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Discussion Starter #1
I'm interested in getting the thoughts of you guys with window experience. I've been getting the sales pitch from several local distributors and I wonder what your answer would be to some of the following..

1. Hollow vinyl windows shouldn't be used over 24" wide-- can sag when hot. Vinyl clad aluminum is better. (They say conductivity isn't an issue-- thermally broke)

2. Hollow vinyl offers no security. They demonstrated a break in technique using a red hot poker that I guess I won't elaborate on in case it is legitimate. In any case, again, aluminum inserts are superior.

3. The hollow vinyl guys of course refer to conductivity and the reason aluminum inserts are needed is due to low quality vinyl extrusions.

Lastly, has anyone had experience with Certainteed windows?

Thoughts??
 

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There is an association called AAMA. Part of their certification process of windows, is a security test. There are quite a few very secure vinyl windows. Bottom line is if anyone wants to get in your house, they wil regardless of the type of window frame. Just remember that the glass breaks very easily on most windows.

Another part of the certification process for the AAMA is a strength test. I have never seen a window sag and I've installed windows 100"+ wide. The Simonton window has 13 dead air chambers. It is hollow but is also very very strong due to these chambers.

I've installed certainteed windows once. They were the BrynMawy series which is their lower end series. The certainteed BrynMawr received a really really good rating by consumer reports. Infact consumer reports rated it as their #1 all around favorite window in 2000.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Grumpy. Have you had any experience with fiberglass construction? I'd like to find an option between vinyl and clad, price wise. Also, do you order windows using your salespeople's measurements or do you have installers measure again?? Thanks for the help..
 

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Trekr, I'll just throw in my $.02 for what it's worth.

Stay away from fiberglass windows. I used to install them (for about 6 months) about 9yrs ago, (Ownes Corning brand) I cannot say 100% if their design has changed for the better, but back then the frames were literally held to gether with L brackets and screws. Any inperfection in the sill would cause these windows to tilt out of square and not open/close or seal properly. Almost every window (in older homes) required extensive shimming to get it 110% perfect to operate/seal correctly. BUT...keep in mind homes are constantly shifting/settleing so in the future it may pose a problem since the window itself will shift with the house and you could wind up with a window that doe'snt operate properly. Hopefully design has changed as well as construction, but I dont know, after seeing that I walked away since I seen nothing but call backs, and there's no money in call backs.

Clad windows provide their own problems. Companies with bigger budgets for advertising have the world convinced aluminum cladding/vinyl cladding is THE way to go. I can tell you from experience this will lead to future problems. Reason: these claddings cover wood framed windows. Wood/vinyl/aluminum have different expansion/contraction rates. 4 or 5 years later you wills tart to notice the miters on the exterior start to open up and then water finds it's way into these cracks and literally rots these windows from the inside out.

Vinyl windows (good ones-not Menards type) are the way to go in my opinion. These windows will not rot and are a longterm investment. For what wiindows cost to buy and have installed I know personally I dont wanna do it twice in my own home. These frames are welded and the hollow frames are what add strength to this design, whomever said you cannot go over 24" wrong is just trying to sell you their brand of window. I have quite a few double hungs that are over 50" wide, but they do require commercial closures since weight becomes an issue. I have never had a properly installed window bow/sag with the windows I sell. There are companies now selling foam filled frames for typical R-25 ratings, but most homeowners could care less about quality and go for the bottom dollar so in this area I cannot seem to sell these foam filled frame units since price is typically double of what my main brand sells for.

I will say while I do like the warmth real wood windows have to offer as far as interior "feel", windows cost too much to replace and the Anderson's/Pellas are at most a 10 yr window. We've got vinyl that are 20yrs+ still going strong

Anytime you start dealing with custom made units, if you decide to measure yourself you personally take that responsibilty if you miss measure. If the company offers to measure and stand behind their measure for a small $20-30 fee, jump all over it. Recently I did a job for a customer, they ordered Pella Pro-Line, I did my measure and wrote them down for the homie. Pella came out themselves and measured. After windows came in I double checked RO and measured windows-6" too short. Double checked my meaurements and informed home owners something was seriously wrong. They let the cat outta the bag about having Pella rep come out and measure, so....Mine were spot on, Pella was incorrect-Pella paid for new windows, otherwise if I would've screwed them up that bad, I would've had to eat them. Regardless of who measures, THEY are th ones responsible since they are the ones measuring.

