Reliabilt 3900 Series vs Pella 250
First, Jim, after months of searching and reading, I have to compliment you on probably the best site for brand specific window reviews with updated models/series info.
I'm in the Columbus Ohio market, and am replacing 23 windows in a 2-story house built 1993 with the worst single-hung Acorn aluminum windows every made.
I have a few questions if you can spare the time:
1. I'm trying to follow the "Avoid Lowes/HD installed windows at all costs" advice, but wondering what my other options are for economy/mid-grade white vinyl windows are in the Columbus market.
I like your feedback on Soft-Lite, Zen, and Great Lakes. Marvin is probably out of my price range though I recognize their value as far as what you pay for what you get. I was close to pulling the trigger on a Lowes quote for Pella 250 windows, or maybe their Reliabilt 3900s to give you an idea of my price range. BTW, those quotes were in the neighborhood of $700/window installed for 23 windows in a 2-story house, low-E 2 pane, 4 of them fixed, a slider, etc., etc. That's more like $18,000 or so for my home. I would love a midgrade or solid entry level vinyl window, better than Pella 250 or Reliabilt 3900, but having a very hard time finding dealers/installers. Are there any other brands I should consider besides Soft-Lite, Zen, Great Lakes?
2. I actually replaced a window myself on my home to see how hard the job was. I did the new construction install and removed the vinyl siding all the way around the window so I could be 100% sure of install, waterproofing integrated behind house wrap. I would have done a replacement window, but the exterior trim wrap using an aluminum break is not a DIY tool or process, not to mention the better waterproofing and peace of mind of going all the way to the studs. The project was on the higher end of complexity, but not unworkable for me.....I've been called an 'extreme DIY'er'.
My question here is where would you source windows if you wanted to DIY them in the new construction method, but buying windows 2-3 at a time. Since I'll be installing myself, the poor Lowes install isn't a concern - but Lowes is one of the only places I can find where I can order 1-2-3 windows at a time. The downside is I'm limited to Pella and Reliability window brands. I can probably keep the total project to under $10,000 if I install myself, which interests me a lot. Should I look for a lumber yard, dealer of a particular window, a window installer who might charge a small mark-up?
Andrew - Homeowner - May, 2021
Website Editor's Answer
Andrew, thank you for the nice words. I will include a list of my good and great windows at the end, but first I will try and tackle your questions. There should be lots of options in your area. See the last paragraph in my reply to find options.
While most manufacturers sell using reps/companies, you can sometimes find companies willing to see you a window by itself. Okna comes to mind. Call your local Okna dealer and ask. If they don't ask if they know anyone who does. Beyond this, I would definitely look at lumber yards, Dixieline, and check yelp or angles list for top window installers in your area. They might sell something decent. The Simonton 5500 or Impressions 9800 series come to mind. This is where I would start. Here are my "good" and "top tier" windows list.
Editor Jim R. - May, 2021