Pella vs American Craftsman vs Reliabilt - Please HELP !!!

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newtoatlanta
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Pella vs American Craftsman vs Reliabilt - Please HELP !!!

#1 Post by newtoatlanta » Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:54 pm

I have an 18 yr old home in north atlanta. Single pane windows. I want to replace them with quality windows but am having trouble deciphering all the sales pitch by the various window sales companies.

I do not want the most expensive - nor the cheapest. Home Depot is currently offering a $340 installed vinyl window (with low e / argon / grills) from American Craftsman (division of Anderson).

I am comparing that to the Pella Thermastar - sold by Lowes. The Pella is about $425 per window.

The salesman at Lowes also offered a Reliabilt window - same specs as Pella - but - 1 inch glass - for about $400 per window installed.

Is there a difference in quality / longevity of these 100% vinyl windows ?

Thanks SO MUCH for your advice !!! :)

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Re: Pella vs American Craftsman vs Reliabilt - Please HELP !

#2 Post by gardenpartyfish » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:06 pm

newtoatlanta wrote:I have an 18 yr old home in north atlanta. Single pane windows. I want to replace them with quality windows but am having trouble deciphering all the sales pitch by the various window sales companies.

I do not want the most expensive - nor the cheapest. Home Depot is currently offering a $340 installed vinyl window (with low e / argon / grills) from American Craftsman (division of Anderson).

I am comparing that to the Pella Thermastar - sold by Lowes. The Pella is about $425 per window.

The salesman at Lowes also offered a Reliabilt window - same specs as Pella - but - 1 inch glass - for about $400 per window installed.

Is there a difference in quality / longevity of these 100% vinyl windows ?

Thanks SO MUCH for your advice !!! :)
If that's all ya have.......forget the Pellas.

Go with the American Craftsman(Silverline) BUT get them from Clear Choice Window USA(Home Depot installs are well....search this board).......Silverline's Model 9500 have Low E and Argon as std. A decent window. Get a great install and it's a decent deal. A couple bills more and you can move up to the Simonton 5500 series. A superb window at an unbeatable price.
Last edited by gardenpartyfish on Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#3 Post by Windows on Washington » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:16 pm

Get more quotes. If you don't want the cheapest (i.e. most likely to be junk) you need to keep looking.

None of the windows that you mentioned are worth installing.

There are plenty of other windows that are close to that price range that are far better products.

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#4 Post by newtoatlanta » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:39 pm

Windows on Washington wrote:Get more quotes. If you don't want the cheapest (i.e. most likely to be junk) you need to keep looking.

None of the windows that you mentioned are worth installing.

There are plenty of other windows that are close to that price range that are far better products.

Thanks for the comments - Can you please share some good quality windows in the $350 - $400 range installed ?

jmomo

#5 Post by jmomo » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:54 am

i dont understand why if its not a window sold by other posters its junk . if its not your installer there not good installers .

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#6 Post by Windows on Washington » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:28 am

jmomo wrote:i dont understand why if its not a window sold by other posters its junk . if its not your installer there not good installers .
Actually that has zero to do with it. I assure you that we have had opportunities to sell the Silverline product prior to their absorption by Andersen. The window is simply not a good product and would be in the same category as the other two mentioned.

Simply put, you need to expand your search to encompass more that your big box home improvement stores. So far, this poster has gone to Home Depot and Lowes. Not exactly what you would consider an expansive and exhaustive searching process.

Simonton 5300 (not my favorite but still a better product)
Ideal windows
Survivor

All 3 windows are product lines that I do not sell, however, I would put them above the quality of the other products mentioned depending on the model selected.

The likely outcome is that you can get a average, at best window, in the $400 range. If you spent just a fractionally few dollars more, you could get a much, much better product.

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#7 Post by Windows on Washington » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:32 am

jmomo wrote:i dont understand why if its not a window sold by other posters its junk . if its not your installer there not good installers .
As far as you comment on installers, I suspect you were referencing gardenpartyfish's comments.

Do a quick google search on Home Depot installations and you should learn all you need to know.

