1. The KillerFrogs

OT: Window Replacement Recs & Advice

Discussion in 'Scott & Wes Frog Fan Forum' started by sketchy, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. I know not sports related, so if post has to be moved, I get it......just not a lot of action in HHA.

    House I bought 15 years ago needs to have windows replaced. There are a few that have "foggy" looking stains that I can seem to remove, and a couple have cracks from weed eater thrown rocks...not to mention that I can feel air leaks in a few. I just want better, more efficient, more attractive windows....and I want to enjoy them, before I sell in 3-4 years.

    Does anyone have a recommendation on a reputable company, or any general advice.
    I've done my fair share of research, but am now getting tired-head.
    I trust advice from real people, who've actually been thru this process before.

    I appreciate it

    BTW, I'm considering double pane / single hung vs. picture windows
    I live in far SW corner of Tarrant, lot of blowing dust out here, so rarely open windows
  2. There are a lot of remodeling companies and you will pay a premium using them. However, they will be able to remedy and fix any other issues that might arise from replacing windows. There is a comfort level there.

    Or you can go direct to a window supplier. I like the people over at Nix Door and Hardware. They can send someone out to measure your windows and they can install them. If your situation is where they can remove and install new ones that will not require any sheetrock repair, that would be the way to go. They are located between Seminary Dr and Berry St on I35 service road heading north.

    It doesn’t cost you anything to get several quotes during the process to compare and evaluate options.. I would not get in a rush. Do your due diligence and only move forward once you are comfortable with that decision.
  3. Check the warranty language if you have anything other than standard, cookie-cutter windows.

    We had a very bad experience with an oversized slider manufactured by Andersen. About every six months the carriage, the parts that move the sliding window back and forth on its track, would fail. The window retailer was at a loss after the first failure, and called in the Andersen rep.

    The Andersen rep showed up smiling and glad-handing, and replace the hardware that included the wheels the door moved on (the carriage). After the second failure, he showed up with "redesigned" carriages. Although they looked like the same thing as the failed carriages, we were promised the new stuff was a fix. We had 2 more carriage failures that Andersen replaced, the last one with a cheery reminder that the windows were now out of warranty. The fifth failure, outside the 2-year warranty, involved the slider falling not just off the rails but out of the window opening.

    We replaced the Andersen with a "house" brand from Stock Supply. All OK since then.

    We learned that the Andersen carriage was actually engineered for a smaller, much lighter slider. I thought about suing for about 5 minutes, but because the warranty had arguably (that's certainly what Andersen was prepared to argue) expired, and no one was physically injured, potential damages wouldn't justify the effort.

    So I content myself with living well as my revenge, and mentioning this situation in the infrequent conversations that I have about replacement windows.

    Beware Andersen.
    MN Frog, Purp, hometown frog and 2 others like this.
  4. I wish I could remember the company we used in Edmond/OKC because we had a few windows that had to be replaced but others they were able to do some process where they drilled a small hole and sprayed something into the foggy windows and they were clear within a couple of weeks or so. Saved a ton of $
    BABYFACE likes this.
  5. Home Depot/Lowe’s will beat any competitor’s price and has a ridiculously good warranty.

    *robbing small business...I know, I know...
  6. I replaced the glass inserts in the windows in my house. Way cheaper than full window replacement.

    I used Glass Doctor. The window inserts come with a lifetime warranty. I'm 4+ years in. No issues and I can tell a difference in my electric bill especially in the summer.
  7. Good luck finding any! In addition to a lumber shortage, the 2 things slowing down new builds are the scarcity of windows and appliances. The prices are going through the roof right now.
    TxFrog1999 likes this.
  8. Thanks big time, for y'alls responses.
    I will absolutely be doing due diligence, because it's not a do-or-die situation.
    I sincerely appreciate y'alls feedback.
  9. #9 BABYFACE, Jan 24, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    Tru dat.

    We need to talk. I will give a call this week.
  10. @sketchy I'd recommend this as a first attempt. It's far cheaper for parts and labor.

    I used to be the supply chain manager for a window company in Dallas so I know windows quite well. What will follow is likely to be way more than you ever cared to know about windows, but will hopefully help you get a better idea for what you want.

