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Window replacement recommendations

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Window replacement recommendations

Postby Handy Smurf » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:26 pm

Our fifty year-old home is in serious need of new windows. It was built well but the original Anderson's are now in rough shape and while I haven't had an energy audit I'm sure they're a major contributor to this winter's painful MG&E bills.

Anyone had a particularly good experience with window replacement? Or a horrifically bad experience? Thanks.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby Dairylander » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:36 pm

Do you want "replacement windows" that insert into your existing jambs, or do you want to pull the interior and exterior trim and replace everything with "new construction" style windows?
Huge difference in time/money, but the latter will give you much more glass/light.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby Handy Smurf » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:56 pm

This is going to be "new construction." Some of the exterior trim has serious rot issues, and there's some mold on some of the interior frames . . .
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby O.J. » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:59 pm

I'd suggest checking to see if they qualify for the Federal Tax Credit.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=t ... s.tx_index
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby Dairylander » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:04 pm

Do you want wood windows?
Vinyl windows?
Vinyl-clad wood?
Fiberglass-clad wood?
Are you going to install them yourself?
Buy them yourself and hire out the install?
Pay a company to do it all?
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby Handy Smurf » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:37 pm

Dairylander wrote:Do you want wood windows?
Vinyl windows?
Vinyl-clad wood?
Fiberglass-clad wood?
Are you going to install them yourself?
Buy them yourself and hire out the install?
Pay a company to do it all?


Wood is my preference followed by fiberglass clad wood. Not too jazzed about vinyl.

Looking to pay a company to do it all.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby Dairylander » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:08 pm

If fiberglass-clad wood is your price point, I'd suggest you head to Brunsell Lumber.
They're around the corner from the West side Home Despot.
They have a full showroom of windows and knowledgeable staff, but more importantly, they'll have the best recommendations for contractors.
Look for a smaller crew of experienced veterans.
The big companies in town often have one veteran guy with several kids doing the work.
I would also suggest pulling all the interior trim beforehand, so they'll get accurate measurements of your rough openings.
It'll take 6 to 8 weeks for the windows to be made.
Get at least two bids, don't pay more than 1/2 the money up front, and be sure to put a time frame in the contract.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby Handy Smurf » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:20 pm

Thanks. We live just a couple of blocks from Brunsell, and despite signs to the contrary we are hoping our neighborhood doesn't go in the crapper over the next ten years or so! Hence, investing in the house.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby frozenCow » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:36 pm

If you are looking to hire out the work, the usual suspects like Waunakee Remodeling do Anderson “replacement” windows. They probably do good work, but they are very expensive.

We went to Brunsell a couple of months ago looking for casement windows. They had wooden Anderson “new construction” windows that looked pretty good. They were less than I thought they would be, compared to the estimate I got from Waunakee for installing similar Anderson “replacement” windows.

From what I’ve been told (by a guy who installs windows for a living) only authorized dealers (like Waunakee Remodeling) can install Anderson “replacement” windows, hence the steep price. However, anybody can go to Brunsell and buy Anderson “new construction” windows and either install them themselves or hire somebody to do it. The guy I was talking to said that installing “new construction” windows would cost more than installing “replacement” windows, because there is more labor involved (but probably still cheaper than paying an authorized Anderson dealer to install “replacement” windows).
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby bleurose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:34 am

Andersen = OK
Pella = a bit better
Marvin = the best

Naturally, you will pay for the difference in quality. But when we did major remodelling (living room, den, kitchen) all at different times over a period of some years, the answer from the contractors was always "Marvins are the best". Nothing wrong with the other two, just that Marvins are that much better. According to the GCs who did the work. After three separate recommendations, I'm willing to go with that.

Oh, and we are at the age where it is so worth it to pay someone else to do work like that..... :lol:
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby narcoleptish » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:52 am

Dairylander wrote:Do you want "replacement windows" that insert into your existing jambs, or do you want to pull the interior and exterior trim and replace everything with "new construction" style windows?
Huge difference in time/money, but the latter will give you much more glass/light.


