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Question DetailsAsked on 3/15/2017

what is the best option for replacement windows and doors? I've been researching for over a year and cannot get

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2 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


Here is essentially exactly the same question with a lot of answers FYI -

"Best" depends on so many factors, and there are so many manufacturers, that you can go forever trying to find the "perfect" ones. Also, most of the "Best" manufacturers make some total junk for the "builder's" and "box store" markets, so just saying Anderson, Marvin, Jen-Weld, Hurd, or Pella (some brands I would "generally" recommend as being decent ifnot necessarily always "good", for examples) is the brand you want can get you into real trouble if you don't also specify the product line you want.

You can find some discussions of some brands and some general considerations in the Home > Windows link under Browse Projects, at lower left.

Doors - look at environmental conditions (vinyl and fiberglass do not do well in severe sunshine exposure, nor do stained (as opposed to painted) wood, and wood is dubious if exposed to rain directly hitting it or splashing on it a lot. Steel is best for security but if fully steel-wrapped (as opposed to just steel-faced) is commonly a bit less energy efficient than other materials.

For windows look at the energy ratings (to the extent that is important for you), realize vinyl is hard to do a good paint job on so you may be stuck with white (or with some brands brown and black also) frames, fiberglass does not do well in severe sunlight exposure, wood requires repainting every 5-10 years commonly unless you do a really good job of prep and initial painting, aluminum is pretty energy inefficient. Wood is also pretty iffy if in a continual wet area - especially with wind-blown rain.

You also need to consider on the windows whether you are going to replace the entire unit (commonly best especially with older windows which might not have good weather barrier between the rough opening and the window unit), or go with "replacement units" which fit into the existing outer frame (reusing it) and just replace the "glazing units" - the glass and the surrounding frame. Also, some of those "pop" into the existing frame so may not have as good a weatherstripping capability, and some take up more of the space with the frame so sometimes you end up with smaller glass area.

Instead of looking for the "best" I would recommend looking at a few of the best-rated (Consumer Reports or National Fenestration Council ratings or such) brands and models, then google for reviews and complaints on those brands and choose one to three you think look decent, then go look at those in a showroom to see if there are any "red flags" to you. Then talk to several Window contractors saying those are the brands you are interested in. And note - there is commonly a TREMENDOUS difference between the bottom-of-line "builder's grade" and the "better" and top-of-the-line models, even though generally the installed cost (including labor) may only be on the order of 20-25% more for the job.

The other alternative is get several vendors to come show you what they offer, and then evaluate those brands/models only, and choose the combination of products and vendor you like. The problem with that is you are evaluating bid prices at the same time as the products, so can get confusing and there will be a strong tendency to go with the low bid even though the product may not be a good.

Some contractors will only install certain brands, others will install pretty much any brand you want, so if you go the route of choosing a few models you will accept you might rule out some potential contractors. Going with selected contractors (choosing the best rated first, then reviewing the brands they are pushing) runs the other risk - you are looking only at the brands those particular contractors like to install, so again there is no "best".

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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