As we get started with Great Lakes windows reviews it’s important to note that Great Lakes is owned by Ply Gem. They’re a very large manufacturing company which is typically a good thing for a window company. Smaller independent window companies tend to be the ones that go out of business periodically, but the larger more well established companies tend to stand the test of time. Great Lakes windows definitely fall into the category of a company that is likely to be around for a while.
Great Lakes windows come in 3 main lines. They are Uniframe, Lifestyles and Seabrooke. These windows offer most features typical of current replacement windows. There isn’t much that is unique abut them, but they are of fine quality.
One potential drawback to great lakes windows is their dealer network. They tend to have very limited distribution in any given market which means if you want these windows you must buy them from one contractor. That typically means you don’t get the best deal, but that is certainly not always the case.
As with any window model that has limited distribution don’t fall in love. If you think you love the window, but you don’t like the local distributor, don’t buy it. You should never feel forced to work with one company.
We’ll be posting detailed Great Lakes windows reviews on all three of their main models:
The older and now discontinued Great Lakes models include:
Other posts about Great Lakes windows that you might find helpful:
- Great Lakes windows complaints
- Great Lakes windows prices
- Why you should NEVER buy Great Lakes windows
- Great Lakes windows FAQ
- Great Lakes window warranty review
What if I have more questions about Great Lakes windows?
You can find our Great Lakes windows FAQ page here. If you have a question that has not yet been answered just post a comment and we’ll answer your question for everyone to see.
Once these reviews are completed you can find them here. Until then take a look through some of our other detailed window reviews to help you find the best replacement windows for your home.
You can also find info on shady window sales tactics here to help make sure you get a great deal and not a sales pitch.
How can you find a great window company?
That part is easy. Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.
93 thoughts on “Great Lakes Windows Reviews”
What do you think about the EcoSmart line from Great Lakes? What should one of these windows run and how much will the local dealer mark them up?
Hi Sarah ,
Did you settle for the eco smart Windows? I’m actually in the process of purchasing 16 windows and choose to go with the comfort smart. I did my research but I could only find older models as the ones mentioned above. According to my dealer the only difference between the lifestyles and comfort is the sill. And sash.
My salesman could only give me the price today he doesn’t leave his business card as when i call him back the price will be back to 14,000 i told him I never buy if the price is only good for today! That spells SKAM in my book
DO NOT BUY THE WINDOWS. THEY DO NOT LAST AND THE MAKER DOES NOT BACK THE “LIFETIME WARRANTY” RUN..RUN FAST
I wish I would have read this before my install this last summer. This is the first winter & there is ice on the inside regularly (even on windows that do not have a blind or curtain installed) & temp is 5-10 degrees lower by windows with notable drafts.
Hi Rebecca, you might check with the company you bought the windows from to see if there’s anything they can do. Temp might still be slightly lower by the windows as they’ll be less efficient than the walls, but you shouldn’t feel noticeable drafts. I’ve known a few folks from Great Lakes windows over the years and they were pretty reasonable people. Let us know how it goes.
I too purchased Great Lake Windows from BGE Homes $14,000 with Life Time Warranty !!
However, when contacted to replace one that has moister between the 2 panes of glass, I was told the window company has a warranty BUT BGE will charge a min of $300.00 to come out to measure and install. It’s the smallest window they sold me and installing is $300.00 min. and it snaps in place???
You might be able to just get the sash and install yourself. Usually they do just pop in, only takes a minute in most cases. I think everyone is busy enough lately that they probably would rather just have you do it so if you’re comfortable doing that it’ll probably save some money and hassle.
The Eco Smart window is simply one of the best windows made. With the EcoCore reinforcement in the frame they will last for as long as you live in your home. Great product.
I am looking for reviews on Great Lakes windows.
Did you ever complete your review???
My contractor has specified them for our remodel and I can’t find information on them.
Looking for any reviews on Great Lakes Windows, specifically the Lifestyles… Anything coming soon?
