What’s a Window Dog?

replacement windows, sliding patio doors

My trusty hound dog and I decided to start this site to provide a little real world info to folks considering replacement windows for their home.  I’ve spent years working in the window business everywhere from distribution centers in Maryland, Massachusetts and Kansas to a 400,000 square foot replacement window manufacturing facility in North Carolina, to a corporate headquarters in Ohio, to a $10,000,000+ wholesale window distribution center in Virginia and I’m the founder of a multimillion dollar company offering replacement windows and installation services across the country.  Hopefully I can use all of that experience to help people make sense of this business.

Why bother spending time writing about the best replacement windows online?  For starters, I just got back from the home show in Indianapolis (if you live nearby I highly recommend this show) where I repeatedly heard folks say that they just can’t make sense of the different products out there.  They don’t know who to believe and they struggle to find worthwhile, unbiased information online.  Every company says their products are “the best”, but that doesn’t seem possible.

Over the years I’ve seen folks make bad decisions based on inaccurate or misleading info they came across online.  While most salespeople in our business are good people trying to make a living they don’t always have all of their facts straight and there is simply no good place for the consumer to get the real information.  There is just no good place to go to find unbiased ratings and reviews of the best replacement windows available.

That’s why we’re here.  As we get started we’ll be posting in four general categories:

The goal is to provide real concrete information to help folks figure all of this out.

I’m sure folks will have questions on other topics and we might even find other window pros who disagree on some points.  That’ll be fun.  Post a comment on anything or request more info and I’ll do  my best to write back as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

So why The Window Dog?  Because this is a big purchase and it’s important that you get the real info, but it’s just windows.  We’re not going to war or building the space shuttle.  Remember to have fun in life and avoid taking things too seriously.  Here’s the window dog all dressed up for the Fourth of July last year.

IMG_0566

He’s not much of a water skier, but he sure does love a good boat ride in the summertime!

Take a look through some replacement window reviews!

Update: We now have more recommend LOCAL window companies than ever before.   Click here to see who we recommend in your town.  It's 100% free.  You'll thank me.  There is no better resource; you're going to love it.  See for yourself right here.  

110 thoughts on “What’s a Window Dog?”

  1. Forget the entire article.. i m in love with the picture of dog wrapped in flag.. this gives me a new idea to try on my dog.

      1. Dog
        I can’t get your web site to accept my email address
        I live in Oklahoma and unfortunately you don’t service my state
        I’m considering two window manufacturers that are local or regional company’s
        Do you know anything about the aluminum widows offered by Thermo Windows inc. or Don Young aluminum widows

        1. Hi Jeff, unfortunately I’m not too familiar with either one. What do you see as an advantage of one vs the other?

  2. I noticed the Lost Dog and Cat banner…they are awesome!

    My last two pups were from them.

    I have spent more time and research on shopping for windows for my townhome than I care to think about and have gotten 3 quotes that were all over the place.

    The prices were a pretty big spread and I have to confess I have no flipping idea what is up or down. Your site is helping a bit though.

    1. They are awesome! We got our little guy about 2 years ago now and he’s fantastic!

      Glad the site is helping, at least a little. I recommend Angie’s List a lot because it really is a great place to start. If you haven’t come across it yet, you can see our thoughts here. You’ll also find discounts on membership, it’s well worth the price!

          1. Do you have a window company in the Chicago north metro area? I checked out The Window Dog on Angie’s List but nothing came up. I live in a condo and I don’t know if I can do replacement windows, because the uniformity of all the apartments would be different. Also, the 38 year old exterior frames may need to be replaced also. Do replacement windows need to be installed inside of the existing window frames?

          2. We don’t have anyone that we recommend in Chicago, but we are looking for companies to recommend all over the country. If you have a great experience with a company in your area please let us know!

  3. When will the best window review for 2014 be available and where. I reside in northern Virginia and am looking to replace 21 double hung windows. Been looking for 2 years and am tired of all the BS. Originally looking at fiberglass but after reading your reviews well maybe I’ll stick to vinyl or stay with wood. I rows get windy and cold. Looking for either the best wood or vinyl window. Can you recommend. BTW did have a visit from Apex what a scam, but the sales people were ok. Usually I politely tell them not interested. Help. I’m so tired of looking. I am an Angies member and Direct Buy also. Any thoughts on Pollard?

