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Newaryon 10-08-2011 10:21 AM

Looking at replacement windows
I am wanting to replace the windows on this house, which was built in the 1960's. It has a mix of the original windows, which are a mix of double-hung and casement windows, single pane glass with storm windows. The casement windows are particularly problematic as the mechanisms are old and they no longer close tightly and I can't find all the storm windows that belonged to them.

So I have been looking at different types of windows and I'm totally overwhelmed.

I guess the first question is vinyl or composite? The vinyl is cheaper but doesn't look as nice. Is the difference only cosmetic?

Second question is glass... 2 layers? With gas? Three layers? I have heard that sometimes double paned glass has problems with condensation. How to avoid that?

Next questions ...what to do about these casement windows. I have really gotten to hate the things....clearly they are more trouble than doublehungs. One salesmen said he could replace them with vinyl doublehung windows. Another said that doublehung windows that are taller than they are wide would look silly, and suggested slider windows instead. I'm not sure sliders would look right with the decor; the house itself is sort of colonial on the outside (white siding, black shutters and some brick) and mixes a sort of Americana theme (like wood paneling) and contemporary on the inside, but the furnishings are more a mixture of 1890's style Victorian, and 1920's art noveau. I can make them work with the colonial stuff but don't really mix with that 1960's retro style.

And I'm overwhelmed by all the brands on the market... from Anderson to Sears...

Ideas? Advice?

BridgeMan 10-10-2011 03:24 PM

Had a new house built in the mid-70s, with all Pella double-glazed casements installed. Absolutely loved them, but only lived there 4 years before selling the place. I wouldn't rule out casements based on your past experiences, as today's technology is vastly different and better than that used in your present units.

I went with all vinyl double-hung a few years ago on a different house, made and installed by a local company. Windows were more than satisfactory (had a nice feature of being able to clean both sides from inside the house, and were very smooth-operating), but the installation left a lot to be desired.

I'd suggest you continue to shop around. Pay more attention to the product, and less on what may be a slick presentation. Check Angie's List before making your final decision, but even that's no guaranty you won't have a problem or two.

Newaryon 10-11-2011 12:00 PM

Thanks for the response.

So far I have 2 estimates . . .

The one for Renewal by Anderson would come to well over 1k per window, which seems awfully high to me.

I have another from a local company called Comfort Windows that seems to operate only in NY State. Does anyone have any experience with their products?

Going to get some more estimates.

Newaryon 10-21-2011 01:09 PM

Got a few more estimates and getting clearer about what are the types of windows made and what I want. With the windows themselves there are pretty clear specs and ratings to be found; with the installers not so much. It seems like what I need are replacement windows and so the old frames need to be "wrapped" and the windows themselves will end up a bit smaller. What should I look for in types of wrapping...I see some people say they use poly-vinyl and others aluminum...and are there special ways to insulate this kind of an installation?

green69 11-28-2011 06:47 PM

Simonton makes a nice replacement window. JDPowers #1 rated two yrs. in a row. Sold and installed by Home Depot, life time Warrenty. Watch for sales. I just bought 11, avg. out price was $800.00 per window installed.

joecaption 11-28-2011 07:48 PM

There is no Poly vinyl. It's aluminum coated with PVC. And the only other choise is smooth finish which I would suggest not using, It's just a painted finish and scratchs to easy.
There is no insulation used when installing coil stock. It's just thin aluminum that gets bent to fit and attached with coil nails directly to the wood.
Most windows can be wraped can be wraped in less then an hour.
I charge an avarage of $75.00 a window to wrap it including materials.
Not sure what's so special about the windows your picking out. A reguler double hung Simonton or Wincor vinyl window, energy star rated, argon gas with 6 over 6 grids only cost me about $130.00 from my siding distubutor for one that's 3' X 5'.
To just pop out one window and install a replacement window takes all of 20 min. or less. We can do a 2 story house in less then a day with 2 guys.
If you picking windows that have the wood grain on the insides then the price goes through the roof.
Never pick a clad window, (the outside is aluminum or vinyl wraped around the wood inside.) All the Andersons and Pella clad windows I've seen rot from the inside just about the time the warrenty runs out.
Last year we changed every single window in two differant home because of the bottom sash rotting out. Both were Anderson, when contacted all they said was they had never heard of a problum before. BS Other people in my area are all having the same problum.
Any double or triple pane window can fog up, most likly it was damaged in shipment or the window was to tight in the opening. It's simple enought to pop one out it needed to be replaced.
I would never offer to put in Anderson or Pella windows, when it fails go luck trying to get a rep. to come look at them. The people who put them in may come but the company could careless about there customers.
We put in at least 100 replacement windows a year and only use Winco or Simonton and have never had a call back for any reason.
We have at least 3 companys in my area doing nothing but installing windows and they only charge $165.00 per window installed. I've been to peoples home that there were installed in they looked great and no complaints from the customers.
Pella's had problums with there casment window for many years, The outside corners at the bottom crack open and leak, and the pivit point for the opener allows water to get inside the walls because the bottom ledge is dead flat so water can not run back out. I got to redo all the sheetrock, sheathing and replace all the windows with double hung windows in a house because of this. The rep. showed up and said "so what do you want me to do about it."
If you want to pay top price go to someplace like Sears or Home Depot. All your doing is paying more to pay the middle man. Non of them have anyone on staff that does there instulations. They hire sub contracts to do the work. And no telling how long there going to hang around, so when you have a problum later on there going to have to find someone to come look at them for free.
If your handy and have just a few basic hand tools replacement window installing is DIY 101 to do.
The wraping needs to be done before the windows go in, but any siding comapny can do this part (not a DIY job) and you can install the windows to save money.

Newaryon 11-29-2011 07:14 AM

I ended up contracting with a company called Comfort, mostly on the basis of good rep for customer service on Angie's list and BBB. Which I saw in person as they were prompt to follow up and answer questions and did not give me a hard sell. But as far as I can tell they make their own windows and other contractors are not familiar with this brand.

Stats for doublehung are:

U-Value .21
SHGC .24
Visible Light transmission .41
Condensation Resistance: 68

I know the U-value is good, not really sure what these other things mean or how these windows stack up against other brands. These will be triple pane with low-E glass and argon fill.

The cost is less than RBA but not cheap. RBA wanted more than $1000 per window; these are more like $700 each.

joecaption 11-29-2011 07:32 AM

Home Windows, Home Window Ratings: Consumer Reports

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