The windows are fine…just pray you never have to ask to have one replaced due to a broken seal or caulking issue. IT WILL COST YOU ask about their Life Time Warranty. They use other companies to install and they don’t stand behind Great Lakes Warranty. And I bought the best “triple pane”.
Go somewhere else unless your thinking abut selling your house after 3 years from installation.
We have decided on Ply Gem windows, Casement Replacement style. Would love to hear your thoughts on them before we pull the trigger?
I’m not that familiar with the Ply Gem casement windows. What did you like about them? Or, what made them seem like a better option than another product?
What do you think about the Uniframe vinyl windows? I am having trouble deciding between vinyl, fiberglass or clad windows. We have quotes for Marvin Utlimate Clad, Marvin Integrity, Jeld-wen Clad and Uniform vinyl. The Uniform vinyl is more affordable but I don’t want to go with the cheapest option if it’s not the best window. We live in Chicago so winters get very cold!
The uniframe is a decent option. I’d suggest checking with my pal Leo at LJ Neal. They do great work and I’m sure he’ll be able to suggest a great option. Here’s info on his company.
Thank you for your question. We would be happy to put you in touch with a dealer in your area; please contact us at 888-975-9436 at your earliest convenience.
Hi Great Lakes, welcome to the site, glad to have you.
What do you think of Great Lakes Harbor Light vs Allside Mezzo double hung? I have a quote for both and mezzo significantly more in cost but I want to maximize glass and not have a narrow looking window. Thoughts?
I would guess those models have a pretty similar wholesale cost. If you’re seeing dramatically different retail cost I would wonder if something else is included in that quote. Probably a good idea to ask about exactly what is included so you can be sure you have a good comparison.
Stay away from their Euroglide sliding patio doors. We unfortunately had installed 2 13foot doors that open in the middle.. The screen mechanism is horrible. There is a plastic “connector” where the doors are supposed to meet. THEY DO NOT MEET PROPERLY. It is a design flaw not an installation flaw. Bugs get in all the time. Also the metal handles to the doors often come off in your hand. Customer service is non-existent. You leave a message and no one returns the call. STAY AWAY
I believe Great Lakes Windows to be some of the best products available on the market. I’ve been very impressed with their quality and durability as well as their features and benefits. This is an excellent product with tremendous people representing the company.
I just ordered Great Lakes comfort smart low E argon “hir” glass 9 ft sliding glass door, from a local contractor who has installed all the windows in my townhouse facilities. This contractor has been highly recommended by other homeowners. Is this a good product in the line of Great Lakes. Thank you.
I’m not too familiar with the doors from Great Lakes. Maybe someone else will chime in with some feedback.
Have had a top of the line Great Lakes sliding door for 11 years, on the east side of my house—Love it. I have not had any problems and it slides beautifully. Also, it has one of the most secure locking systems in the industry. Good Luck.
Thanks for taking the time to write.
What model did you get? I am in the process of having my sliding glass door replaced I would love to get your input.
The sliding doors are Top notch. They are shipped KD so the frames are assembled on site. The glass, rollers and locks are as good as anything out there.
This is hoping that Great Lakes will reply as I see they are part of this review. I bought a home that had all new Great Lakes windows installed. I purchased the home just 6 years after the work was done. Some of the windows now have mold growing inside of the, I have been told the seal on the double insulated part had gone bad. Since there is a Lifetime Warranty on the Uniframe I would like to know how I can get replacement windows. The whole window does not need to be replaced, only the sliding portions needs replacement. Since it comes out very easily this seems to be something any homeowner could do. Can you please give me guidance as to how I can get them replaced.
To all those wanting to find a good review you will know if there customer service is any good if they respond. I will follow up here if they respond and are helpful.
