Vinyl replacement windows

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Oggie, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    Our old wooden double-hung windows are about shot. DW says she might throw me through one if we don't do something about them. She called a company and a salesman came out and gave us what I believe is a very high estimate. The windows are high quality, but I can't see putting that much money into this house. I priced the highest-end vinyl replacement windows at our local super hardware/lumber store and I can buy and have the windows installed for less than one-half the price of the fancy window place. If I install that drops to about one fourth the cost. The windows are ThermaStar by Pella. Has anyone bought these windows? Installed them yourself?

    Any information would be appreciated.
     
  2. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I just shopped for and had replacement windows installed. I only had them installed because of the time factor and their price was fair. Vinyl replacement windows all seem to be comparable in quality. There are very few manufacturers of the actual components and only slight variations on the assembly of the components. One of the selling points from the place that installed mine was their warranty which will even cover glass replacement.
     

  3. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    We've used vinyl windows exclusively in building our house. I'm not sure if the brand but thay are double paned with argon gas between the two layers of glass. The price has been right, (about $150 for a 4' x 4' horizontal slider), and installation is easy. With a can of spray foam insulation you can seal them up tight enough for our 40 below winter.
     
  4. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    The vinyl (outside) clad wood Pella windows I installed, I like very much. Nice and tight and easy enough (for me) to install .
    Most times you have to do some "creative carpentry" to retro fit windows.............but well worth it.

    Your elbow grease or there's $$$.......??
     
  5. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    When I had mine installed I also bargained for a better price as they have some room to move. I didn't order or pay for argon gas as it will eventually leak out according to all the window experts I spoke to. Even though I didn't order or pay for it my windows have it because they automatically come that way if you order low-e coating which helps block uv rays to stop curtain and carpet fade and retains energy.
     
  6. jgbndaudio

    jgbndaudio Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    Pella makes very good windows.

    However, before you buy anything Vinyl, you should go read about how poisonous Vinyl really is. It's today’s asbestos!
    Scott

    http://www.bluevinyl.org/
     
  7. luckysranch

    luckysranch Well-Known Member

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    We have installed the very same windows in our last renovation. It is very easy is you have a standard window size rough opening and it is square. Sometimes, if the house is very old, the installation can be tricky. But if you are a "handy type" person it's not that hard. We have replaced windows in four different homes over the years. It can save a great deal of money. Don't forget to get a can of foam to spray in the cracks between the window and the wall. Also it helps to caulk any gaps on the outside. Don't bother buying the windows with the gas added unless you have fairly new construction and the house is already tight. I don't think the extra cost will save any on the heating/cooling bill for older homes.
     
  8. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    I know of a case where the fire came close to the house but house didnt burn.The windows melted!

    BooBoo
     
  9. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    luckysranch,

    Is the cost that much more for the argon filled? Up here they seem to only sell the filled ones.

    Sure standard sizes are stock, but I've had some custom sizes made with little extra time and expense.
     
  10. Immaculate Sublimity

    Immaculate Sublimity Seriously?

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    Having been in the window replacement business for going on 22 years, can give you a few pointers. although most window manufacturers routinely put low e argon gas between the panes of glass, if they want to charge more for it, pass on the gas, it dissipates over the years anyway and you're paying extra. as far as self installation with wood windows its relatively easily done, wouldnt reccommend the spray foam insulation though, regular fiberglass insulation will allow for better expansion and contraction of the vinyl in temperature changes, also if properly sealed with silicone caulk the air space will provide better insulating qualities just like the theory behind insulated double panes in the windows themselves...if you're planning on keeping the house to enjoy your new windows, I'd recommend seeking out a window that has a minimum 3/8inch between the panes of glass, but a max of 7/8inch , outside of those parameters you are reducing the efficiency, a good double hung or slider window shouldnt run more than about 150 bux...companies that install jack up the prices to cover over head and installatiion costs. installing them yourself is better. if you can borrow a aluminum brake to custom bend the trim on the outside you'll be good to go, otherwise watch for someone else having windows installed and ask the installer how much to trim your windows, shouldnt be more than about 30 bux a piece plus material. we supply product and labor as a small family run business with little overhead for 300 an opening roughly, of course huge windows, or bays or bow windows excluded. if you decide to install them yourself and have questions on how to measure to get the best fit and how to go about the best way to do it hit me up with a PM, will be glad to point ya in the right direction.

    Diane
     
  11. mellba

    mellba Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We were surprised to find out that you only had to take out the window sashes not the whole window to install replacement windows. We got ours at Home Depot and dh replaced 10 windows in a couple of hours one afternoon. Our house was built in 1969 and they had all the sizes we needed. It made a difference last winter.
     
  12. Immaculate Sublimity

    Immaculate Sublimity Seriously?

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    Works with wood removals Mellba...wouldnt recommend it for aluminum or steel.

    Diane
     
  13. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

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    Here's another vote for the Pella replacements windows. DH just installed two new ones in our office and they were pretty simple. Nice windows too. ;)
     
  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Sis has Pella windows,she loves em,but they arent the vinyls.

    BooBoo
     
  15. Scott SW Ohio

    Scott SW Ohio Well-Known Member

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    You might put on good storm windows and then fix the old window sashes as time permits. This will cost you a fraction of the dollars of replacement windows. In my experience this is just as effective in cutting out drafts and saving heat.

    Anybody can repair their own wood window sashes, even if they are in pieces. Or at least, I have done it on several houses and I am not all that skilled. But once you have vinyl, and screws strip or parts crack or the glass fogs, they are throwaways.

    Not sure what your house looks like, but many old house window types are matched to the house style and replacing them with generic vinyl (or the ones with the fake grids) will make the house look funny.
     