Some folks just do not like the "plastic" look of vinyl windows, but most better brands come with an option for a wood veneer interior to mask the fact they are vinyl. Up close and personal you can tell, but from across the room you'd never know the difference. Ask installers what the #1 window being replaced (in our area anyways) Anderson, Pella a very close 2nd. You cannot believe the number of homes I've installed new windows in that are less that 12yrs old that had Anderson installed when built, or Pella. It's all in the marketing, manufacturer with deepest packets can trick you into believeing their product is best, when in reality there is much better out there.

Just my opinion with many thousands of windows under my belt over the years.
 

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The only fiberglass windows I install are manufactured by marvin and are fiberglass clad, with a wood framed construction.

L brackets and screws are bad bad... I would think now they'd be held together with some kind of epoxy, but I can't say for sure.

I find most of the windows I sell are vinyl windows. The wood windows I sell are for people with alot of money and want that look of wood. You can get a laminated wood grain type texture on many vinyl windows now too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info guys..

I'm doing a little more indepth on Certainteed and Simonton. Simonton has a plant about an hour away so that would be nice-- the distributor says they often get the windows in about a week.

I guess I fall into the "like the feel of wood" group. I'm having to sell myself on vinyl-- but I'm getting there..
 

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I to like wood windows but I offer my clients this option.
1. If they plan to paint there windows I recommend vinyl with no maintence and better warranty then wood windows. Certainteed is what I use had little to no problems and what problems I did have was taken care of by certainteed. All I had to do is call my supplier (Ted Lansing Corp.)and they handled it for me. Also my supplier offers a lifetime glass breakage warranty over and above Certainteeds warranty.
2. If their going to stain the windows, well wood is it. For this I use Andersen, most wood windows have a similar warranty so it boils down to window options and personal prefrence.
 

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Windows lets see . Yep i can answer your questions. I have installed and sold most every brand available. Vinyl will not sag if properly installed. I live in Tx and the heat we get down here is proof they will hold up. Simonton windows and certainteed are both good brands. I dont use many wood windows because of price and upkeep. Clad windows are not really needed unless you want a color other than white or tan. As far as being worried about break in i wouldnt .there as secure as all the rest. IHI and Grumpy are dead on what they said . VynilMax windows are a good choice i used them for several years but they pulled out of TX. There in Ohio and sell through several companies up north ,not sure where you are, but there are many smaller brand name companies that are just as good as the big ones and there prices are more competive.

Jeff
 

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Grumpy said:
They were the BrynMawy series which is their lower end series. The certainteed BrynMawr received a really really good rating by consumer reports. Infact consumer reports rated it as their #1 all around favorite window in 2000.
Certainteed Bryn Mawr II replacement windows are NOT "the low end" Certainteed; they are the high end, and yes, they are the number one vinyl window in Consumer Reports, Consumer Digest, Builder magazine, and a number of other trade periodicals.
 

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Grumpy said:
L brackets and screws are bad bad... I would think now they'd be held together with some kind of epoxy, but I can't say for sure.
Fiberglass windows are mechanically fastened one, because you can't fusion weld fiberglass, and two, you don't need to. In other words, a vinyl window is fusion welded to strengthen the bond of joining its lineals together. Vinyl uses fusion welds because vinyl windows have a very volatile expansion and contraction ratio, and it needs that extra strength to hold it together in extreme heat and cold.

Fiberglass on the other hand does not contract or expand, therefore, no need to do anything but mechanically fasten them...

Any yes, there is an epoxy used to at all the joints to stop any leaking.

The main advantage to fiberglass windows is their energy efficiency rating. Ten years from now, vinyl windows will be what aluminum siding is now...a thing of the past.
 

