How does one tell a contractor’s series
vinyl product from quality???
Price, warranty, and
thicker flange are the 3
Labor and factory service are the most important issues.
Labor runs about $125. At $125/stop their service tech is making money for
the company installing a $2 part or adjusting a lock. Moreover, most manufacturers
simply supply parts to local dealer, who charge for a service call. Relying upon
a dealer is iffy; having a factory service specialist, such as supplied by Milgard and IWC, is much better. Don’t believe the word lifetime—read the small print,
for some (Amsco & Simonton for example) have pages of clauses listing exclusions.
No Mention of labor, means you are being charged
Builder series windows
Many manufacturers rely on low prices for marketing (their principle target
is new housing, secondary target replacement market). They cut costs by some
or all of the following: 1) By using as standard 3/32 glass flimsy (thin) instead of the 50% thicker 1/8th glass.
2) Thin retro flange without chambers (Plygem, Simonton. Atrium, Jeld-wen,
Amsco, Pella, IWC, Superior, Anlin, and others). They flex and can separate from the fresh caulk to allow water to seep in. 3) Saving on vinyl by adding filler to it and by having thinner walls and fewer chambers.
4) Cheap hardware that rusts. 5). Not including labor in their warranty. 6). Low
workers’ pay entails poor quality control, poor follow on orders, shipping incomplete orders, etc. 7) Limiting or excluding the transfer of the warranty.
Milgard-they uses as standard 1/8 glass (3/16th on larger windows &
door panels), has a multi-chambered retro flange, stainless steel hardware that won’t rust, excellent factory support
& quality control. Milgard has the strongest warranty in the industry: labor,
lifetime, transferrable, very few exclusions, and factory service. Being
a better built window, they cost a little more--and they are worth it.
20/10: (20 years
glass, 10 years parts), standard for wood windows; however, Milgard is lifetime with labor.
& Anderson add sawdust to vinyl, call it a space-age polymer, and then charge
double the price of their vinyl line, Pella’s Imperva is a resin composite. They
give you only a 20/10 year warranty WITHOUT LABOR--their warranty tells you how durable their composite is! Milgard’s
Ultra (fiberglass) Wood clad (wood veneer on interior of Ultra Series) comes with lifetime that includes both LABOR and accidental
WINDOWS—warping, binding, and wood rot are not manufacturer’s
defects. The glass
units frequently fog-up because of the lack of drainage holes beneath the glass unit.
The old wood windows breathed. They weren’t energy efficient, but
with minimal maintenance I have seen many of them last over 100 years. New wood
windows have rubber gaskets to stop air infiltration, but they trap moisture. It
is not exterior moisture, but moisture trapped by the rubber gaskets that causes the problems.
Anderson, Pella and others have an exterior aluminum or vinyl clad. This
doesn’t stop the dew & dampness problem--just eliminates painting. That is why warping, binding, and wood
rot are not manufacturer’s defects.
Moreover, their warranty doesn’t include labor. Milgard has the
solution: a fiberglass window with beautiful interior wood veneers.
Their rubber gaskets stop air infiltration, but unlike wood core windows, the fiberglass will absorb moisture (wont
warp, rot, or bind) thus Milgard’s lifetime warranty with labor.
to transfer the warranty requires both registration & a $50 check in the first month--similar requirements for VPi ($75),
& Windor. They also mail parts for the home owner to install.
Jeld-wen, Plygem & Atrium have bought out numerous manufacturers including the local Window Master, Superior, Certainteed,
and Great Lakes windows. These companies all specialize in builder-series windows. Anderson bought Silverline, and Pella bought ThermaStar windows. In Home Depot Silverline and Lowes ThermaStar are carried in the standard builder series sizes with the
new construction nail-on flange--retrofit custom sizes are much more. It is not
how they look today, but how well they operate tomorrow, and how many will need service.
* SAVE MILGARD’S
PURCHASE ORDER NUMBER. It is what they have in their computer along with production
information. Upon sales of home give this number to the new homeowner so that he can be covered
as though the original owner. My extensive experience demonstrates that
Milgard, as part of their public relations, is glad to take care of all reasonable warranty issues.
**** Simonton requires registration of new owner within 30 days and a $50 fee
registration of new owner within 30 days and a $75 fee Pella Imperva (5-10) white exterior,
& white, brown, tan interior, fiberglass resin composite
|Link to BBB report