Quality window cost and efficiency.

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Old 12-05-07, 12:28 PM
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Quality window cost and efficiency.

I am planning on having new windows installed in the spring so I am starting my search now.
I will need 5 double hung and 1 Large Bay window.

I really don't know who makes a good window be truthful, I'm not sure what brand to go with. My neighbors had Simington installed with the same number/kind of windows I need. The crew ( 4 men) they had do the work were very professional and did a nice job at a total cost of $6300.00. That seems like a lot to me but I really don't know.

Question: Who makes the best windows in the price range of Simingtom, Pella, whoever.
All suggestions and advise would be very much appreciated.
 
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Old 12-05-07, 01:36 PM
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Asking "who makes the best windows" is kind of like asking which fruit is best at the grocery store. There are many kinds of windows just like there are many kinds of fruit. By the same token, to say that a apple is better than an orange or a banana is better than a grape... or to think that they should all cost the same would be an unfair comparison.

As for windows, there are many different types.

You have wood windows... vinyl windows... aluminum windows... fiberglass and composite windows... wood windows clad w/ aluminum... and the list goes on.

Having installed vinyl windows since 1991... and having worked for a company that started installing vinyl windows in 1982, I can say without a doubt that "vinyl is NOT final". Sad to say, some of the older vinyl windows were pure junk by today's standards. And there's nothing to say that 25 years from now, today's vinyl windows will seem like junk as well.

There's no window made that lasts forever, and nothing is cheap. In most cases, you do get what you pay for.

So what kind of windows are you looking for? Wood/clad, vinyl? More details would help. The one common denominator in windows is the glass. You will probably want high efficiency glass no matter what style, type or brand of window you get.
 
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Old 12-06-07, 11:42 AM
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I want vinyl inside and out due to the low/no maintenance. I definitely want the best glass with everything that go's with it like gas filled etc,.
I guess the bottom line is I want really good windows from a company that will be around for awhile and backs there products with an iron clad warranty!
I know that I don't want Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, or Certainteed.

Changeling

PS. Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 12-06-07, 12:27 PM
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I bet there are 1000 various brands of vinyl windows out there. It's hard to pick just one and say "this one's the best". JustBill will praise Certainteed since he installs them. I rarely recommend any vinyl window brand over another. Some people make the mistake of choosing a product based on "name recognition." They've heard of Pella, Anderson, etc- big names that have been in business for a long time.

Well the problem I've seen with vinyl windows is that they change models and designs every few years. When the vinyl extrusions are gone, your out of luck if you need a sash or some integral piece that is not a generic replacable part. I can hardly count the number of companies that have gone out of business, been purchased (swallowed) by other companies, or who continue to do business but no longer can replace and repair their own windows from just a few years ago. I'm not sure all companies are the same, but I'm growing skeptical of the entire industry. It's only geared to sell more windows, it seems... not to develop a product that provides a lifetime of service.

-end of rant-

On the positive side, I have heard good things about the Schuco line of windows, which I do not sell nor have any affiliation with. The dealers that I have had contact with seem to be convinced that it's the cat's meow.

In the past, we had dealings with Bristol, who also thought they had the best window.

I would not even consider Pella's Thermastar windows (they bought this company so as to have a vinyl window), and the same goes for practically any vinyl window that's sold at a big box store.
 
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Old 12-06-07, 04:35 PM
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On some points, Sleeper and I agree, especially on Pella. Cheap vinyl windows by local manufacturers are often hard to fix in as little as 4-5 yrs, the company is gone and so are the parts. I recommend national companies with long reputations in building products, be they wood or vinyl products. Certainteed, Andersen and others are national companies that have been making home improvement products for over 100 yrs, they are not likely to disappear tomorrow. I picked Certainteed about 17 yrs ago after installing some windows from a local outfit, long gone. I can still get the same extrustion(same look) as I installed then, of course with better glass and weatherseals.

Yes, I am biased. Those companies help pay my bills, but I rarely have to defend them to my customers. I have had Andersen send me free parts on windows 20+ yrs old, and I usually extend that courtesy to my customers.
 