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sales manager said:
Fiberglass windows are mechanically fastened one, because you can't fusion weld fiberglass, and two, you don't need to. In other words, a vinyl window is fusion welded to strengthen the bond of joining its lineals together. Vinyl uses fusion welds because vinyl windows have a very volatile expansion and contraction ratio, and it needs that extra strength to hold it together in extreme heat and cold.

Fiberglass on the other hand does not contract or expand, therefore, no need to do anything but mechanically fasten them...

Any yes, there is an epoxy used to at all the joints to stop any leaking.

The main advantage to fiberglass windows is their energy efficiency rating. Ten years from now, vinyl windows will be what aluminum siding is now...a thing of the past.
Been laughing my azz off with your posts, thank you!! You name DEFINATELY fits-SALES manager, and with all the years dealing with guys like you one thing is certain, you can sell ice to eskimos, but are absoluetly clueless how things actually work in real world circumstances. Yes Fiberglass has a better R value and the concept is a good one, BUT...BUT the key to it's demise is how it's installed and what happens in the future. From actually installing these fiberglass units, I can tell you they dont like house settling one bit since they are mechancially fastened the frames will shift with the house-no way around it.

I'm sure all of contractors have seen the droopey windows which indicates a poor substrate or crumbling foundation, so when "you salesmen" walk in selling your smack talk you give a ******************** about long term value so long you you make the quick over priced sale, then when homies have a problem you either ignore phone calls, blow them off, or tell them there is nothing you can do since the problems originated in places beyond your control.

I'll stick to windows that are sound in construction because home are constantly settling/heaving and I dont need call backs in a few yrs-yeah, you rad that right salesman, with sashes not sealing correctly because the foundation shifted and dropped a window opening on one side.

Gotta love the saleman LMFAO!!!! Talks the talk and has no feild experience to back up his "sales pitch" otherwise this thread would still be sitting around with dust on it.:w00t:
 

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IHI, just curious....

What brand of vinyl are you using now and why have you been replacing 12 year old Pellas. Let me be more specific. I install pellas whenever possible. With proper installation and maintenace, they will last longer than 12 years!!! Yes, there is upkeep for a wood window but the likelyhood of leaky seals is far less. When I do install vinyl windows, I like to use MI. I ask you what brand because I'm in Iowa also, and assume our resources are similar.
 

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The majority of the wood framed windows i replace is Anderson first and foremost since when folks are having homes built they "trust" the name since it's been brain washed marketed into them, so by far the ratio of replacing wood windows, andersons are the clear winners. Pella is a close second place due to people having a slightly larger budget or realizing windows are not the area to chince since they have to be able to do soo many thing other than open and shut to allow natural air in the home.

The problems I am seeing with the Pella Aluminum clad units is mitering actually seperating on exterior side, often the worse windows typically end up on the south side of the home so extreme sun exposure/heat build up is playing into the break down. The miters are cracking just enough to start allowing water to trickle in-obviously at a slow rate-but enough to start slowly saturating the interor of the window, so in essence it's a slow process of rotting from the inside out. The first clue to this is often discolored wood on interior side, often the grain will start turning a greyish color and I've also seen cases where small little "sandpaper type grit" forms under the interior finish coat. With the windows in question the seals appear to still be in good repair, often the andersons and once in a while the pellas will get hard/stiff and not provide the same sealing it did when new. Have also seen quite a few of these 2 mentioned brands with hardware failure. Naturally as you know/all of us know, on casements/awnings 90% of the failures are due to customers over tightening when closing and stripping teeth off the gears. This will happen with any window so I'm not saying that is brand specific.

I've just seen a number of the "clad" windows have exterior failure which leads to the rotting process-vinyl cladding being the worst. Almost every warranty I've seen does not guaruntee "caulking" so there is the upkeep part homeowners are responsible for, when these exterior joints fail it's up to them to silicone them to prevent water infiltration, I dont like maintenance and neither do many customers so I make a point of selling maintenance free windows when possible, but like any of us I will install whatever the homeowner wants since they are footing the bill for materials not me.

