Plastic or Aluminum Sliding Doors

I have several 12' sliding patio doors, using 4' panels. Inside trim is standard but on the outside, the flanges are imbedded in the stucco surrounding the doors. The doors are single pane glass and I would like to replace them with dual pane glass, for obvious reasons.
The Window Replacement Companies that I consulted want to put a plastic frame inside the existing aluminum frame and replace the aluminum sliding doors with plastic frame doors. They are not interested in replacing the aluminum windows with new aluminum windows because they do not like to work with stucco. They say that's a big mess and effort.
The problem is that the existing black anodized aluminum frames are very narrow and thus do not diminish the view through the doors. If I replace them with plastic frames, I will lose about 15 to 20% of my view, which would be a shame.
Rather than use plastic replacement windows, how big a job is it to remove the stucco from around the frames and just put in new aluminum frames? Is this a DIY project?
Thanks for any input. Any other solutions to this dilemma?
--
Walter
www.rationality.net
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Walter R. wrote:

IMHO, not DIY. Also not a job for any window company that advertises on TV or in the Sunday paper. (Their main business is lending money- the 'windows' they sell are just a hook to get you in the tent.) Call a few real window/door companies and/or general contractors that specialize in remodeling. They actually know how to do it. It won't be cheap. Only you can crunch the numbers and decide it the heating/cooling payback, the tax credit payback, and the presumed small bump in resale value, make it a financial winner or not.
As to how to find a good company- if there is any new construction in your town, drive by and see who is putting those windows in. Ask friends and coworkers who did their last remodel job, and if they are happy with the work. The good companies don't advertise or have flashy trucks- they don't need to. They get all the work they want via word of mouth. -- aem sends...
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Good advice. Thank you. I have always been very leery of the "Window Replacement Contractors". Their advertising, and there is plenty of it, smells of snake oil.
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Walter
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I used a skill saw with a masonry blade and cut back far enough to be beyond the door nailing flange, then broke out the narrow band of stucco and removed the door. After installing the new door, I used ready mix stucco to fill in the gap around the new door. That is probably the most difficult-getting the patch to not show-but it did come pretty well. A couple of coats of matching paint and you are done.
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When they repaired the stucco at work they used a bonding agent on the old stucco. I would think you would want to do the same.
Jimmie
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