Requesting Help on Window Selection

For all those Replacement Window decisions - just read, review or post a question. You will be helped!
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kadema
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Requesting Help on Window Selection

#1 Post by kadema »

Hi everyone,
I really enjoyed reading through the forum to gain insights while I was shopping for windows. I’ve received my bids from reputable local contractors but I’m having a difficult time trying to make a decision on which unit to choose. I’m looking for a high-quality window at a fair price. I would appreciate the insights from folks to live and breathe windows every day. If you had these choices to install in your home, what would be your top two value propositions. Feature-wise the units are comparable but I’m personally leaning towards the Zen Lotus primarily because of the reviews I’ve read for Zen Window (Philadelphia). Thanks in advance for your insights and advice.

My project consists of 24 double-hung units and 2 specialty shapes (half-moons), all units were selected with basic double-pane glazing (U-factor - 26/27, SHGC - .28/.29, and double strength glass).

Manufacture/Series Pricing
Provia Endure $22,446
Sunrise Standard $24,900
Sunrise Restorations $31,900
Okna 500 $22,050
Okna 800 $26,850
Zen Nirvana (Soft-Lite Classis Plus) $20,430
Zen Lotus (Soft-Lite Imperial Elite) $24,610
Vytex Fortis $26,950.
Vytex Potomac hp $29,176

TheWindowNerd
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#2 Post by TheWindowNerd »

We use either the Okna 800dx or Vytex HP Potomac. We do mostly the 800dx, about as air tight as you can get.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#3 Post by Windows on Washington »

Easiest post answer I have seen in a while.

The Okna 800 is the winner in that race with the Okna 500 being the budget winner.

The two Vytex windows would be in 2nd place respectively.

Not a fan of the Zen age of products or the possible lack of experience of the franchisees.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#4 Post by HomeSealed »

+1, easy win for the Okna 800 assuming that this is a quality company offering it. It is objectively the best window on your list and at a price right in there with the others.

Regarding your current favorite, its hard to give too much credit to online reviews when the qty is so low, not to mention that the address listed with BBB appears to be a parking garage.

I'm not sure if the Window Nerd services your area, but if he does I'd highly recommend his company. The "anti-zen" business model, where this is a guy who has been in the industry for decades, is a true craftsman himself, and is passionate about his work.

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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#5 Post by masterext »

“ not to mention that the address listed with BBB appears to be a parking garage.”

I really needed a good laugh today.
I would give Wayne “ the window nerd” a call.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#6 Post by Windows on Washington »

Missed the quip about Philly. Agreed. Call The Window Nerd. Best combination of product and install you are going to find.

kadema
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#7 Post by kadema »

First off, thanks for your input. A few follow-ups but first a clarification.

The address for Zen Philadelphia is within an office building in Philadelphia (Cira Centre, 2929 Arch Street).

For discussion purposes, I compared ‘Zen Philly’ with the choice of the pros ‘The Window Nerd’.

Zen Philly
Site / # Reviews / Rating
Angi / 75 / 5.0
Houzz / 23 / 5.0
Google / 17 / 3.9
Yelp / 9 / 5.0
BBB / A+ Rating and Accredited

Window Nerd
Site / # Reviews / Rating
Angi / 65 / 4.9
Houzz / 8 / 4.1
Google / 9 / 4.6
Yelp / 7 / 4.5
BBB / Not Listed

Since everyone has spoken so highly of the Window Nerd, I intend to reach out to him.

I am leary of online reviews, both positive and negative, but that’s all I have to go on. Otherwise, how would you suggest that Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public evaluate installers without first-hand experience? Zen Philly seems to satisfy their customers. I have to be honest, the Zen model was very appealing and efficient. They provided the most detailed quote of all the providers, and I didn’t need to sit through a dog and pony show of someone selling the virtues of the product they offer and how everything else doesn’t compare.

Since nobody seems thrilled with my initial selection of the SoftLite Imperial Elite, maybe you could highlight some points or key features that make the Okna 800 so highly preferred. On paper, these units seem to be very compatible.

Thanks in advance for your insights

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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#8 Post by TheWindowNerd »

There is both hard information and soft information about windows.
The hard information is the test results and facts. You seem good at research, you can find those for yourself.
The soft information is the experience and wisdom built up over decades of of broad participation in fenestration.
SL was the first high performance window we used. We loved the LS, we loved our sales rep. But the growth strategy ( grow and sell) of the company created an unacceptable QC problem. We hated to leave them, but the QC, or lack there of, was killing us.
That is when we moved to Okna, I knew of Okna early on when they started, they had not matured enough for us to consider offering them back then, 25 years ago. But they grew up, are doing outstanding things and been a family run business. I think the second generation is ready to take over, hopefully they will continue to grow, mature and strengthen their lead in the industry.
As for us: we are so busy that we do not care about building up reviews, we do care about doing it right the first time.
Because it is the right thing to do, it cost less to do it once, the customer enjoys seeing excellence in product and workmanship and how they are respected.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#9 Post by Windows on Washington »

The Imperial Elite is a good window and a newer design. I wasn't aware they had transitioned to that newer product so my comment before was more about when they were using the older Imperial.

That said, the Okna 800 is still the better looking and performing window in that comparison. The Okna 500 and the IE would be the more apt comparison.

With regards to reviews, take them with a grain of salt. Are they one of several evaluation tools to maybe be used...sure. That said, there are some organizations (usually franchisee type arrangements) that are very good about cultivating reviews and making the entity in question appear both larger and more established.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Requesting Help on Window Selection

#10 Post by HomeSealed »

kadema wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 8:25 pm I have to be honest, the Zen model was very appealing and efficient. They provided the most detailed quote of all the providers, and I didn’t need to sit through a dog and pony show of someone selling the virtues of the product they offer and how everything else doesn’t compare.

It certainly is appealing for those very reasons. Unfortunately the seemingly high level of detail offered is quite the opposite in my experience and opinion. While window replacement isn't brain surgery, there are complexities and nuances where an experienced professional can make a world of difference in the success or failure of your installation. Each home is different (sometimes a little, sometimes quite a bit), and sending out quotes sight unseen is an awful way to set you up for a successful project IMO... I'm not suggesting that the dog and pony show is the answer either, most of us here find that equally distasteful. I'd propose that a straight-shooting, education based company with a proven track record and substantial experience is the best place to be.
I find it very rare to see an experienced industry professional starting a "franchise" like the group in question, and I'd also challenge the perception of moral high ground that they seem to want to portray, all while trying to imply that a low volume company in business for a few years(they are in most cases) is something much more established simply because the "brand name" has been around longer and collectively served a fair number of folks.

As far as your review comparison, what you see there is a company that has a pre-packaged machine for soliciting good reviews (even at the low quantity), vs a craftsman that has been doing this for decades and cares far more about his work than implementing a system for getting reviews. This does make it difficult for you as Mr. John Q. Public, however in this specific case, you happen to have a group of pros from around the country personally vouching for The Window Nerd as the real deal, and with nothing to gain by doing so. He's a true craftsman and a man of uncommon virtue, especially in this industry.
Take that for whatever its worth to you.

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