Best windows for far N. Minnesota?

Old 11-10-09, 09:05 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Northern Minnesota
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Best windows for far N. Minnesota?

I'm new to this site, and this process (sorry if I seem a bit dopey) and live in far N. Minnesota, where it can get down to -40F or colder before wind chill. Maybe I'm being too thorough, but I've had 3 guys come and quote me for replacement insert windows, double pane:

Simonton 6500--$650 each installed for 32" x 46" avg. size

Andersen Renewal--$760 installed per 32 x 46")

Norandex/Reynolds--$490 each per 32" x 46"

The first two seem to come highly rated; I can't find any info on the Norandex/Reyolds, they don't even have a website (a red flag or a green one?). Walsh Windows are made 150 away in Duluth, MN, but don't seem widely distributed, any experience with them?
How good are these windows? Do these prices seem about right? Am I on the right track? Also are triple panes worth the extra cost? Thanks for any help!
Old 11-11-09, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 180
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Hi Handy, and welcome to the forum.

I am going to expand a bit on your questions, kind of a give and take...

So are you looking for full frame replacements, inserts, other?

Do you have a preference for wood, vinyl, fiberglass?

How much do you want to spend versus what do you want for performance?

Where in Minnesota are you?

Anyway, where you live you really want maximum energy performance and some solar gain during the winter on your south facing units might be advantageous. But, without knowing the information that I asked about it is difficult to have an informed opinion...

And to reply to a couple of your questions:

I would consider not having a website to be a red flag for a national or large regional company, but a non issue for a smaller regional or local company.

But that said, having a website doesn't mean that a company is better or worse than any other. There are some very good companies with poor websites and some very poor companies with some really excellent websites.

Personally, the more glitz and glitter and bells and whistles (and other tired cliches') on a website, the more I look at it with some level of suspicion. While a simple website with verifiable facts may be worth a good bit.

Triples have to be on your short list of options. In your environment triples a very real cost-effective possibility.
Old 11-11-09, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
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Hi Handy. I agree with Oberon but would ask what you are replacing. Are they really old single pane units with weight pockets on the sides or some 20 year old double pane windows that you just want to look and function better. Real energy savings do not come with the latter.

As for replacement units, they are quick and easy, sometimes, and you should enjoy the savings, not the installer. So I'm concerned all of those prices are too high. A replacement window is ordered for an exact fit and most of the trim stays put. One window, 30 minutes installed. So, check the price of same or compatible windows without installation.

If you are using new install windows, yes more expensive as siding and inside trim all has to be redone.

Another of my concerns with replacement windows is that the insulation, or lack of same, around the old frame stays put. If that is part of the problem, then it does not get fixed.

Provide some more details, but be aware that windows are typically reserved for the last upgrade because of their very long payback. That means they cost a lot and save a little. We can estimate that for you if needed.

Be aware that the people you are talking to only get to buy their groceries IF you buy. They have a motive to SELL.


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