    1. Barry, I am also a Direct Buy member. We joined hoping we could use that membership to purchase replacement windows. How was your experience in 2014? Which company did you use and have you been happy with the windows? We are in the Pittsburgh area, but I figure the experience would be similar.

    1. He get’s that a lot, but he’s actually a redbone coonhound. We can sleep easy at night knowing there are no varmints in our backyard!

  4. Can you tell me anything about Gilkey Windows ? Right now seriously considering them and Soft-Lite, have had friends/family recommend both….We are in Cincinnati

    Thanks – love this site and the info you provide

  5. What do you know about Castle Windows. They are a company in Mount Lauren PA and claim to make great windows. Looking for more (true) information.

    1. Well they wouldn’t claim to make bad windows would they? In fact they don’t make windows at all. You might want to do a little more research. You’ll find the savings will likely be substantial.

      1. I just received a quote from Castle Windows. They told me they manufacture their own windows. Is that untrue? Website doesn’t say. They claim they use their own w-2 employees too.

        What I did not like is that he could not give me a paper with their warranty or window features and their web site provides little info on certifications and construction features. What I did like is that the vinyl is strengthened by aluminum metal strips inside the frame and insulated inside too. They also wrap the window with insulation batt during the install. These features though are not anywhere on paper or their site. Having a hard time trusting them.

        1. Last I heard they were using windows from Northeast Building Products. I do not believe they make their own windows. It would be easy to find out. Just ask them for the CDP# for the windows they’re proposing and I can show you how to look it up.

  6. Thank you for another informative site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

  7. I am now totally confused.
    I need replacement windows for my condo.
    Can you simply recommend a good, moderately priced window company?

  8. Based on my research and “thewindowdog” insight/expertise and reviews, I went with the Alside Mezzo. Very happy with the windows. Great price and happy with the look. Plus the installation, per my installer followed the rules (best practices) which I think is 50% of window purchase. Great window + honest pricing + correct installation = worth the money spent.

  9. The biggest problem with window “install” companies is that they represent manufacturing their own windows . When 99% of the time they buy from national suppliers (that homeowners could buy directly from thru supply centers) I worked 8 years for a manufacturer/distributor and made arrangements to purchase windows for my nephews house thru an employee discount program (they generously offered 40% below printed cost) however my sister in law called a window company and the salesman told her “We get a better window than the employee could buy because they have their own specs that the window manufacturer uses to build their windows” Absolutely WRONG the company builds 5 grades of windows with several options available on each model . But the slick salesman talked her into a contract & it was a complete nightmare and they ended up using windows from a cheaper manufacturer to beat the price I had gotten for the project .

  10. I am strongly considering Gilkey. Their ratings seem very good for a reasonable price. Any idea when you’ll have a full review for them? Or just some initial thoughts?

  11. Thank you for your great site. I don’t see reviews of the soft light barrington or the Polaris Thermawald. I seem to get the idea that they are comparable mid-grade windows. Is this correct? Advice? Looking to replace 20 windows in a 1927 home that had the original wood single pane with aluminum storms added.

  12. Thank you so much for providing some reliable information on what windows to choose for your house. I figured that the type of windows you get really depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to increase energy efficiency, you want different windows than if you’re trying to make your home look old-fashioned.

  13. It’s so important for people to do research before purchasing anything for their homes. This is especially true when it comes to windows. Many companies will try to just sell you whatever they can, even if it isn’t what’s best for your home. By doing research, you’ll be able to find the right windows for you at the budget you have.

    1. In know you are talking a lot about replacement window, but we are building a new house. Looking at simonton and alside. Any preference one over the other. And which series

  14. I am going to replace 13 windows and having a hard time deciding on which brand to go with. I like the Okna but the are much more expensive. So what do you think about Norandex ExtremeX , ExtremeXX, or Simaton Prism?

  15. Were looking at replacing 12 of our Aluminum framed windows with Renewal by Anderson Fibrex windows. Are we making a bad choice? Paying for a name over quality? Or is there true quality with the name.
    Thanks.