David, did you ever get your window situation resolved? It would be best to reach out to the window company that originally installed the product to coordinate warranty submissions. If that is not an option, you can reach the Great Lakes warranty department at 800-546-9026 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They will need an order number from the top inside part of the frame, typically in the format 123456.001. This will help identify exactly which window was installed and it’s subsequent warranty.
We stand strongly behind our product warranties and would be more than happy to assist. Where are you located?
Hi Mike, thanks for taking the time to provide that info.
If you lower your window top sash you should find a yellow manufacture sticker. This has all the info you need to file a service claim. I would contact the service department directly and give them the info. Like you said, they are easy to replace. Hope this helps!
does anyone have an opinion on the harbor lights windows….seems to be the lowest for great lakes but I cant really see much of a difference other than insulated frames
The Harbor Light is a fantastic window. As an entry level product, this window gives testament to the overall quality of the Great Lakes Window lineup. It is a highly efficient, well made product that has features and benefits that out-perform many higher priced mid-grade products in the industry. I would point out the following features: Lifetime Warranty, metal cam action lock, balance covers, clean interior with singular sight lines, extruded aluminum screen with lift handle, Sill-Lok to prevent air infiltration/exfiltration, balance covers, no weep holes, installed by top professionals in the window industry.
I bought a window from Great Lakes Home Renovations 7 years ago. Recently I haven’t been able to close the window properly and there’s a big gap so I called for service repair. After the “5-7 days it would take to get a call back” I never heard from anyone so I tried contacting them multiple times leaving many messages with both the receptionist and person I was told that was assigned to my case, Derrick. Finally, after many attempts, I reached Derrick in the office. He never apologized for not getting back to me. Mind you, I live in Minnesota and we are currently experiencing sub-below temps and I have a window that won’t close and freezing cold air is pouring into my house.
Derrick informed me that the window installation is only covered for the first 2 years and it will cost me $75 for them to come out and look at it. He seemed to be put out by my request to have the window fixed and asked if I still wanted them to come out. Really???
I’m the most upset about 3 things;
1. The terrible customer service
2. The poor quality of the window because even though it’s been 7 years I shouldn’t be having trouble shutting it.
3. My bad, because I thought the window had a lifetime guarantee.
I would bet it’s a pretty simple fix. If the window worked fine for 7 years it’s probably caused by the pivot bar being out of the shoe. It should be simple to resolve and it could be disconnected or moved out of the way to allow the window to close all the way. Did they get it resolved for you?
Great Lakes Home Renovation an independently owned contractor. They do not sell the window manufactured by Great Lakes Window. I believe this is where a lot of the confusion is coming from on this thread.
Hi Mike, thanks for writing in. That would cause confusion. I didn’t realize we were talking about 2 different companies either. For anyone reading this thread, it looks like the service issue Flory has was with a contractor and a different product, not a Great Lakes branded window.
TOTALLY AGREE I’m having the same issue, the people who installed my windows want a min of $299.99 (for 1 window) so your lucky to have someone come out for $75.00
I just got off the phone with Great Lakes warranty department and was told my warranty window glass replacement would costs me $120 for one small double hung top glass. I was told the lifetime warranty is prorated. I can buy the same double pane glass for $44 locally. How can they refer to this a lifetime warranty?
They may be shipping a whole sash vs just the glass, but that isn’t really too relevant to you. Do you have the warranty? Might be worth a read.
Great Lakes Windows in my opinion are the best on the market. This may be a biased comment seeing as how we (my husband and I) are dealers. The warranty is one of the best in the industry and we rarly have manufacture service issues. We have the casement Windows in our own home and have never had an issue.
I really enjoy reading your posts thewindowdog. Our perspectives on the window replacement industry are very similar. Thanks for a great read!
Hi Ashley, glad you enjoyed the site. Feel free to chime in anytime.
We have been researching windows for 2 months and have seen 5 different window companies. It seems Great Lakes have revised their prduct line and have new offerings.
