1. Warranty hype: the sales representative wants you to believe that
their product has the best warranty. Only FULL lifetime warranty meets the strict
federal requirements, all others are LIMITED lifetime (though they are free to call it what they please, such as double lifetime). Make sure the warranty includes labor—not mentioned means you are paying for labor--typically $125.
Most warranties are not transferable. And most manufacturers are distant,
and thus require the company which did the installation to do the repair. This often leads to an inexperienced installer attempting
the repair. Milgard, a local company, has their own service technicians. Milgard has a lifetime, transferable warranty with labor.
2. Hype about
spacer bar system: A metal spacer
bar covered with a sealant-adhesive is used to separate the 2 panes and form a nearly air-tight insulating glass unit (IG). There are 5 common types of spacer-bar systems. Each
system manufacturer claims theirs is superior and then produces a graph to prove their point.
However, each of these systems has approximately the same effect upon the thermal efficiency of the window. Milgard in March of 2010 has upgraded their system to a stainless-steel intercept system. Glass has a high rate of thermal expansion and contraction. Their
U-channel steel flexes with the glass movement to give a superior seal and thus is less likely to develop stress cracks that
allow moisture in & argon out. Milgard has tested the system in their p-1
chamber for 100 weeks.
2. Sealants: applied around the metal spacer bar to hold the two panes
in place and form a seal. There are a number of different sealants. Fair, comparative
testing is not available. Over the past 20 years we have seen thousands of failed
systems. A Plus has a glass department which specializes in replacing IG units. A failed unit will at first appear dirty, then obscure, and finally wet. If it dries, it leaves water stains. Repair of a fogged up IG unit consists of replacement. Requiring two trips, glass companies typically charge $350 for replacement.
Milgard’s warranty includes labor.
For failed-unit pictures http://apluswindows.biz/pf/id14.html.
3. Moisture: Failure occurs primarily because of inferior adhesive property
of the spacer system, lack of adequate support of the IG unit, and lack of drainage holes of wood windows.
Since 1990 our glass department has replaced over
3,000 IG units, but only 6 of Milgard’s--our principle supplier since 1995.
4. Low-e coating:
it is sprayed on to the inner surface of the out pane. It consists of several
compounds, which block certain frequencies of light. It works by both reflecting and absorbing about 75% infrared (heat-carrying) and 90% of the UV (fabric-fading)
light, and unfortunately about 45% of visible light if 2 layers, about 60% if low-e3. There are 3 major manufactures of low-e coatings, Guardian, Cardinal, and Solar Ban. Their effectiveness is similar, and thus the market is divided between them. Each of the 5 large glass-manufacturers selects just one of
the 3 suppliers for the low-e coating. The window manufacturers choose a glass
manufacturer and thus their low-e. Whatever they chose is of course the best according to adds. Second hype: In their literature, the winter illustration
of low-e blocking a large amount of in-home generated infrared from escaping—thus
keeping your home warmer—but there isn’t a major source for infrared other than the heat lamp in your bathroom. A third coating of low-e blocks the same frequencies as low-e2 and reduces
visible light about another 15%. For our climate low-e2 meets Energy-Star
requirements, and cost less. For more information see http://apluswindows.biz/pf/id4.html.
5. Glass hype: thicker, and double
hard. State law governs both hardness of glass and also thickness. They must use double hard (annealed glass). The minimum thickness specified by building code is 3/32 found in most builder-series windows. Milgard uses 1/8 for up to 20 square feet, and for larger IGs, 3/16th.
6. Virgin vinyl hype: I
have yet to see a manufacture claim that they use only virgin vinyl--but some sales reps make such a claim. The issue isn’t virgin, but what type of filler and how much.
Comparative testing of vinyl used in windows is not available, nor composition.
Most manufacturer’s buy their vinyl extruded from Mikron Industries. Milgard
tests and manufacture’s its vinyl extrusions.
7. Strongest frames & fusion-welded corners hype. Fusion welding is the industry
standard for joining the corners—only aluminum windows use screws. All
major brands design their frames with enough chambers and their vinyl is sufficiently stiff so as not to flex when properly installed; except cheap, builder’s series windows for which flex (straightness) is an issue. All major window manufacturers offer a low profile, modern-looking model; and another
thicker-frame series that resembles the wood windows. The extra chambers
are primarily for appearance—the maximum sizes for both series are often the same.
(The thicker frame averages about $50/window more--retail). They are sold
as a deluxe upgrade.
5. Composite: a couple of manufacturers, such as Anderson in their Reliance series, mix sawdust
in with their vinyl and a binding agent. They call it a tougher space-age polymer
that can be painted. However, they have ONLY a 25-year warranty without labor,
and they charge double the price!
6. Best U rating
(thermal efficiency) hype. Often the numbers are just made up by the manufacturer,
for I have seen numerous examples of fabricated results. Or they could test a
specially construction triple pane window—who is checking? However, when production vinyl windows are independently tested, as required under California and federal
law. When comparing apples to apples, since they are all made of the same materials--except
for the spacer bar--the result have to be nearly the same. A sales person who
tells you otherwise, is being deceptive. A difference of about 5 points in U
value equals only 1 degree glass temperature on a calm 45° night. The thermal value for each window is listed on a NCRF label.
11. Argon improves thermal efficiency by a couple of
degrees on a cold night, but escapes through most sealants in less than 5 years industry articles reveal (go to http://apluswindows.biz/pf/id18.html). Milgard uses a U-channel flexible spacer bar-sealant
system for way superior argon retention.
12. Dual pane Wood windows are a disaster.
They shut tight; thus keep moisture in, and are subject to wood-rot and warping--neither of which are a manufacturer’s
defect. Lacking weep holes under
the glass, they far more often fog up than vinyl windows (view at http://apluswindows.biz/pf/id14.html). That is why their glass has only a 10 year
years parts, 20 years glass and labor is not covered. Milgard offers a hollow
fiberglass frame with a wood interior; thus no problems and a lifetime warranty with labor to prove.
Surveys: These are not based on testing by on either builder or homeowner
survey. This method is seriously flawed.
There is no comparison of warranty, of how trouble-free the products are,
and often no consideration of price. Examples of failures include both JD Powers
and Consumer Report surveys rating wood windows before vinyl, though they have a 10-year parts warranty that doesn’t
include labor and cost about $400 more per window. Other issues include the wide
fluctuation in results of the JD Powers surveys(11 in 5 years) for the windows remain the same, yet the results don’t.
All that can be reasonable concluded is that certain brands are highly thought
of by consumers and builders. Milgard has over the last 5 years has received
award from 14 different groups. However, the best indication of quality and service
is there market dominance with dealers for replacement windows. This is not based upon advertising (which they don’t)
but on performance: they have earned their product recognition.
14. Value: the art of sales is to
make you believe you the Ford they are selling is a Mercedes. A Plus Windows
does not hype Milgard, for they strive to be the very best. We offer value and
journeymen installation crews. Check our referrals with phone numbers, and our BBB record--zero
15. A Plus Windows features the West Coast leader, Milgard, which has a full line of vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass,
and wood interior on fiberglass windows and doors. For the luxury look we feature
Bede’s windows and doors, a European window in either heavy commercial rating for both vinyl and aluminum series. They are available in custom painted frames and wood laminates. To find out more about A Plus Windows and for informative articles on windows, check out our website http://apluswindows.biz. Our lead installers Kyle and Rod
are journeymen. Our motto, we work for you.
And we have a PRICE GUARANTEE