  16. Window Dog has already written a good blog entry about Anderson Fibrex window. In a nutshell, there is nothing exceptional about this window. When I looked at the windows after getting a quote, I took note of the following:
    — The actual window cost was hidden from me in the quote. The installation cost was blended in with the window cost. Anderson renewal would not share the actual costs line by line. I asked for it, they resisted. So when i calculated the cost divided by the window count, it came to $1000 per window.

    The warranty for these windows are not great. They brag about how the Fiberx are compared to vinyl…. so why the short duration warranty?

    The sales person insisted that the wife be present. Cheesy sales approach.

    The windows frames are thick, therefore not an attractive window.
    Again, nothing exceptional about their window that warrants their price. Anderson Renewal makes the % of money with the installation. Therefore the buy 4 windows, get the 5th one free or whatever rebate they offer is only to get you to schedule with them, feel like you have a window deal, but pay high on the installation. (take the offers with a grain of salt).

  17. One installer said he would cover wood rot with vinyl trim and replacement windows

    is it all right to cover rotted trim on outside??. To

    1. No. It’s not. The rotten wood needs to be replaced with good wood and then it can be capped with aluminum trim coil. Don’t be cheap and don’t let him be cheap either. You’ll regret it.

  18. Hi,
    I plan to replace all 38 windows using installers from Angie’s list. One installer uses OKNA500, another one uses Simonton Asure. OKNA windows are $4,500 more than Simonton. Which window is better? Which is a better choice? Please advice.

          1. No, the installer told me about Alside Mezzo windows after learning that I may go with Okna window installer. So, what’s your options about Alside Mezzo and Okna500? I am nervous and hope to make a right decision for family.

          2. They’re really pretty similar products. Did anything stand out as being better about one vs the other?

  19. Having windows and doors replaced with hurricane impact.
    DP-50, E-366,Argon. Doors are full view.
    I live at the beach in Charleston SC.
    I received three prices to include Jeld-Wen, Simonton and Stergis which is part of a American Window Alliance.
    Best pirce puts Simonton against stergis. Never heard of Stergis. Is Jeld-We worth the extra bucks?

    1. Are you looking at Jeld-Wen wood or vinyl? I’m about to install some Andersen impact windows at the beach in North Carolina, but they’re wood casement windows so it’s a bit of a different animal.

    2. Jeldwen ,Pella,and Anderson are all the same with selling you their double hung low e window for around $1000 per window. There is a company called Graycler who sells triple pane at much cheaper cost they have amazing service and are honest. Look at their reviews on the BBB. They are out of Texas and coming to Charleston in June. Let me know if you want their contacts. No sales pressure at all.

      1. The companies you listed are wood window manufacturers. It looks like Graycler is an installer unless I’m missing something. You can get many windows for less than $1000 per window, but wood windows from the brands you mentioned do get to that price and higher all the time. I’m not sure what you’re suggesting here.

        1. Do you have any more information on Graycler, I met with their rep in Charleston super nice and the windows look and feel strong. Says they are triple pane and impact resistant. The price worked out around$772 per window installed. In Houston they got really good reviews.

      1. Hi Terry, you haven’t missed anything from me. I’m not too familiar with Croft windows, was hoping someone else would chime in. What did you see that caught your interest? Was there anything that seemed special about them?

  20. I am looking at replacing 16 windows in my home. I have estimates from wincore 7700 for 4,000, polaris ultraweld for 5300, and grand estates for 4,300. Any thoughts? I also have a friend who has installed windows before and will help me and that will save 1,000 off these estimates. Thoughts there too? I live in Akron OH. Thanks

  21. Hello WD! Thank you for the video on how to fix a window that won’t stay up. I’m assuming the same holds true for the top sash that falls down when the lower sash is open?

  22. I am deciding between Simonton Prism – Platinum, Soft-Lite Imperial LS and Energy Wall (Energy Weld) – 18 windows and approx. 290 square feet of windows. The Simonton quote I got was the best at $605/window installed and the Soft-Lite is $845/window and Energy Wall at $750/window. We are somewhat focused on budget, but also want to ensure we have quality windows installed in our house. Any recommendations on these options and if the price quotes are reasonable or not? I haven’t negotiated any of the estimates.

