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Replacement Windows
Old 03-07-2018, 12:53 PM   #1
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Replacement Windows

Our house is about 25 years old, and still has the original aluminum-frame, builders-grade double-pane windows. The seals on most of the double-pane windows are failing, and condensation is building up between the panes. We are ready to replace all of the windows (about 26 total) with new insulated windows. We have talked to several companies offering different types of insulated window products, with a wide range in pricing. On the low-end, we have a bid for about $11,000 for vinyl frame replacement windows. On the high-end, we have a couple of bids from $40,000 to $50,000 for composite frame insulated glass. All of the sales people we met with have talked a lot of trash about their competition. We would like to go with the cheaper vinyl frame windows (which appears to command the biggest chunk of market share), but are a little worried about the quality as compared to the composite frame products. If anyone has replaced their windows recently, I would be very interested in hearing about your experience and opinions.
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:00 PM   #2
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I recently replaced all 22 of my 40YO windows with "Infinity from Marvin" (infinitywindows.com). They looked better than the field. We both especially loved the fiberglass construction of each window. We are extremely delighted with them especially how much our utility bill has decreased. The cost was less than $1000/window, if I recall.

(From their website)
Quote:
Infinity Replacement Windows was created when Marvin recognized an opportunity to offer quality Ultrex® fiberglass replacement windows and doors professionally installed for discerning homeowners.
Good luck.
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
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We have a few windows that are starting to show condensation between the panes. Haven't actually got estimates yet, but I'll be most interested in seeing the advice you get here.
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:13 PM   #4
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About 8 years ago, we replaced all the original windows in our 161 year-old house with Marvin Ultimate Double Hung replacement windows. They still look and function great. As I recall, it was about $1000 per window, installed.

https://www.marvin.com/marvin/window...-hung-ultimate
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:16 PM   #5
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We bought "regular" vinyl replacement windows made by Alside about 12 years ago, they have been great. No leaks, no fogged glass yet, and >far< superior to the single-pane AL framed windows that were in the house.

I'd guess that there's a big case of diminishing returns as window prices go up. I also >suspect< that there are relatively few manufacturers of the insulated glazing units (the sealed part that goes inside the frame), and that there is little difference between the $$$$ windows and the $$ windows in this regard. In your shoes, I'd probably go with an economical vinyl framed window with a good warranty.
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:42 PM   #6
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My last two houses have had generic double glazed, double hung vinyl windows. We have had absolutely no problems. They are advertised for $188 each installed.

There are a number of vinyl window brands and installers putting in such windows. The quality of the installation is just as I portent as the window.

I have Pella Windows aluminum clad wood Windows in my lake house. To replace them would cost more than the whole house cost to build. High line windows are a waste of money on a standard quality home like we have.
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:38 PM   #7
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We replaced all of our windows. First off, all of the major players use Cardinal glass. It's funny to hear to one vendor dis the others because their own windows use a glass superior to the other guy.

We wanted no/low maintenance, high efficiency and even went so far as to select specific glass characteristics depending on the window's orientation to the sun (i.g. low light/heat transmission on the western exposure. We wanted wood frame windows, stain-able fir on the interior and aluminum-clad on the exterior. We looked at Marvin, Anderson, Jeld-Wen, Pella, Sierra Pacific and others. I found Marvin ridiculously high-cost for the quality.

We chose Sierra Pacific. I didn't like any of the vinyl or fiberglass clad stuff. Pella makes an aluminum clad window but the aluminum is beercan like thickness and the seams are not sealed. The Sierra Pacific aluminum cladding is seamless and is about an eighth inch thick. They also offered an impressive array of cladding colors. To do over again we'd definitely go with Sierra Pacific..
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:53 PM   #8
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We replaced our 30+ windows 2.5 years ago and purchased Milgard Tuscany vinyl, low E3, double pane. We are very happy with our choice. The low E3 has really cut down the heat in the house...don't care about the cold as I can always up the thermostat...we don't have A/C .

One thing I didn't hear mentioned in any of the posts was TYPE of installation. There is 'retrofit' and there is 'new construction' install. Were we are, the cost of new construction is about 25% greater than retrofit. After much research we decided on new construction install and don't regret our decision.

