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Old 02-17-2014, 07:07 PM   #16
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Bargain Brands?


Solid advice Window Geek. Good to see your impression of things and that is nearly identical to my impression of those windows as well.

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Old 02-17-2014, 07:41 PM   #17
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Bargain Brands?


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Originally Posted by Window Geek View Post
Sun is a growing company that is trying to gain market share in the upper end.
Does vinyl clad over wood = an upper end window?

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When Ed was still running the company I would have considered WeatherShield a good brand. ... I haven't used (them) in 7-8 years, so things might have changed.
No comment.

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I'm not a big fan of Anderson 400, but I would rank them above WeatherShield.
I've heard similar from others but absent some genuinely objective criteria showing up I'm stuck using the Andersen 400's as the benchmark when comparing features and prices. fwiw... I've used their windows 5 or 6 times before and have never had any problems.

I can justify spending less than that A-400 price level (and getting less too) but it would have to be a far less than I've been getting quoted on all vinyl windows (like Atrium). The bargains I want aren't there.

However, I'm finding it hard to justify spending more than that A-400 price level. Any real differences seem to come with MUCH higher prices.

I'm also running into a lack of stock sizes with the other brands. So far, Andersen is the only brand that won't require making custom which also all seem to come with a loss of net glazing area.

The search goes on.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 02-17-2014 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:16 PM   #18
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I tend to agree. The collusion prevents it.
Even allows the crap to be sold at too high a price.
I am looking at a condo project right now that was built in 2008. 80% of the windows and doors need to be replaced. Serious water problems. The lawsuit filed by the homeowners association (combined with the recession) put the window company and the contractor out of business. The liability for companies in the industry is huge. We don't use a lot of those small companies simply because of the liability issue and they don't have the resources step up to the plate if there is a problem.

Warranty is really expensive. Hurd has filed for bankruptcy twice in the last 20 years or so. Every time they they are purchased out of bankruptcy they void all outstanding warranties. Saves them millions. They use to be a solid company and I know several premium builders who used them exclusively. There are a lot of hollow warranties on the market that look good, but are so full of loop holes that they are worthless. With a limited lifetime warranty the manufacturer defines "Lifetime", so that could just be a weak 10 year warranty. Most are prorated out.

Cardinal Glass is the biggest and best when it comes to supplying manufacturers quality insulated glass. Cardinal provides all the major manufacturers and gives them a 10 year warranty on seal failure. So the big companies are out very little in the first 10 years, but most quality manufactures also provide an additional 10 years of non-prorated warranty on the IG for 20 years total.

I try not to call out specific brands, but some are much better than others, and some have much better distributors than others. I had a church which had a national brand that had rot and were 3 years out of warranty. They stepped up and fixed it anyway. I had a rival that wouldn't do anything with product that was 3 months out of warranty. Local distributors can make or break the brand.

In my business I can't afford to buy bargain brands. There is too much liability with water infiltration and product failures with windows and doors.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
Does vinyl clad over wood = an upper end window?

No comment.

I've heard similar from others but absent some genuinely objective criteria showing up I'm stuck using the Andersen 400's as the benchmark when comparing features and prices. fwiw... I've used their windows 5 or 6 times before and have never had any problems.

I can justify spending less than that A-400 price level (and getting less too) but it would have to be a far less than I've been getting quoted on all vinyl windows (like Atrium). The bargains I want aren't there.

However, I'm finding it hard to justify spending more than that A-400 price level. Any real differences seem to come with MUCH higher prices.

I'm also running into a lack of stock sizes with the other brands. So far, Andersen is the only brand that won't require making custom which also all seem to come with a loss of net glazing area.

The search goes on.
As long as you are using light colors (whites, off whites, tan) or cool earth tones then I wouldn't have an issue with Anderson 400. My issues were with the dark bronze colors which failed on the south elevation on a house. The dark bronze looked like milk chocolate after 10 years. Anderson has a fade warranty, but I think it is a 4 Delta E warranty. Which basically means it can fade 4 shades and that is acceptable. Realize a fade warranty is not against zero fade. The fade warranty is not a zero fade warranty. There is an acceptable rate of fade according to the manufacture. According to Anderson our milk chocolate was within the acceptable rate of fade.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Window Geek View Post
As long as you are using light colors (whites, off whites, tan) or cool earth tones then I wouldn't have an issue with Anderson 400.
My Color Criteria: a) NOT white and b) as dark as practical

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...looked like milk chocolate after 10 years.
In ten years either I'll have sold (60) or it'll be a rental (40).

Thanks for your detail and input.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:22 PM   #21
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My Color Criteria: a) NOT white and b) as dark as practical


In ten years either I'll have sold (60) or it'll be a rental (40).

Thanks for your detail and input.
Well, I don't know how they looked on year 5 or 8. The other 4 elevations still looked good, but the south elevation was bad. Anderson said the fade was "acceptable".

If you are not planning on keeping the house, then you have a lot more options. Any window can get you 5 years.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:36 PM   #22
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To the op.I am a GC and try my best to help out any potential customers the best I can.Some you know you will not please no matter what you do and just walk away fromThey want quality,price and fast.I can give 2 out of 3..Although your question is a legitimate one on a DIY forum you would probably be one of those customers I would walk away from.
I have had decent luck with the Armstrong 400 series or you could just buy the cheapest and hope for the best.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:09 PM   #23
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I am a GC ... you would probably be one of those customers I would walk away from.
Good. I would hope that is true for both our sakes.

I'm a DIY'er for most jobs. Always have been. A few jobs I can't do all myself anymore so I'll hire muscle help by the day for those and there are a few jobs I could never do well myself which I have learned to hire good help for. Everyone gets paid fairly just like I wanted to be back when I worked for wages too.

Hope that doesn't offend you.

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I have had decent luck with the Armstrong 400 series
Google says they don't exist. Have a URL?
If you meant Andersen 400 then I'll agree.I've used them before.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:44 AM   #24
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Yes.Anderson 400.I think they are a good bang for the buck window.Had a flooring job on my mind and said Armstrong.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:44 AM   #25
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So many answers here it gets confusing. A lot of different names, but for the most part under one umbrella in many cases with holding groups buying up the window companies. Just remember one thing, their are about 4 manufacturers that make hardware and about the same that make glass that supply to all the window companies. Most use a good spacer for their glass, only 3 or 4 there and you need to decide on the material of the window itself i.e. wood vinyl, composite etc. So Anything you pick out will have a warranty, and most are fairly good. It used to be you had some great companies and some poor ones. The economy has certainly hurt and this caused a lot of people making windows to cut back on the quality they put in them. Any name that has been around a long time will work for you. Buy from someone local that's been around a while so you can go back to them if they have a problem.

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