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Old 12-07-07, 01:30 PM
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After looking at all the windows suggested plus about 10 more i definitely like the Schuco "look". There bow window is not nearly as "bulky" looking as Symington's that my neighbors had installed. Theres is so bulky looking that it looks out of place on the house. Also the construction looks a lot more finished than all the ones I've looked at (Vinyl).

I read all there literature and found the edge technology very interesting. Also being the worlds largest window manufacture sets well with me.
I sent for more information. Now if there price is reasonable I might just have found a window I like thanks to this site .

They made a statement that I totally did not understand though! The buyer has a choice between Argon or Krypton gas filling. What are the differences between the two?
 
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Old 12-07-07, 01:36 PM
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I can't speak for them, but "usually" Argon is the gas fill option that is used with double pane glass, while Krypton is the gas fill option that is used with triple pane glass. You might find Krypton as an option if the double pane unit is narrow- say 1/2" wide or so. Most glass units in vinyl windows will be 3/4 or 13/16" thick.

Triple pane w/Krypton is usually a step above double pane w/argon, performance-wise, provided both have Low-e coatings.

It has nothing to do with one type of gas being "better" than another, it has more to do with the way they insulate the amount of space they are put into. Argon works best in a dead air space that is 1/2" wide or so... while Krypton performs best in a dead air space that is around 3/16" wide. Ideally, the gas between the panes of glass should not circulate- rising and falling with differences in temperature, so scientists have determined which gas is the most efficient to use inside various types of insulating glass units. (IGU's.)

Warm edge technology is offered in many of the various glass packages that almost all companies offer. Most often it simply refers to the spacer that is used between the panes of glass. Anything that has better properties than the "standard aluminum spacer" is said to be using warm edge technology. And there are quite a few different products being used out there. Not sure which of them Schuco offers.
 
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Old 12-07-07, 04:03 PM
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XSleeper, I really appreciate your answers/comments. So , if one is not better than the other (Argon vs Kripton) how do you make the deciding decision, or do you just ask the company, they don't list air space distances?

Do I gain or loose anything by getting a separate installing crew over someone the factory recommends? As I said above I was very impressed by my neighbors installers, thats the reason for the question.

Just how good or the lifetime warranty's spouted by the various companies? That is one area that is somewhat vague with Schuco but I guess the information they are sending will explain more fully.
 
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Old 12-07-07, 04:18 PM
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Schuco uses TPS which stands for ThermoPlastic Spacer.

It is primarily polyisobutylene - or PIB.

The other difference between argon and krypton is cost - krypton generally costs a good deal more than argon. In a narrow-space triple it is likely to be worth it. In a wider spaced double, it is likely not worth the extra expense.
 
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Old 12-08-07, 11:34 AM
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Thank you Oberon for the tips.
Changeling
 
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Old 12-10-07, 10:44 AM
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To me, the biggest question involved is "What is the goal?" I've often installed the generic/cheap brand in houses that the owner simply wanted to upgrade for the sale - in which case a cheap generic is the best option (new buyers just want new windows, regardless of brand/quality) - whereas long term homeowners want something that will last "forever"... You've got to determine the need before you determine the brand - in my humble opinion.... Not saying that cheap/easy is the way to go in all situations - but works often in the right place....
 
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Old 12-10-07, 12:29 PM
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thezster, I understand what you are saying, however I don't want the best nor do I want the really cheap stuff. I prefer to have the windows look correctly with the house design.
As I said above about the Simington bow window on my neighbors house looks totally out of place, it just plain looks like size 16 shoes on a medium build 12 year old boy!! When you look at his house the very first thing you see/notice is that dam window!
For my house this window has to be just over 7 feet long if I remember correctly so you can see where I have to have something a little more delicate looking. I might even have to buy the bow from one company and the rest of the windows from another company a lot depends on the deal I can come up with on a total package from some company. So far I really like the look of the Schuco windows but I haven't received there brochures yet to study so everything is still up in the air as to what I end up doing. Things I have to consider are wind resistance, man whe the wind blows here it really BLOWS because my house sits almost at the apex of a long ridge that drifts off into a long valley (north to south). So when I get fronts coming out of the north or west I literally catch hell.
So you see the deli ma, this is why I'm searching now and asking so many questions, spring is only about four months away and I also have to have my deck resurfaced and thats 40 x 14 sq ft (560 sq f.) . That sure isn't going to be cheap but I haven't even started asking questions about that yet.
Changeling
 
