Author: Gus (---.mn.client2.attbi.com)
The person who knows the most about the quality of the windows is the manufacturer, not the fenistration council, not the salesman or his pushy boss, and please, not the rep from any manufacturer at all, much less American Crapsman :-) . The way to make the manufacturer tell the truth is to look at the small print in the warranty. Look for tricky wording, especially regarding the glass SEAL, not the glass pack in general. Look closely at the wording in particular on the moving parts. Look for words like prorated. "Lifetime" means differnt things in different states, some 15 years, some 7 years like here in Minnesota, UNLESS the warranty gives some other quantifier such as "as long as you own the home". Manufacturers who say a warranty is transferable to the next owner but insist on the papers being recieved within 30 days know hardly anyone will complete them in that time frame. The $75 dollar one time fee for transferring the warranty may be per window, per year, or per window every year!
Look for disclaimers on labor, anything over a $75 trip fee means they have little confidence in their window, because parts don't cost the manufactuer much.
The small print will often say things like Marvin Integrity glass seal "should the seal fail, at the manufacturerss discretion either the entire sash or the glass pack will be replaced" (or wording very close to that) but what that means legally is "should the seal fail, if the manufacurer wants to, either the entire sash or glass pack will be replaced". Traco: 3 to 5 year moving parts warranty - which is it, 3 years or 5, for which parts? - No one knows, but if the manufactuer is not betting on it lasting, you'd be an idiot to. I saw a Kolb3e and Kolbe patio door with a 1 year warranty at Home Depot a while back, the glass package warranty said that the glass would not "chip or crack or peel or fade" for 1 year! That's a paint warranty.
Regarding the comment made about blue vinyl, that is actually the orginal natural color of the virgin vinyl white. They got better at coloring it later, without damaging the integrity of the vinyl.
You people are missing most of the important points of manufacturing quality that leads to higher performance and longer product life.
First off, is it made of virgin vinyl?, secondly is both the sash and the frame fusion welded? Is the fusion welding done at all four corners simulataniously? Are they computer cut and squared? This is highly important as the product you are viewing is the best expamle of that window that ever came our of the factory by golly! The question is what quality will the ones that are delivered to your house going to be?
This is why the ratings of consumer reports and the national fenistration council NFRC are only loosely valid, as wood windows perform dramitcally poorer after weathering one year, and the samples people send are not random.
A huge point your missing is the amount of argon or krypton in the glass package. Law says 75% fill, but that is jsut a target, and the approved method that most of the crummy brands you all have been discussing is the "count method" in which the worker counts by 1000's to fill the number of seconds the form accompaning the window says will fill it to 75%. These windows are known to often be filled as low as 40% with argon. This is critical as the air and gas do not mix much or for long when they do, so the air will bounce rapidly conducting heat one direction or the other and force the gas up and to the center. That is why ratings, U or R factor for the center of the glass are meaningless, it is the edges that will be back down to R1.8 for 2 pane if the glass pack is not highly filled.
What a load of B.S. the guy who said that insulation filled windows are realying on the insulation for strength! Good greif, if that is not an example of A) ignorance, B) stupidity, or most likely C) Outright obvious Lying! Who could possibly think that?
I mean, is the insulation in your houses wall adding support? Please. This is why you can not believe the salesman, you must check out what he says, and do not fall for the tonight only offers no matter what the story is! Especially the "there's a sales contest and I'm goona win a free trip (or whatever) and the contest ends tonight, so I'll sell it without a commission". Or how about the "Model Home" scam like K- designer has, "we have chosen your home to be a model because it's by a school and on a corner and blah blah".
What about installers? Do you think Home Depot has the best installers on their "contractors bulliten board" (which they will point out is not thier crew if you have a problem you know - so don't buy the "big Orange Box is standing behind you" arguement from the sales guy.
If it was a cook at a restaurant, who's go the better cook, perkins, or the fancy place downtown that cost more? If you were a highly talented cook, which one would you work at, McDonalds? You get what you pay for to a large extent. Some of the installers for Home Depot are talented people that are there for a short period of time, until they find a quality window dealer to work for, because they tried working for themselves or someone with a big overhead that the Home Depots of the world has driven out of business. Many of the contractors that would work with those products and those wages are simply not the most talented or profficient.
I want to laugh at the distributor that says how carefull they are about not selling to consumers... doubtful. Nice try there.
I would say that looking for a great savings, super cheap deal on all sorts of things like grocery shopping and or restaurants, clothes, gas, entertainment, is the way to save money, not on such an important and hopefully permanent part of your home.
These are some tips from a Great Lakes Window dealer, some models available at Allied Building Products - Distributors.
Good Luck All, I only serve MPLS, St. Paul area, but you can look at some great windows on my site if you want to see what good windows and happy customers look like.