Alside Excalibur II Windows Reviews

The Alside Excalibur II windows are produced for use on the west coast.  They are designed to be installed into homes with the stucco exteriors that are typical in that part of the country.  While the Alside Excalibur and the Excalibur II share a name, they are in fact different windows.

Excalibur II or 2 windows
Notice the stucco flange on the Alside Excalibur II.

The stucco flange on the exterior of the window allows for simple installation into stucco homes.  This design element is common on the west coast, but seen less often in the mid-west and east coast.

The Alside Excalibur II windows are designed to be competitively priced windows that offer standard features that many other companies list as options.

Alside Excalibur II windows reviews
Here’s a pretty shot of an Alside Excalibur II sliding window.

These windows are custom manufactured at plants in Yuma, Arizona and Bothell, Washington.  Alside is different than most vinyl window manufacturers in that they ship windows to all 50 states.

What’s the typical cost of Alside Excalibur II windows?

As with all replacement windows the pricing can vary quite a bit from one dealer to another and in different installation scenarios.  One project could look similar, but be substantial more or less expensive than another.

With that being said, the Alside Excalibur II windows should typically go for $300-$400 including installation.  It is possible that difficult installations or more expensive options could drive the price higher and a very basic window with very basic installation could easily be under $300.

Find more detailed window reviews here.

Alside Excalibur Windows Reviews

The Alside Excalibur window was the most popular window produced by Alside for many years.  Millions of these windows have been installed all across the country.  The Alside Excalibur window is slated to be discontinued in 2014 and replaced by the newer Alside Mezzo window.

The Alside Excalibur window has been a popular option because it meets the needs of most homeowners at an affordable price.  This window came with standard features that we’re available options on competing models.

excalibur-frame-1

Standard features on Alside Excalibur windows:

  • Double strength glass
  • Heavy duty screen frame
  • Steel reinforced sashes
  • DP50 rated for strength
  • Sloped sill

Despite the list of standard features, the Excalibur window was often criticized online.  This had a lot to do with the fact that it was sold by Window World under the Comfort Word 4000 brand at very low prices.  This made the competition offering similar products at higher prices uncomfortable.

Not all criticism of the Alside Excalibur was unfounded.  The design was a little past its prime and several elements were due for an upgrade.  In addition the manufacturing tolerances weren’t as tight as they could have been which led to inconsistent quality.

What about the Alside Excalibur warranty?

The warranty from Alside was always pretty solid and that was certainly the case with the Excalibur windows.   The warranty covers the glass seal, the windows and the hardware for as long as the original purchaser lives in the home and it is transferable when the house is sold.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

Alside Geneva Windows Reviews

The Alside Geneva window is a bit of a strange bird.  It’s a hybrid unit that has welded sashes and a mechanically fastened frame.  This is a bit of an unusual design.  In fact, we’re not aware of another window still on the market that is built like this.

The pitch for the Alside Geneva window was that the mechanically fastened frame allows it to be more easily installed in old out of square openings while the welded sashes provided the strength needed.

alside geneva windows reviews
Here’s a glamor shot of the Alside Geneva windows.

In reality it’s just an old design that is on it’s way to the glue factory.  The Geneva window, along with the Alside Centurion window are being discontinued and replaced with the Alside Fusion window.

This is a worthwhile change as the Geneva window was long past it’s prime.  These older windows have still been sold recently with a rather large following in Boston for reasons that can’t really be explained.  Regardless, the end of the Geneva window won’t

Alside Centurion Windows Reviews

The Alside Centurion windows are a REALLY old design.  They use mechanically fastened corners on the frames and sashes rather than welded corners that have been the industry standard for years.

Alside Centurion reviews cost price
Alside Centurion window design

Alside custom manufactures a full range of replacement windows and the Centurion is the bottom of the line offering.  In fact, it’s about to be discontinued as the new Alside Fusion will take it’s place.

Alside Centurion reviews
Here’s a glamor shot of the Centurion window. Not all that glamorous after all!

Frankly, if you’re shopping for windows after 2002 and you’re considering the Alside Centurion you must be a price driven buyer.  That’s ok as we know price is an important factor for just about everyone.  Until the new Fusion comes out you might want to take a look at the Simonton 5050.  It’s also a price focused product, but at least you’ll get welded corners!

