Simonton Reflections 5500 Review

simonton windows reviews, ratings, cost

The Simonton Reflections 5500 is at the higher end of the Simonton replacement windows.  This model is distributed nationwide with several variations offered under various brand names including Prism or Prism Platinum.

Overall, as we’ve said before, Simonton makes a fine product, but this model is getting a little long in the tooth.  It utilizes some older design elements and offers less than outstanding performance numbers.

best replacement windows of 2015

The biggest drawback for me is the thickness of the vinyl.  You certainly get less glass area with the Simonton Reflections 5500 than you would with some competing products.  For example, in the NFRC sticker below you can see the window with a U-Factor of 0.29 a SHGC of 0.24 and a rather low visible transmittance rating of 0.45.

Simonton Reflections 5500 window ratings
Simonton Reflections 5500 window ratings

This window would block out too much light for my taste.  There are other models that can achieve very similar ratings with a thinner vinyl frame resulting in more visible light and a higher VT rating.

As with most windows there are several glass options that can certainly affect the numbers, but the thick frame is here to stay.

In addition the Simonton Reflections 5500 also uses the inexpensive constant force balance mechanism which have several drawbacks.  They also charge extra for features that many companies offer standard such as double strength glass, balance covers and heavy duty screens.

Here you can see a Simonton Reflections 5500 window with the constant force balance and no balance cover.

simonton reflections 5500
See this Simonton Reflections 5500 window with inexpensive constant force balance and no balance covers.

The last picture I’ll show you for now is of the sash stops this model utilizes.  This block at the top of the frame prevents the sash from opening all the way.  It’s not a very big deal on a large window and Simonton does a good job of making it as small as they can.  On smaller windows you won’t be able to open the window as far as you’d expect.  Why do they put it there?  They have to because of the cheap constant force balance mechanism used in the jambs.

simonton 5500 window review
See the sash stop that prevents the bottom sash from sliding all the way to the top.

You might ask yourself if this balance mechanism or the lack of a balance cover or the sash stops are a huge deal and the answer is probably no.  I mention them here to illustrate the idea that perhaps this product doesn’t represent a fantastic bang for your buck.

There are many old and outdated design elements in this product that just aren’t necessary anymore.  The price of a Simonton Reflections 5500 window doesn’t typically reflect the fact that it’s a bit old fashioned.

As you’re considering your options remember that manufacturers will often offer the same or VERY similar products under many brand names.  They do this to help contractors selling the products avoid competing directly on price.  If you get 2 quotes from 2 companies offering the exact same product then the price becomes a relatively important point of differentiation.  If one of the companies can tell you all about why their product is “better” then perhaps the price will become less of a factor.

If you think this is a little strange, you’re right, but it happens in every industry from mattresses to bowling balls.

To sum up this Simonton Reflections 5500 window review I’d say overall it’s a fine product from a reputable manufacturer (despite my nitpicking), but you can usually do better for a lower price.

Keep looking.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to check out our list of the best window companies all over the country.  You can find it right here. 

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.  

68 thoughts on “Simonton Reflections 5500 Review”

  1. You had a link to the Prism Platinum review, but it leads to the 5500 review. Is there a Prism review? And could you name some windows that are better for the price than the 5500?

    1. The Simonton Prism Platinum is the same and the Simonton 5500. Perhaps we could make that more clear, thanks for the feedback!

      We will be posting video reviews of some of the popular Simonton windows soon so keep your eye out.

      1. read so many reviews on vinyl replacement windows for my cabin I am in a haze. Jeld-Wen, Viewpoint, Andersen, Pella, Simonton 5500. Do you have a favorite you could recommend for me. Thanks, Fritz. p.s. Live in Wisconsin

        1. yeh that would help. What I don’t like about Window Dog is that they say there are better windows out there for the money than Simonton 5500. But they don’t recommend anything. So it becomes somewhat lame. Bill

          1. Hi Bill, there are different options available in different areas so there isn’t necessarily one solution, but there are defininltey better options out there than Simonton. What’s your zip code? I’ll be happy to make a recommendation for you if I can.

