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 Post subject: grid patterns....need input ASAP
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:16 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:36 am
Posts: 13
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Hey everyone......looking for your help once again.

We are very happy with our decision between the two installers we were looking at and placed an order today for 19 Certainteed Bryn Mawr II windows.

Have decided to add the between-the-glass sculptured grids but have questions regarding the pattern. We are looking at 3 panes wide/2 panes high (for each sash) vs. 4 panes wide/2 panes high. Without boring you with all the window sizes, it boils down to do we want 10.5-12 inch square panes or 8-9 inch square panes?

He will place the order tomorrow so I would really appreciate any and all input as soon as you can. THANKS!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:49 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
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Do you have other windows that share the same side of the house? You should try to match to those or perhaps surrounding properties if you are close to other housing. At resale time, if the windows look odd within the neighborhood, it could pull your price down. Some people like lots of little panes, others like the open-picture window approach. Ask yourself how much visual grid work you want to look through to see outside and start from that. Colonial style houses look good with multiple smaller panes, western ranch style houses look odd that way. Your house will look better one way or another - take a photo and get some tracing paper and play with different looks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:52 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:25 am
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What really matters is which look you prefer. Personally, I like the look of fewer divisions, and it lets a tiny bit more light in, but you should decide for yourself what you prefer to look every day in your own home!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:21 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:36 am
Posts: 13
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Thanks for the help.

Mikey105, this all started with us trying to make the look as uniform as possible. The LR windows on the front call for 4 over 2 (according to Certainteed's guidleines) but the DR windows, also on the front, measure out for 3 over 2 (but are very close to the 4 over 2 measurements) so I thought we should go with the 4/2 in the DR to keep the look clean. The DR actually runs the width of the house so there is an identical set of DH side by side on the back of the house as well.

I'm with you, InfoSponge, in that I thought I would like the look of fewer divisions as well but 1 foot wide square panes just sounded really big. The room most affected, the DR, gets a ton of light so that is not too much of a concern. Now that I'm thinking of it, the LR is the one starved for sun so maybe changing that to the 3 over 2 (and keeping the DR 3/2) is an idea.

aagghh. what a pain. I just want to make the right decision and I don't get a second chance. Like the idea about tracing out the different looks. I'm going to try that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Alabama
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Renthead:

Was wondering what you had finally decided when I saw your post about the grids. You've gotten sound advice on that issue so there's nothing for me to add but I was curious -- It's been a month since you said you had decided on the BM II's with the more experienced contractor. What was the delay? Buyer's paranoia after reading more horror stories on the Discussion Board or were you just waiting until it got REALLY hot? :lol:
As for me, I'm still waiting for an install date (not complaining, just stating - the contractor said it would be 5-6 weeks and it's only been 4). Still, as my A/C bill will attest, the sooner the better!!

AlaCoyote


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:44 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:36 am
Posts: 13
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How's it going Alacoyote? Thanks for checking in.

You're right, we did make our decision almost a month ago but gave ourselves a week to see how it felt. Then between our vacation and life in general....well, here we are :D The more I deal with this contractor/installer, the better I feel. Night and day difference between the other guy. Who, by the way, did not take well to our decision and mounted quite a mailing campaign to change our minds. Really just validated our choice and I'm sure we'll be happy with the Certainteed-or god I hope so.

You know, I was really looking forward to the new windows for winter (we've actually gotten ice build up...on the inside!) but man it's hot/humid and the sun just beats in. Can't wait.

Please post after your installation....will be interested in how it goes.

Mikey105---Excellent idea. I cut out "grids" and taped them in the two different patterns and it really gives a good idea of what the look would be. Still haven't decided but this definitely helped-Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Alabama
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Good, bad or insane, I'll be back with an update once my install is complete. Please do the same once your install is finished. I'm sure you will be satisfied with your windows and hopefully they'll be in well before the winter winds come whipping down from the North!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 21
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Renthead - glad the photo idea was helpful. We have been experimenting with grid patterns also, and our dining room runs almost 50% across the front as well. That is a 12 ft by 4 ft window, and I wanted to have a single window, but suppliers all balked at the width, and the one that would do it said NO to grids because they would sag over time. So we broke the thing into 3 sections, a large picture window in the center and 38 inch side windows all being fixed picture windows. Wife and I knocked back and forth on grid patterns and we finally landed on 2 vertical strips and 2 horizontal ones so they form a small box at the corner of each window. It maximizes the clear glass area, yet provides a "touch" of grid work at the same time.

Let me ask you another question. You seem to be very satisfied going forward with your installer. What gives you the confidence with them that they are going to give you an excellent installation? Also, have you looked at any of their previous jobs or talked with their customers?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:36 am
Posts: 13
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That's a huge amount of window! I like your pattern--unique. I get what you mean about a "touch" of grid work. I fully expected to prefer the pattern with more grids but it may a bit too busy.

In regards to my comments about our installer....

