Help with new windows

For all those Replacement Window decisions - just read, review or post a question. You will be helped!
Post Reply
Message
Author
Letspring
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Help with new windows

#1 Post by Letspring »

Hello - I like your website. It's very helpful to a homeowner like me who needs new windows. I've been spending way too much time trying to decide which windows to use. We've gotten quotes from a local Provia and a local Soft-lite/Vytex installer, and one who uses Atrium windows. All of these companies want to use pocket/replacement windows even though I'm also replacing the siding. They want to charge quite a bit more for installing them as new construction, even after I tell them I will handle the interior trim work. Although most people, including my wife, think nothing of it, I hate the look of the chalky, dirty cladding (bent aluminum) around the existing windows and don't want to see any of that stuff when I get new windows. As a result, I'm reluctant to go with any of these companies.

Two questions:
1) Can a non-window dealer/builder buy the name brand vinyl windows you recommend? A local builder with a good reputation is coming on Monday to talk to me about replacing my windows (11 double-hung, 1 casement, 2 sliding patio doors), and siding. I'd like to discuss using the above quality vinyl window brands, but I don't know that he'd be able to get them. Do you know if any of these companies would sell him windows directly? If not, I'll see what he recommends and I would also like your recommendation.

2) We didn't like the older CertainTeed brand vinyl windows in the sunporch in our last house. As a result, I'm having a difficult time convincing myself and my wife that we should consider vinyl windows such as the brands I list above. It's even more difficult since we can't visit a store to see them. We're looking at Andersen 400 and Marvin Essential products as a result since we can go see them in stores. She likes the Marvin Essentials since they're all fiberglass. We’re skeptical about how well vinyl windows operate and look without seeing them. Any thoughts? I'd like to visit the Vytex factory and look at their Fortis and Potomac windows, but I can't reach anyone there to find out if they're open. We live in Annapolis, which isn't far from Laurel, MD.

I would appreciate your thoughts!

masterext
Posts: 804
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Location: Window Pro-Serves All of Northern New Jersey. Bergen, Morris, Union, Essex, Passaic, Sussex Counties

Re: Help with new windows

#2 Post by masterext »

You need to be an authorized dealer in order to access vytex. Also, you could reach out to Windows on Washington. The owner is Eric and a very good guy. They have some very nice products. They do serve Annaplois and offer Okna.

Letspring
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Re: Help with new windows

#3 Post by Letspring »

Thanks, Masterext. I will wait and see what this local builder recommends and contact Eric to discuss if I'm not happy with what he offers. I have to say I'm very frustrated as a homeowner who wants good quality windows installed properly for a long-term investment. Many friends I talk with don't seem to have an issue with cheap no-name replacement windows. Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned, but I'd rather pay a little more for a good performing product that lasts a long time.

User avatar
Delaware Mike
Posts: 897
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area

Re: Help with new windows

#4 Post by Delaware Mike »

An OKNA Insultech 550dx would be perfect married with factory wood jamb extensions according to your wall thickness. This is what we do. It's easy for the trim to be run to the face of the jamb extensions and for the exterior, one can run vinyl siding into the factory j-channel, add wider faced j-channel (1" to 4" per design), add ornate window surrounds, or simply Azek type trim boards.

Most of the Certianteed windows that I've seen over the years are horrible. Even if they're not completely failing apart in a few year they can whistle with air leakage during high winds.

Letspring
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Re: Help with new windows

#5 Post by Letspring »

Thanks, Delaware Mike. Sounds like you know exactly what I'm looking for. I should probably contact Windows on Washington for an estimate since I doubt my local builder will have access to Okna windows.

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2552
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#6 Post by HomeSealed »

Letspring,

1) I'm confused as to why you would want to engage a builder to replace your windows. There's a reason for the term "builder grade", and its not a positive connotation. A builder is used to dealing with low end products (most homeowners building new homes think that any new window will be fine), carpenters that generally only work in new construction (MUCH simpler and FAR different than replacement/renovation work) and is far from a specialist in windows. You can get a good installation by "subs" when using a reputable window dealer, but high quality window subs will not work for cut rate new construction pay offered by builders. Don't get me wrong, home builders are great --- at building homes. No reason to contract one for a window replacement project any more than you should contract a window company to build your new home or remodel your kitchen. Frankly, if a builder is soliciting that type of work, it means that he's not busy enough doing what he does best, which is a red flag in itself.

2) Stick to a window specialist. Find a local company with a great reputation (online reviews etc), a solid history in business, and that carries a high performing product. You want someone that is trustworthy as well.

With all of that said, and my absolute best advice here, is to contact the folks at Windows on Washington as recommended above. Stellar organization, you are seriously in luck being in their service area. While this is an industry populated mostly by sharks and hacks, you have the best of the good guys in your area.

TheWindowNerd
Posts: 1766
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#7 Post by TheWindowNerd »

I agree with Brando and others that should WOW service your are to contact them.
Also I agree that now is the time to capitalize on doing full frame replacement. This should be an easier solution since you are willing to do the interior finishing work.
Scope of work looks like: window sales and install team helps with product selection and options, smae team measures and orders correctly sized units, same coordinates siding removal prior to window install, install windows with integrated fins- tape and foam. Home owner trims interior, siding crew runs siding and seals to new iwnods and doors.

theWindowNerd.com

Letspring
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Re: Help with new windows

#8 Post by Letspring »

Thanks, guys, for your advice. My sole reason for contacting a builder to do the work is the reluctance of local window replacement contractors to install new construction windows. From the research I've done, I think this is the best method for my situation since I also plan to replace siding.

