Replacement window reviews

10 Replies

Working on a project in the NE.  

I have two quotes for replacement of windows.  Debating on getting a 3rd.

One quote is for Harvey Classic Vinyl windows - Double Hungs (7) and Casements (4).  

The other is for Alside Mezzo windows (need to reconfirm as I was given a Fusion catalogue but a Mezzo quote) - DH (11)

Mezzo's pricing is lower (possibly due to all DH no casements) but I'm asking about the quality of the window.  

I would really appreciate insight from contractors in the BP community.  

Thanks in advance.  

Never heard of that brand, but I understand there are quite a bit of local window manufacturers. It is one of the few things that can still thrive locally, and really can't be sent overseas! Not sure if Alside Mezzo is a local company or not, however I imagine you could get a sample, or at least find a local referral for someone who has them, and you could possibly go take a look.

I wouldn't overly stress about the insulating factor of the windows, but things like how easy they function, how tight they lock, etc. I had window manufacturers doing presentations for me and a client years back (putting in probably 1500-2000 windows across a bunch of rental buildings) and if you listen to them, each and every one is the be all end all and has the best features. I would lean toward the manufacturer that was easier to deal with, if the price was substantially lower I would lean that way, and also take into account lead times, etc...

Just make sure whoever installs them insulates and caulks them correctly. Also make sure they are responsible for the complete scope, removing the stops, replacing them, caulk, paint if needed, etc.

Retrofit? New frame? Warranty difference. Emissivity(E-factor), Polarization.....

I was quoted from Harvey on a rental I worked on the composite is great but extremely expensive. Didn’t go with them. Checked pella great. But expensive. Checked with Home Depot great but didn’t have my size and it was a little to expensive. Found a company right down from my house. Let’s just say replaced 36 to 42 windows in less and spent less than $7k including installation. 

sorry. During spiel forgot to mention diamond window. Custom made 

Originally posted by @Angel Dejesus :

sorry. During spiel forgot to mention diamond window. Custom made 

You replaced 36+ windows for $7k all in? The window company must really be close.  And they have more competition in the big city.  While my project is over 1 hr from any major city with few local options. 

Originally posted by @Sam Shueh :

Retrofit? New frame? Warranty difference. Emissivity(E-factor), Polarization.....

They are replacement windows.  

A bit more research and questions and it turns out the Alside window is Fusion not Mezzo and appears to be of lesser quality.  Also got Harvey quote down by adjusting window types to all DH. Now they are in the same ballpark it's just about preference.  Still won't do as well @Angel Dejesus, but that's to be expected.

@Karen O.

PA home improvement contractor here.

I've never heard of either of these windows companies. That's not unusual. There are a LOT of companies out there in this game. "Professional" window replacement is pretty much the biggest and best scam in home improvement. Because you CAN save a lot in energy costs by replacing windows, you'll see insane markups, up to $1000 to install a good-sized window.

I use American Craftsman by Andersen Series 70 Double Hung and casement for replacing failing old windows in my rentals. Basic white vinyl replacement windows with lifetime guarantee. I buy them from Home Depot. Lowes sells the Pella brand -- I feel they're not as well made.

I pay about $170 per replacement window and I can remove an old double-hung window, remove the weights, insulate the weight cavity with rock wool or fiberglass insulation, and put in the window in about 2 hours each. It's isn't particularly difficult to do the work yourself -- just a handyman's job. I urge you to investigate online videos and check out the instructions for installing these windows on homedepot.com

If you've gone through two quote processes, I know this is all hard to believe. You'll probably also see people loudly and proudly disagreeing with me here. They'll tell you that you need to go to all kinds of expense to change windows. They'll tell you that wooden sash windows can be repaired to be just as good as new vinyl windows with argon-filled cavities between window panes and well-insulated weight cavities. They'll tell you and they'll tell you, and ultimately it's all baloney, which you'll find if you investigate enough.

Then on the other hand, you'll get people in the window replacement industry who will talk about the purity of the argon between the panes, the e-coating, the seals failing, virigin vinyl being better than recycled vinyl, the glass is too thin...the windows have a lifetime guarantee. If they fail you replace them for free.

The people making money off this gig and those who don't want to believe they've been swindled roundly are always going to protest that these windows have to be CUSTOM-MADE at the factory. If you tried to make replacement windows exactly to size you would have to deal with the same problems you have to deal with when you hang doors. Foundations shift, things go out of square. Their "professional installers" use Great Stuff Window and Door insulating foam to fill in small gaps just like you would with your own replacement windows. They use silicone sealant to seal gaps. It's all baloney again.


Another thing you'll hear about is window wrapping. In this process, the outside wooden frame is "wrapped" in vinyl-coated aluminum. It's all done onsite with a roll of the stuff and a bender and a lot of caulk. Window wrapping supposedly preserves the exterior wooden frames and keeps you from having to paint them. What window wrapping really tends to do is hide away your problems as they get worse and worse. I've found it's better to paint. Higher maintenance, but at least you can see the problem happening before the window rots out of its frame. You will hear different opinions, lead paint hysteria, more and more and more baloney and obfuscation about this.

Ultimately, you'll believe what you want to believe on the Internet -- we all do, after all. But I'll urge you to do your research. It's reached a point where I simply would never trust anyone to come out and replace my windows for me. What these companies do is hire any schmo off the street and give them 5-6 hours of quicky training max before they go on jobs. The expectations of speed they put on these guys make it impossible for them to be thorough, especially about packing in and spraying the insulation that will really get your money out of your new windows in energy costs.

Good luck, Karen. You can believe me or not...but at least investigate the possibility of buying these windows and just hiring a handyman to put them in, OK? I'll make no bones about it, I don't like rip-off artists and what they do. I see a lot of it with window replacement.

We just put in 28 Andersen 100 windows and I like them a lot. All the builders in my area use them. Total cost was around $8200, some as big as 60" x 42" but included upgraded glass and in-glass molding/stiles.

I have to apologize to all because I just realized I never said where my project was.  I'm in NYC which should make getting a quote super easy.  But my project is in So. Central MA, just over an hour from any major city.  

@Account Closed

Thank you so much for this detailed response to my inquiry.  I wish I lived in Pittsburgh again.  I'd offer to tag along on a job.  

I suspected the quotes here are high. My guess is the windows are priced in the same ballpark as those you purchase but the contractors are doubling that price for their labor.  Which may make fixer uppers not so good an option for me.  But I'm determined to do one before I abandon the idea so I'll get this one done before I decide.  

@Shaun C.

Thanks for the info Shawn.  Again, I think you, James, Angel and Sam all make excellent points.  Unfortunately, you're also near fairly large cities where pricing tends to be more competitive for materials and labor.   If I choose to do another fixer upper, I'll think twice about the location. 

@Karen O.

I'm part of a company that works as a glass/glazing contractor for projects of various sizes all over the east coast --- anything from high-end residential jobs (say between $25,000 to $150k) to decent size commercial jobs ($500k to $1.5 million). Most of what we do has nothing to do with the windows that you need. That said, if you want me to take a look at the quotes, I'll be happy to do so. Feel free to PM me. 

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it as legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

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