Replacement Window Comparisons


  #1  
Old 03-29-03, 11:45 AM
gansmanms
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Question Replacement Window Comparisons



Greetings all DIY colleagues.

Many people run into this situation I am currently in...investigating vinyl replacement windows.

My better half and I live in the greater KC metropolitan area. We have a 8 year old house with crummy low-end wood builders windows that don't seal at all, bang together in the wind and have no insulating value.

I am looking at 3 vinyl replacement manufacturers:
1. Champion, Mfr'd in Cincinnati and installed themselves.
2. Alliance, Mfr'd here in KC and installed via dealer - BMD.
3. VinlyMax, Mfr'd in Cincinnati, and installed via dealer - Windows America.
I am not looking at Anderson, Pella, etc.. Too expensive.

I have researched and researched, prepared a spreadsheet to match all features of the windows, glass, warranty, price, installers credentials, etc. and had all 3 come out.

I cannot find a major difference between a better known like Champion (that carries a price tag of $13,000), the Alliance ($8,000) and the VinylMax ($6,200)....by the way, 13 double hung and 6 picture windows.
The construction is the same, wall thickness, U factor was only 0.01 different, movements were all constant force-balance systems, warranties identical, sash interlocks almost the same (little different - Champion and Alliance run the whole distance, VinylMax stops at latch), weatherstripping/sealing, etc. All have the 3/4" between the panes, U-channel spacers, night safety stops, tilt-in, etc. Low E and Argon filled, same, except, Champion toughts theirs is embedded into the glass, VinylMax says theirs is sprayed onto the glass when it is at its hottest (by PPG - a soft E coating they call it) and the Alliance dealer is still checking.

Can anyone give me any advice as to:
1. Are these 100% virgin, extruded vinyl windows really that different? It seems like the players have all caught each other.
2. Any experience with Champion? Alliance? VinylMax?
3. Anyone heard of Windows America (maybe called Memphis Windows)?

All advice and any questions for more details would be appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 03-29-03, 04:24 PM
U
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I have Champion and no complaints. I did research thru consumer reports for various material types comparison.
 
  #3  
Old 03-29-03, 05:13 PM
L
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You've done all of the homework. Now compare the warranties, and the company backing that warranty. If you still can't find a glaring difference, go with the price. I would probably go with the guys in the middle (Alliance). That $5,000 spread between them and the Champions is probably sales commissions, and maybe just a bigger markup -- neither of which do you any good.

None of the 3 brands you mentioned are sold around here -- can't give you any personal experience with any of them.
 
  #4  
Old 03-29-03, 06:54 PM
Tn...Andy
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Well, you've found out what I've been saying for years......there really is just about NO difference in replacement vinyl windows assuming you are looking at the same model company to company.....except of course for how much profit the company wants to make.

Using a Simonton window with the same features, and assuming your windows are of "average" size, the windows themselves would run in the $200-$250 range if you bought JUST the window.....the company will pay $50-75 per window to get them installed.....that's about $250-325/window their cost in the hole, TOPS.....

That's $4750 to $6175 "in the hole" cost to the company, not counting sales commission, overhead and profit

So at $6200, I'm thinking their costs are probably closer to $5000, and the $1200 difference isn't unreasonable for the rest....

The other guy at $8000 is high, and Champion is just flat out to skin you.

I'd check the $6200 people's work, complaint factor with BBB, and assuming they check out, I'd go with them.......I see no sense in paying $1800 more to get a comparable product.
 
  #5  
Old 03-30-03, 05:06 PM
gansmanms
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Thumbs up Thanks

Thanks DIYs

I will check BBB listings tomorrow of the 2 lower priced manufacturers and the installers.
I spoke with one of the references for the lowest price and everything was glowing.

I will add more as I learn more.

Thanks.
 
  #6  
Old 04-01-03, 07:57 PM
fross101
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One more Vinyl vendor

Not sure how energy effiency is fitting into your decision, but we just were looking a windows from a place named Nusash. As your initial post implyed the vinyl from one vendor to the next all seem to be pretty much the same (I'm with you brother). The one thing from Nusash that perked our interest is the glass. They use a product called the Heatmirror manufactured by a place named Southwall. Basic principle is that a membrane between two 1/8 inch sheets of glass functions as a heat reflector. Did a little research and found that this heatmirror product is used in many commercial applications. This Nusash outfit has three grades of glazing that they offer the "industry standard" low-e argon filled, the Heatmirror with a "R" rating of 3.8 and a Heatmirror 2000 with a "R" rating of 12.1. There is a commercial development going up across from my office, and I was able to con the developer into talking for a few minutes, and while he was not familiar with residential window suppliers he was familiar with the Heatmirror product. He talked very highly of it, and mentioned that it is used in high end commercial developments where sound abatement is also required. Nusash was offering windows that were compare able in price to the other vinyls we have been looking.
 