We are torn between soft lite and great lakes. We are seriously considering the Great Lakes “ comfort smart “ double hung windows. Its a sharp looking window and seems well made and the reviews are very good. We had to go to the dealers showroom to see the patio door which was also very nice looking and seems to operate very smoothly.
We were priced about $575 per window which is all white with double pane glass with foam in the frame and fiberglass reinforcement. Anyone have any other input? Thank you
Great Lakes has updated their product line and we’ll be writing some new reviews soon. What’s your zip code? We may be able to recommend another option.
Great Lakes did update their product line. I have been a great lakes dealer for a little more than 3 years along with another high end window and have been in the industry for 25 years so quality is important to me. Their service is very good as well and easy to deal with.
I primarily sell the Comfort Smart series and have had a lot of success with that window. My installers love it and my customers are always happy. Its an air tight window and very nice looking. It actually looks very similar to the Sunrise “ vanguard” window which makes sense considering the owner of Sunrise owned Great Lakes at one time. With the “ comfort smart” you can get a stainless steel spacer or a non metal spacer , which is what i usually offer. Although plygem owns great lakes, the great lakes product will be higher end and made better in my opinion; its a different window. Just some food for thought.
As for the price of $575, its a decent price but bear in mind, many dealers have different overhead which does effect the cost.
I look forward to windowdog doing another great lakes review.
We have finally finished paying off our Great Lakes Windows, Seabrooke. Installation was in May 2013. We replaced 17 windows plus a bay window. Windows are good. One double hung in the bay does not slide up easily. Some issues are due to installation. Window locks are terrible and easily broken. Getting ready to order two replacement locks. We were warned upon installation about them breaking, yay. If anything, these are decent windows for those of us who can’t afford top of the line. Having said that, we paid $19K, that’s a lot of money regardless. Wish me luck getting replacement parts.
I had my entire house done with Great Lakes Window Systems in 1997 and 1999. I am not at all happy…The inside of the windows have formed a “film”. The casing and latches do not last. Plastic has cracked and the latches break. They will send you new latches but replacing them is not easy. Buyer beware if you plan on staying in your home for 15 years or more
Don’t buy these windows, they are pieces of garbage. I’ve had six seals broken on four of the ten windows in ten years time. Stay away the warranty sucks.
Have you any knowledge of the PowerWeld by Lang windows? I’m looking to replace a triple window (casement, picture, casement) with a triple slider 1/4-1/2-1/4. considering Lang Power Weld 1600 series double glazed/argon ($1600). I’ve also looked at Great Lakes ecoSmart double glazed/argon ($2200) and Preservation triple glazed/krypton ($2550). All have 2-color exterior and single color interior plus casing.
Any knowledge or advice you have to share is appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
What’s your zip code? We might have a better option for you.
I’ve gotten estimates from Anderson, Great Lakes and tomorrow, Sunrise for 2 sliding windows in a bedroom and a sliding patio door. I am hoping they will keep out the cold and airplane noise better than the wood ones I have now. I am totally confused and want to finally get this decision made. The Sunrise look more like a match to the windows I have now but the Sahara Window guy has been so responsive. Any suggestions as to which is better?
Were you looking at the Renewal by Andersen windows or another model? They make a pretty wide range of options. Both Great Lakes and Sunrise windows are both pretty nice and they both offer a range of options as well. The founder of Sunrise used to be involved in Great Lakes as did a lot of their executives so you’ll see some similarities in the way they operate.
You can look at the STC rating to get a feel for how well they’ll block out noise. Remember that you’re getting noise through your roof and walls too so no window will make the house sound proof.
Let us know which one you pick or if you have any other questions.
Currently comparing Great Lakes Harbor Light vs Allside Mezzo. The quote for harbor light is significantly less. I like the aspect of mezzo in their advertisement for allowing more light with slimmer frame. Is this really a noticeable difference? Which is the better overall looking window for appearance and function? I live in Atlanta where front 10 windows get full sun all afternoon.