          2. I’ve had this same thought – would it be possible to get a recommendation for my zip code as well (zip code = 27612)? I’ve looked through tons of reviews and thought I might have arrived at the Simonton 5050 as the answer, but now I’m second guessing it after reading the reviews on this site. The cost is a very important point for us, so I’m curious what other windows you would recommend that wouldn’t be significantly more expensive?

          3. Hi Kyle, I can definitely help with that. Check out Window Universe in the Raleigh area. You can get a quote online with no hassles and it’s the best way to get new windows. Find info at

            For other folks looking for recommendations of window companies all over the country, check this section.

            Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help out.

          4. Thanks! I’ll definitely check out Window Universe.

            And I know in your reviews you advocated pretty strongly against the Simonton 5050, but it sounded like you were a much bigger fan of the Simonton 5500 (at least for that price range). Any other specific window in that price range you would highly recommend over the simonton?

            Thanks again!!

  2. In my opinion, the 5500 Reflection windows are of a fairly low quality. I just finished a large 18 window job, and I wasn’t impressed at all.

    1) I encountered numerous sashes with a pretty significant bow in the middle of the sides, resulting in a gap to the frame. My guess would be it’s from “wet setting” the glass into the sash, and when someone (or something?) picks up the sash before the silicone dries, it squeezes the sash inwards, and it dries like that. This isn’t the first company I’ve seen have issues with it. Putting in more of the appropriate sized setting/spacer blocks between the vinyl and IGU would probably solve the problem — 3 per side perhaps? This is not really correctable in the field, unless you want to “de-glaze” the window and re-set the glass. Pretty sure your customer wouldn’t be impressed seeing you pull apart the sash of their brand new window lol. You can’t shim the frame to make up for it either, or the sash becomes really hard to operate when the bottom tries to ride past the spot you just over-shimmed.

    2) There is quite a substantial amount of “play” in these windows. The sashes can wiggle all over the place. Lock a double hung and see how much you can move the sashes up/down still.

    3) If they are going to have to use sash stops, couldn’t they at least put the pre-drilled screw installation holes BEHIND them? All 4 screws are exposed on these windows, and it just looks.. cheap. The top two from inside, and the lower two from outside.

    4) Looking at your photo that shows the sash stop circled in green — Do you have any idea what that apparent “L” shaped piece above the sash stop is? It’s across the entire top of the frame, and the upper sash slides up behind it. My guess would be it’s an older style (or cheaper) extrusion, and the sash doesn’t close into the actual frame, so they added that piece to “seal” the window? Anyways, for whatever reason, that piece is NEVER nice and straight. Close the upper sash, step back, and look at the sash handle in comparison to that piece. It looks like it’s bowed pretty bad on all the windows I did, and putting a block on it and smacking it to make sure it was completely seated did absolutely nothing.

    5) The locks look really outdated and “clunky”. They don’t really seem to help pull the sashes together tighter at the meeting rail, either.

    6) Small nitpick, but it’s one that annoyed me upon installation — They send bugle head screws to install the windows. I’ve just never felt you get the same secure installation with them. The bugle head wants to start pulling through (or deforming) the vinyl. I threw them all out and used my own pan head screws.

    7) Price. I definitely don’t think these windows are worth what they cost. I think they look and perform like a low end window, but are priced like a mid-grade (or higher).

    I agree — KEEP LOOKING!

    1. I agree, it’s an older design. They’re better than some other, but not remarkable.

      Your theory on the wet glazing is likely not the case. As someone who has spent time on a production line I can tell you the glass is not part of the structure of the sash. The bowed sashes are likely caused by either the fit of the sashes to the frame or the calibration of the welder and saws.

      Either way, the windows are decent, but for the same money there are significantly better products out there.