I like Home Depot for certain things, however, they simply don't have the man power and management structure to oversea all of the installations that they do. As a result, more slip through the cracks and you might be in one of those cracks.

With a smaller, local company, you have a better opportunity of being a priority.

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#8 Post by newtoatlanta » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:36 am

Windows on Washington wrote:
jmomo wrote:i dont understand why if its not a window sold by other posters its junk . if its not your installer there not good installers .
Actually that has zero to do with it. I assure you that we have had opportunities to sell the Silverline product prior to their absorption by Andersen. The window is simply not a good product and would be in the same category as the other two mentioned.

Simply put, you need to expand your search to encompass more that your big box home improvement stores. So far, this poster has gone to Home Depot and Lowes. Not exactly what you would consider an expansive and exhaustive searching process.

Simonton 5300 (not my favorite but still a better product)
Ideal windows
Survivor

All 3 windows are product lines that I do not sell, however, I would put them above the quality of the other products mentioned depending on the model selected.

The likely outcome is that you can get a average, at best window, in the $400 range. If you spent just a fractionally few dollars more, you could get a much, much better product.

Thanks again for your advice. What still PUZZLES me is that what does the additional $s really give me. As I see it - if a window is Energy Star rated - which the $400 window is the same as the $700 window - what am I getting for the extra $300 per window. I have some 30 windows - thus - spending another $9,000 is a lot of money.

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Same boat

#9 Post by dwknjh6 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:01 am

I'm probably in the about the same boat as you are as far as trying to decide what the extra money is good for. I've got a post just below("newbie needing advice") that states where I started at with some qoutes and where I'm at now.

My latest qoutes have me in either a Simonton Prism Bronze or a Polaris Thermal Weld for 3 or 4 hundred more than a Reliabuilt 5600 or the Silverline 8500. I can go to the Polaris Valu-smart and be a couple a hundred less than the Reliabuilt or Silverline.

Now from what I can tell about information on these boards, both the Simonton and Polaris window(the specific lines I'm looking at, Prism bronze and Thermal Weld/Valu-Smart) are probably about the same class window, maybe marginally better than the Reliabuilt or Silverline. The biggest difference I've found is the warranty coverage and the reputation of the company as far as handling a warranty issue.

Most people say Simonton is one the best as far as keeping their customers happy and locally I've heard good things about Polaris. Again, I'm very new to the new window and these are just some of the conclusions that I've came to. Some of the more knowledgable people here might correct me if I'm wrong.

I have learned major thing...the world of windows is tough and it seems very few people have straight answers on things. Hope this helps a little.

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#10 Post by Windows on Washington » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:05 am

When I said fractionally, I did mean $300 per window.

I meant if you dealt with a local contractor and maybe increased your window price range to an upper limit of say $450 or $475, you would have a whole host of other windows included.

U-factor is not the only determinant for evaluating a window. You need to consider build quality, air infiltration, product reputation, how will the window look and function in 2 years, resale value, durability, and so on.

Two windows with a similar U-factors do not necessarily perform the same.

U-factor evaluations are done in a static environment, meaning that they are not subject to any environmental conditions other than temperature. That is not really real world evaluation. U-factor is a great start, but just one of the tools available that is designed to be standardized.

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Re: Same boat

#11 Post by Windows on Washington » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:07 am

dwknjh6 wrote:I'm probably in the about the same boat as you are as far as trying to decide what the extra money is good for. I've got a post just below("newbie needing advice") that states where I started at with some qoutes and where I'm at now.

My latest qoutes have me in either a Simonton Prism Bronze or a Polaris Thermal Weld for 3 or 4 hundred more than a Reliabuilt 5600 or the Silverline 8500. I can go to the Polaris Valu-smart and be a couple a hundred less than the Reliabuilt or Silverline.

Now from what I can tell about information on these boards, both the Simonton and Polaris window(the specific lines I'm looking at, Prism bronze and Thermal Weld/Valu-Smart) are probably about the same class window, maybe marginally better than the Reliabuilt or Silverline. The biggest difference I've found is the warranty coverage and the reputation of the company as far as handling a warranty issue.

