Windows: brands? new frames?

Old 01-13-08, 12:33 PM
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Question Windows: brands? new frames?

Hello everyone, I have been researching window brands for a long time now, but there are so many considerations that I think my best course of action at this point is to spell out my scenario and get some feedback. Thank you in advance:

House: 1950's brick ranch in central NC.

Environment: Rarely snows here. Side of hill, plenty of trees. Sunlight is not an issue.

Current windows: 34x42 between the studs. Single pane, old as house. All of the frames are in good condition, but are not snug with the studs all the way around, AND there is not any insulation around the frames... Suspect a fair amount of cold air leakage...

What I want: Clad wood. Simulated or true divide (none of that just between the glass stuff, or those snap on grids). Low E. Double hung. Good warranty.

Important points: We only plan to live in this house for say, another 5 years. Budget is around $500 per window.

First question would be, if the frames are all in good shape (no rot, etc.), couldn't I just insulate the hell out of the spaces between the frame and studs with something like that foam-in-can product, or would it really be worth replacing the frames? I am not afraid of doing this myself, I just want to do one window at a time; and I'll take my time.

Second question. Brands... At this point I have read too many complaints about Anderson and Pella Thermastar, so forget them. My feeling now is that since I am not planning on living here the rest of my life, that something like Pella Design series or Proline would probably do just fine. I'd like to keep with the integrity of this little stick-built house, but there are many things I need to do to it so I have to spread the money around...
Old 01-14-08, 07:13 AM
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If your frames are in good condition - I see no point in replacing them. Once the trim is removed and the windows out - you can insulate them appropriately to avoid leakage (use caution with some types of spray in foam - it can expand enough to distort your walls/frames - they make one specially for around windows/doors).

As far as brand - you will get recommendations for and against any brand/style out there - you have to decide - based on how long you want them to last - how they look - etc.... for yourself. I've used Pella's for my last 15 or so replacement projects - and am very happy with them. I've also used Anderson - and had no problems with them either - - - Keep in mind - I buy/fix/sell - so only need "new looking/adaquate" windows for my purposes...
Old 01-15-08, 03:57 AM
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Waht you ask for under $500 is nearly impossible, especially if someone else will do the installation.

As suggested, the old windows can be improved. One thing you mentioned is air leakage. Remove the trim around the window frame and insulate the air space with non expanding foam like DAP. Then tighten up the around each sash.

Check Marvin(Tilt-Pac) or Weathershield replacement sash kits. Fits into existing frames. A DIY job for anyone with average skills. Proper measuring is the critical part.
Old 01-15-08, 06:32 AM
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You might consider the sash replacement kits, most of the manufacturers make some version clad in either aluminum, or vinyl. The Jeld-Wen Zap-Pack is one I'm familiar with, and I'm pretty sure MW (if they're still around) had some as well.

These come with new jamb liners and any type of glazing/grill options you want. If you are doing it yourself, you could definitely stay under $500 if these are normal sized windows. They basically go in like replacement windows, but you don't lose any glass area, and retain the original look of the exterior.

{Guess I should have read Bill's post a little closer, I just repeated what he said, with different companies names)

Last edited by Gunguy45; 01-15-08 at 06:35 AM. Reason: clarification

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