      1. Speaking of the calibration of the welder/saws, the miter cuts on their glazing beads/stops were TERRIBLE in some instances. One window had at least an 1/8″ gap at the two opposite corners because they were cut too short. Sloppy caulking across the interior where the sill meets the sides.

        I disagree with the welder/saws being the cause of the sash to look like an hour glass, with the left/right sides both bowing in towards each other at the center height of the sash. A very exaggerated example of what I mean would look like this: ) (
        I measured the top and bottom “daylight” opening of the glass, then at the center, and it was 1/4″ smaller in the center on one of the sashes. 1/8″ per side is pretty bad.

        Vinyl is fairly flimsy (some more so than others, obviously), and if you cut the glass out of a sash, I’m pretty sure you’ll find the sash has a fair amount of flex to it at that point — especially in the center of a tall sash. If you have a large sash, say 40″ tall, what keeps the sides of it straight? Mostly, I would guess the glass. However, the glass isn’t supposed to be TIGHT in the sash, so I would think the setting/spacer blocks play a large role in keeping it straight/square at that point. Once the silicone that the glass is set into is dry, that has to play a role in it too. Certainly it must help in stopping the sash from bowing OUTWARD in the middle (at least when the sash is tipped in or removed from the window frame).

        If the glass is put into the sash with silicone, and improper sized (or none at all) setting blocks are used, then you grab that sash in the middle to pick it up, it will allow the sash to bow in (EASILY, since silicone is pretty slick when wet) — and probably stay that way if not pushed back to straight before the silicone dries and keeps it in the wrong position.

        I have replaced many insulated glass units and watched the sash move on the glass, especially when tapping the glazing beads back in. I had to squeeze the sash back to straight and instructed the customer to leave the window alone for the day. This happens extremely easily on a really tall casement sash.

        Anyways, back to the Simontons — I was pretty unsatisfied with these 5500 Reflections units and would definitely not recommend them. They’re too pricey to be a “budget” window, and like you said, there are equal or better options, for less money.

        Thanks for the great website, keep it up!

      2. You say for the same money there are significantly better windows out there than the Simonton 5500. What are they? Needing to replace 6 windows and wanting to get the best bang for my buck for vinyl replacements.

        1. The best move is to find a great window company (or two) and see what they recommend. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

          1. I’ve gotten quotes from 3 companies, but it’s hard because it’s not exactly apples to apples. Plus, they all say, “this is the most important thing and only we do it that way” and of course that most important thing is different with all 3. We’re looking at a local manufacturer, a Simonton Reflections 5500 and Pella 250 Series.

          2. Simonton stresses it’s a good all around window with a super spacer that does all kinds of wonderfulness and that their triple ply windows are currently the same price as the double. They stress that their windows are overall well made and energy efficient. Local company stresses that their windows are stronger than anyone else’s. I do not believe however that in Columbus Ohio I really need windows that can sustain 140 mph winds verses 100 or 120. Third company (Pella), pretty much just stresses their reputation and warranty which, honestly, doesn’t seem all that great when it comes to vinyl windows. So is there another brand of window I should be looking for? You say you can do better than Simonton for the money, but at least of my three quotes, Simonton triple pain 5500 series window is over $1000 less than the other two quotes.

      3. I live in Frederick, Maryland and replacing all windows in a home built in 1918. I know I should probably keep them wood but we are going to replace with vinyl. Our contractor is recommending that we replace all windows with Simonton 5500 however in your comment above you say “but for the same money there are significantly better products out there”. If you can please specify which windows you are referring to, me, my wife and my wallet would greatly appreciate it. Thanks so much.

    2. Just had Simonton windows installed. Wish I had looked for the hard to find reviews before ordering. Very hard to open and close. Thankfully we only had three installed. Will do the rest of the house with a different brand. One that my installer recommends.

  3. I love your site, it’s been so helpful, but the phrase “you can do better for a lower price,” along with “keep looking” is so frustrating. Without mentioning a few brands/models in the same tier it is hard to know where to focus more research.