I've noticed also on homes built 10+yrs ago, the window's glass coatings must not have been upto snuff since stools are stained from faded/dry rotting due to UV exposure, not to mention the curtains, bedspreads, furniture, etc...all show terrible fading. Some of the rotting is homeowners fault for having interior mositure to high and windows sweat excessively and then the water trickles down onto stool. We all know every instance has it's own unique circumstances. But after swapping out windows for more years than I care to count, and seeing the after math I'm just not sold on wood being a long term solution for windows/doors since I see what happens long term. There are better materials out there for folks that dont want to change their windows in the future so that's what I try to convey to folks.

Besides, I've installed my windows in 2 Pella workers homes-they are acutally service techs that travel around the midwest repairing Pella problems, and after hearing some stories I knew why they contacted me;) Price was a huge factor along with minor "thorn in your side" type problems. One things for sure though, Pellas loves their windows $$$$$.:w00t:

Personally been selling/installing Heartland's 700 series windows for over 14yrs, the warranty is great, should a problem ever arise it's rectified swiftly by sales reps. There are a number of other brands I've installed over the years and Heartlands have given me the best "no headaches/no return visits" over all the others so for my own sanity I've stuck with them obviously. There are a few other brands I would like to try, but unfortunately i have'nt met the homeowner with the deep pockets to afford the $5-700 double hung price, and that's just window price:eek: so we'll wait and see.

But like you've already said, proper installation goes ALONG ways. A typical home builder using the common low dollar help only cares about speed and often quality suffers, so you can have the best product in the world and if not installed right will turn to crap. But take a half shoddey product installed by folks that give a ******************** and it will almost always outlast the best installed by hacks.
 

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careful guys , your right sales people will give the pitch that closes the sale but its up to us the business owners to give them the right product to sell. with that in mind most owners or truck and ladder guys just simply try to find the cheapest price out there so they make the most profit. thats some of the reasons most people go out of business in 3 yrs. or run away from it and can't show their face in thier home towns anymore. i've been installing sellinbg windows over 20 years now. i only install vinyl there the best period. pella great marketing program and anderson also that why they sell so much kind of like sears the name thing. but fyi why would you install real wood interiors if your trying to get away from matanience? also look at windows by superseal accu-weld and other companies like them hell just get on the web and look up your top one hundred manufacturers then make your decisiion. theres alot of pros and cons on all but word of advise stay away from the big box store windows caause they are typically low end bought on the commodities market
 

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I think one of the major problems these days is the fact there is no "good" wood left. Take a look at the old single pane double hungs we're replacing on the 100 year old homes. The wood grain is tight and hard, old growth trees stand up to the spoils of moisture so much better than todays "ranch" raised lumber farms. Also, the houses we build now are so tight, that unless people install HRV's or some type of air handler,the excess moisture will eat up todays wood. With that said, I whole heartedly agree with the advantages of vinyl or other composite type windows, solely for the fact that they will not rot. I would say 60% of the windows I install, whether replacement or new construction, are vinyl. IHI, you nailed it on the head when half a** carpenters install top of the line windows vs. top of the line carpenters installing half a** windows!!! The HO's will be more than satisfied with a cheap window that works and does'nt leak, as compared to the expensive window installed by someone in it for the quick $. This is why Pella usually requests that their windows be installed by someone they trust-- like me!!! :clap: The downfall for Pella, I believe, is when they went big box. Anyone can walk into Menards and buy a Pella Proline, take it home and slap it in.They don't understand about LPS,check operation DURING install, and especially proper overlapping techniques for flashing. Then they complain about the window not performing.
 

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Obviously smart guys responding since we share the same thoughts:laughing: ;)

I try to shy away from offering any windows from a big box, since it seems they carry the cheaper versions of the windows on hand, with my many landlords I'm forced into selling/installing these types since they want the lowest price things on the market for obvious reasons. I'm never too enthused about installing new vinyl windows with no weather stripping on them, but it goes back to waht homie wants is what homie gets even with my vocal disapproval and warnings.