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Old 12-10-07, 02:47 PM
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As far as the bow window on your neighbor's house appearing to be the most prominent thing on the house... what exactly is it that stands out as being "oversized" about it?

Is it the size of the window itself, or the amount or angle that it protrudes? Or the way they finished the roof or underside of the bow? (Bows have 4 sides or more, if it has 3 sides it's a bay).

I guess one thing to consider when getting a vinyl bow window is that there is going to be a LOT of frame between the sections of glass. Sometimes that makes them look bulky. If you're considering a bay or bow on your home, you'll have a little less frame if you pick an aluminum or vinyl clad exterior / wood interior window, such as an Andersen, Marvin, Pella, Peachtree, etc. IMO, they do look less bulky when compared to Vinyl bays and bows of the same size because you get more glass.
 
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Old 12-11-07, 11:58 AM
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Hi Xslepper, you hit the nail right on the head:

""]
I guess one thing to consider when getting a vinyl bow window is that there is going to be a LOT of frame between the sections of glass. Sometimes that makes them look bulky. If you're considering a bay or bow on your home, you'll have a little less frame if you pick an aluminum or vinyl clad exterior / wood interior window, such as an Andersen, Marvin, Pella, Peachtree, etc. IMO, they do look less bulky when compared to Vinyl bays and bows of the same size because you get more glass.""

There is a lot lot more on a Symington than on a Schuco , it just plain looks out of place on his house, like a wart between someones eyes. I was talking to a neighbor yesterday and "HE" brought up the question about the window looking out of place on his house. I just kept my mouth shut and said I hadn't noticed. Keep in mind that this was a replacement for the original builders wooden window which was a real piece of crap, but "Fit" the look of the house.

As for Andersen, Marvin, Pella, Peachtree, etc, I have already been thinking about that route as well, for the bow window, but not the regular windows.
What is the general feeling of the really good bow window in that group relative to price, warranty, whatever? As always, all input is appreciated very much, negative or positive !
 
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Old 12-11-07, 02:33 PM
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Before I get involved with the problem I have a comment about the web site.
Will you guys (administrator) PLEASE put a "FORUMS" button at the top of the home page so people can easily get connected to there correct forum or any forum. Current configuration is really bad!! Just a suggestion !

Now, I thought you guys would be interested in a quote I received from Schuco windows installer. This is of course an Internet estimate from a local factory rep, and in fact he does mention he can swing by for a better estimate.

"----------------------------------------
> From: !!!!!!!!!!
> To: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!@hotmail.com
> Subject: RE: window quote
> Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 15:17:11 -0500
>
> The number I received is, --------------------.
> Normal cost with installation for the Schuco triple pane windows is approx.
> $700.00 each. Bays or Bows are priced per. Design, range approx. $2500.00 -
> $4,500.00.
> I will try and drive by your address one day next week. Maybe I will better
> be able to help with your quote.
> Please reply with your home address and correct phone number.
>


I think this pricing is ridiculous for vinyl windows! I would appreciate comments .

Changeling
 
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Old 12-11-07, 04:02 PM
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Well, as for the link to the various forums, I most frequently go to the top of the page and click on the "path" that is above each thread or forum. And that path is on every page.

For instance, above this thread you have the path links (in blue):

DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Interior Home Improvement Center > Doors and Windows > Quality window cost and efficiency.

