you hire. Perhaps you'll have different points of contact for the various aspects of the project, but whether you deal with a project manager or the owner him/herself, you should have someone that you have direct access to throughout the project, and know that they are dedicated to quality and customer satisfaction.


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 Post subject: Re: Vinyl Replacement Windows, this process is not fun
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 3709
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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bvlado12000 wrote:
WOW, has this process been a pain. I have 5 double hung windows that need to be replaced in Chicago. Here are my estimates so far:

Home Depot - Simonton Vantage Point 6500 - $4966
Feldco - "Sophia Series" window - $3220
Pella - No idea. He never wrote back to me on his estimate
Gilkey- High Performance Windows (23 chambers and triple pane glass) - $4250
Chicago Window Pros, they would install Lindsay Windows, the Sunview type - $2750
I also have another company coming next Tuesday. It is a company called Window Wizard

There are two issues I am having with this whole process. 1. They pretty much all give the same salesperson pitch. Lifetime warranty, we have 23 chambers, we have 17 chambers, we fill our extrusion with insulation, we test each and every person for use of drugs, etc... Oh and don't get me started with the warranty garbage. "We have a lifetime warranty!" "We have a lifetime warranty THAT is TRANSFERABLE!" "We MAKE our own windows so you only have to deal with us." Blah Blah blah. Want I want is a window that will last for 15-20 years. I do not need a lifetime warranty. Last time I checked, EVERYTHING breaks. Just from wear and tear. Don't try and sell me something that I know is B.S. just to get the sale. Tell me the truth.


The same could be said for just about any industry/purchasing decision. Your feedback on window companies is well founded though. They create confusion and supply the information that is most self serving.

This is why it is imperative that the customer do one of two things:
- Educate themselves on the process, performance, and finer points of window replacements...or
- Work with a window contractor that you trust and that gives you the straight scoop.

You probably already have some inklings about the different contractors and about which salesperson you think gave you the straightest answers.

Just having a cursory knowledge of the windows might help you sort through even better as compared to solely relying on your gut.

A 15-year life-cycle is a minimum requirement as far as I am concerned. A well designed replacement window should live every bit of that and more.

bvlado12000 wrote:
It is all a big song and dance and very time consuming. The heat lamp thing was pretty funny too. Needless to say, I have concerns dealing with a salesperson when choosing what window but then I have to deal with a foreman for the installation and if I have an issue, I have to deal with the service department. If I could find a company that had a project manager that dealt with everything, then I wold do with THAT company.


While the Heat Lamp demo is a great "Pop and Sizzle" sales demo, it is hardly a good evaluation tool (I know you know this but future readers should be made aware of the fact that it purely theatrics).

Most companies (including ours) is separated out into different levels. We try to be as effective as possible and I am not sure that I would hinge a decision on what company to pick based on dealing with one person. While it may be easier in theory, we have found that we are more efficient they more that we separate out the divisions and stay organized that way.

bvlado12000 wrote:
2. I am only going to live in this condo for the most 3 years, so I really do not need the top of the line window. BUT I do want the top of the line installation. I think there are more problems with just the installation problems vs. the window. I just wish there was a way to find a good installation person. Has anyone used Angie's List? The Better Business Bureau website is pretty much useless.

In the end, I may just go with the cheapest, watch them install the windows like a hawk and be done with this. I enjoy buying a car more than having to deal with windows. UGh

bvlado12000

p.s. Sorry for the grumbling. I had to vent. On to happier things.


We have this question quite a bit (i.e. short duration ownership of the home and not overbuying on the window decision).

Overbuying is a problem regardless of the ownership timeline on the home. At the end of the day, you might find (provided you can sort though all the quotes and information) that the best window of the bunch is moderately prices and someone selling something that belongs in a barn is the most expensive.

Don't use price as the sole determinant of what is the "Best".

Also, be aware that putting in a cheaper looking window may cost you money in the end. Home Buyers today are a well informed bunch and may see a cheap window as a poor reflection on the home. Yes, it will likely be better and an improvement over what you have currently, however, if it looks cheap, it looks cheap.

Home Buyers will notice quality and the price difference will likely be worth the investment.

The BBB can be a good cursory evaluation tool, however, recent information on that organization has indicated that the ratings may not be as useful as previously thought.

Angie's List seems to be a good tool for many customers.

If you feel like you need to watch the install crew like a hawk, that is a poor commentary on the company and your choice. You will also need to familiarize yourself with proper installation details and workmanship if you go this route.

What may look like an acceptable install to the consumer, can be 100% wrong in professional terms.

Buying a car is a bit easier many times. There are multiple evaluation tools and informational sites dedicated to sorting through all the details.

I would argue that this site can, if used properly, provide you with every bit of information you might need just as completely.


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