The Sunrise windows came in a little high – $6500 for 2 sliding windows and a patio door. The Great Lakes looks like maybe 1800 less. (my quote from them included blinds in the door & I think he said that was $1800 more) Seems like a big difference. ? Next Windows who is selling the Sunrise said they would remove and reinstall new trim (painted) Sahara Windows didn’t offer putting on new trim, as a matter of fact they said the trim would not be removed at all . It seems to me that the install seems better and more thorough with the Sunrise people. Am I wrong? I am still in a quandry : Great Lakes /Sunrise!!! I’ve eliminated Anderson – too expensive & didn’t like the “if you buy now” tactics…
Sunrise does make and sell a lot of trim and refinished jambs so it wouldn’t surprise me that the salesperson was talking about them. One method of install isn’t better than the other, it just depends what you want and if the extra trim is worth the cost to you.
Garbage windows! Have 13 windows and 4 have popped their seals and all but 2 have warped frames, the 2 smallest bathroom windows. They vinyl by itself is not strong enough to withstand temp fluctuation and stand up to it, most of the windows will not open more than 1/2 way now. The 4 that have popped their seals have something growing inside of them and are fogging pretty bad.
This will be the 3rd time I have had to replace some of them for the warping and they are going to make me pay for them to be replaced. They will supply the materials but I have to pay a certified installer to replace them and the nearest on to me is about 60+ miles away. The original installer that put them in is gone so I am supposed to foot the bill to replace all of their defective products.
Run far, run fast from these windows! Save your money and get a local supplier of windows and find a place that will be around to install them.
I’m buying the Sunrise window from Ecosmart exteriors in St Louis. $800 per window triple Payne Brazilian Walnut interior. Wish me luck
I got 3 quotes from 3 different companies and they are all within $400 total price of each other. One is with Apex Energy Solutions, other is Home Depot with Simonton windows, and last is with a highly recommended local company with Great Lakes Comfort Smart Windows.
Thoughts on which to go for?
Hi John, thanks for writing in. I’m not a huge fan of any of those options. What is your zip code? I may know someone to recommend.
Window replacement 30338 recommendation. Pella v Groat Lakes v Anderson etc
Check this section.
Sorry for the delay – I work in an industry that was impacted heavily by Covid19 and was a bit distracted the past few weeks. My Zip Code is 30342. Thanks!
Hi John, don’t worry. My company can help in Atlanta and I think you’ll like how we do things. Find us in this section.
I don’t know if you’ve made your choice yet, but if you haven’t then consider the following:
The Great Lakes windows offers so much in terms of customization.
* Foam insulation in frame, frame and sash or none at all
* Metal reinforcement or Fiberglass reinforcement
*Co-extruded colors that are warrantied for the life of the window. Far cheaper and more durable than painted colors. In other words you can have a white interior with a dark bronze exterior for far less than the competition can paint their windows for. Color choices for co-extruded are beige, sandstone, earthtone and bronze. Painted colors are also an option as are wood grain interiors.
*13 Low-e glass package options not including high altitude options as well. STC rated glass options, laminate, tint, obscure and even designer glass packages for picture windows are available.
*standard tilt latches or ez-lok combo lock/tilt system. Option for metal tilt latches.
*Hardware color choices
*extruded screen frame (as opposed to cheaper roll formed) available in half or full screen or Flex screen, also available in half or full.
I haven’t touched on grids or screen materials, but those have multiple options as well.
Food for thought for any one considering new windows. You can contact Great Lakes Windows and they can connect you with a Territorial sales manager in your area, who in turn can direct you to GLW dealers in your area.
Thanks for chiming in Tony.
