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Why You Should NEVER Buy Simonton Windows!

If you’re considering buying Simonton windows you’ll want to read this post. Here we’re outlining the reasons that anyone should avoid Simonton windows.

To be fair you’ll find that a window salesman will always tell you why you shouldn’t buy this brand or that brand so you’ll want to take this with a bit of a grain of salt. We’re playing devil’s advocate here a little bit, but these are the reasons a competing salesman will tell you to avoid Simonton windows.

Remember, if you think I’m wrong about something post a comment below.

First, they’re lower end or “contractor grade” windows.

This is something you’ll always hear about Simonton windows. There is a little truth to it as Simonton is widely distributed and typically sold by smaller contractors who are more focused on price than quality.

The terms like “contractor grade” are always a little silly since they don’t really mean anything. The nugget of truth here is that they do use lower end components and older designs. That’s why you generally don’t see nicer window companies selling Simonton windows.

Next, Simonton windows use lower end components than other brands.

This one is mostly true. You’ll see Simonton windows use the lower end constant force or coil balances. Higher end products will generally use the upgraded block and tackle type balances that are tested to last longer and operate better.

best replacement window balances
Here you can see the main differences between constant force (used in Simonton windows) and the nicer block and tackle balances.

This is something that most customers don’t really know anything about. You can’t really see the balances when you’re looking at the windows. That means it’s an easy way for a manufacturer to cut a corner.

Simonton is owned by Ply Gem which also makes higher end brands like Great Lakes. They don’t want to interfere with the high end window sales so they keep Simonton windows a little cheaper. That makes sense from a business standpoint.

Simonton windows have higher air infiltration rates.

This is a common line used against Simonton windows and it’s worth considering. The air infiltration rates will be different with different Simonton models so there isn’t one answer. In general Simonton windows do have higher (worse) air infiltration rates than you’ll see from higher end manufacturers.

For example, most newer window designs will have air infiltration rates under 0.05. With some common Simonton models the air infiltration rate will be 2x or 3x that rate. Some new construction windows will be even worse.

That means more air can get through the windows when closed and locked. This is a common complaint about windows, so it’s something to consider.

Finally, the thicker frames will block more light.

This is another one that people sometimes don’t consider until it’s too late. Some popular Simonton windows like the 5500 series will use thicker frames than many other models. That means the same size window will provide less glass area than you’d get with a different window model.

Now, that’s not true with every model. For example the Impressions 9800 or the Reflections 5500 models do tend to have thicker frames but the Daylight Max or 5050 series will use slimmer frames.

The trick is that the slimmer models from Simonton tend to be their lower end designs so you give up other features when switching to those models.

So, you can get the nicer windows and features but you have to take the thicker frames. Or, you can get the slimmer windows with more glass are, but you get lower end windows. That’s not a great trade off if you ask me.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Keep in mind that a salesperson will typically tell you all about the downsides of any window model. The issues listed above are generally based in reality, but only you can decide how important they are.

It is true that most larger window companies don’t sell Simonton windows. They’re usually sold by smaller handyman or jack of all trade type of operations. That’s one indication that they’re not the best windows out there and they’re not a product my company would typically offer.

How can you find a great window company?

That’s easy. If you’re considering a window project you can check this section for recommendations for window companies all over the country. That’s the best way we know of to find a great local window company.

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13 responses to “Why You Should NEVER Buy Simonton Windows!”