  16. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't suggest vinyl. Where I am right now has some vinyl windows, all just a year or so old. Don't know the brand, but they were a "good" brand I think. Anyways, problem with vinyl is expanding/contracting with heat/cold. Serious problem. Sometimes a window will be easy to open, other times no such luck...and, eventually, all vinyl windows will leak (joints will open up btwn vinyl and glass for example). Wouldn't put any large vinyl windows in for sure. Small ones at the most. vinyl is trash IMO. Same with vinyl siding. Junk, all of it!
     
  17. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd disagree with that.....been installing them for 15 or so years, put in around 20,000 and never seen that.

    Not really hard to install.....good measuring is the key, and being able to use a sheet metal brake to cap the outsides makes a pro looking job.

    I'd agree about the gas, but DO get LowE glass....good stuff !.......and some companies only sell it as a package deal, so take the argon if you have too in order to get the LowE glass.......my understanding is the LowE glass makes the window about 30% more energy efficient. I'll tell you a small story along that line.....

    I ordered a small solar powered battery charger for D, C, AA, rechargeable cells. It has a little meter on the front to tell you the charging rate. First day I got it, I stuck some batteries in it, and was playing with it out on our glassed in porch.....BRIGHT sun shining in, but the meter was only reading about 1/2 of the scale.....???......so I went out on the deck, in the same looking bright sunshine, and the meter pegged out !
    Difference ? I think it was the LowE glass in the windows....and that's the first measureable evidence of it I'd ever seen.

    If you use foam around the windows, MAKE SURE it's DAP brand latex foam.....it stays soft and spongy and won't expand to bind your windows.....do NOT use the "GREAT STUFF" foam.....even the one they have for doors and windows isn't that "great".....fiberglass cut in strips and silcone caulk are the way to go.

    Couple of points to look for on vinyl replacements:

    1. Get double strength glass.....most come with single strength, and double is only a couple bucks more......and way stronger......and get the LowE glass as I said.

    2. If you can, see if they have screen options. Standard ones often come with a cheap, hollow tube type screen frame and fiberglass screen ( good for about 3-4 years ).....usually they will have the option of an extruded frame ( stronger ) and aluminum screen wire......last a LOT, LOT longer. Also, most come with 1/2 screens....if you actually USE your windows, pay and get the other half.

    3. The sash balance system in double hung windows. Older technology is a "spiral" balance system......tube with a twist type deal that comes out of it....mounted in the side tracks, usually covered with a strip of vinyl. Better and newer is the "constant force balance" system......looks like a small tape measure mounted on the same side track ( flip the window out to see them ) and has a stainless steel ribbon ( like a tape measure extended ) that runs down the side of the track.....far more trouble free.



    Anyone have any measure or install questions, I'd be glad to answer them.
     
  18. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for the helpful info.

    I rebuilt the sashes in my last house, a century old cottage in northeast Kansas. They were "real" double-hungs with counter weights and, for the most part, good solid wood. All of the sash cords had to be replaced and all wood parts sanded down or replaced for a tighter fit. I was single then and could live with the sawdust and chaos. A family isn't so forgiving, at least about that kind of stuff.

    Our current house was built in the early '70s. The windows weren't high-quality when they were new. There are no counter weights. The sashes are wood but they run in plastic channels with a spring on each side for tension. The plastic parts that hooked the windows to their springs have broken so most of the windows have to be propped open with a stick. Our little boy is about at the age of tinkering. We aren't going to find out what happens when he grabs one of those prop sticks.

    If I could grow money as well as I grow weeds, I'd buy solid wood Pella or Andersen windows and replace them casings and all. Money is tighter than usual so I'm going to buy and replace one window with the quality vinyl inserts. If the installation goes smoothly, I'll install the rest myself. If it turns out to be a giant pain in the bottom we'll weigh our options.

    Thanks again for the help and for the warnings against vinyl. I've decided to sell all of my vinyl pants. They have that nifty patent leather look but they just aren't worth the risk.
     
  19. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pella are nice midgrade windows. Try Polar. They are better than Pella, and probably don't cost any more.
     
  20. bonsai jim

    bonsai jim Well-Known Member

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    We just bought our house about two montha ago- same windows as in our last- cheap 60's aluminum frame windows that bind and have no insulating value... aaah to have cheap fuel prices again...

    We bought top of the line "Certainteed" in our last house. Cost about $600 a window, installed back ten years ago. Bit the bullet after a $400 electric bill in May- I knew it would take forever for me to get them in. Never a problem, no binding barely any fading. Vinyl is the way to go in a Texas ocean-side climate. They paid for themselves in saved AC costs. Cut street noise. Very good brand.

    So now we're back in the market- and will do the installation myself. Since we're off the ocean now I'm looking at wood and clad options as well.

    My friend just put vinyl Pella's in his addition- hate's 'em. He's a pretty handy guy so I'm confident the install is right. They just don't operate well. I'm not sure what level they were but I know he's strapped so they're probably the most basic. The one's I've looked at are very poorly made, comparably.

    Anderson's a little better but not much. If I were to go cheap I'd look at one of the "generic" store brands that both Lowe's and HD carry.

    What's really caught my eye are the Jeld Wens but they are SOOOO expensive. But the craftsmanship is VERY nice.

    I"m still looking though- allegedly the cadillac (or maybe Mercedes- I've not priced them yet) of windows is "Martin" and there is a dealer in Houston... I may just go back to Certainteed...

    I think what you use depends on the time vs. money issue as well as how long you'll be in the house. Also, down here, we don't have heating costs but do have more than comparable cooling costs...

    A link... just search on windows or whatever you need info on...

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/

    Jim Stone