I was referring to a previous thread I had started where I questioned whether to go with a window we loved (Great Lakes) but had concerns on the seller/installer vs a window we still liked (Certainteed) but an installation crew with 15 years together. We went with the latter and at this point are happy we did. Granted, we won't know for sure until our time comes.

Yes, I did look at previous jobs and talked with other customers. I have been all over the Internet for the last 3 months. I spoke with the BBB, I even spoke with our town's Building Dept. Mostly it came down to the fact we just clicked with this contractor and installer more than any of the others. A gut feeling if you will. Now, I could be back here in 6-8 weeks complaining about my lousy installation but I don't know what I would do differently. You do as much homework and preparation ahead of time as you can and then it's a leap of faith.


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 Post subject: There are No Guarantees
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:18 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Alabama
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Mikey105:

Renthead and I joined this Discussion Board at about the same time and seem to be on the same page as far as our methodology for evaluating and choosing an installation contractor. I echo renthead's advice on making a good selection and add these additional points to consider during the selection process. These items assume that the contractor is also the one from whom you will purchase the windows.

1. Research the windows themselves first and narrow your list of options down to 2 or 3 choices. Not all manufacturers or models will be available in your area, so there's no sense in spending too much time on them. You can run a search on this Discussion Board and its sister site (Tim Johnson's Replacement Window Discussion Board) and get a pretty good feel about how certain manufacturers and models are viewed in terms of quality, appearance, etc. Also, go to the website for those manufacturers for more photos, warranty info, etc. I will say that I spent a lot more time making this decision than I ever have buying a new car, because I already have a good feel when comparing Toyota quality to Kia quality. On the other hand, I knew literally nothing about vinyl replacement windows two months ago. That's why upfront research is so important (rather than after signing a contract and expecting to learn everything during the three-day rescission period!)

2. Learn as much as you can about vinyl replacement windows BEFORE you begin inviting sales reps/contractors to your home for demonstrations. That way, if they start using pressure tactics, make inflated claims about their windows or unfairly criticize other manufacturers/models, you'll be able to better recognize what they are doing. You'll start getting that "gut instinct" that tells you whether their honesty/integrity is questionable. Follow that instinct -- you have it for a reason. This Discussion Board has a lot of posts describing these types of tactics, so I won't list them again here. It's expected that the contractor will claim that their product is better than the competitor's product, but are they spending more time trashing the competition than they are explaining and demonstrating their own product?

3. When you ask the contractor for the following things, how responsive is he/she?

a. Giving you a detailed, written estimate and not varying from it (absent substantial changes in your model choice, options, etc.)

b. Giving you a detailed warranty and explaining it in English (e.g. what does "lifetime" really mean?)

c. Calling you back when he/she says they will and/or responding promptly to your e-mails.

d. Answering all of your follow-up questions.

4. Ask the contractor for other jobs they have completed in your area. Go look at the houses and talk to the homeowners at length, not only about whether they like the windows but how the install went. For example, did the installers show up when they said they would or (as sadly too many home improvement contractors seem to do) disappear without explanation for hours or days? Did they clean up each day and haul away the old windows and construction materials, or put them on the curb or in your trash cans for pickup? Did they promptly repair any damage caused without follow-up? Ask them if they know of others in your area who used the contractor and talk to them (just in case the contractor gave you a limited list of "satisfied" customers, in which case your gut instinct should kick in again).

5. Ask how long they estimate it will be before your install would begin. This is more important than simply how long it will take for the windows to be manufactured and delivered. If the answer is 2-3 weeks from the purchase date, I'd be cautious. The windows will probably take that long (at least) to arrive from the manufacturer, so are they really going to install them immediately upon arrival?

I'll give you one example during my selection process that eventually led me to the contractor I selected. Most, if not all, local governments (including the one where I live) require that a construction permit be pulled and posted on site before the job begins. One sales rep said (incorrectly) that it wasn't required. Another said that although "technically" it was required, the inspectors were too busy and they would "probably" never know, but if one happened to come by they'd go pull a permit then (and hope that the inspector didn't shut them down in the meantime; I could envision the big hole in my house where a window was taken out, sitting for several hours or a day while waiting for the permit to arrive . . .). The contractor I selected stated up front, with no prompting from me, that they would pull a permit in advance. Seems relatively minor, but it's an example of something that gives you the "gut feel" about a contractor.

In short, as renthead noted, there are no guarantees and I too might be griping about my contractor in the next few weeks. If you feel comfortable throughout the process and the other customers you talk to were pleased, then that's about all you can do at that point (other than pray). Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:36 am
Posts: 13
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Excellent advice Alacoyote, particularly #2.

I honestly just have to shake my head at how similar our "window stories" are. We had the exact same exchange with the contractor we ultimately chose regarding a building permit. He was the first to even mention a permit needed to be pulled (although he was the fourth window rep we spoke with) or we would never have known. This would explain why the clerk at the City Building Dept. was extremely positive about him and his practices. She was actually very insightful and objective and I got good information from her.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 21
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Alacoyote - Thanks so much for that installer information - that was VERY detailed and helpful. I think we have touched on most of your excellent suggestions along the pathway to the purchase. The big scary thing is that the pricing for comprable products in this application came down to a spread of about $2500 between the highest bidder and the lower end.

