Replacing Aluminum Windows in the House

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Chingo77, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Chingo77

    Chingo77 Adventurer

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    Alright, time to tap the collective wisdom of the greatest site on the interwebs.

    I have a house built in 2006 that has the crappiest, cheapest aluminum windows that the builder could get his hands on.

    Why shouldn't the frames have ice on the inside when it is 20 degrees out? Condensation between the panes? Got that as well. Worried about tearing a rotator cuff while attempting to open a window? #MeToo.

    I don't have Trump money (or IQ), but I do have a bunch of free time and enough tools, knowledge, and beer to start swapping them for better ones.

    I want vinyl windows, and have been looking at the Andersen 100 series and the MI Homemaker series. The wife wants black frames, so I am limited a bit with manufacturers.

    Anyone with direct knowledge have any recommendations? The install will he pretty straightforward, my trim arrangement is pretty simple and we have shiplap wood siding. Any other companies? Should I entertain an aluminum window with a thermal break? We intend to die at this house, so a little extra now won't hurt, as long as they last.

    Thanks in advance,

    Chingo77
    #1
  2. DLFLHT

    DLFLHT I'm a little fuzzy

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    I put Milgard vinyl windows in about 7 years ago. I had the shit aluminum framed windows too. I've tracked all my utility bills for the 26 years we've been in the house and you can see the difference when we put the windows in. They quiet the place down too. The nice thing is that they are guaranteed for life. We had one fog up - went on line - entered a work request (each window has a code in it) - they show up and put in a new one. They replace them even if the kid next door throws a rock through it.
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  3. Chingo77

    Chingo77 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the input DLFLHT, is there any chance you know which series? It appears they have 3 different ones, and they're probably call different now. I'm not in super cold or hot country, but we do have 4 seasons here.
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  4. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Well worth the investment. There is MAJOR markup in windows. I'm pretty handy, and do most all of my own work on the houses we own. Sometimes it pays to have it done, but not often. Its pretty easy to replace windows. But I have found that having it done was worth the money. It just wasn't enough more to justify my efforts.
    Most window mfg make several different grades of their windows. With several houses, that had different window brands, we found that Amerimax were the best bang for the buck. Not the cheapest, or most expensive, just most for the money. They also have several different grades of window. We now have them in 3 of our places. Their warrantee is worth the extra all by itself, especially with rentals,( and my family). Do some shopping, grade the thickness of the glass, what climate zone are you in. All makes a difference. Then plan to negotiate the price, a lot.
    Painted frames can be a problem, and the darker the frame, the more sun damage you will incur on the vinyl. Lots more expensive too.
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  5. DLFLHT

    DLFLHT I'm a little fuzzy

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    Tuscany series.
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  6. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

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    I wish you luck in your search. We're going through a window search right now, looking to replace 20 outswing casements in three sizes. What we have is metal frames with double-pane glass from 1976 and we want metal frames again for the minimal sightlines (wood, vinyl and fiberglass have frames that are too thick) and narrow jamb depth, but with thermal breaks in the frames. Anything that looks like it might be what we'd like to have is astronomically priced.
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  7. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

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    I was told years ago that windows are the biggest heat loss for any structure.
    We re did the windows in our house last year because the original wood framed were done.
    We went with vinyl triple pane and wow the difference. -35 is barely noticeable compared to the old
    junk.
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  8. Nailhead

    Nailhead Inclusion Rider

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    I used to install Traco & Simonton vinyl replacements, and I was impressed with the quality to the point I put 'em in my house in windy Wyoming in 2010. We installed Simontons in my mom's house 15 years ago (also WY), and they're still working great, also.

    After tearing out many low-budget vinyl windows, I learned buying the best you can afford is crucial.
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  9. Chingo77

    Chingo77 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the replies folks. I do like the smaller frames on the metal windows, so I guess I should entertain that idea. I only have 13 windows, so it's not a huge job. I'm waiting on some pricing, I have it in my head that they will be about $500 each, on average. Will see.
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  10. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    That should be close. Sliding doors are a lot more. I would need to look up the old receipts to find what we paid, and what grade. In our primary residence in the burbs of Denver. We did Amerimax best grade of window. Can't remember the name. That was in 1999. They have been great. About 3 yrs ago wee put them in a cabin in Grand Lake,Co. It is a zone 7 climate. We used their mid grade window. Again very nice. Our neighbors up there put in Jeldwen,(I think) we paid slightly more. The difference is very noticeable. They have said, they should have done what we did. Same with another house down the road. We have a mix of windows in a rental. I have replaced 2 of them. One must have been extremely cheap. Good brand, but terribly poor quality. I think it came from home depot. So a bottom quality of a brand that usually is well thought of.
    When I pick up our windows, they are noticeably heavier. The glass is thicker etc. The sliders work when it gets very cold outside, most others stick.
    Lots of choices, good luck. You will love it. Much quieter inside, and more comfortable.
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  11. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    If you want dark colored vinyl, you might want to research that. There are drawbacks to that. If I remember right, the deal on that was, most are painted on with a vinyl paint of some sort, and not mixed in to the vinyl. And the dark color is going to be effected by sunlight more. Like anything else, sun takes its toll on most things. So you might want to research that a bit.
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  12. Stop_Watch

    Stop_Watch Not Dead Yet

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    For dark frames (black or dark bronze/brown) I'd suggest fiberglass units from Milgard or Marvin Integrity, but that's in NorCal, I don't know what's available in Arid-zona. You can get them with a variety of interior colors/finishes/wood and the quality is very high. I'm no fan of vinyl windows, but the nicer ones are usually o.k.. My clients almost always opt for fiberglass once they see and feel the difference.