Home Depot was one of the companies we requested quotes from. Asking the estimator this question, he stated don't worry, the installers know what they are doing. We couldn't walk him to the door fast enough.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:23 PM   #9
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Another option might be to replace only the glass units in your existing windows. We did this, since the only problem we had was condensation between the panes. This was a lot less expensive than replacing every complete window.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txtig View Post
Our house is about 25 years old, and still has the original aluminum-frame, builders-grade double-pane windows. The seals on most of the double-pane windows are failing, and condensation is building up between the panes. We are ready to replace all of the windows (about 26 total) with new insulated windows. We have talked to several companies offering different types of insulated window products, with a wide range in pricing. On the low-end, we have a bid for about $11,000 for vinyl frame replacement windows. On the high-end, we have a couple of bids from $40,000 to $50,000 for composite frame insulated glass. All of the sales people we met with have talked a lot of trash about their competition. We would like to go with the cheaper vinyl frame windows (which appears to command the biggest chunk of market share), but are a little worried about the quality as compared to the composite frame products. If anyone has replaced their windows recently, I would be very interested in hearing about your experience and opinions.
You might want to consider option 2 in the link below:

https://glassdoctor.com/content/cond...n-window-panes

We have vinyl frame windows in our home that came with the house when we bought it new 22 years ago. I counted 49 windows in the house. Out of those 1 window that is facing south has condensation in one of the two panes in the window. These windows had a life time warranty but the company went out of business. The double pane glass is replaceable on our windows, so I plan to replace the one that has leaked gas.
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:38 PM   #11
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Another option might be to replace only the glass units in your existing windows. We did this, since the only problem we had was condensation between the panes. This was a lot less expensive than replacing every complete window.
^+1

We did the same thing last year. We had 8 sashes done, each 20x60. The previous owner replaced the rest of the sashes (16 of them) under warranty. For us, the local glass shop ordered the insulated glass and installed them in the original al-clad wood sashes. We removed, stripped and primed and installed the sashes. One thing to be wary of, the glass manufacturers change the color of the UV coating from time to time. If not replacing all of them at the same time, the replacements may stand out. Ours matched pretty close. It was a lot less $$ than replacing the windows, maybe 10-15% of the cost. The rest of the window's construction must be in good shape though, otherwise you will be throwing good money after bad.
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Old 03-08-2018, 12:24 AM   #12
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txtig, in Texas, the vinyl window color choices are white, white, and off-white. OK, there is a very very light gray, also. Vinyl and our hot sun here are not a natural match, so the "colors" available here are far from anything dark, so they don't soften and droop/warp.

In my extended neighborhood, where the houses there are 10 - 15 years older than mine, just about every one of them has had a recent window replacement with vinyl. White. They look like crap. With the colors of the brick and style of the houses, to me, the white vinyl screams "cheap! cheap!" The original windows were thin aluminum with dark frames, and the dark colors (usually bronze) went very well with the design of the house. Not so the white vinyl!

I went with locally-made heavy-duty aluminum with thermal breaks, in bronze. They look very nice and are like commercial windows with wider frames. No glazing bead on the outside, so no plastic strip to degrade with age in our strong sun. They would not meet the energy efficiency standards in a northern climate, which is a don't-care for me.

About 6 years ago or so, it averaged out to be ~$500 per window with low-e glass and muntin bars. A few of our windows are 8 feet tall, and some 7 footers too. All are single-hung. Lower sash can tilt in for cleaning, and screen removal. Screen removes only from the inside.

The windows were sold as replacement units, to use them as new construction requires the purchase and cutting to length on-site of the aluminum fin stock which slides into the frame extrusions to give a nailing/screwing fin. The independent installers did an OK job on installing them as replacement windows in the brick. But even though they told me they knew how to do new construction work, they obviously didn't. I was replacing the siding and foam sheathing on the areas with siding, and I had to teach them how to install them there properly. I could not step away, or they would screw it up, and I would make them take the window off again. One-trick ponies!

If I had to do it all over again, I would make the same choice. The manufacturer only sells to dealers, otherwise I would have ordered them up, and done all the work myself, which is my preference.