Okna 800 Window Reviews

The Okna 800 Series or Enviro-Star is billed as their “top of the line” offering.  Typically we’re a little hesitant to believe all of the top of the line hype that typically accompanies a top of the line window, but let’s take a look at what the Okna 800 Enviro-Star has to offer.

First, the Okna 800 window uses a slightly thicker frame than the Okna 500 series that we reviewed earlier.  The thicker frame isn’t good or bad, but it does reduce the glass area which reduces the amount of light that can get through the window.

One design element that we like on the 800 series as compared to the 500 series is the design of the frame on the exterior.  While it’s still a little busy, it’s much less busy than the less expensive Okna 500.

Okna 800 reviews, price Enviro-Star
You can see that there are still a lot of details on the frame, it has a better look than the 500 series.

One feature that sounds neat, but appears to have absolutely no benefit is the magnetic seal at the bottom.  As you can see in the diagram below there is a magnetic seal at the bottom of the Okna 800 window.  That sounds like a pretty slick feature.  After all it works for your refrigerator why wouldn’t it work for a window.

Okna 800 Enviro-Star reviews
The Okna 800 Enviro-Star has a magnetic seal at the bottom.

So it sounds cool and it makes sense, but it turns out it doesn’t do much for you.  The Okna 800 series has a 0.01 air infiltration rating according to their website.  The Okna 500 series without the magnetic seal has a rating 0.02.  So it’s supposed to make the window seal tighter, but unfortunately it doesn’t make much of a difference.  At least it sounds cool 😉

Okna Enviro-Star 800 series windows.
Here you can see the mortised sill dam on the Okna 800 Enviro-Star.

Beyond that there are several other design elements that definitely make this a next generation product.  The mortised sill dam (shown above) and the fully welded sloped sill (shown below) are important features that contribute to the overall performance.  Okna certainly isn’t the only manufacturer to include these features, but older designs typically do not have them.

Okna Enviro-Star windows
Here is the true sloped sill on the Enviro-Star.

The last product pic we’ll show you is the lift rail.  This is a little unusual and frankly I’m not a huge fan.  It’s certainly a style issue so it’s as subjective as anything else.  This lift rail (shown below) stands out a little too much in my opinion and has the potential to break or snap off in the future.  If you like the look then go for it, but I don’t think it’s for me.

Okna windows ratings, lawsuit, waranty
The unusual lift rail on the Okna 800 Enviro-Star

So, what’s the price of an Okna 800?

These windows are typically sold at a higher price due to the “top of the line” type sales pitch.  At the end of the day it’s a fine product with several nice features, but there is nothing about this window that you can’t find in several other models.  When you see companies trying to sell this product for $500 or more for a basic white window you can be sure that’s a little on the high side.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

Okna 500 Reviews

The Okna 500 Series aka the Insul-Tec is the most popular model from Okna Windows.  It is certainly a next generation product that provides some features not found on older designs.  The Okna 500 is available in a range of options that allow for very solid energy efficiency ratings.  This model is built with a relatively slim frame which allows for good visible transmittance numbers as well.

okna 500 reviews
This is the optional auto-lock that locks when the window is closed.

It’s important to remember that certain features that may be on a sample window are options so you should be sure they are included if you want them.  Examples of these options are the auto-lock (shown above) and the foam insulated frames (shown below)

okna windows foam filled frames
The foam filled frames are a popular option to increase efficiency.

Two standard features that are certainly part of the next generation design are the fully welded sloped sill which drains water to the outside rather than through the frame and the mortised sill dam which provides for a very tight seal.  Okna windows consistently offer excellent ratings and these features contribute to that result.

Okna 500 air infiltration
See the mortised sill dam on the Okna 500 window. This feature allows for a very tight seal.

One aspect of this design that we’re not huge fans of is the exterior of the frame.  The design has a lot of details and shape which is supposed to look fancy, but we just find it busy.  It fits with the look of some homes, but not all and at the end of the day we’d prefer a window blend in with the home rather than standout.

okna 500 ratings and reviews
Notice all of the fancy designs on the exterior of the frame. For us this is just too busy.

What should an Okna 500 cost?