    The Milgard thermally improved metal windows are very nice, but they don't comply with current California energy code requirements, so they're usually saved for "less-permitted" jobs. I have my go-to guy at the lumberyard who knows how to get them across the border.

    Are you thinking of replacement units where the existing flashing and window frame/flange stay in place, or are you going to use new construction style and redo all the flashing? If you have wood siding, the latter is a decent option, plaster, not so much.

    (Disclaimer: licensed architect by trade, carpenter by interest and ability)
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  13. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

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    We've looked at Milgard's aluminum windows (casements, in our case) but find that the sizes are limited and they do not offer the dimensions we need to replace ours, so we're probably going to have to go custom with the attendant cost. As you would expect, stuff like this disastrously affects the motorcycle budget.
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  14. Chingo77

    Chingo77 Adventurer

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    I was planning on tearing out the existing frames and putting in new finned models. The interior fit/finish of the exisiting jambs is crap as well. I will check out some Milgard units as well, I have the sheister window guy from Lowe's coming out this afternoon, this should be interesting. It's neat that they won't give me a price for the windows only. Probuild came back with the MI windows at $4k, and the Andersen ones at $5k. Traci and Simonton don't have any reps close by (that I saw) so I will probably go with someone else. My neighbor is a builder so I will pick his brain when he comes to get his dog that I've been sitting while he is on vacation.
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  15. ericm

    ericm Long timer

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    We have 45 shitty vinyl or aluminium windows from the late 80s to replace. Most of them have lost their seal. Double pane tech was poor back then even on good windows, which these aren't. Most of the single hungs have broken internals and don't stay up or are competely jammed closed. Some of the vinyl is crumbling.

    We'll probably be using a combo of high end and mid range Marvins- the nice ones where we'll be using or looking at them a lot, the mid range elsewhere. Anderson 100s for the garage. And yea, with labor this will cost as much as a couple really nice new motorcycles. We've known the day would come and have been saving for this and other projects since we bought the house 20 years ago.

    Interesting thing we found out was there are now egress requirements for windows. There has to be one large enough for a person to crawl out of in each room- roughly 2'x2'. Some of the single hungs we planned to be double hung will have to be casements instead. They'll get a divider in the middle to simulate the double hung look so they match the house's style but when open the look won't be quite right. The good thing though is that they'll let more air in.
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  16. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

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    Ah, egress...we have two casements like that, each has two 18W"x50H" panes facing with center opening, and each complete unit is hinged on the left side with a latch on the right so the entire two-pane thing swings open for a human-sized package to exit. We actually priced Andersons and their Fibrex units that look okay and function nicely but the sightlines are too clunky and the jambs too deep for us to consider. If you talk to a Renewal by Anderson rep be prepared to get the biiiiig pressure to sign "today" and if you stall you can watch the prices drop while the rep sizzles. Also, you will need to insist that they not call you, you'll call them. Seriously, we had a good salesman but he was determined and would not let up.
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  17. Bighammer49686

    Bighammer49686 Been here awhile

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    We had Andersen windows in the first house I built. I liked them. The quality seemed to be there in both materials and workmanship. The only downside I can see is that the details are not as architecturally pleasing. Aluminum frames have crisper lines, sharper corners, greater detail. We are now in the 2nd house I built and somehow got talked into Hurd windows. Let me just say, there's probably a reason it rhymes with "TURD" bacause they suck.
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  18. Chingo77

    Chingo77 Adventurer

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    Well guys, thanks again for your insight. I stopped at Lowe's yesterday and they couldn't get me a price for just windows. Their install guy came out and wondered why I didn't just get a price for the windows. He only does installation. I had a good chuckle, they likely won't be getting my window business anyways.
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  19. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    I had amerimax windows put in our place and a simonton slider, theyre a pretty close match and the simonton slider was nicer. These are just cheap shit white vinyl in our 700sq/ft condo, but the HOA ok’d them and they’re leaps and bounds ahead of the single pane aluminum windows from the 70’s

    Edit, 4 windows and a 6’ slider was $3400 installed. They were custom for our sizes and one window is like 8’ plus long.
    #19
  20. MiniBike

    MiniBike Casual Observer

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    I tried 2 of these in a West wall that picked up a lot of heat and made the room uncomfortable. Did all the thermal, argon things that were supposed to protect against heat intrusion. Bottom line, I liked them - a lot. Testing showed almost zero heat gain even in summer direct light. The following year, I had 17 more installed along the North and East sides. Hurricanes Matthew and Irma have passed by since and we had absolutely no wind/water intrusion. I've got 6 more windows to eventually upgrade and will have no hesitation using them again.

    https://www.windowworld.com/

    Multiple frame color and grid options available.
    #20