  23. I know this probably gets said all the time, but I had to write this on the page. Our initial bid from Pella for our windows was $38,000. After reading this site and the story about a guy saving $15,000, I joined Angies list and got 3 more bids from them. The bids we are now choosing from are all around $20,000—for roughly the SAME thing. Thank you WINDOW DOG for saving me $18,000 and telling me that all of the sales tactics were scams!

  24. hello, we have a stucco home built in 2000. we are replacing windows and have had three installers tell us that we would have to remove a section of stucco around the window in order to replace the window properly and then add new stucco once it’s installed. this makes installation as expensive as the window itself. One installer, Window World, said that we would only have to remove the old window and then put the new window in it’s place and add a lifetime foam around the window to secure it, making installation significantly cheaper. Who’s right?

    1. Sounds like Window World is right to me. Larger manufacturers make windows for that specific application. They have a stucco flange that covers the old bit of frame allowing the new window to go in without disturbing the stucco.

  25. Hi Window Dog –

    We are in the process of getting estimates for 24 vinyl double hung windows and a patio sliding door in Chicago. We are torn between Alside’s Mezzo windows and Great Lakes Lifestyles models (which comes with the Maxuus 7.6 glass system). We understand that the Mezzo is a double pane and the Lifestyles (Great Lakes) is a triple pane. Price is not really our main concern…………..we are more concerned with which window is better (keeping in mind we live in Chicago). We plan on being in our house for at least 20 more years. We are confident in both contractors, so installation is not the concern/issue. If you had to choose between these two options (again, with price not being an issue), which one would you go with ?? Your website/blog is very helpful and informative. Thanks, Dennis

    1. I do like the Mezzo windows more than the Great Lakes. We’ve been told Mezzo windows will be shipping with triple pane glass in January so if that a huge concern you may be able to wait. Have you talked to our pals in Chicago? They do a lot of triple pane windows and they may be able to help.

  26. Know anyone in Cincinnati? I got an offer for 8 Alside Fusions installed for $3K all in. Thoughts? Does size matter in terms of cost per window? 4 of the 8 are small windows. I’d like a 9th for that price or move to the “Mezzo” window 8 for $3K…. Thanks

    PS – You are the Man! or the Dog! Whichever you prefer…

  27. Great website and two questions:

    1. If you were replacing windows in your house today, what manufacturer would you pick based on quality of the product (without regard to the installer)?

    2. Other than this website, are you still in the window business today? If so, what are those affiliations?

    Thanks

  28. I was wondering how long you have been doing these reviews on windows. I only ask because many people say a lot of different things on their websites. I watched a few of your videos and was wondering how long you have been in the window business for also what are your qualifications. It is just hard to find quality information on the net sometimes…

    1. Hi Tom, I’ve been in the business quite a while with pretty diverse background from manufacturing, to distribution, to wholesale sales, to installations and in-home sales. Now I own a multimillion dollar window company operating 7 stores in 4 states and the District of Columbia. I’d bet you lunch you can’t find someone with a wider range of window industry experience than me!

      I’ve written a bit about my background here, here and here.

  29. Do you have any recommendations on good vinyl replacement windows and installers in the Charleston, SC area? I’ve joined Angie’s List and found very few options locally. Thanks in advance.

    1. I don’t know anyone personally in Charleston. We can help with our new Alside windows program. We’re only keeping this trial program open through the end of the year and then we’re going to shut it down to make some adjustments so get it while it’s hot!

  30. I see the brand Lindsay on the list of window companies/manufacturers on your website but it is not a link and as I searched on the site it did not bring anything up that I could see. Am I missing something, operator error, or isn’t there information on this brand available at this time? I live in MN and found a company on Angie’s list that is offering a deal for $5500 for the Windows and install of 10 4′ x 4′ white Windows. The company has great reviews but I want to know more about the Windows themselves. Any information that you can provide?

    1. Not operator error at all. More like author error. We just haven’t gotten to them yet. I promise we will, but I don’t have a timeline at this point.