The lumber is in no way like it used to be and it's not only a window problem but also a framing problem since all the wood is still too green IMO and shrinks too much over time causing problems...just like a drywall post awhile back when they noticed the stamped date/time of manufacture it was less than a week old, hardly enough time for the newer material to "season/cure" and everything is all about mass production and lowered production costs. So sad reality is nothing will ever be like it "used to".

Maj: I used to "think" it was a scam on sellers part of stating "we must install" the windows for warranty to stand. After a incident with a customer last year that wanted to buy my windows and have his "contractor son" call the morning he went to install them asking obvious nueratic questions that are common sense to any of us I knew I was in trouble. A tweaked and twisted patio door that did not open smoothly since exterior sheeting was extruded foam and they drove screws in soo far it twisted the frame and actually bound up the track system, a broken casement frame, covered weep holes, and a ffew other things that poor installation caused, I have changed my tune to either I install or you can go someplace else. That job that I had nothing to do with other than dropping windows off COST ME money just trying to keep the customer happy even though it was their fock ups. I didnt have to, but I rank customer service higher than anything else since it's soo important for me when I have issues with something. But that is a perfect case of no clue ruining a great product, but never again!!

It's too easy to watch HGTV and hae homies think to themselves, "thats easy I can do that" and when they try the job is a hack from helll. and later when they problems they call us in to make it right. If everything is soo easy heck, I'd be an engineer or rocket scientist and not get my hands dirty LOL!! I love the "siding" is easy statement too, IMO nailing it up IS the easy part, but making the entire system work as it should and look professional takes time and experience. Nothing I hate seeing more than butt jointed J channel and none mitered corners weather it be J channel, soffit, or cap work-it screams hack job IMO and it lets me know the crew was trying to get in and out as quick as possible.
 

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You must be kidding....

I thought I was the only fussy SOB that mitered J-channel around windows & doors. Let me guess--- you flash with metal at the bottom corners of all obstacles too!!! I always tell people vinyl siding is just a facade, it just hangs there and looks perty. I tell them the building must be weather resistent before hanging vinyl. I always cut an L-shaped metal flashing, tucked as tight to the window corner as possible, then slit the housewrap at top so it overlaps the flashing. Flashing is long so it can be trimmed when the last full piece of siding is nailed up, with flashing overlapping the nailing hem. I'm sure you do this, but maybe someone else might pick up on it and say HUH???.:confused: Vinyl siding is soooo easy, hell the simple instructions are right on the box!!!! Bad part is, I see "pro's" getting paid to hang vinyl and looks like the HO could have done it better. I guess I consider myself to be too much of a craftsman, than a "cover it up to make it look good" kinda guy.
 

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8 yrs ago I've even gone so far as to bend a piece of aluminum to cap over the bottom course of exisiting siding when doing a layover to prevent water splash from bouncing up and erroding away the existing siding bottoms LOL!!

That's what separates guys that know and give a hoot to the common "off the sidewalks" applicators, but guess in mainly relfects on us in business for ourselves more than anything since we want to making a lasting impression for the long haul as opposed to "how quickly can we make our weekend beer/weed money"

I know personally 6 guys that worked factories type jobs and sided their own garages "that looked like crap I must say" and heard about "all the money they can make siding", so they literally quit their jobs and borrowed tools from freinds in the business without notifying us they quit their 9-5 jobs until long after the fact and were sub contracting for larger wholesalers, 2 of them actually got hooked up with big time home builders for all their work...real assuring there huh??? fricken hacks anyways, and to think I often question myself/pressure myself wondering if this job is how a "professional" would do it LOL!! then I take a look at the competition and realize I'm the guy and THEY'RE wondering how a pro would do it, so I fell safe setting the bar since I've never once been accused of under building anything or questioned if "I could change this or that" due to stupidity/shoddiness:w00t: All I can say is this home building market in this area makes my stomache turn since everything done by nit wits and low ballers.
 
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