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Old 03-27-2012, 07:58 AM   #1
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DIY New Windows and Doors


I am in the process of planning to replace all 17 of my homes windows and then all three of the exterior doors. The plan is to start by late spring finish by the fall of this year. I have a question.

I've read a few of the other posts on this board and have determined that most proffesionals do not like the more inexpensive big box store brands. Most of the window brands that are recomended (like Softlite) are significantly more expensive than the big box store brands (like Jen Weld) Are there brands of window that are better in quality, but $150+ more per window? I understand that to a certain extent you get what you pay for, but are there other brands out there that offer more bang for the buck without the significant price jump?

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Old 03-27-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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Interesting question. I don't know the answer. Having gone through building my own house, it seems to me that purely box store brands (like Glacier Bay toilets at Home Depot), regardless of who actually manufactures them, are of lower quality than "name" brands. That said, I consider Pella windows to be a name brand, yet you can buy them at Lowe's. Are they lower quality than Pella windows from a Pella store? I really don't know.

Same question applies to lots of other stuff too. Are the Goodyear tires manufactured specifically for Wal-Mart of lower quality than "regular" Goodyears? Or the Michelins manufactured specifically for Sears? I'm interested to hear what others have to say.

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Old 03-27-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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ive worked with both big box store windows and windows ordered directly from the manufacturer. installing them. replacing them and repairing them

the ones that come from big box stores are general sizes that are made in massive amounts which dont have the strict quality standards as the custom ordered windows. not to mention the more hands that get ahold of a window before it arrives to you means there is more likelihood that the window can be damaged, not to the untrained eye but when it comes time to install it the window wont operate properly.

any time we have clients ask about getting stock windows we advise not to unless its a window that isnt going to be in use very much except for letting in light
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:25 PM   #4
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Spykey, if you look at the performance ratings (ie: u-value, shgc, air infiltration, design pressure, etc) of a given window, it will speak volumes about how that window will perform and hold up over time. There are colossal differences in these areas between low and high-end windows. These are third-party tested, and the only truly objective way to compare. On pricing, it really depends on the circumstances of your home and the individual dealer. There is a poster here named Windows on Washington that serves MD and could give you some excellent advice for your location. Just do a search for him.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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I'll bite here.

Many of these people, rightly so, will talk to you about u-value's, air infiltration, solar heat gain, etc. By all means, look into them and judge for yourself.

That being said, I've got no problem recommending Milgard to anyone who is looking for a decent quality window at a good price. Are there better? Some. Are there worse? Most definitely. What you'll get is a good middle of the road (or better) window that will last you a lifetime, all with respectable quality and a great warranty from a large company that will back their product. One that you don't need to worry about going under anytime soon.

All their glass is made by Cardinal who is a huge supplier and widely respected for their product in all regions.

Have you decided on a window material, yet? You get some pretty severe weather in Maryland, right? Probably fiberglass is the best way to go, those are always kinda pricey, though.

Good tip:

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For either New Construction or Replacement windows, be sure to look for certain features that differentiate between high and low-quality windows. Some key elements to look for include:
The NFRC Label: National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization that administers the only independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights and attachment products.
Metal lock components that fit together well—stainless steel is recommended.
Matching colors on all components.
Heat-welded joints as opposed to the window sash and frame being mechanically fastened and held together by screws, brackets and caulk.
NFRC Label example
http://www.nfrc.org/label.aspx

Last edited by Jkslate; 03-27-2012 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jkslate View Post
I'll bite here.

Many of these people, rightly so, will talk to you about u-value's, air infiltration, solar heat gain, etc. By all means, look into them and judge for yourself.

That being said, I've got no problem recommending Milgard to anyone who is looking for a decent quality window at a good price. Are there better? Some. Are there worse? Most definitely. What you'll get is a good middle of the road (or better) window that will last you a lifetime, all with respectable quality and a great warranty from a large company that will back their product. One that you don't need to worry about going under anytime soon.

All their glass is made by Cardinal who is a huge supplier and widely respected for their product in all regions.

Have you decided on a window material, yet? You get some pretty severe weather in Maryland, right? Probably fiberglass is the best way to go, those are always kinda pricey, though.

Good tip:



NFRC Label example
http://www.nfrc.org/label.aspx
All valid info, and I agree that Milgard is a solid product- just not "top-tier" IMO. The thing is, they just shut down all of their operations in the East and Midwest, so they are not even available in MD any longer. They are just out West now... I will say that in the California market, they are probably one of the better, well-known choices available along with Simonton.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by HomeSealed View Post
All valid info, and I agree that Milgard is a solid product- just not "top-tier" IMO. The thing is, they just shut down all of their operations in the East and Midwest, so they are not even available in MD any longer. They are just out West now... I will say that in the California market, they are probably one of the better, well-known choices available along with Simonton.
Huh, good to know. I really wasn't aware that they shut down out there. I was just talking with our Milgard rep the other day, he was speaking on their new Essence series, and how they had developed it to compete with some of the better wood window manufacturers on the east coast.

Not doubting you, just interesting. I'll have to clarify that more w/him. Thanks
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkslate View Post
Huh, good to know. I really wasn't aware that they shut down out there. I was just talking with our Milgard rep the other day, he was speaking on their new Essence series, and how they had developed it to compete with some of the better wood window manufacturers on the east coast.

Not doubting you, just interesting. I'll have to clarify that more w/him. Thanks
'

Nothing to confirm that I know of.

They shut down the Chicago operation and they are not supporting this coast any longer. They were courting us again and then my rep called to cancel our last meeting per that shift in their market.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:53 PM   #9
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http://www.sanbenitocountytoday.com/...a4bcf6878.html
Not exactly a glowing endorsement of "healthy" company, but I do still think that they are one of the better choices on the west coast.

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