  31. I was all set to order the Simonton 5500 series windows and now see there is a law suit against them. Do you know if it is on all the windows? Valerie

    1. I’m not familiar with the specifics of a lawsuit. If you have a link to a helpful resource feel free to post it for everyone.

  32. WD thank you for providing such a valuable resource for myself and my fellow window replacement hunters! I don’t see comments on Rite Windows and I would appreciate knowing what you think of them. Thanks to you I have ruled out 2 companies plus a salesman who used several of your “tricky sales tactics”!

  33. Looking for a vinyl replacement window for window 35 x 54. What size window should I get? The chart on line is no good at all.

    American Craftsman is a good window , but there is no effort to really help the customers.

    1. I’m not sure what you’re asking. It sounds like you need a window that is 35 x 54. Typically the installer will cutback the size from the rough opening by 1/2″ on the width and height to allow a little room to adjust the new window in the opening. The exact amount really depends on the opening, how square and level is it, etc.

      I would strongly suggest getting custom windows so they fit right. Trying to take a stock window from Home Depot or Lowes and “make it work” is the kind of thing that keeps my company in business. We’ll be there in a few years to fix it.

      1. My wife is worried about white vinyl yellowing over time (10+ years)…can you reassure her? We are considering Revere Berkshire Elite.

        1. That was an issue with old vinyl windows, not a thing anymore. For example, in the past you couldn’t use vinyl windows in the southwest because they couldn’t stand up to the harsh sun. Now there is a Revere plant in Yuma, Arizona and they install all over the southwest. If the windows can stand up to the environment in Yuma they’ll do just fine in Ohio.

  34. First off, thanks for the great website, it’s been really helpful.

    We live in update New York, and are looking to replace our original 1920’s windows with vinyl replacements. We’ve gotten a number of quotes, and the contractor we like best is recommending Ideal Majestic. Do you have any experience with this brand? I haven’t been able to find many people that have used them. The contractor also said he could provide a quote installing Soft-lite’s, but didn’t specify which model. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  35. Love your site.
    Have read that you are a fan of sunrise windows. To me in doing my research, it looks like they make different windows for the market. So when a company comes out to show a window, how do you know which one he is showing or just take his word for it?
    He also tried to push the nt windows on us. To push us into the nt window , he also said that sunrise has had a big turnover in the last few years. One other thing is that they are very very slow in sending out replacement parts or completing orders.
    Would like to hear more on this, from someone that knows the facts. Have not made a decision yet
    THANKS MIKE FROM TEXAS

    1. I haven’t heard about Sunrise being slow on parts, but perhaps someone else might chime in. I know Gary the founder of Sunrise and I’ve found my interactions with everyone there to be very professional. If your local contractor is pushing you towards something and you’re not comfortable just get another quote and see how it compares. There are many fish in the sea.

  36. More remark’s on the sunrise windows. Salesman say’s that on single hung windows were not as energy efficient because they could not insulate the frame and windows sashes on top. HELP.
    THANKS MIKE FROM TEXAS

    1. Remember, you don’t need to take anyone’s word on something like that. Just ask them for the U-Factor and that will tell you how efficient the window is. If it’s lower it’s better, if it’s higher it’s worse. No stories about insulation or anything else are relevant.

  37. Hello. Would you mind talking about grids between panes vs. outside panes? I noticed that the really nice houses have them and it’s definitely an upscale look. Is there a problem with ice? I am looking at vinyl windows.

    1. Not a problem with ice. The external grids are available from most manufacturers. They look nice and substantial, but many people prefer the interior grids because the windows are easier to clean and the can’t get damaged by the kids or the dog jumping on them. One really isn’t better or worse than another, just a different look. We install by types in really nice houses. Just depends what the owner prefers.

  38. Has anyone run across United Windows? Looking to replace 11 double hung windows. Have gotten quotes from Sunrise and Renewal by Anderson. Both higher than we expected. Also, a quote on the Berkshire Elite which was more in our price range. Window World is coming tomorrow. This whole process is giving me a headache but will have to say everyone has been very nice to work with. Any feedback on these would be great. Would be willing to pay a little more if one of these product lines is superior.