I used to have a range of price estimates for Okna 500 windows with installation listed here and I discovered that I was frustrating about as many readers as I was helping.  A friend of mine is an Okna dealer in Milwaukee and after learning more about his business I understood why.  There can be a lot of variation in the final price due to a number of factors.  Your best bet is to find a great local company and talk through the options with them.

You can be sure that a basic Okna 500 window installation should be substantially less than the $1,200 to $1,500 per window prices that we sometimes see folks post about.  This is a nice mid-range window that should work well for many people.

Remember, there are MANY factors that contribute to the overall cost of your project.  I would encourage you not to get a price in your head before you call a local company.  The best strategy is to get a few quotes from reputable local companies and see how they compare.  Some companies may try to charge more than others, so if you’re not comfortable with a quote you’ve received just get another quote.

Here’s a post I wrote on understanding window pricing. This is a fine window, but there are lots of fine windows out there.  Don’t feel like you need to work with a company just to get a certain product.

If you’re unsure about the window prices that you’ve received just post a comment and we’ll do our best to help you sort through it.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall the 500 Series windows from Okna are an updated design with solid performance numbers and a legion of devoted fans.  The model is the most popular product from Okna Windows and we can see why.

Other than the basic concerns about Okna Windows as a manufacturer the product performs well compared with most of it’s peers.  When comparing this model to options from other manufacturers make sure you’re comparing relatively new designs.  Older designs from generally well regarded companies (like Simonton for example) just don’t compare.

Find additional reviews on more Okna window models along with several competing options here.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

Alside Fusion Warranty

The Alside Fusion window warranty is one area that this less expensive model compares very well.  We’ll go through the details of Fusion warranty on this page.  When you get to the bottom you can find a pdf of the Alside Fusion warranty.

If you’ve been shopping for vinyl replacement windows you’ve probably seen that most window manufacturers offer “lifetime” warranties.  At first glance it could appear that all of these warranties are the same, but they are certainly not.  There are important differences that are important to notice.

One factor to keep in mind is the difference between parts, labor and installation.  For example, if you get condensation in-between the glass panes in your windows what will you do?  Do you call the company that manufactured the windows or the company that  installed them?  Do you get new glass or a new sash?  Do you know what a sash is?  Will anyone install the new parts for you?  What if you get a leak in your window down the road?  Will the manufacturer say it’s an installation problem and the installation company say it’s a manufacturing problem?  What will you do then?  These questions illustrate the important differences in “lifetime” warranties.

The Alside Fusion warranty includes:

Lifetime warranty on glass seal

  • Lifetime warranty on vinyl
  • Lifetime warranty on screens and screen frames
  • Lifetime warranty on moving parts
  • Glass breakage NOT covered (optional warranty is available and must be purchased or it’s not included)
  • 1 year warranty on labor
  •  Installation NOT covered (may be offered by your installation company)

The Alside Fusion window warranty is transferable, BUT when it transfers it becomes pro-rated after 10 years and is no longer a “lifetime” warranty.  You might say you don’t care much about what happens after the warranty is transferred because you’ve sold the house and that’s not an unreasonable position.  Perhaps it does speak to how long Alside is interested in standing behind the products.

Overall this is a pretty decent warranty as it includes several things that are often excluded (screens, hardware, etc).  Remember that glass breakage is NOT included unless you get the optional warranty.  Make sure you get this in writing if you think you’re supposed to.  You don’t want to find out you don’t have it when the glass breaks 5 years from now.

On a positive note, Alside has been in business for over 60 years and they are owned by a $1 Billion corporation so they are likely to be around to honor their warranty long into the future.

You can download a copy of the Alside Fusion warranty here.

You can also see our complete review of the Alside Fusion window or take a look through our other replacement window reviews.

 

Alside Fusion Windows Review

The Alside Fusion windows are the newest offering from Alside.  We are one of the first sites to get our hands on a sample of this new product and we’re thankful for the opportunity to write one of the first reviews of the Alside Fusion window.   As The Window Dog continues to grow we’re always amazed by the recognition we’re seeing inside the industry.  Anyway, back to the review…

This model replaces the older Centurion and Geneva products which were certainly ready to be put out to pasture.  Some might say that this product update is long overdue, but however you slice it this is a welcome addition to the Alside windows line.