They're also reluctant to install 1-inch or thicker rigid foam under the siding. The most I could get any of them to agree to is a thin layer of fan-fold, at a fairly substantial cost. Based on your recommendation, I will contact WoW and will let you know what I decide. Once again, I do appreciate your feedback.

TheWindowNerd
Posts: 1766
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#9 Post by TheWindowNerd »

I like 1/2", 3/4" or 1" foam.
Problems crop up with trim being recessed instead of proud or flush. Good siding crew can work it out. Excellent siding crews are as hard to find as excellent window installers.

theWindowNerd.com

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2552
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#10 Post by HomeSealed »

+1 to Window Nerd's comments...

What siding product are you planning to use? There may be some ramifications there in terms of the foam thickness as well. Some guys like to stick to the narrow group of choices that they offer, or there could be a more relevant reason that they are not wanting to go super thick on the foam in this application. Definitely something to ask, and with intending to plug them again, Windows on Washington will be able to offer some data-backed insight on that when you speak to them I'm sure.

User avatar
Windows on Washington
Posts: 4620
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#11 Post by Windows on Washington »

Letspring wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:58 amBased on your recommendation, I will contact WoW and will let you know what I decide. Once again, I do appreciate your feedback.
Letspring...be sure to reach out to me if you call the office.

When it comes to the integrating foam with the window projects, I (Eric) am the better one to speak to at the office.

Letspring
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:57 am

Re: Help with new windows

#12 Post by Letspring »

Thanks, guys, for the follow-up comments to my window replacement questions. I haven't logged on in a while. Not much has changed since I asked the original question. Wife and I met with the sales rep for one of the original local companies I contacted before we moved into our house. He brought sample Soft-lite and Vytex windows. We liked the Vytex Fortis sample better since the frame isn't as 'chunky'. While working up our quote, he's talking with his window and siding crews, which is unique mostly for the addition of the 1-inch foam. He asked if I'd be interested in insulated siding. From what I've read, this option is quite costly compared to rigid vinyl sheets. I get the feeling they'd be more comfortable using insulated siding than rigid foam. We'll see what he comes up with. He uses Alside vinyl, which looked fine.

Since the time of his visit, I've been watching more YouTube videos (dangerous!) and reconsidering the 1-inch foam. From what I read, I may be better off focusing more on the window's U-factor and insulating my attic. Maybe striving for windows with R-values as close to my existing wall R-values makes most sense? All of the contractors I've spoken with are intimidated by thicker foam. Maybe I'm letting them beat me down or maybe they're right??! There are many factors to consider, but my main objective is to use the siding/window replacement opportunity to reduce thermal and sound transmission (we live close to a major highway).

I will report back soon after I get this latest quote. Once again, I do appreciate your willingness to share your expertise!

User avatar
HomeSealed
Posts: 2552
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#13 Post by HomeSealed »

I don't disagree with where you are going on this... Rigid foam is definitely doable but you do have to be strategic about the thickness based on the application as discussed. There is also the consideration of where you are spending money, and yes, your attic is job #1 if it is not up to snuff. Be sure to air seal, not just add insulation. I'd also agree that mitigating that deficiency in the windows to wall performance is also smart, again assuming that your walls are NOT devoid of R value.

Lastly, insulated siding is a nice option as well. The cost should not come in that far off of what you' pay for quality .046 vinyl + insulation board, say 1/2" or so... also keep in mind that with thick insulation board (1"+), you'll need to adjust for the window depth. If you are using a nail fin install that means new woodwork with deeper jambs on the interior, or if not, that issue could be flipped to the exterior with windows that appear to be deeper inset.
Last edited by HomeSealed on Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Windows on Washington
Posts: 4620
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
Contact:

Re: Help with new windows

#14 Post by Windows on Washington »

+1 to the trend line you are on. For the super energy focused, rigid foam is nice, but does come with it...some additional details and difficulties. Totally doable if the siding installer has done it before and understands where all the problem areas and hiccups are. While it does help, quite a bit, with the thermal bridging of the wall framing and translate to a realized higher average R-value wall, insulated siding can be a nice middle ground.

If you air seal the wall and detail out the WRB prior to the new siding, you can get much of the impact that the foam gives you minus the additional wall R-Value.

Foam backed siding (depending on the brand and model) does help with R-Value, but it doesn't maintain "intimate" contact with the wall substrates like applied foam boards do so while we like to quote the average wall value increase (based on the average of the R-Value of the siding...i.e. thinnest and thickest part averaged out), it doesn't quite hit that number based on all of the incongruity in the walls and how the siding must "hang" on the wall.

There is more felt impact to be had if you save that money that you would spend on 1" foam (i.e. the additional difficulty and potentially headaches if you don't have someone trained on it) and put it towards air sealing and insulated the attic floor.

As I said before, we do cover your area for larger projects, so feel free to reach out to me directly if you would like to.

Eric

masterext
Posts: 804
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Location: Window Pro-Serves All of Northern New Jersey. Bergen, Morris, Union, Essex, Passaic, Sussex Counties

Re: Help with new windows

#15 Post by masterext »

Why not just get insulated siding that will not only create more insulation and structural rigidity, but also offer permeability. From what i know, 1 inch foam could actually trap moisture.
Stick to the advice above, call a window pro and there are plenty of window companies that will do new construction.

Post Reply