  39. I’m replacing 18 windows. I’ve been offered Simonton ProFinish Contractor, install for $10,999.00 Can’t find the energy ratings for this model. Is this a good purchase?

  40. Hello! I live in upstate New York and am planning on replacing the windows in my house. I have two options from contractors for the job. One is offering the Alside Mezzo and the other is offering the Viwinco. I see that you don’t have a review on the Viwinco yet and I can’t seem to find many reviews on it. Which would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. The last experience I had with Viwinco was when they were making the old Certainteed Brynmawr II windows which weren’t great. I’m more family with Alside and I do think there is an advantage to working with a bigger company.

  41. I have a Window Universe Express quote for Revere Berkshire Elite replacement windows but would like to know where I can go to touch/feel/look at an actual Revere Berkshire Elite. Is there a way to do that? Can the guy who comes to take the measurements help us out in that regard? Thanks.

  42. Hi, what is your opinion of Window Depot of Eastern Iowa? I don’t have a quote yet but wondered if they were any good before I called them.

  43. I live in the Chicago area and need to replace 19 windows, probably with vinyl windows because of the price and decent quality. I have looked at Alside but they do not offer a walnut interior. Sunrise (a very nice window) offers a walnut interior but only with a white exterior. Are there any decent (mid-range) vinyl windows that have a walnut interior and a range of exterior colors (not custom painted) in my area. I liked the Marvin fiberglass windows with everwood (custom stain), but the price is $440 more per window.

    1. I believe Seawaymfg.com offers a walnut interior color and color exterior. Like Sunrise, they will custom color. Seaway makes signaturewindow.com. Windows have reinforced meeting rails and foam inside the sash.

      I decided against Sunrise because: 1. they use a metal spacer vs. the warm/super spacer. 2. their exterior grids did not join at crossing as well as Signature/Seaway’s. I decided against exterior grids but thought it was telling. 3. I spoke to customer service at Seaway to get the NFRC number for verification. They were responsive and nice. 4. Seaway offered a standard color that worked with my HOA.

  44. We’ve been considering replacing our windows and had a local contractor stop by with what he claims is a special promotional offer only available to 2 houses in our area. The quote he gave seems pretty reasonable, but it is referring to windows he calls the Platinum Conservation Series windows – also known as Alside Signature Series 8000. They are triple pain windows, but it’s difficult to find information on them. Do you have any reviews or opinions? The salesman is telling us these are Alsides premium window – is that true? Please help.

  45. WD what brand of window would you recommend for a new construction of a transitional/modern home in Northern Virginia. looking for the best product for the money with low maintenance and long lasting. Very confused with all the available products but considering aluminum clad/ wood windows if you see advisable.
    Also do you know any good dealers in this area.
    Thank you in advance

  46. I am looking to replace 17 windows in my home in NJ. I have been reading through your reviews and watching your videos.
    My head is spinning! Is there somewhere on your website where you list the top 3-5 replacement windows? I am looking for a moderately priced, good quality window that will last another 25 years. HELP!

  47. Just received a quote from Anderson windows from a company called Renewal. The quote was for 7 windows for a price of
    $16,800. That’s seems like a lot, am I wrong? I live in east texas.

  48. I have two bids for 10 sliders

    Comfort Design Comfort Series U=.28, AI=.06, DP=20
    Plygm Pro 200 u=.21, AI=.20, Dp=40 (triple pane windows)

    The Pylgem windows are $75 more per window.
    Would you be more concerned about the high leakage numbers of the Plygem or the lower DP numbers of the Comfort Design. In Seattle we rarely have high winds but due have a high earthquake risk.

    Thanks for creating a great website.

    1. I don’t think you need to worry about windows in terms of earth quakes. If the house moves enough to break the window any window would probably break. An air infiltration rate of 0.20 is pretty high. I’d be concerned about that. The 0.28 U-Factor window doesn’t meet the Energy Star guidelines for the area unless the SHGC is 0.32 or higher. It might be worthwhile to look for another option.

      We offer Alside and Revere windows in Seattle through this program with better ratings. If you’re interested we’d be happy to get you a quote.

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