It’s important to remember that this product is intended to be a lower end offering.  It’s not nearly as nice as the Alside Mezzo model that was also recently released, but it’s not designed to be.  Any “low end” replacement window is designed and built for the extremely price sensitive shopper and it’s important to keep that in mind when reviewing the product.

Alside Fusion replacement window reviews
Here’s a cutaway of the Alside Fusion window.

This is a product designed for a house flipper, a landlord, or someone who likely isn’t going to be living with this product installed in their primary residence.  With that in mind it’s a decent window, but certainly not the best replacement window on the market.

It’s clear that Alside didn’t spend a significant amount of energy engineering a new product from the ground up.  They basically retooled the now discontinued Alside Excalibur window to cut some cost out of it and rebrand it as a new product.

The Alside Excalibur had been the most popular replacement window in the company’s lineup for many years, with millions of units installed across the country every year.  There are only a handful of changes in this new Alside Fusion product.

Changes include:

  • Switching double strength to single strength glass
  • Switching heavy duty screen frame to lighter roll formed frame
  • Removing balance covers

Basically if you took an older Alside Excalibur window and installed thinner glass, a cheaper screen and removed the balance covers you’d have a NEW Alside Fusion window.

Does this mean it’s a bad product?  

Absolutely not, but it certainly isn’t a great product either.  The design is old and the ratings aren’t stellar.   Remember, it’s not designed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  It’s designed to be a price point product and that’s exactly what it is.

Alside fusion windows reviews cost prices and warranty
Here’s nice glamor shot of the Alside Fusion windows.

So what’s the price of an Alside Fusion window?

As with everything in the replacement window business the retail pricing is determined by the company that will be installing them so your mileage may vary, but here’s how we would expect the pricing to work.

The actual wholesale cost difference between a window like the Alside Fusion and a nicer product like the Alside Mezzo window is likely only going to be around $10-20.  You’re likely going to see a much greater price difference when you actually get quotes.  It’s likely that many replacement window companies will try to use the two different models to up sell the Mezzo window and increase their margins.  I’d expect that you’ll see retail price differences in the neighborhood of $50+.

What some ideas on how to get that retail price difference down to the $20 or less?

We thought you might.  Keep an eye out for our upcoming ebook “7 Ways to Save $200 or More on Replacement Windows”.

What about the Alside Fusion window warranty?

The new Fusion window is covered by a pretty comprehensive warranty as are all of the Alside replacement windows.  Remember when assessing the value of a warranty it’s important to remember that a very large and well established company like Alside is very likely to be around for the long haul unlike some of the smaller window manufacturers like Gorell and others that have gone out of business in recent years.

So what’s the verdict?

Basically the Alside Fusion product is designed to be a low cost option.  It’s a fine product for a house flipper or a landlord, but that’s about all it’s good for.  If you’re living in the house and planning to be around for a while we think you can get a much better bang for your much with an upgraded product.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

Alside Ultramaxx Windows Reviews

Disclaimer: We recently started offering Alside windows (almost) nationwide for you to install yourself or with professional installation by the manufacturer.  We do it all with no in-home salespeople.  Details here

For our Alside Ultramaxx window review we’ll compare the Ultramaxx to the other Alside window products.  The Ultramaxx windows sit near the top of the Alside window line.  Very similar products are sold under various brand names including Alside Sheffield and Comfort World 6000 series.  When we say they sit near the top of the line that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s  a better product than anything else, but it does tend to cost more than some other products out there.

When comparing and reviewing Alside windows, the Alside Mezzo window (which we reviewed recently) stacks up pretty well.   The Ultramaxx doesn’t compare very well except in a few specific situations.  For example, the Alside Ultramaxx window is available with triple pane glass while the Mezzo window is not.  Obviously this only matter to you if you’re interested in triple pane glass.

Another difference is in the weatherstripping that the Ultramaxx window comes with.  This sounds good and the salesperson might tell a great story to go with it, but if you compare the air infiltration ratings you’ll see the Mezzo is typically better.  This tells you the extra weather stripping on the Alside Ultramaxx isn’t doing you much good.