    What Double D described is the IG (insulated glass) unit. All you need is an accurate measurement of the IG (not just length and width, but overall thickness) and whether or not you want an energy efficient coating (often called LoE - pronounced low E). If you have grids inside the IG then you'd also need to specify that pattern (if the grids are on the outside of the IG that's SDL (simulated divided lite), which is designed to look like the really old fashioned windows that had smaller pieces of glass held in place by wooden cross beams within the framing of the frame or sash).

    A couple years ago I was on my extension ladder putting up Christmas lights when it slid out from under me. It fell into one of my windows in the front of the house and broke out an IG. Since none of the rest of the window was damaged I just ordered a new IG when I got to work and one of our service techs came to my house to install it. Total cost of repair was 2 days and about $15. Had I paid for that through a Lowes or McCoy's I'd have probably paid around $50 for the IG and $20ish for the installation. That's way cheaper than the ~$180 it would have cost for the new window plus the added labor and disposal of ripping out the old and replacing with the new.

    Now, if you just have a bunch of old aluminum windows that, even with new IGs would be horribly inefficient, I'd recommend replacing them. If you're looking to sell in a few years new windows will definitely add some value to your home. This can be very expensive so you may want to do it in phases if you have a large house with a lot of windows. You don't need a premium vinyl window with a premium coating to get significant energy savings or improved value from your home. The standard glass coating in Texas is called LoE 270 (I think Guardian Glass might call theirs something else), but I think it may be migrating more to LoE 366 after Texas adopted the 2015 (I think) Energy Star recommendations a couple years ago. The reason coatings matter depending on your geography is that some coatings and coating placements within a window are designed to keep warm in versus keeping warm out. They all mitigate heat transfer to varying degrees, but the desired solar heat gain coefficient in Texas (you don't want any most of the year) is much different than it is in North Dakota (you do want some of it for most of the year).

    But I digress (RIP Dr. Proctor). The point is, you are going to want a LoE coating on the IG. That's the most important feature of a window for preventing heat transfer. Argon gas inside the IG also helps and is a cheap add-on. Good value there. The idea behind argon is that it's heavier and more dense than the air we breathe so heat doesn't travel through it as easily.

    Most vinyl profiles for window frames are pretty good about preventing heat transfer, but I'd stay away from the obviously cheap low-end vinyl frames. They're better than aluminum, but if you're going to be replacing windows it's worth it to upgrade to a slightly better frame because the incremental cost to purchase will be offset by energy savings. IMO, the key here is finding one you think looks good. Some frame profiles are enormous (thick and wide) and look out of place in some window openings. Those will generally be more energy efficient, but not so much more that their costs are justified unless it just looks best to you. Others are really small and basic and similarly look out of place in some window openings. Again, the cost savings on these isn't likely to be cheaper in the long run. In my experience there's very little difference in the mid-tier frames, but some of these can vary wildly in cost.

    Balances are the mechanism that enables you to open a window without gravity slamming it shut the moment you let go. The best balances are made by Amesbury Truth, IMO. There are two main types of balances, block and tackle or coil. The block and tackle will be cheaper usually and will perform well, but the new coil balances they've come out with in the last few years are really nice. They're not a very good solution for windows in a new construction home b/c masons will often spray a very caustic chemical to clean off mortar from windows after they've finished laying brick. The trouble for coil balances is that chemical sometimes gets through the window into the casing where the coil is. That chemical eventually eats away at the coil until it breaks. For replacement windows there is absolutely no reason to not use this balance unless your budget simply doesn't allow for it. Depending on the size of the window, sometimes coil balances are actually cheaper than the block and tackle variety.

    There's already been one anecdote about Andersen windows that wasn't good. I don't know that it's representative of all their windows (some series are simply better designed than others and easier to make well than others), but the service level sounds truly terrible and worth avoiding. Andersen is generally well regarding within the industry, though. I'd also recommend you avoid Krestmark and PlyGem windows. Krestmark were well known for poor quality when I was in the window business and PlyGem eventually subsumed my company through private equity acquisitions and mergers so I know their quality is very poor from first-hand experience. That company would be out of business if windows were all they made. The siding business keeps their doors open. They're terrible at windows.

    I worked for Atrium Windows and Doors. The brand still exists and is of good quality. Even though the company is now run by PlyGem people, the designs and manufacturing processes of the windows won't have changed so the quality should still be pretty good. You may struggle getting your windows delivered on time as PlyGem has a truly awful shipping process. On the plus side, one big reason PlyGem doesn't make much money at windows is because they hand out warranty claims like Halloween candy. If something does go wrong it likely won't cost you anything other than inconvenience.

