Zen Windows By Soft-Lite
Zen Windows are manufactured by Soft-Lite Windows, which is a well respected vinyl window manufacturer that is headquartered in Streetsboro Ohio. Zen windows is a franchise of Soft-Lite, meaning each Zen location has a separate owner, installation team(s), pricing, marketing, etc. What the franchises have in common is the windows that they sell, which we will explain below, along with a link to a page that has much more detailed information on each of their 3 window series.
Zen window franchises exist in the following cities; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chattahoochee Valley (serving Georgia and Alabama), Denver, Houston and Austin. There are a number of additional locations, these are just the ones we could track down.
Zen windows offer three window series, the Karma, Nirvana, and Lotus. Essentially, the Karma is the entry level window and is the Soft-Lite Barrington, the Nirvana is the mid range window and is the the Soft-Lite Classic, and the Lotus is the "premium" window and is the Soft-Lite Pro. I put parentheses around premium because the Soft-Lite Pro is a good window (but not great), but I would have liked to see the Imperial LS or the Elements used as the premium model. Personally, I would stay away from the Karma, but the Nirvana and Lotus are very nice windows - check out the individual pages to see more detailed information.
One word on franchises - they tend to be a mixed bag; one franchise might offer excellent prices and fantastic installation, while another might charge overinflated prices and offer mediocre installation. It's incumbent on the consumer to do their homework, read reviews on the franchise in your area in order to make sure you are getting a fair price and excellent installation. This is one of the principal reasons we always suggest getting a least three bids - you can compare apples to apples on the exact same project.
Review By John M. - Site Editor - 2015
Zen Window Ratings
The following ratings are for double hung windows with a low-e glass. Zen windows should also offer two optional glass upgrades, the Ultra or the Ultimate. Check with the Zen window dealer in your area to see whether these optional upgrades are available and how they will affect the performance numbers.
Zen Karma Window: .30 U factor, .31 SHGC, .09 AI, .57 VT
Zen Nirvana Window: .30 U factor, .29 SHGC, .07 AI, .37 VT
Zen Lotus Window: .28 U-factor, .29 SHGC, .05 AI, .53 VT
Zen Windows Costs
February 29, 2016
I just received a bid for infinity by marvin ultrex windows in Denver, CO for $18,000 to replace 15 old 1954 windows. This totals 222 square feet argon filled dual pane windows, LoE3-366 rating. Would be very happy to hear your opinion on the price and quality of these windows. I would be happy to write up a review on your site for your assistance. If you could help me with this I would greatly appreciate it. As it is the end of the month I'd like to get back to the salesman by late tomorrow, apologies if this is an unrealistic turn-around time.
Editor John M.
February 29, 2016
Andrew, the Marvin Ultrex is an excellent fiberglass window and one that should serve you well with proper installation. As far as price, this seems in line generally, although its nearly impossible for me to make this judgement since I don't know the project specifics. I would highly recommend that you get several more quotes to compare price and companies. I know that Zen Windows has a branch in Denver (they sell Soft-Lite vinyl windows), I think they sell three models and the top two are good, avoid the entry level option. Also check on Alpen Windows, which are expensive, but very well made fiberglass windows. Milgard also makes a good fiberglass window, the Ultra model, which might be a good comparison window as well.
I'd caution to take your time and get the bids and spend a bit of time doing some good comparisons before pulling the trigger.