Hello Window Dog,
Can you help me? I have canceled two contracts, i.e. one with Andersen (the cost of a house) and the other with Sears. I canceled with Sears because I realized that I just did not know enough to spend that kind of money for windows that I really did not know enough about and needed to do more homework. That’s when I found your website, but the more I read, the more I realize that I need advice from an installer or someone who actually owns the windows. I am considering, Simulton 9800, Wincore 7700, Great Lakes Comfort Series and finally, Great Lakes Seabrooke which was offered as an option to the Simulton 9800 after I informed the salesman of the many bad reviews I have been reading. Prices quotes range from 28K to 24K for 27 triple pane windows, 8 with security glass, and the most expensive one having grids on 8 windows in the front of my house.
Any suggestion you can offer will be greatly appreciated. This is an exhausting project! I replaced all my windows in 2003, and have had plastic up against them to help to keep the cold air out for years. They are double hung and the top windows slide down so we are constantly closing the windows in the winter time. At the time, we just wanted new windows, did no homework, and just took what our contractor gave us so I don’t know the name of our current windows. I don’t want to make another mistake. Thank you for your website and the good information within!
I just wanted to point out that Great Lakes ComfortSmart is the exact same windows as Great Lakes Seabrooke. The manufacturer switched names about 4-5 years ago, so I’d be a little wary about whoever is selling the product under the old, outdated name.
Looking for recommendations for window replacement, zip 38133. Replacing 12 aging Pella casement style, likely with double-hung. Have quoted with both ViWinTech and The Window Source (Great Lakes). Suggestions?
Replacing 19 windows and a sliding door. Can’t make a decision between Great lakes EcoSmart ($31,000 double pain) and Window World ($26,000 double pain). Would love your thoughts.
We are getting quotes on new windows for our home, a total of 12 windows. We have gotten quotes from local companies for the Great Lakes Eco Smart, the Milgard Tuscany, and Revere Berkshire Elite. We’d be happy with any of the installation companies we have interviewed, but are wondering which window would be the best quality for the money. I would love some insight into which option you may recommend. Thanks for your opinion!
I’ve dealt with the Berkshire Elite product for several years with great success so of those windows that’s the model I’d suggest just based on my personal experience. Good luck with the project.
I love your site and feel blessed to have found it!
I am beginning the process of replacing windows in my 97 y/o home in Toledo, OH. I can’t afford to do all 30 windows at once so I am beginning with 4 double hung and 2 (3-panes each) either casement or sliders. I have quotes from 5 different companies and my head is spinning. U value, E factor, R value, noise reduction, UV blocking, steel or fiber glass reinforcement, metal or rubber(?) spacers, with grids or without, lifetime warranty or 30 year….. I have a headache.
The companies are Wallside Windows (manufacture their own windows), Window World, Dunbridge (Great Lakes Windows), Tri-State (Essentials by Sunrise) and Integrity (Universal Windows).
I am tired of freezing till my body aches in the winter. Any thoughts? Which ever company I go with, I will stay with them until all 30 windows are done.
Hello Window Dog!
I need advice! Last year, a very reputable local company installed 3 double-hung and 2 horizontal sliding windows on the front of my house. The windows are Great Lakes ComfortSmart with sound control glass (3.0 / 5.0, 7/8″, 33 STC, 27 OITC). I live near a freeway exit ramp and there are 33,000 cars on my street per week.
The windows are underperforming in sound reduction. Using a decibel reader, I’ve measured both low and high-frequency noise with my windows open and closed and subtracted the two numbers to determine the number of decibels blocked. My tests included traffic, slow-blower, an electric saw, and a high-pitched alarm clock bell. I’ve shared my spreadsheet with the installation company.
The Great Lakes website says, “A window with an STC rating of 34 can reduce exterior noise by 43%” with a bar chart showing a 50% reduction in outside noises, such as traffic. My windows are blocking 33% and 27% of low-frequency noise. The installation looks good. As a side note, the double-hung sashes were replaced last week due to a sag that occurred during manufacturing and there was no change in the sound reduction. Also, my walls are insulated with cellulose or Homasote soundboard and drywall.
If it weren’t for the sound issue, I’d be very happy with these windows!