Clicking on "DoItYourself.com Community Forums" takes you to the main forums page, below.

http://forum.doityourself.com/index.php

Clicking on the path "Doors and windows" would take you to that forum. IMO, that's the easiest way to get around. I bookmark the main forum page, and just browse the forums from there.

Regarding the windows, did you find out how much your neighbor paid? Because I'm guessing that his windows were comparable in price. I'm not surprised by those numbers at all. Almost any company you get an estimate from will be near that range of prices. At least they are up front with their pricing, rather than suggesting a low price and then coming out later with an inflated price... then shooting you a "bargain" price that is still higher than what you initially were thinking. Replacement windows save you money by reducing the amount of work needed to replace windows- the trim, siding, interior woodwork, refinishing, plaster, painting, etc. which might be needed if you had to resize openings or replace entire frames. So the cost may seem high, but there is some savings that is kind of "built in".

If this is your first bid, it's shocking, isn't it? That's why DIY forums are so popular!
 
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Old 12-12-07, 01:31 PM
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Shocked is putting it mildly !!

My neighbor had the top of the line Simington with all options. They had six windows and a bow window, bill was $ 6000.00 even ( I cornered him today and asked for the exact figure).

The above quote I was given would come out to 7500. to $8000.00 or more if he didn't include tax in his figures and even more if gas filled and other options are selected.
I need 5 windows and a bow, 1 less window.

I was told about an hour for installation of each regular window (Lowes). Now if a window costs say $300.00 then $400.00 would be for the installation. That would be $400. per hour!!
Is there something wrong with my figures??
 
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Old 12-12-07, 01:36 PM
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That's why I installed my windows myself - at about 1.5 hours/window....... Windows averaged about $250 - $300 each (vinyl, double hung, E glass, tilting)......
 
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Old 12-12-07, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by thezster View Post
That's why I installed my windows myself - at about 1.5 hours/window....... Windows averaged about $250 - $300 each (vinyl, double hung, E glass, tilting)......
If my health hadn't turned south I would do it myself, I have all my life, but now I can't. So, that's that!

However, do you agree with my figures or am I nuts? Are all these window places going to charge $400.00 or more per hour for installation?
I don't belittle anyone a right to earn a decent living, but my crooked dam lawyer doesn't even charge that much.

Changeling
 
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Old 12-12-07, 02:38 PM
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First off, don't confuse a cheap, low quality or medium quality big box store window for a high quality window such as the Schuco windows you've priced. Putting inexpensive windows into a rental or home that you plan to sell is a little different from the windows you might want in your OWN home.

Second, let's say the window does cost $350, and that it's marked up to $700, including installation. $350 sounds like a lot of profit. Actually, it's not. Think about all the ways that $350 needs to be split. Maybe you've got a 4 man crew coming to work at your house for 2 days. How much do you think they are getting paid out of that "profit"? How about the secretaries back at the home office who do the ordering, and the scheduling and paperwork and payroll and so on? Not to mention the expenses for the sales crew and the commissions they make off of each sale. And the owners of the company, and their support staff. Then you have all the "free estimates" that some companies offer which cost a company time, gas, and money- especially when they don't get the job- it's like a waste of time. How about the overhead of the company- loan payments for leased office or warehouse space, employee health insurance, 401K, workmans' comp ins, liability insurance, taxes, tools, trucks, advertising, materials used, dump fees, the time and fuel it takes to get to your house and back, plus many many more things that all add up.

Window companies don't give their products away because of the expenses involved in providing that service. If you think it's out of line, try and find someone who can do it cheaper. I think you'll find that most companies that do "quality work" will be in the same price range. The companies that are cheaper often have the scummiest workers who don't give a hoot about the quality of work, and they will slam your windows in and be gone.

In short, there's more than one person earning that "hourly rate" that you're envisioning, and there's more involved in running a business than paying people- there's overhead and expenses too.

If you want to get your windows installed as cheap as possible, and you can't do it yourself, find some lone wolf carpenter or handyman who doesn't have all the overhead and who will work by the hour. But don't be surprised if the quality of work is not as good as a crew that does that sort of thing every day.
 
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