    I plan to stay here only another few years, and am looking for mid-range windows. My house in Maryland is 35 years old with 8 original aluminum sliding windows that are large, for example 6’x5′ and 6’x3′. I have a price for Simonton 5500 sliders of $5200, including installation.

    So, I need help with ….
    1. Does the large size of my windows matter at all with vinyl windows? Is there some issue I should look out for before installation?
    2. Since all the reviews are for double-hung windows, do any of the reviews really matter if I am buying sliders? Or, are sliders basically a double-hung turned sideways?
    3. I am still confused about replacement vs. new windows. All the people who have given me a quote say that my old windows will be completely removed. So, what am I buying – replacement or new? I don’t know if this matters but 4 windows are nailed on top of the T1-11 siding and 4 are in brick. (We are also getting new vinyl siding installed on top of the T1-11.)
    4. I’ve read a lot of information and reviews, but would like to, as you say, “keep looking.” So, can you make a few suggestions for some better options?

    Thanks again for all the information you provide!

    1. I completely understand your frustration. The trick is that we’re not familiar with local companies all over the US. Soon we’re going to start recommending companies based on feedback from other readers. Hopefully the cream will rise to the top. If you have a great experience with a company in your area please post some info. We would love to hear about it.

  4. We live in Maryland – the DC metro area – and approximately 10 years ago, replaced 12 of our home’s original 1960’s windows with American Jewel through the local company American Home Center after securing estimates and information from at least three installers. What a mistake! Shortly after installation, we were plagued with ongoing, multiple problems that required so many service calls we lost count. The situation eventually became a blame-game between American Jewel and American Home Center and as such, we were caught in the middle of a nightmare that was never resolved.

    Now, because of the constant window-related problems (draft, moisture, leaks which caused wall and curtain damage, and our annual cold weather ritual of stuffing the windows with towels) we are looking into replacements for the small master bath window (currently a 22” X 35” slider which will be replaced with a double hung) and bedroom (3-pane, 95” window sliders).

    Thus far, Vista and the Simonton 5500 have been recommended and priced competitively. Any suggestions and input would be most appreciated! This costly, must-do project is a priority before winter sets in.

    1. I just installed simonton 5500 slider window very happy with it . I had it made with lamanited glass for security and sound proof I ship to my house in Colombia it made very well

  5. I am looking to replace 8 single pane aluminum windows with vinyl replacements. Living in north central West Virginia it seems that my options are a bit limited. Other than the big box stores it seems like Provia, Wincore and Simonton are my best options. I’ve gotten quotes for Wincore 7700 and Pro Via Integra at $500/window installed and Simonton Prism Platinum at $500-$550/window installed. In your opinion which would be your choice and do these quotes seem reasonable?

  6. Simonton reflection 5500 are the worst ever as far as sound blocage.When I’m in my bedroom I can hear every car passing by and my bedroom is not even facing the road. Do not buy them!

    1. There are several factors can can contribute to how well a window will block outside sounds. Have you asked the company that installed them about it? They may be able to help.

  7. In three catagories – high, mid, and low, what are your recommendations?
    I have now had visits by salesmen for Polaris, Marvin, Renewal by Anderson, and Alside. Who else should I consider?
    I am replacing 18 wooden double hung, double pane windows. After 28 yrs they are rotting out.

    1. Hey Robin,
      Did they ever post a reply for the window replacement options? Did you pick a brand? I am just starting to look at windows. My buddy puts in the simonton 5500. He said they where the best. I thought I would get my own opinion. Curious what you have found out on the matter.

  8. What other companies offer vinyl casement windows with painted exterior and wood-look interior in the northern Wisconsin/Michigan area? I know Waudena does, but the company couldn’t tell me where I can see one of their casement windows on display. Milgard does, too, but they appear to be west coast only.

    1. Most companies will offer exterior colors and a wood look interior. Some offer an interior made of actual wood pieces, but if you’re just looking for a wood-look you’ll find that’s pretty common.