Here’s a summary:
Great Lakes Sound Control Windows
Claim: 43% reduction
Ratings: 33 STC, 27 OITC
My double-hung windows:
Actual: 33% reduction
Decibels blocked: 23 dB
My sliding windows:
Actual: 27% reduction
Decibels blocked: 19 dB
This week, I’ll be discussing a plan with the installation company. What do you suggest? Should I request upgraded windows with laminated glass? Or ask for a refund? If so, would it come from the installation company or Great Lakes (or parent companies Ply Gem and Cornerstone Building Brands)? Should I purchase different windows with higher STC ratings, like Marvin or Pella? Or are STC/OITC ratings unreliable? I don’t know how to move forward. I’m grateful for any advice you or others can give me!
Interesting info, I love tests like that. I think the difference you’re seeing from what was promised and what you’re experiencing is likely due to the way they set the expectations. For example, if they say you’ll experience a 50% reduction in outside noise with this window they’ve made a claim that is almost impossible for them to live up to with any consistency.
For example, imagine you have a brick house with old thick walls from back before calculators when they just made things thicker to make them stronger and you also had drafty old single pane windows. In that case a huge percentage of the total sound you’re hearing is coming through the windows. So, replacing the windows with an option like the type you picked would have a relatively large percentage impact on the total sound transmission.
On the other hand, imagine you have vinyl siding with no insulation, no sheathing, 2×4 walls and cheap imported drywall on the inside. In that case a much smaller percentage of the sound you hear inside the house is coming through the windows as more is coming through the walls. Replacing the windows will reduce sound transmission but not by the same percentage as in the first scenario above.
So if the install is decent and you received the products you ordered I would say you’re probably not due any refund. The only party who didn’t live up to their promises is the marketing department that made the deceptive brochure. I would assume the windows are doing as much as they were ever going to do. The problem is caused by the marketing department that set the bar at 50% leaving you to feel disappointed with 30%.
Testing with the window open might not be the best way either because with a double hung or sliding window they’re only half open when you’ve slid them open. You could remove the sashes for the baseline test so the whole area is open, not just the half that slides.
If anyone is going to give you money back on the order it should probably be the marketing people, but that’s not too likely.
As far as next steps you can definitely ask them if they have other window models or other glass options that might provide a higher STC rating. They are out there, but not that common. You could also look at adding insulation or sound reducing coatings to the walls or attic. I know you mentioned some so it’s possible there’s not much more you can do.
There’s only so much you’ll be able to do before it gets prohibitively expensive. It’s an easier issue to address with new construction since you can build the sound reduction into the plan. You might also look at the cost difference between a house on that street and a house 2 blocks away from the highway.
Let us know where you end up.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I completely agree the marketing department is partially to blame and I actually happen to be a graphic designer. The whole percentage thing makes no sense considering your examples, which you put into words better than I could have.
However, can you help me understand the discrepancy in the OITC ratings? Why do my sliding windows block only 19 dB of low-frequency noise when the windows are rated to block 27 dB? (Let’s assume the room is soundproofed well, the window was open wide enough to accurately measure the outside noise, and the windows were installed correctly.)
To answer this question, you should look at the STC/OITC technical information on their website. It’s on the main page under Inspiration > Downloadable Brochures > Sound Control Glass > Page 4
The information you find here is entirely technical. These are rating standards maintained by ASTM International, an international standards organization. From elsewhere on the web, “Over 12,000 ASTM standards are used all over the world to improve product quality, enhance health and safety, strengthen market access and trade, and to let customers know they can count on products. ASTM serves many industries, such as metals, construction, petroleum, consumer products and more.” What stands out to me is how customers use these technical ratings to count on products working.
It’s hard to say exactly why you’d see 19 dB of sound reduction vs 27 dB, but I wonder if it’s caused by how you’re measuring vs how they’re measuring. Perhaps they’re saying the 27 dB difference is the difference between what you’d measure if there was just a hole in the wall vs what you measure with the window in that hole. That’s not exactly what your test is measuring so could be part of the difference.
