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.
Two areas of thought, no answers.
First, how long do you think you will be in that house? How much you
to pay for very high priced super efficient windows, with a longer
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".
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,
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.
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.
CertainTeed makes a good window.
Drill down to the regional products.*
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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