    2. To view a sample casement of the Waudena window, You could find a local retailer of the Alliance window. Waudena uses the windows made by Midway Windows and Doors in Chicago. They are part of the Window Alliance hence the name Alliance Windows. Waudena uses the same window and puts their name on it. Not a bad window, Excellent customer service.
      Other companies for painted exterior with wood grain interior include Ply Gem, and Simonton. be aware that the painted exterior on all these products has a limited warranty, so scratches and fading won’t be covered after a certain period of time.
      Hope this helps.

  9. Replacing 4 34 x76 picture windows and an 8 foot sling glass door in an atrium. We live in south Texas. I am looking at Plygem or Simonton Prism. Do you have any recommendations?

  10. I have Simonton 5500 in my house. They are great. 1″ IGU glass pkg with Super Spacer. SHGC 0.18 U Factor 0.28 . The review shown must have compared with their base glass pkg. which could be done with any brand. Mine are good with efficiency and sound insulation. No issues

    1. You’re absolutely right that there are many options. Glad to hear you’re happy with your windows.

      1. What about the asure windows?
        I have quote for 22 plus large geometric one for $6700

        What specific do I need to know?

        Have quote for alside mezzo for $10,000 ish

  11. The Window Dog hope you can help! We had a storm damage 8 windows in our house as well as our roof and siding. Our contractors is recommending Simonton Asure windows. I think its a cost issue with the insurance claim. Would you recommend the 5500 Reflections or Stormbreaker Plus windows over Asure even if I had to pay the difference between the insurance claim and cost of either window? Our current windows are not energy efficient or very good at eliminating street noise. I included the Stormbreaker Plus because of noise reduction and my wife has a phobia of someone breaking into our house. With installation being equal and energy efficiency/Quality my top concern, noise reduction second and security third is there a clear winner. I am not to concerned about sash or frame size we have fairly large windows. Is there a ceiling on what you would pay over and above the insurance claim for either window? Any insight would be helpful, reviews of Simonton windows leaves me concerned Thanks.

  12. Great site, thanks! However I’ve read a couple folks ask this question but still don’t find you’ve given a simple/clear response… You say there are better quality/value windows for the same price range as Simonton Reflections 5500. What are they please? Thanks.

  13. I have a good quotes for Simonton’s 5500 windows or going with Windsor’s New Dimensions vinyl windows. I am wondering what the better option is between the two. The Simonton is a double hung and the Windsor is a single hung quote. Since I can get to all of my windows easily, I don’t care if they are single hung. Any thoughts? Simonton vs Windsor?

    1. I would tend to recommend sticking with the bigger manufacturer which would be Simonton in this case. Typically the price difference for double hung is pretty small. You may want to open the top one day.

  14. In middle of a Simonton 5500 install. Not too pleased with them. They’ve installed half the windows in the house. The windows are THICK. I used to have 4.5 inches of sill on the old windows, and be able to have up inside blinds. Once the Simonton’s get installed, and the quarter round installed around them, only 1 inch of sash is left and there’s no room to mount the blinds on the inside again. Those weren’t cheap blinds. Further, EVERY upper sash has about 1/8″ gap on one of the corner miters. Incredible. Looks like a manufacturing defect. Wife isn’t happy with how these look with essentially no sash left. Clunky looking windows, too.

  15. Debating Simonton Prism Platinum v. Norandex Extreme 8000. Pro’s and Con’s on both. Frankly lost and confused. Any knowledge of Norandex Extreme 8000 and how it compares to the Simonton Prism Platinum?

    Any help you can lend would be greatly appreciated!

    1. I’m not a huge fan of the Simonton and not too familiar with the Norandex product. Where are you? I may know someone who can help out.

