06:17PM | 11/17/01
Member Since: 11/16/01
5 lifetime posts
Someone, please reply to this post!

We are thinking of replacing all the windows and two sliding patio doors in our 50-year-old ranch home in N. California. Of course, the existing ones are aluminum single pane. The exterior of my home is stucco.

I have spoken to a couple of contractors and realized right away that the window business involves a lot of mud-slinging. Everyone tells me that their windows are the best and the other brands are crap.

This is very confusing. I'm trying to learn what I can about windows and coatings, etc. However, a person who mainly represents Andersen Renewel tells me that vinyl windows would look horrible on my home, and waxes poetic about the failure rate of vinyl windows, particularly Milgard.

The vinyl window guy, who manufactures his own line of windows, says they are better than the other name brands out there.

There are so many window companies out there. Some make their own windows, others represent "name brands."

How in the world do we make this decision? Has there been any consumer rating on popular brands of windows? Who the heck do I believe?

Thanks. I appreciate anyone's advice. I don't want to make an expensive mistake.


03:54AM | 11/19/01
Member Since: 10/09/01
48 lifetime posts
I can understand your frustration! Replacing windows is a very expensive project and the choices and contradictory info in California is probably similar to here in Canada.

What I normally do when faced with a decision like this is visit as many friends/neighbors as I can who have gone through the same process and get their input - as opposed to salespersons. You will find several people have chosen particular windows and will be satisfied or otherwise - for all kinds of reasons. Mingle this "unbiased" input with your own thoughts and info and you will probably be able to zero in on a suitable brand - then it's just a matter of the deciding on the specific design.

The only help I can offer as far as material is concerned is that in our cold climate, Vinyl seems to be the best choice. Aluminum, being an excellent conductor of heat - and cold, tends to "sweat" (condensation). Wood, which would probably look great in your ranch home, is obviously not maintenance-free. However, I think I would give serious consideration to the latter if you are prepared to recoat every couple of years - especially if a stain/varnish product called "Sikkens" is available down there. This has proven to be the best protection for outside woodwork in England where cold and damp is as bad as anywhere.

That's the best I can do and good luck.


11:55AM | 11/19/01
Member Since: 11/16/01
5 lifetime posts
Thank you, Alan.


12:21PM | 11/21/01
Member Since: 06/03/01
324 lifetime posts
Check at your local library for Consumer Reports older issues. I know they did a report on some windows within the last 18 mos. One thing that stood out was that all windows were not the same. Some leaked air & water even though the specs looked great. Think I would go with a vinyl 'welded' window with double pane low e squared glass. Most important, stick with a good name manufacturer with a long history and a lifetime warranty.


03:27PM | 12/21/01
Member Since: 12/20/01
2 lifetime posts
Ask for references and check out the work. Replacement windows usually will use the Aluminium Frames of the existing windows. You will lose some glass area due to this and may also inherit leakage from the old frames.

My first choice would be to replace the windows - but that would involve expensive stucco work.

In either case, go with Vinyl Welded Double pane window with the maximum warranty

Good Luck !!

[This message has been edited by starlight (edited December 21, 2001).]


08:51AM | 01/09/02
Member Since: 01/08/02
6 lifetime posts
It can be a very frustrating project deciding who to believe. Any window or door comes down to a few basics, which one is energy efficient and which manufacturer stands behind his product? A few questions to ask the salesman or contractor may be about the glass. You should inquire about what certifications they have acheived. If they have none, chances are the mfg doesnt have quality on his mind. Check out some of these websites to further your knowledge:,, and Also dont forget to get all of the details of the warranty, which should be 5-10 years. If no warranty, dont buy! Good Luck!
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