I am about to pull the trigger on replacement windows and have a
question regarding the construction of vinyl windows. Three different
brands of windows have been quoted to me and I want to know if anyone
has any experience or opinions on which models are better construction.
Silverline/Andersen 8500 Series LowE/Argon/Foam Filled 0.30
B.F. Rich Horizon LowE/Argon 0.30
Alside Excalibur LowE/Argon 0.30
They all meet the new standard for the Federal Credit. The Silverline
has a foam-filled frame for rigidity. The Alside I was shown had metal
bars inside the frame although the website doesn't show that. The B.F.
Rich doesn't seem to have either.
The Alside is Window World's model and they were the most expensive
quote. The other two are local contractors that have been in business
for quite a while. All windows seem to have similar warranties.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the benefits of the foam-filled frames
vs. the other two?
Foam filling should reduce heat transmission, effect on strength
minimal, probably not that important in a well built house. Frankly,
it doesn't seem logical to have steel reinforcements in a vinyl
environment because of the radical difference in thermal expansion,
but I may be wrong.
Given your situation, I would consider Andersen and a local
contractor if their quote is reasonable, although one Andersen
franchise operation was grossly overpriced to friends of mine. Windows
World locally seems to have a similar problem of making their whole
annual profit from a few uninformed consumers. Bottom line, if you
feel uneasy, keep looking. Replacement windows are very profitable,
and most of the products are fairly decent. In the case of my friends
that passed on the Andersen franchise quote, they found a local
contractor that had specialized in window work for 30 odd years and
had a quality product for less than half the price. Good luck.
Depending on who is pushing what product line, you'll get varying
opinions on the virtues of foam filled windows.
I'd toss out the rigidity argument in residential applications. I
don't think it's a factor worth considering.
As far as the benefits of foam for efficiency, there are lots of
studies on the internet. Some say it improves the R-value, some say
the contact of foam to vinyl actually increases heat transfer when
compared to a dead air space.
Most of the research I did and people I spoke indicated that foam
filled is not worth the extra cost.
Andersons glass finishing is a unique process in which the glass is
coated at the molecular level in a 20 million dollar machine, its
better than my Pella LowE argon in clarity, it has better CDF rating
than pella, Anderson honors its warranty I have found.I dont know the
other brands but CR has done major comparisons in the past. The
anderson rep told me about 95% of warrantys are not honored because of
hack installs. Metal transmits more. Are all the other specs equal,
air infiltration, CDF,VLT, SHG. Anderson has always been top line.
You need to verify plumb, level and square before you pay or you can
have no warranty.
According to the salesman Andersen makes the frames and they get the
two-pane glass inserts from a different manufacturer and insert into
The quote with the Silverline/Andersen windows was for 12 double-hung
and 1 picture window with wrapping. Total $4040. This is why I do not
believe these are top-line windows.
When I was at the home show a couple of weeks ago a man at one of the
booths told me that mostly all the manufacturers use the same window
cores. The difference would be in the construction and installation.
Others on here will disagree (violently) with me, but IMHO, vinyl is not
a suitable structural material for something like a window frame. Just
too flexible. Vinyl-clad on the outside, sure, for weather resistance,
but there should be a real window frame inside the plastic. For
something you want to last 30+ years at a minimum, the additional
per-year cost for real 'old work' windows simply is not that high. And
if your current window frames are in good shape, and the problem is just
leaky or single-pane sashes, there are several quality sash-replacement
choices available. When I bought this place, I must have looked at 100
houses. Any houses with vinyl windows over 5 years old, they were
already badly showing their age, felt rattly, and in general looked like
crap to my eye. The 1960 builder-grade wood windows in this place worked
fine. I still need to replace them, since they are only single-pane, but
the wood has held up well. I saw firsthand several hundred houses go up
in central Indiana from early-1960s to early-1970s, most with Anderson
wood windows, which was the default brand for my father's construction
company. I still see some of those houses from the inside on my visits
back to the old hometown, and the windows mostly look like new, absent
any abuse, and given normal upkeep. I <may> start to accept vinyl
windows when I see them lasting 50-100 years like quality wood windows
But like I said, there are those on here who will defend their vinyl to
My current windows are wood framed with aluminum tracks and no pulleys.
They are very difficult to move up/down. Can the sashes actually be
replaced without disassembling the whole window?
In most cases, yes. The only exception would be very low end windows
where the stop rail (I think that is the term- the inside trim right up
against the sashes) is not removable. Most window companies do free
estimates- find one that has other-than-vinyl in their ads, such as
'renewal by anderson', and have them come take a look.
And like others on here have said- a quality installation is just as
important as quality windows.
If you get windows made with Rehau Profile vinyl you have a window
that is structurally as good as they get - rivalling a wood frame .
This is a German design and I don't know of any "cheapies" using it.
Why would I care if my windows last 100 years ??? LOL...The Pella Wood
Casement Windows I replaced with Vinyl Double Hung didn't.....LOL....And at
this stage of my life the less maintance the BETTER....LOL....
The foam filled frames are for insulation. You will find you can get
Alsides with foam filled frame (at least you could 5 yrs ago). Check a
cut-away of the frames to compare. The more cavities, the better the
structure (rigid), and the better for insulation, believe it or not. I
don't care to go into how it insulates better, by having more cavities.
Something else to consider, Alsides uses virgin vinyl, not recycled vinyl,
I don't know about the other 2.
Did anyone tell you how these will be installed? They fit inside your
existing frame, if the frame is wood. I have heard in the south, they also
install them in aluminum existing frames.
I can tell you, Alsides has one of the best warranties in the business. I
know for a fact, they honor the warranty. However, I wouldn't purchase them
through Window World. Do you have a Alside Supply listed near you? They are
wholesale only, but, they will give you some names of installers. You will
get a better price, than through WW.
On Wed, 5 Aug 2009 12:29:10 +0000 (UTC), "badgolferman"
Do you get much wind? Vinyl frames might flex in high wind. Mine did.
Sashes were replaced with commercial typw with metal inserts.
Ask if the window has to be completely closed in rain. Believe it or
not, some have the outside rim of the frame higher than the inside,
especially if the screens are installed from the inside.
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