Who makes ***GREAT*** replacement windows?

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I live in the cold northeast, and am looking to replace 17 windows in my 60 year old house with energy efficient and easy to maintain / repair windows. This will be an expensive and messy project, impacting essentially every room in the house, so I want to do it right the first time and make the best choice I can for the window supplier.
I've been to see Pella, Andersen, Marvin as a first pass. I am especially interested in dealing with a company that will be around a long time, if there is any way to predict such things. My current 60 year old windows were made by a company which went out of business years ago, and parts have not been available for decades.
If ultra high efficiency has a good return on investment, and pays back fast, I will certainly consider the premium price as being worthwhile.
Many thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.
Smarty
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Smarty wrote:

Two areas of thought, no answers.
First, how long do you think you will be in that house? How much you are wlling to pay for very high priced super efficient windows, with a longer "payback" time, may be a function of how long you plan to be in that house.
Second, while manufacturer longevity is an important part of what windows to choose (replacement parts, warrantyserviceif a gas seal blows, etc.), so, too is istaller longevity. Ideed , warranty from the mfg may depend upon "correct" installation. Do some of the mfgrs. you mention do their own installation? Are you going to use "Joe Handyman" to install? A local remodeling contractor? A local construction co?
Just some more things to think about. Sorry that I have no "answers".
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Thanks Jim!
Your reply and comments are very much appreciated and very appropriate.
I hope to be in this house at least 15 to 20 years, and rising heating costs make super-efficient windows very likely to be a worthwhile investment.
I would expect / require the installer contractor to be either manufacturer "approved" such as the Marvin window installations done locally through their distributor "Big L", or through a place like Loews, HomeDepot, Sears, etc. who will stand behind their installation over the long term. In either case, I would expect to avoid the handyman, small independent shop, or do-it-yourself approach since this is a big and expensive job, likely to cost many tens of thousands of dollars based on my initial research.
Also, I did find an interesting web site called replacementwindows.com with some user reviews and testimonials. I was very surprised to see Pella dinged so much as I had expected that it was a leading brand.
Any / all comments are much appreciated and thanks again Jim,
Smarty

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I have Marvins, some new, but a lot are replacement "tilt-pac" windows for double hung windows. They're quite good, but I concur that it's very important to get them installed by a good contracator. I'd stay away from the big box subcontractors and ask friends and neighbors who have recently remodelled or replaced windows for a recommendation. The best contractors aren't in the phone book. Although I did run across mine earlier in his career as a recommendataion from a local supply.
Banty
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I assume you mean http://www.vinyl-replacement-windows.com/ 'cuz replacementwindows.com isn't much of a website, at least as far as I can tell.
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You are already off to a bad start. Sorry, but you are going to forgo some of the best installers for a crap shoot lowest bidder by a big box store that will not give a damn about you once the check clears. If it costs tens of thousands of dollars, you are getting screwed or you live in a 15 story building with lots of windows. Figure $200 to $500 each installed. Many variations exist as far as frames and glazing.
Many years ago I had a sideline business selling and installing windows and doors. I made a bundle of money and did better work at lower cost than the places you mention. Never had a callback. There are many reputable contractors out there. Ask around.
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CertainTeed makes a good window.
http://www.certainteed.com/certainteed/index.htm
Drill down to the regional products.*
http://www.certainteed.com/CertainTeed/Homeowner/Homeowner/Windows/default.htm
Oren --
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Pellas are not great they condense quicker than Anderson. Marvin are good. Andersons glass machine is a 25,000,000 dollar machine that makes real clear coated glass. You should check ratings of windows to know what to buy SHG, CDF, U value, air infiltration etc to know what you are buying. Tripple pane will save more. I would think Marvin or Anderson to be best. Hurd makes some efficent glass products for the South and North
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Smarty wrote:

I had 3 Anderson sliders and 5 windows put in last year and am very pleased with them. I like the E coat as it keeps out heat of sun in summer and keeps in heat in winter. Glass also has the self cleaning coating and outside windows are definitely cleaner. I also went with a first class company in the area and installation was done in one day.
I happened to mention to one of the installers that I heard of people replacing windows in houses that were less than 10 years old and his comment was that it probably was due to windows not being installed right the first time.
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Beware about warranties. My neighbor had a "Lifetime Warranty" on his (very expensive) triple-pane windows. After 10 years most of them are fogged up due to the gas leakage. The company is now out of business making the "Lifetime Warranty" completely useless. Perhaps going with a quality brand with a 10-year guarantee might be a good choice. My parents bought triple-pane from Sears some 20 years ago and they still look good--but I think they were one of the lucky ones.
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Call MICROSOFT. They got lots of Windows !!!!
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On Fri, 01 Feb 2008 18:59:01 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@ducttape.com wrote:

And don't WORRY about being screwed. That's guaranteed.
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Good luck. The company i buy my GREAT windows from has changed suppliers 3 times in 3 years. Each time i bought windows, they have the same features, but are markedly different windows. Just find one that offers an unlimited lifetime warranty on leakage AND breakage.
s

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Very simple. Just get windows from "Northeast aluminum products" They sell "custom guard" vinyl windows wich are better than any of the big brand names and can be installed in very little time. If the glass breaks any glazing shop can repair it or you can just put in a whole new window for about $150 or less if you do it yourself. Never paint,no sweating frames, tilt in cleaning and hi efficency glass is an option. They are in Philadelphia but will ship all over
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Smarty wrote:

If you like wood windows and like to pay lots of money try this: http://www.durathermwindows.com /
--
Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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Those seem to be intended mostly for industrial applications - they seem to be competing with aluminum windows for large-scale installations. The look of them is still pretty industrial. I don't know if you'd be happy with that in an old house. Maybe in one of these big modern mostly glass box houses, like they have pictured on the homepage of their site.
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Check out Alside vinyl
http://www.alside.com/index.aspx?pageQ0
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I live on the Minnesota/Canadian border. Two days ago the wind chill here was 48 below zero and my large Marvin picture window was actually slightly warmer than the wall next to it. Also my Anderson French doors were slightly warmer than the adjacent walls.
Marvin windows are manufactured about 100 miles from here in Warroad, MN and I think are excellent for our cold winter weather. Also Anderson windows are very good.
Personally I wouldn't consider anything else than these two companies for windows and doors up here.
Just my two cents

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A Canadian manufacturer makes windows to higher standards that any you named. The company is Loewen, they cost about 10% more (oops- that was when the exchange rate was OK) than all you mentioned, but they use Douglas fir, a hardwood, instead of pine like the others. As well, all of their work is first class, architectural quality. Many glazing options, up to triple pane. DPA
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NeedleNose wrote:
...

Uh, Douglas Fir is actually a softwood. (and Balsa is actually a hardwood). Some of my neighbors have Loewen windows and seem to be happy with them.
The OP didn't say whether he was considering vinyl windows. If so Milgard is a good one to check out.
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