    I'd recommend the 150/160 or 8100 series of Atrium windows for single hungs and the 8300 series for double hungs. I'm pretty sure PlyGem destroyed the relationship Atrium had with Lowes (about 6 months after I left they had a massive shipping disaster that had loads going to the wrong stores and entire stores getting loads lost) so you may not find them in Lowes or HD anymore. I'm pretty sure McCoy's is still a good place to get them and ABC Supply would be another one. McCoy's will have the best customer experience, IMO, from inquiry to install.

    Simonton was also a fairly well regarded window brand as was MI. You might look into some of theirs as you compare and shop around. Some window people I know well and trust a lot have a very high opinion of NT Windows, though I have no personal experience with them. They're in the Rendon area SE of FW and are a smaller window manufacturer. They aren't a big national brand, but by all accounts make good windows and are run by top notch window people. I also know their vinyl supplier very well and I can guarantee you they have good quality vinyl profiles. Nobody is better than their vinyl extruder. They may be worth a look. You generally get much better quality service from good small companies too.

    Hope this helps. If you have any other questions I'll be happy to try to answer them.
  11. We went with Clarity Windows for our house a few years ago and paid for their top of the line windows (at the time). My wife thought I was crazy to want to spend thousands on replacing all of our windows, but the first full month after they were installed our electric bill dropped 50% and the road noise has been all but eliminated. Between the upgrade in the windows and the heat pumps we haven't seen a monthly electric bill over $150 in a long while, and by my calculations these windows will have paid for themselves by the end of 2023. Additionally, our master bedroom has a large 6 foot tall double window with a half circular window on top facing the sun for most of the day. This caused our room to act like a toaster in the summer months and a cooler in the winter months; it was terrible. After upgrading the windows the room is one of the more comfortable places in the house.

    The only issue we had was the installation of the windows created a new airtight seal for the house and caused a slight airflow problem with the chimney, but that was easily corrected when we had it cleaned months later.
    BrewingFrog likes this.
  12. Classic Purp. Never disappoints.
    Purp likes this.
  13. How many windows did you replace and ballpark how much?

  14. 14 if you include the large half round in the master bedroom. We did the install in two phases over 6 months for about 7-8k total. Of course some of that included extra trim work and some painting around the house.
    Double D likes this.
  15. Thanks, Purp! I learned a lot there.
    Purp likes this.
  16. I was a truck unloader for one of the big box retailers you mentioned as a pup. I would NEVER buy windows from them. If people only knew how those things were shipped and treated. I'm surprised they have any kind of seal left by the time they make it to the purchaser.
    Eight likes this.
  17. This is also good information to have. Thanks.
  18. Haha I was a truck unloader for appliances at Central freight lines - it's a miracle anything works by the time it gets to a home. Refrigerators, washers and dryers. Bad enough it’s all cheap Chinese junk.
  19. Great point.

    Windows are a tricky thing to ship. They can't be laid flat and palletized or the IG will start to deglaze itself from the frame and/or sash. They have to be shipped upright and almost always have to be shipped loose and secured against the wall of the trailer. You're right that this often causes some really awful mishandling when unloaded because each has to be unloaded by hand manually.

    We noticed we received a lot of warranty claims from Lowes (mostly just a handful of stores were out of tolerance) so we put some game cameras (I previously bought them and used them to catch one of my employees stealing aluminum rebar from me) inside the trailer to observe the unload process. Not surprisingly, their dock workers were banging those things around all over the place. Worse, they were being so careless with them that they'd sometimes damage windows for another customer on a subsequent stop.

    One of the things we spent a lot of time on was developing cost effective solutions for packaging to prevent damage during the shipping and handling process. I was able to work with some of our packaging suppliers to create a single solution that was compatible with all of our window series. The new solution was actually a much more expensive item than the other packaging we used on our various window series, but since it replaced all of those and combined their volume into a single item we were able to lower the unit cost to be cost neutral. That alone saved us hundreds of thousands in warranty costs.
    TxFrog1999 likes this.
  20. Extra trim.
    TxFrog1999 likes this.

Share This Page