I have tried everything I can think of to find information on HOME DEPOT installations, including the local Angie's List in Portland Oregon, and I can't find anything where they have not performed well in providing the windows and using subs for the install. The deciding factor in the choice was the HM warranty for the installation, total satisfaction before we sign off on the payment, and the accidental breakage coverage which is free of service fees, parts fees and anything else...just free replacement, all for the lifetime we own the house. I know this sounds like an advertisement, but it isn't - in fact my best friend had HM put in his new garage door and he was unhappy and told me to not use HM.

So from your advice, I will have 3 people at HM to coordinate / control this job, and I will make them aware that the choice of installer depends upon my agreement, which in turn means talking with owners of installs they have done. I think that is going to be my last step, but then as I am retired, I can spend the day in my captain's chair on the lawn and watch every move they make, and if I see something going wrong, they are off the property. I think sharing that with the HM people might help them in making the "right" selection for me.

I wish there were some others on the board that had used Home Depot so we could compare notes a bit, but >>your<< advice has been terrific and I thank you for the time and thought you put into it. This is one of the best uses of the web..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Alabama
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Mikey105,

It sounds like you've taken the right approach to avoiding the problems some have experienced with Home Depot installers. If their quote for the same or comparable windows is significantly less than what independent contractors are quoting, and you've taken the steps described to avoid getting a "bad" subcontractor crew, then you've done your "due diligence."

Question: I assume that the HD in your area has agreements in place with only a certain number of subcontractors. Will they provide you with a list of those subcontractors before you sign the contract so that you can approach them individually to obtain customer referral lists, do a BBB check, etc.? That way, if none of the subcontractors impressed you, you won't have to worry about getting out of the contract. You would be much better served from a legal (and mental) standpoint not to sign a contract and investigate the subcontractors first, rather than trying to guarantee through a side agreement that you get to select the subcontractor crew (unless you get that provision in writing, with the right to rescind the contract if the provision is violated, and signed by someone at HD with authority to modify the contract). There probably will be "fine print" in the contract that gives HD the right to substitute subcontractors based on availability or other circumstances. And once you sign the contract and the 3-day rescission period ends, your custom windows will begin to be manufactured, making it more difficult to back out of the deal if, for example, a different installation crew shows up after you were promised the choice.

Just something to ponder. Oh, and although I'm a ways from retirement, I'll be standing right there watching my window installation. If they try to cut corners, hopefully I'll spot it, and if they do a fine job, hopefully I'll learn a thing or two in case I decide to install windows myself on some occasion. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:28 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 21
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Alacoyote,

Home Depot has a list of contractors, but at the sales stage of things you don't get access to it. The sales guy takes all the measurements and prices the job, but the "crew foreman" which I will call him, (HD employee) has to come out and measure the window sizes to build. He also has the final say on how the job will run (what window is first, which crew will work the job, what things they may or may not do). He is the guy that I will work with to get the right crew here. Then there is the "smiling glad-hander" at HD which when the job is done will want to go through a quality check list and will handle any remedial items that need to be done to my satisfaction. This person is 186 miles north of me in Seattle, but has control over the "foreman" person. Then I sign off and they get paid.

Recission ends at mid-night tonight, and although I would have liked to have had a private installer like renthead and yourself, cost was a big factor here in this $6K+ deal. So I will have to invest mental equity in the job and save $4-5K - and it is a little disconcerting because I am NOT a window installer, but will be the judge of the installation. Hence I am here and elsewhere trying to learn as much as possible on installs. Interestingly my other post on what makes a good installation has no responses. I guess no one else knows either.

For example, caulking all edges of the window frame at install seems a common practice, but some installers caulk the wood window frame opening and not the replacement window frame. Some say caulk all 4 edges, others say top and sides only, none on bottom to allow moisture to seep out. Some say nothing about caulk and state that insullating glass batting should be stuffed into any gap between the frame and the building.

This doesn't seem to say much for "standard practices" in the window industry does it?

Simonton's web site says to install per AAAME? procedure number 3XXXX something. You can't get that unless you buy it. Milgard had a link to the explanation of the process and it is now dead. In the final analysis you have a hole in the wall and a vinyl construction to stuff in the hole. You would think by now a single "best practice" would emerge that would provide a long life to the window, guarantee no wind or water leaks and look presentable to the owner, inside and out. How hard can that be?


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 Post subject: Grids
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:40 am 
Grid or mutin patters are largely determined by the size of the window. A rule of thumb is to try to achieve symmetry with all the grids in the home, assuming the other windows have grids. Larger Double Hung’s, for instance that have a 6 over 6 grid, will math well with smaller windows, like a typical 24â€


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