Replacement Windows

Live in a 20-year old townhouse in Maryland. Second owner.
The windows the builder put in are pretty cheesy and we are going to replace them with vinyl windows.
We have two different companies coming in two weeks to give us an estimate. Two other townhouses in the complex are having it done at the same time so we can negotiate a decent price with an installer. The neighbors have left it up to us to pick the windows/installer so we are under some pressure to get this right.
We are looking for double-pane, middle-quality windows: a total of 19 of them for just our townhouse.
We would be most grateful for any suggestions from folks who have had windows replaced regarding mistakes to avoid.
All too often I see posts where folks have sought advice _after_, for example, treating a deck, etc., only to find out that they have used the worst possible product or failed to pay attention to something important and now are faced with either living with a bad job or doing it all over again.
We are looking for recommendations for brands of windows and for feedback, good and bad, from folks who have had windows replaced.
Many thanks for any advice offered/experiences shared.
Bob in MD.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

One can spend a lot of dollars, not have a good install and windows that don't operate properly. High end - Anderson (plenty of dollars)
IMO, Certainteed are excellent windows - dual pane, low-e, argon, welded and sealed vinyl....(with outside molding). They are a "stick-in-the-hole" windows.
Windows (and doors) are the biggest cause for loss of energy in a home. The quality of the install to me is the most important. A window should prevent water and wind from entering the house. Un-seen problems can accumulate water and cause further damage. You will be miserable with a window that is hard to operate. If the installers shows up without a level, send 'em home. Each window should be level and plum and shimmed. A good seal (silly cone) is very important as well.
http://www.certainteed.com/certainteed/homeowner/homeowner/windows/default.htm
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
whatever brand you get i would reccomend the low-e glass,it really does make a difference. lucas
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I agree with the low e- glass. We had 5 replaced with Certainteed a few years ago. They are retro windows which fit over the existing aluminum frane. I'm having the final 11 replaced within the next 2 weeks. This time I'm going to use Milguard because they are 30% cheaper than the Certainteed windows from the dealer I used last time. The specs seem identical and here in Southern California a lot of new and existing retrofit windows are Milguard. Milguard is HQ'd in the Seattle/Tacoma area.
Good luck with your decision.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We had 33 windows plus a large sliding patio door replaced in the early spring. We also had the wood siding replaced with hardi-plank and a new roof put on. It was a major job.
We put in Jeld-Wen vinyl windows. These are kind of a middle of the road windows as I understand it. They have lifetime warranty. Here's a list of things to expect and watch for, from a home-owner's point of view.
1. Expect that removal of the old windows is a destructive process. You'll get a few cracks and breaks in the interior walls that will need to be patched and repainted. 2. Ask the installer how they seal the windows. What you want is a heavy product usually called Window-Wrap. Its a thick heavy wide vinyl product that is applied all around the window. Get them to show you a sample. Normally its about 4" wide and about 1/32" thick. If they show you some flimsy 2" wide plastic tape, move on to the next installer. 3. Ask about the type of caulk they plan to use. You should get the very best caulk available (not the cheap latex stuff. We used a brand called " Big stretch" that's about 2-3x the price of the cheap stuff. 4. Tell the installer you will be inspecting their work and you want to see how they tape the windows. Our installer got in a hurry trying to finish before Christmas. We caught them skipping the window wrap on four windows. Before it was over with, the president of the company GAVE us the windows and all the installation because she was so concerned about her companys reputation and integrity. That's why we chose them in the first place. 5. Check the operation of every single window after installation for smoothness of operation. They should not bind or be difficult to raise. Make sure they install the windows with the weep holes on the bottom. 6. Local codes will probably require that some of the windows use tempered glass. This is designated by an etched logo on the glass itself. Find out which windows will be tempered and make sure they install them in the right locations. 7. Have an understanding with your installer how they are going to store the windows on site. They take up a lot of space and can get damaged if not handled carefully. We stored the windows in my garage. This worked well, except they also stored all their tools in my garage. That was a mistake. At the end of the day, the crew tended to just toss their tools into a pile, not respecting the rest of my garage and occasionally stacked things on the windows. When I saw this happening, I spoke to the foreman and it was corrected. Store the screens separately away from the windows. They are the last thing to go on and can get damaged easily.
We are pleased with the windows. I live in Houston and my home was built before we got really smart about energy efficiency. The windows made the house much quieter. In our area, we have problems with radiant heating from the sun in the summer, making some rooms hotter than others. The windows took care of that problem.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
To the Bobs, Oren, Lucas, and Dave: Many thanks for all the good advice and suggestions, gentlemen.
Having the right questions to ask the installer puts him on notice that I have researched this topic, done my reading on the subject (which I have) and know something of what I am talking about.
Makes it less likely that he's going to take me for a sucker and do any old sloppy-ass job installing them.
Cheers, Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This job is very invasive, and disrupts your home. I would recommend you include several items in your written contract:
- get a written contract. There are internet sites with suggested contracts This is a Canadian site, but the ideas are the same: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/burema/gesein/abhose/abhose_ce31.cfm - have start and reasonable completion dates - hold back on paying 1/2 of the total estimated cost until after the job is done. Leave yourself say a week, since problems don't often immediately appear, and you may not notice some things, until things return to normal, the workers are gone, and you've had time to check things out. - cleanup will be done at the end of each work day, especially for interior work. I didn't ask about this, and spent a lot of time each day vacuuming the floors and carpets to remove the dust and debris left by the workers - if drywall work is done, how will the contractor protect your home from the dust from sanding, etc.? This dust is very bad. A well sealed plastic barrier is good - will all debris, including old windows, etc., be removed? - if you can, ask for references, and/or talk to people who have had work done by the contractor - check the contractor's record at the Better Business Bureau - we like our Farley windows so far. We've been using them for about a week. :-) http://www.farleywindows.com /
Let us know how things go.
Dugie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.