  1. Scott Riley Avatar
    Scott Riley

    Tell Everyone that you own Window Nation. Most of this is opinion based. Anyone that will choose ALSIDE over SIMONTON, obviously is a salesperson that is lying! I’ll bet you with ATRIUM and SIMONTON combined and being under the Ply gem umbrella they sell more windows than any manufacture in the USA! Also, tell everyone here how you delete my post. You remind me of a false profit. You are a condescending liar. Tell everyone that you use Angie’s list to push customers your way. This should be illegal. Every window manufacture and brand are going to have some bad reviews. I have sold and installed thousands of SIMONTON WINDOWS WITH ABSOLUTE GREAT SUCCESS! I’ll put the 5500 up against any vinyl window. I really wish people from SIMONTON WOULD STEP UP and clear this mess up! I have a store front with many SIMONTON SAMPLES and I sell them all the time. Have for many years. Provia is a great window also. You sell ALSIDE and they truly do suck. I have warrantied out well over 50 ALSIDE sashes and glass. ALSIDE mezzo has great air infiltration numbers but what about all the other problems? Thin vinyl. Bowed sashes. Cheap glass treatment. Small cheap balance that breaks after a few years. Glued on weatherstripping on the sash corners. This is almost comical and you try to think you’re smart. You’re a con artist. I’ll bet you offer the $187 junk right up under WINDOW WORLD announcing “THE BEST FOR LESS” for $189 installed. Don’t run like a skeert cat like you always do or delete my post. Reply like a real man and show the world You’re not a coward.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      Hi Scott, it seems you may have me confused with someone else. I don’t own Window Nation. My company does sometimes offer Alside windows, but we offer other brands more often. We’re pretty upfront with what we do. I do think the Simonton 5500 windows are a better option for the salesman than for the customer. The air infiltration is high, the frames are thick, the visible transmission is low. That was a popular model 15+ years ago but the industry has moved on. I think there’s a reason you don’t see too many larger companies offering Simonton windows anymore. Good luck with your storefront.

  2. Brett Avatar

    Last October, after what I thought was a lot of research, I signed a contract with HD for Simonton 6500 triple pane windows. 32 double hung, 2 casement, 1 picture.

    The installation took 3 days and was completed yesterday. On final inspection, the installer and I found screws through the seals on 90-95% of the sashes. He wrote something up saying that all sashes were defect and all needed to be replaced. Once he turned that into Home Depot, I get a call from someone saying that its normal for there to be a screw through the seal and visable between the panes of glass. The installer noted that he has seen a drastic drop in quality control from Simonton since the pandemic.

    I just got back from the store with pictures and I am awaiting an update. I have never seen a screw between panes on a new window. The manager of the store and saleman agreed. Can you confirm this is ridiculous? Any ideas on how I should proceed? It seems obvious to me there will be an early seal failure and no argon gas. I am having buyers remorse after I thought I picked a good mid range window with solid warranty. Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      While so many things in this business can be ridiculous, I think that probably is perfectly normal. Depending on the type of spacer used, it’s probably the screw that closes the hole where the argon gas was inserted. After the screw gets inserted the outside of that area is covered with butyl to seal it up and it’s all done. It’s a pretty common way to seal insulated glass units.

      So, that would be my guess. I think it might be more ridiculous that the installer (and the salesman) didn’t know it was supposed to be that way. Either way, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If it was incorrect you’d see condensation between the glass pretty soon and that would be covered by the warranty. So, if you’re concerned just keep an eye on the glass, but I think it’s probably 100% normal.

      There are other reasons I don’t typically recommend Simonton windows, but I don’t think this is anything to worry about.

  3. Brett Guy Avatar
    Brett Guy

    Thanks for your response. I ended up pushing back on Home Depot. They contacted Simonton and were told it was a manufacturing defect. The screws were very inconsistent. They have reordered all window sashes for replacement.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      That’s interesting. Do you have any pictures you can send over? I’d be curious to see what it looks like.

      1. Brett Guy Avatar
        Brett Guy

        How can I send pictures? Do you have an email?

        1. thewindowdog Avatar

          Just sent you an email.

          1. thewindowdog Avatar

            Hi Brett, just reviewed these pictures and it absolutely looks like a quality issue from the manufacturing from Simonton. It’s not what I expected to see originally. I’m glad to hear they’re reordering parts for you. Hopefully everything gets fixed up. Let us know how it goes.

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