Most people say Simonton is one the best as far as keeping their customers happy and locally I've heard good things about Polaris. Again, I'm very new to the new window and these are just some of the conclusions that I've came to. Some of the more knowledgable people here might correct me if I'm wrong.

I have learned major thing...the world of windows is tough and it seems very few people have straight answers on things. Hope this helps a little.
The Polaris ValuSmart window, despite being thin on the vinyl extrusion, has good thermal data and a surprisingly good air infiltration number.

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Recomendation?

#12 Post by dwknjh6 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:21 am

Not to hijack Newtoatlanta's thread, but what would you recomend between Valu-smarts at $2314.32, Thermal Weld's at $2921.47, and Simonton Prism Bronzes at $2860.63? All windows are double hung, low e/argon gas, colonial grids. 14 total windows, 3 doubles, UI between 67 and 90.

Any of these seem like a decent deal?? And no worries, if you recomend the Simonton I'm not going to accuse you of "only recomending what you sell". Thanks.

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Re: Recomendation?

#13 Post by Skydawggy » Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:46 pm

dwknjh6 wrote:Not to hijack Newtoatlanta's thread, but what would you recomend between Valu-smarts at $2314.32, Thermal Weld's at $2921.47, and Simonton Prism Bronzes at $2860.63? All windows are double hung, low e/argon gas, colonial grids. 14 total windows, 3 doubles, UI between 67 and 90.

Any of these seem like a decent deal?? And no worries, if you recomend the Simonton I'm not going to accuse you of "only recomending what you sell". Thanks.
Like WoW and most other knowledgeable people on here, my comments are based on my experience with different window manuf. and my knowledge of the industry. One of the values of considering companys that have been in business a long time is they have probably been thru the companys that get orders wrong, have high damage rates on delivery, their willingness to provide a high level of customer service etc.

With that said, I would stongly recommend you avoid the Simonton Prism Bronze and find out how much more it would be to go with the either the Prism Platinum or the Reflections 5500. And yes, I am a very busy Simonton dealer and no, I'm not interested in soliciting any business from this site.

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Re: Recomendation?

#14 Post by Windows on Washington » Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:34 pm

dwknjh6 wrote:Not to hijack Newtoatlanta's thread, but what would you recomend between Valu-smarts at $2314.32, Thermal Weld's at $2921.47, and Simonton Prism Bronzes at $2860.63? All windows are double hung, low e/argon gas, colonial grids. 14 total windows, 3 doubles, UI between 67 and 90.

Any of these seem like a decent deal?? And no worries, if you recomend the Simonton I'm not going to accuse you of "only recomending what you sell". Thanks.
Like Sky said, I would look at upgrading to the Prism Platinum or Reflections 5500 (basically both the same window) as opposed to have 3 similarly performing windows.

Are the prices you are quoting for purchase only?

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Thanks

#15 Post by dwknjh6 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:49 pm

Yes, the prices are strickly cash and carry. It's my understanding that it's almost a wholesale price. The polaris dealer also installs, but then he'd charge retail for the windows which I am still considering. The Valu-smarts installed would run about $3700 and the Thermal Welds would be about $4500 installed. So far, the Polaris dealer has been by far the most helpful.

I'm having a problem with the Simonton dealers though. They don't want to price anything other than the Prism Bronze and the Reflections 5050. The Bronze dealer was nice enough, but he just said anything beyond it was overkill and I'd be paying to much. The dealer that was gonna qoute me the 5050 didn't even bother to send that qoute after I called him back and asked about the 5500's. He went as far as to ask my why I wanted that high end of a window and said I was crazy for wanting to spend that much money. I'm guessing it's something to do with profit margins but I'm not for sure.

I do feel comfortable with the Polaris dealer, but I'm just not for sure if it's the best window in this price range. I guess it might be the best that I have access to. The Polaris guy did tell me for the small amount of difference in the cash and carry price was he would go with the Thermal Weld, but he said he also understood my budget constraints.

Again, sorry for the long post. I never knew windows could be such a nightmare. Thanks for all the help.

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