  16. Hi Window Dog, first thanks for a great site; really appreciate the info and details you’ve assembled here. I’m working on a windows project. All up I plan to replace 14 original wood-frame windows from my house built in the early 1970s. I live in the mid-atlantic area. I’m considering Simonton 5500 and Berkshire Elite. I have two offers from reputable companies with high reviews and good references that I’ve personally contacted. I have confidence that both installers will do a good job, so it’s really coming down to the choice of window and price. On price, the best offer is $6,500, but both offers are close, +/- $300, so not a major deciding factor there. So it really comes down to the windows. I’ve seen the notes about the different balances and frame thicknesses. Aside from those factors, are there any significant pro/cons with each? Which do you think is the better window between the Simonton 5500 and Berkshire Elite? Thanks in advance!

    1. The Simonton 5500 is a MUCH older design. The frames are thicker blocking more light, the air infiltration ratings are worse letting in more air and they use the cheaper constant force balances. My company offers the Berkshire Elite windows in several markets because I think it’s a pretty good option. I’d pick the Revere over Simonton any chance I got.

  17. I have a concern with my 13 Simonton 5500 widows installed in 2010. They appear to have mildew or mold in between the double panes. I just sent an email to the customer service department. My neighbors had new window installed at the same time by a different maker, and they do not have the same issue. Is that a normal occurrence with this brand?

    1. If you see mold or anything at all in between the panes it’s a product failure and will hopefully be covered by the warranty. Anything can fail, hopefully they get it fixed up for you.

  18. We have Simonton 5500 windows that were installed 7 years ago and some of them have problems with pulling the window in to clean it. The installer is a “no- show” and I am not sure what my next step should be. Can you give me any advise on this problem?

    1. I would check with Simonton to see if they can help out or check with another Simonton dealer to see if you can pay them for a service call. It’s probably easy to fix.

  19. I wrote you earlier about mold on my Simonton 5500 windows. The mold, or mildew is on the outside perimeter of all the windows, but underneath the vinyl molding( I think that’s what it’s called), and it’s clearly visible from the inside. The customer care at Simonton said it is not a damaged window and it’s not in between the panes, and it should be not be too difficult to clean. I have not been able to remove it myself, and imagine I would damage the vinyl if I used metal tools to dislodge the dirt. Am I the only one who has complained about this? I wish I could post a photo to show you what I’m seeing.

  20. Hi,
    I am looking to replace 6 windows and 2 2-panel sliding glass doors and 1 3-panel sliding glass door. This is for a condo that I will live in for another year or 2 and then rent out.

    So far the quotes I have gotten for windows and installation are:
    11,500 – Simonton Reflections 5500 (Local well reviewed installer, BlueBird Windows)
    14,000 – Milgard doors with Andersen 100 windows (Home Depot)
    15,000 – Zen Windows Nirvana (I believe this is a rebranded soft-lite pro?) with Dharma doors.
    30,000 – Renewal by Andersen (The sales guy was a total tool, unbelievably awful company)

    Is it just me or are all these quotes high? The cheapest quote from a local dealer I like the most was still $760 per installed Simonton 5500. I live in an expensive part of Colorado but these prices seem comparable to what a nicer “A-level” window is installing for elsewhere such as a Sunrise Verde.

    Any advice? Thanks!

    1. Peter, what did you end up going with? I’m debating the same between Zen Nirvana and 5500 (simonton).

  21. I have a quote for Simonton 6500 from Home Depot for 11 triple pane slider windows. The quote is just $500 more than the double pane Anderson 100 series windows. I was inclined to go with Simonton 6500, but based on the reviews, I’m thinks by maybe not.
    Is 6500 series same as 5500 series ? And does triple pane make it a better window than double pane for the same make and model. Please advice!

  22. Wondering your opinion on Simonton 5500 vs. Great Lakes EcoSmart. Also would like your favorite higher end vinyl window! We live in the Denver Co area and have pretty extreme sun.


  23. I understand that Simonton has different warranties depending if it’s a residential property or a commercial property. What about a rental single family home that is owned by a person (as opposed to an LLC). Which warranty would apply? residential or commercial?