One important factor to consider is that the Alside Ultramaxx window uses a substantially thicker frame which reduces the glass area considerably.  If you’re looking at samples in person take a look at the thickness of the frame, especially the sill at the bottom.   Only you can decide if that’s what you want in your home, but it will reduce the visible glass area and reduce the visible transmittance rating.

Alside Ultramaxx vs Alside Sheffield

The Alside Ultramaxx and the Alside Sheffield share the same frame and ALMOST all of the same parts.  There are only 2 two differences between these 2 products.  One is the type of sill.  The Ultramaxx uses a Pocket sill that allows water to run down through the frame and the Sheffield uses a sloped sill that lets water run down and out.  There are advocates for both designs, but at the end of the day they’re pretty similar.   Even the Sheffield here doesn’t use a true sloped sill, but perhaps that’s a discussion for another day.

Alside Sheffield vs Ultramaxx
The Alside Ultramaxx and Sheffield models are almost identical the differences are the design of the sill and the lift rail at the top of the bottom sash.

The second difference between the Ultramaxx vs the Sheffield is the lift rail on the top of the bottom sash.  The Sheffield has a lift rail at the very top and at the very bottom of the window, but it does not have one in the middle.  The Ultramaxx adds another in the middle of the window.  Having trouble visualizing what I’m saying in this section?  Don’t sweat it, these two windows are essentially the exact same product with different names.

Why do they make these small differences between the Alside Ultramaxx and the Alside Sheffield?

Just so the folks selling them can tell you why one is better than the other.  They’re really 99% the same window.

To sum up the Alside Ultramaxx review I’ll say if you’re getting triple pane glass it’s a perfectly fine option.  If you’re not this window might not make sense and you’ll be better off saving some money with the Alside Mezzo.

Learn a little bit about window ratings or keep reading window reviews?

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

Alside Sheffield Windows Reviews

Disclaimer: We recently started offering Alside windows (almost) nationwide for you to install yourself or with professional installation by the manufacturer.  We do it all with no in-home salespeople.  Details here

Here we’ll be taking a look at the Alside Sheffield windows.  The Sheffield windows sit near the top of the Alside window line.  Very similar products are sold under various brand names including Alside Ultramaxx and Comfort World 6000 series.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s  a better window than the Alside Excalibur or the Alside Mezzo (their other common offerings), but it does mean it will likely cost more.

In comparison to the newest window in the Alside line, the Alside Mezzo window (which we reviewed recently), the Sheffield doesn’t compare very well except in a few specific situations.  For example, the Alside Sheffield window is available with triple pane glass while the Mezzo window is not.  Obviously this only matter to you if you’re  a triple pane kind of person.

Another point of differentiation is the fact that the Sheffield window has a few extra pieces of weather stripping.  This sounds good and the salesperson might tell a great story, but if you compare the air infiltration ratings you’ll see the Mezzo is typically better.  This tells you the extra weather stripping on the Alside Sheffield isn’t doing you much good.

The biggest drawback in my mind is that the Alside Sheffield window uses a much thicker frame which reduces the glass area considerably.  If you’re looking at samples in person take a look at the thick frame, especially the sill, and decide if that’s what you want in your home.

Alside Sheffield vs Ultramaxx

The Alside Sheffield and the Alside Ultramaxx share the same frame and ALMOST all of the same parts.  There are only 2 two differences between these 2 products.  One is the type of sill.  The Sheffield uses a sloped sill that allows water to run off and the Ultramaxx uses a pocket sill that drains water out through weep holes in the frame.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems.

Alside Sheffield vs Ultramaxx
The Alside Sheffield and Ultramaxx models are almost exactly the same product.

The second difference between the Sheffield vs the Ultramaxx is the lift rail on the sash.  The Sheffield has a lift rail at the very top and at the very bottom.  The Ultramaxx adds another in the middle of the window.  Having trouble visualizing what I’m saying in this section?  Don’t sweat it, these two windows are essentially the exact same product with different names.

 

To sum up the Alside Sheffield review I’ll say if you’re getting triple pane glass it’s a fine option.  If you’re not this window does’t really make sense and you’ll be better off saving a few bucks with the Alside Mezzo.

Keep reading window reviews or learn a little bit about window ratings?

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.