A third option is sash replacements which ride on tracks that fit into your existing frame. You lose no glass area but the seal between the new track and the old frame is questionable. I got these and I always think I can feel some cold air around the edges still but much better than the old ones. I insulated the old sash-weight spaces. Marvin Tilt-Pacs from McCormick Lumber were about $400 each, so it's not cheap. I installed them myself but I don't recommend it unless you're a good diy person. I got the Marvins for the reason bleurose just gave. I've seen enough "good" quality windows fog up between the panes. Even with the questionable jamb seal I am happy with them, the quality of the windows themselves is top notch. There are other places you can skimp on quality that are so much less apparent.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby snoqueen » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:21 pm

I had the Marvin Tilt-Pak windows installed in my old house replacing the original sash-weight windows. I liked the Marvins and never had any trouble with them. They had solid wood frames so they looked right in an 1899 house, they fit reasonably well into out-of-square openings, and none of the panes ever fogged up.

I did have questions about security, though. Maybe someone else can answer this because I never found any information on line. The Tilt-Pak windows are easy to take out (so you can wash them). You just push them to one side and the right or left channel flexes and the window pretty much pops out. I always wondered how hard this would be to do from the outside, enabling a burglar quick and quiet entry. Is this a problem with (some or all) replacement windows, or not?

Still, I'd go ahead and replace your windows. Security will forever be an issue, but at least your energy consumption, home comfort, and home appearance will improve.

Incidentally you can put rope caulk around the jamb in the fall if you think you're still feeling leaks. Imperfect, but not difficult or expensive.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby pds » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:40 pm

If your main concern is energy efficiency, have an energy audit done first. You may find other issues at your home are more pressing than windows. This past fall we used Robert Runchey from American Home Inspectors LLC 842-0023. The cost of the inspection was $300 for blower test and using the heat detecting camera to find uninsulated spots. I was very happy with his services. He also works as a home inspector, which I think added value to what he had to offer. (He pointed out that the previous contractor who installed some bath fans installed the venting so it was causing rot on the roof boards.) Bob used to work for one of the other Focus on Energy approved energy auditors. When I called that company they were going to charge $150 more + mileage to our house for the same services. You will get a nice report that shows all of the work that needs to be done. That was helpful because we could forward that report to anyone we had to hire to fix things.

I thought that replacing our windows would be a first priority. Due to the high cost of windows, you may get more energy savings per dollar by doing other things, like insulating. We ended up fixing a poorly vented kitchen fan that was letting cool air in the house like crazy. Then we used Rockweiler Insulation 845-7625 to do air sealing and insulation in the attic. I was happy with their work and prices.

After the work is complete, the state pays for a follow up visit from the energy auditor to ensure that the work was completed properly. That's when the auditor also submits for you to get any rebates from Focus on Energy. That part was nice, because we got to see that the air sealing on our house was improved by about 1/3 - and our house is only 20 years old.
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Re: Window replacement recommendations

Postby eriedasch » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:05 pm

pds wrote:If your main concern is energy efficiency, have an energy audit done first. You may find other issues at your home are more pressing than windows. This past fall we used Robert Runchey from American Home Inspectors LLC 842-0023. The cost of the inspection was $300 for blower test and using the heat detecting camera to find uninsulated spots.

That is pretty much what I learned from my experience. My house is around 60 yrs old. The original windows were replaced but long before I bought the place and seemed like they leaked air pretty bad. But a number of people said I should get the energy audit. I did and learned the lack of insulation in the walls and poorly insulated attic w/ venting problems were far bigger and cheaper issues to resolve. New windows did make my list, but not near the top like I expected.

I went thru a Focus On Energy rep and cost me $400 (Madison guy, no mileage), so pds' guy is a better deal.
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