I have seen fiberglass-framed windows, they were just coming out when I was looking. They are available in colors, and I would think much superior (and more expensive, naturally) than vinyl. I wonder how they would hold up under our monster hail. My new windows did fine, zero damage, not even a little dent.
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:21 AM   #13
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Our 6.6 year-old house has vinyl windows from Amerimax.
I am very happy with them. Air tight. High noise attenuation.
One sealed glass blew and was replaced under warranty. The window design made it trivial.

In a previous house I DIY replaced steel casement, single pane windows with Pella. Very nice and expensive.

Take your time. Get references of both product and installer.
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:52 AM   #14
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I did not want to get all vinyl when we redid our windows. We went with vinyl clad aluminum, which has been good and has better dimensional stability. Fiberglass should also be good.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:04 AM   #15
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I recently replaced the builder grade windows in our 20 yo home.
I used Thumbtack.com to find an installer. Requested bids via the site (I think 6-8 companies gave initial bids). Did online chat with several. Had 3 different ones come out to the house to measure/confirm prices. They all came out while I was not there and measured from the outside. That way I did not have to deal with a bunch of sales BS (and I'm in sales lol). I narrowed it down to 2, and had them come out to discuss more about the window. Then chose the one.

Was extremely easy and painless.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:57 AM   #16
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We live just feet from the ocean and during our reno 30 years ago someone recommended Anderson considering the harsh environment.

A few years ago we started getting condensation between some of the panes and a few panes had bowed and were touching. Called Anderson and we were within the 25 year (I think) guarantee. They replaced 9 windows and two French doors for some minimal fee (to cover taxes or something)...about $150.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:08 AM   #17
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Another option might be to replace only the glass units in your existing windows. We did this, since the only problem we had was condensation between the panes. This was a lot less expensive than replacing every complete window.
Do this. No need to replace the complete window.

Replacement glass is available for each window for reasonable prices.

Smaller windows were $65, medium $160 and large panes were $200. Ours our triple pane.

Installation is added, but we do them as the seals let go (1998 windows) and condensation becomes visible.

Much more cost efficient. If the window company tries to sell you on complete new windows, send them packing. Find another company.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:16 AM   #18
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Do this. No need to replace the complete window.

Replacement glass is available for each window for reasonable prices.

Smaller windows were $65, medium $160 and large panes were $200. Ours our triple pane.
Had to do this a few years ago when a wildfire passed through the neighborhood and the heat cracked the glass on 3 double pane windows on my house. Don't remember the exact costs but it was cheaper then my insurance deductible so didn't even file a claim.
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:49 PM   #19
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Vinyl and Aluminum frames are easy to replace the thermal unit (glass only). I like to do things myself and took on replacing the glass in wood frame windows. Now that was a bit more work, but still doable. I even replaced glass glass only in a sky window that was wood frame and rotting. I have also bought cheap vinyl windows from Lowes and replaced the low end old single pane windows in our commercial building and townhome. Its just not that hard to cut out the old and in with the new. Only trick is getting the flashing under the siding and caulking. These cheap windows from Lowes are now going on 10 years no issues in the PNW. Cost me an average of $200/window.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:20 PM   #20
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I have multiple houses, some rentals, and have done replacements or new windows at most. Also have the old family house that I need to replace old metal frame windows. If your frames are good, and you don't want to change the shape or size of windows, you really only need replacements, which are essentially inserts of the part of the window that goes up and down (in a dbl hung) and some minimal frame around that. It gets inserted into existing frame. In the $40-$50,000 range for composite, it sounds like full windows vs. replacements. I'd like those too, with black trim maybe, but too $$$ for my tiny family house in the country. Replacements have varying frame widths, with more or less glass showing. The more glass/less frame is more $$, but I think worth it in some circumstances, like my tiny family house, but maybe not rentals. Vinyl replacement windows have improved a lot over the last decade and gotten a lot more standard in terms of quality levels. Check out the locking mechanism and how they glide in the tracks. Some are awful, some awesome! Get good secure study locking mechanisms that will work consistently and not break. All will be Energy star rated and give good temperature control/energy savings.
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