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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a nice insurance claim and am getting all new windows.

I have had 4 independent quotes. My budget roughly is $30,000

I have 19 windows. 1 of them is a bay window, another is a big double hung several feet high. The rest are double hung with aluminum exterior and wood interior.

I have a few other quotes but they were more expensive than the below options. Which option should I choose? I have heard many people say that windows would cost half of this, however I live in Minneapolis and have contacted many contractors and pricing is not dramatically different (half).


Contractor A
Price $32,000
Product Marvin Elevate with fiberglass exterior and wood interior.
Would pay subcontractors to do the work
Is an authorized Marvin contractor

Contractor B
Price $29,000
Product 14 windows Andersen 400 series, 5 windows Andersen 100 series. The reason for the 100 is because we want a white interior and for cost.
Would do the work directly without use of subcontractor
Is a certified Andersen installer
 

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Both are good windows. I personally like Andersen better and used thousands of them with only a handful of problems, all of which Andersen fixed promptly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am looking to get the best deal - reliability, etc. Would like that the replacement windows have equivalent level of quality compared to the original with my budget in mind also.

I do not know what kind the current windows are, they are original to the property which was built in 1986. They have aluminum exterior with storm windows and wood interior.

It sounds like either is a good option. Some people have said that fiberglass exterior is a better material. Does it really matter. I understand that both brands use the same glass.

Someone also said the 400 series is designed for new construction, does that mean there could be gaps, etc.
 

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I'd use the fiberglass frame windows. I used anderson 400 double hungs and found that the seal between the glass and wood frame is less than satisfactory. This is 20 years ago, however, although the same windows I saw at the homedepot didn't look different. Thin silicone seal broke from wood frame moving and allowed condensation to seep into the wood frame. These windows were large, big enough to be fire exit rated, so I'm thinking that longer frames moved more when I used it to open/close the windows.



Anderson 100 series frame is made with plastic/wood dust mix. I bought some casements and awnings, and they look a good quality. But 100 series outside is paint only, not vinyl covered like 400. Paint can last a while as well but not as good as more robust protection. I also think, from the videos, 100 series double hungs don't have a good air seal. Very loose sash to frame construction and comparable, it looks like, to vinyl windows in air seal.
 

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Marvin without a doubt. I am paying $1,360 to have an 8-year old Andersen window replaced and I needed to find a Marvin dealer to do the removal of the failed window and install the new one from Andersen. It took a letter to the president of Andersen to get anyone to talk to me about the window and they have no official dealers in California and so the replacement had to be shipped to a glass company that quit doing Andersen residential installations completely a year ago.

I would not assume that Andersen windows are equal in quality and durability to ones from other manufacturers. They are certainly by far the worst when it comes to problems with shorting shipments or replacing defective products. When we had all the windows replaced I spent 6 months tryng to get the parts from Anderson and there are still parts missing 8 years later.
 

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Since you are in Minneapolis, the insulating properties of the window are pretty important. I expect each of those brands can be had with various number of panes, coatings, and gas fills. What U-Factors are each of the quotes showing ?
 

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I have the opposite experience than Calson with Andersen. I used a lot of Andersens over 50 years and rarely had a problem. In those instances, it was corrected right away. I have ordered parts for Andersen windows that were 50 years old and parts were available. My parent’s house has Andersens from 1957 and every one works like new. My house has them from 1985and no problems. I have tried to get Marvin parts for 20 year old windows and heard, “Sorry, they were discontinued, no parts available.”
If you are in MN, so is Andersen’s headquarters and Marvin’s. I try to patronize local businesses if possible.
 

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Good windows are important but install details may be more important. The quoted prices are similar, so the difference may be in the installs and the cost of good installation materials and labor. I'd ask for step by step install details as well as kinds of materials that will be used. Be up front that you will double check their installation, look over their shoulders and review the steps with forums like here. Check some videos and get minimum idea of the proper installs. Post some photos of your situation.

From what I know, products made with fiberglass should cost much more, compared to even andersen 400 windows. So why the similar estimates?
 
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