  #7  
Old 04-16-03, 12:31 PM
gansmanms
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Thumbs up A Final Followup

Hi to all DIY'ers,
I quick final followup note on the replacement window comparison.

I have researched all information that can be found and checked reference upon reference as well as BBB and investigated licensing, bonding, etc.
I have even talked to all 3 manufacturing companies Re. their manufacturing process.

Botton line is, the manufacturing process is the same...they all use 100% virgin vinyl and it is extruded. I checked the Low e coating process of my 3 bidders....one mfr. only coated one of the panes of glass (as opposed to coating both inside panes).
It mainly (because I achieved an apples to apples comparison) boiled down to how much $$ does each want to make off the job.

For mine, I have chosen the VinylMax brand of windows. They should be installed in about 3-4 weeks.

Thanks for all the input!
 
  #8  
Old 05-27-03, 11:20 AM
gansmanms
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Talking A Successful Project

Well,
here I sit several weeks down the road since my last entry. The windows arrived ontime and were installed promptly. The VinylMax product is wonderful and the installer - Windows America - did a 100%, A-Quality job. They removed the old windows, installed the new ones including stops, caulked everything, and even installed needed insulation around the interior of the window framing (builder did not do this right).
I cannot get over the difference.
Again, we replaced 13 double hung, 1 2-lite slider, and 6 picture windows. We went from builder grade wooden windows that leaked like a sive and banged and rattled with every little breeze to new beautiful windows that seal properly. We cannot hear noises outside that we used to! We now can sit in our great room during the middle of a sunny day and not be hot (even with no blinds on the picture windows). Wow!!
We are proof positive that you do not have to pay an arm and a leg for replacement windows.

Thanks to all for your replies.
 
  #9  
Old 02-15-07, 08:09 AM
B
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Don't buy Vinylmax windows

Vinylmax has a horrible design on their double-hung windows. If you look at the corners where the top and bottom window meet, there is an opening about 1/8"X1/8". When the wind picks up you hear a whistle. When it's really cold, you can feel a draft.

Originally Posted by gansmanms View Post


Greetings all DIY colleagues.

Many people run into this situation I am currently in...investigating vinyl replacement windows.

My better half and I live in the greater KC metropolitan area. We have a 8 year old house with crummy low-end wood builders windows that don't seal at all, bang together in the wind and have no insulating value.

I am looking at 3 vinyl replacement manufacturers:
1. Champion, Mfr'd in Cincinnati and installed themselves.
2. Alliance, Mfr'd here in KC and installed via dealer - BMD.
3. VinlyMax, Mfr'd in Cincinnati, and installed via dealer - Windows America.
I am not looking at Anderson, Pella, etc.. Too expensive.

I have researched and researched, prepared a spreadsheet to match all features of the windows, glass, warranty, price, installers credentials, etc. and had all 3 come out.

I cannot find a major difference between a better known like Champion (that carries a price tag of $13,000), the Alliance ($8,000) and the VinylMax ($6,200)....by the way, 13 double hung and 6 picture windows.
The construction is the same, wall thickness, U factor was only 0.01 different, movements were all constant force-balance systems, warranties identical, sash interlocks almost the same (little different - Champion and Alliance run the whole distance, VinylMax stops at latch), weatherstripping/sealing, etc. All have the 3/4" between the panes, U-channel spacers, night safety stops, tilt-in, etc. Low E and Argon filled, same, except, Champion toughts theirs is embedded into the glass, VinylMax says theirs is sprayed onto the glass when it is at its hottest (by PPG - a soft E coating they call it) and the Alliance dealer is still checking.

Can anyone give me any advice as to:
1. Are these 100% virgin, extruded vinyl windows really that different? It seems like the players have all caught each other.
2. Any experience with Champion? Alliance? VinylMax?
3. Anyone heard of Windows America (maybe called Memphis Windows)?

All advice and any questions for more details would be appreciated.
 
  #10  
Old 02-15-07, 10:36 AM
U
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Talking

We have replaced all of our windows and patio door with Champion. We are very very pleased. We also had them sub-contract for new gutters w/toppers, shutters and vinyl wrap of wood exterior on a window box. We will definitely hire them again when it comes time to refresh our siding, sofits and fascia.

You get what you pay for. They have had to replace the patio door once due to faulty seal (fogged). No problems with anything else and they're service was fine - they ordered and the panel was replaced lickety split.
 
  #11  
Old 03-11-07, 08:04 AM
D
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champion

13,000 for 13 double hungs and 6 picture windows is not as bad as you think. i think 12000 would sound better and be possible. check out who has aama gold label, who has nfrc rating, and who has energy star. then compare warranties. the best producet will have all three of those certifications. any window without these certifications are not worth your money unless you plan on replacing those windows again in about five years or so.
 
 

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