I think the question there is 27 dB reduction from what?
I have a contractor trying to sell me these sound reduction windows, triple pane. But I keep reading negative reviews about ‘seal failures’ causing moisture and even mold to form in between even double pane Great Lakes Windows. How energy efficient is the Comfortsmart and is their Still Good Viewability thru the glass, so that there is lots of natural light still coming thru the windows, or is this window one of the ones that does not allow good viewability, where it makes less light in the house, bc of the glass. Also, are these the best Glass on the market, Cardinal glass, the supposed top grade of window glass…..I am considering these, but those reviews about moisture between the panes, cloudy between and even mold between is terrifying to me, I am kind of in love with Windsor windows, which have great viewability (more light allowed inside home) compared to Andersen, and yet they don’t seem to be in even the top 10 of best Replacement windows. Can you help? Or suggest something other than Andersen, if the Great Lakes and Windsors are not really good windows, I am 55 yrs old, do Not want to be replacing my windows ever again, if possibly, Very much need energy efficiency, and want good light (viewability) in my house, and Really Good Quality. Sound reduction would also be a plus, good warranty also. THANKS!! Oh, I live in Northeast TN, near Johnson City, so some brands are not available in my area.
Hi Karen, you can compare how much list gets in the house by looking at the VT rating. That stands for visible transmittance and it’s an easy way to compare different options in terms of light. There are only a couple glass manufacturers that make glass for residential windows. They all make different types and there’s nothing better about Cardinal vs any other, just look at the efficiency ratings to see what the glass is doing for you. Good luck with the project.
My head is spinning from all the options. I appreciate your site. It has been helpful. Any recommendations for 80031. We have 15 windows plus want to change out a sliding door to a french door. Important features: lock durability, ease to clean, sun issues for some windows, but want good visibility for most windows, screens that appear invisible, low maintenance. Noise does not seem to be an issue. It seems I may get the best price on windows from Lowe’s or Home Depot, but i am nervous about the quality of their installers.
Great Lakes Window has extremely poor warranty service, which you should be aware of before you purchase.
Good to know about their warranty. I’ve been looking to contact them but probably won’t bother now.
We bought our house in 2003 and the PO had Great Lakes windows installed. According to the sash sticker they are model VK 4000, to which I can find no info. Anyhow, these windows seem to leak, due to failing weather stripping, the glass is always cold and on my larger windows (48″ x 72″) the top sash is sagging from the weight.
Hi Brian, it might be worth checking with them to see if you can get a copy of the original warranty. With that you’ll be able to tell what is covered and what isn’t. It’s possible you’ll be out of luck, but it only takes a few minutes to read the warranty to find out. Sometimes we’ll see limitations like the warranty needing to be transferred within 30 days of you buying the house or something along those lines. If that’s the case you probably have no coverage, but the only way to find out is to read the actual warranty. You should be able to get a copy from the folks at Great Lakes.
Let us know how it goes. I’m sure you’re not the only one looking for more info on the Great Lakes window warranty claim process.
Thanks for the reply.
I sent them an email a couple weeks ago, and have gotten no reply so far.
I never transferred the warranty when we bought the house back in ’03.
I won’t say the windows are bad, other than the sagging sash on the larger windows, I think if I can figure out what weather stripping to use, I can reseal them up.
Sure thing, I hope it works out.
Great comments and info!!! I am about to purchase 2 casement windows. The dealer I am working with is quoting Comfort Smart Two-section casement window. Window consists of two equal sized sections, both crank open for ventilation. Includes two full screens and a lifetime warranty on the window. However the install is only guaranteed for 5 years. The cost is $4,000. This includes the triple glass windows, knock-out, install, trim, clean up. The price sounds fair to me but very interested in your thoughts… thanks!