    1. You’d have to read the warranty. If the house is used as a business, like a rental, and not as a residence then it might be the commercial warranty.

  24. I am currently looking at two window companies to replace the 9 vinyl windows and one vinyl sliding door in my 2-year-old new house. (I don’t know what the current single-hung windows are in this house but they are weak.) The two companies I am looking at are the 5500 double-pane Simonton and the ProVia Endure triple-pane windows. Which of these two would you use in your home and why. The overall price for installation and window is coming in at $12,864. I am leaning toward the ProVia Endure but a second opinion would be great.
    Thank You
    Clifford R Speiran

    1. Hi Clifford, of those 2 I’d probably pick the Provia Endure windows vs Simonton 5500 windows. The Simonton is a bit of an old design. What’s your zip code? We may be able to make a better recommendation.

  25. Hi WindowDog
    I am in the process surveying a few different contractors with different window selections.
    I am on a budget so leaning toward vinyl windows.

    For 10 Simonton 5500 windows, I am getting quotes around $14,000 installed. Does that sound about right?

    What are your thoughts on MI windows?

  26. Thank you for sharing your expertise–I have learned so much….

    Would appreciate your thoughts on replacing 20 windows (mostly double-hung) in a 75-year old home in St Charles MO ( plus will be installing 3 sets of French Doors to the outside.)

    I have an installer, a long-time family friend/carpenter who has done literally hundreds of remodels. This is a retirement project for him. We don’t live in the home so not concerned about the time plus he does super high quality work @ low cost with high trust factor. If anything happens to him in the midst of this remodel I swear I will just sell the house as is.

    He is recommending Simonton 5500 series but I have lots of doubts after much research including your website.

    We don’t need ultra-high-end but I don’t want cheap. Biggest concern is air leakage and protection from heat in summer, cold in winter. Because I don’t need an installer, I’m having trouble finding good windows for DIY. Should I have him call? (Guessing as a contractor he could buy places I couldn’t?)

    With all the buy-ups in the industry it’s been hard to keep up with brands but looking at Sierra Pacific (though suspect the cost will be high), Zen Windows and Sunrise. I also wondered if the higher-end Simonton products would be worth a look.

    Thanks for any insights.

    1. Hi Molly, I’m glad you’ve found the site to be helpful. As you’ve probably read I’ve never been a huge fan of the Simonton 5500 series windows for several reasons. They are popular with do it all type smaller contractors as they’re widely distributed, easy to buy and generally easy to service. The trick is that those factors are more important to the installer than the end user.

      You’ll get more glass area and better air infiltration rates with the Alside Mezzo window, as an example, and your installer should be able to buy those easily enough. They only sell to contractors so it’ll definitely be easier for him than for you.

      Other brands like Sunrise will be harder as they’ll only sell through their dealers who will also want to install the windows for you. I don’t know if the local dealer would sell just the windows without installation, but I suspect they will not.

      As far as higher end Simonton windows I don’t see a whole lot of improvement over their more popular models, at least not enough to justify the higher prices. Those other models are often also sold only through specific dealers so the prices will generally be quite a bit higher and they might also insist on installing.

      Good luck with the project and let us know how it goes!

      1. Thank you for your thoughts on my options. You raise what I suspected about why my contractor was pushing Simonton in addition to having them in his own home. I have to wonder if the acquisition (one of several in the industry I’m learning) has affected quality by cutting costs post-acquisition. Happens in every industry.

        Now reviewing Alside . Andersen 400 was on the list but saw your recent post. My niece has had A400 for about 3 years in that climate without issue. Can a bad install account for a draft? Good Lord there is not a bright white line to the right answer here….. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

        1. Yes, a bad install definitely could account for a draft. Usually the windows will be caulked after install so it’s not too likely you’d get a draft around a new window. It is possible that a window could be twisted or the frame could be stretched a little at the install which could cause a draft or bad seal where the sashes meet the frame.

          This defininltey can be a challenging industry to navigate. Good luck with the project.

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