Great Lakes Windows Reviews
Read 23 Great Lakes windows reviews from consumers and industry experts on their complete vinyl window options. Great Lakes is owned by Ply Gem, a national material and building supply company.
Click on the Great Lakes model below for reviews. For general information, see 'General Reviews.'
Editor's Great Lakes Windows Review
Great Lakes is owned by Ply Gem, which is a big company that owns multiple siding companies and sells windows, siding, roofing supplies etc. This is probably a good thing in the case of Great Lakes because it means stability and a warranty that most consumers can assume is going to be there should they need it. Great Lakes makes decent vinyl windows - their Seabrooke and Lifestyle series, nothing particularly fancy, but solid. The Uniframe is a good vinyl window and depending on the price point, it should be a contender against some of the better vinyl windows out there.
Great Lakes Bayshore Windows Reviews
Editor's Bayshore Window Review
At one time, Great Lakes sold and marketed the Bayshore window on a standalone website. More recently, 2015 from what we could tell, the company revamped their site and did away with pretty much all of their product names on their site (at least their lower end vinyl windows). Instead they just sort of show you the style window that they offer, as well as the color, grille and glass options available. Interestingly, if you search for their higher end windows such as the ecoSmart or the Uniframe, you will find these standalone websites that market these windows. Our best guess is that this is a amarketing tactic that gets away from lumping their entry level vinyl windows as just sort of okay.
Great Lakes Bayshore vs Milgard Tuscany
I'm looking at the Great Lakes Bayshore and the Milgard Tuscany window.
The GL Bayshore is an alright vinyl option, but nothing special. I think it's overpriced. The Milgard Tuscany however is always good, they rarely have problems and last a long time. I think the Tuscany is a better choice between the two.
Great Lakes Seabrooke Windows Reviews
Great Lakes Seabrooke Windows vs Jeld Wen
Hi, I am really hoping you can help me. I own a condo which was built in 1984. In October 2013, I purchased Great Lakes Seabrooke Windows. These are brown on the outside, white on the inside, slide side to side and have no grid. One of the reasons I purchased this model was due to the ability to slide the screen into either position which was previously not an option.
[Site Editor's Response]
Ruth, the Great Lakes Seabrooke is a pretty low end mid range vinyl window (does that make sense?). However, I have never hear anyone say that Jeld Wen is far superior to Great Lakes, but again it depends what window series we are talking about in terms of the Jeld Wen. They should absolutely be able to tell you what model and series of window they are putting in. If they can't this would cause me a bit of concern and lead me to believe that they are using a builer grade vinyl to keep the price tag as low as possible.
Great Lakes Seabrooke Window Review
We are thinking about replacing our windows and are looking at Great Lakes Seabrooks installed by Windows Doors and More from Ft Wayne IN. We want windows that will last and improve our home. Would these be a good choice?
Sally, the Seabrooke Window is not a bad vinyl window, although it is their less expensive model (I usually recommend trying to stretch into the mid range series). The Uniframe is certainly a good vinyl window -- have you gotten window pricing on either this or the Lifestyles (mid range), just to see how they compare?
We still have more companies coming to give us quotes. One company, Bee Windows, makes their own windows. Their manufacturing plant is in Indianapolis. Can you tell us anything about them?
Sally, I haven't heard of Bee Window, I did go on their website and took a look, but there was not much information on their vinyl window specs. They sell Marvin Infinity windows, that's a good sign :)
Great Lakes Seabrooke vs Simonton Bronze
I've narrowed down my window selections to the Great Lakes Seabrooke and the Simonton Prism. First off, how does the Simonton Bronze compare to the Simonton 5500 window? I've never actually seen the GL Seabrooke, although I have read the brochure and they seem like a quality window. Are the Seabrooke and Simonton 5500 comparable? We are limited in window brands where we live, but for everything I've read I should avoid the big Home Improvement stores. Is that right?
[Site Editor's Response]
Steve, let's start out with the Simonton question. The Simonton Bronze is the equivalent of the Simonton Reflections 5050 Series, which is the entry level Reflections model - it goes 5050, 5300, and 5500. The Reflections 5500 series is the equivalent to the Prism Platinum, the higher end window model. I would recommend the 5300 and 5500 models, but not the 5050 or Prism.
Great Lakes Seabrooke vs Gorell 5300
I'm considering the Great Lakes Seabrook and the Gorell 5300. The price is close, warranties similar, etc. What makes one better than the other?
I don't think that the difference is that big, but Gorell in general is a better product. I personally like the looks of the Great Lakes better than the 5300 but as far as performance, build quality, and everything else the Gorell is better. A lot depends on what exactly you're looking for. Check out the Timeless and 5100 series.
Read more on Gorell windows reviews.
Great Lakes Window Complaints
I had 8 Great Lakes put in a couple of years ago and this spring 3 out of 8 windows have mold growing between the panes. I called to complain and they send new panes, but I wanted a full sash replacement. So now I have to find an installer to come swap out the glass. I'm disappointed because I was told they should last 15 to 20 years and it's been less than 3.
Great Lakes Lifestyles Windows Reviews
Great Lakes Lifestyles vs Simonton 5300
My husband and I are researching replacement windows. We had it down to Simonton 5300 model (or maybe it was 5500) through Home Depot or Great Lakes' Lifestyles through a local company, which seems to have a good track record. The local company was definitely more aggressive in their sales (after almost three hours of the "pitch" we ended up signing on) but they're definitely more expensive and over budget. The window styles are comparable, warranties too. But Home Depot quoted about $5000 and the local company quoted $9200 (after really intense negotiating we got it down to $7500.)
[Site Editor's Response]
Lauri, I do think Simonton makes a good window, the 5300 and 5500 models are quite decent vinyl windows. However, Great Lakes Lifestyle is very solid and probably comparable to the 5500 Series. I'm not surprised that the local company was more expensive, HD typically uses subcontractors who are often paid by the window, which means the quicker they get the job knocked out, the quicker they get paid. This is not a great recipe for quality installation.
Great Lakes Lifestyles or Ply Gem 9000
I am getting a variety of quotes for prime vinyl, double hung window replacements and now have approx. a $12,000 price difference in these quotes - 6 picture windows (4 transom above 4 double hung, 1 bathroom above a tub, and 1 super large in the kitchen dining space) and 14 double hung (4 that are oversize). The quotes were all from TVA listed companies. After doing more online research I came across your site and have been stumped by the various reviews regarding the manufactures.
[Site Editor's Response]
I'm not sure what the 9000 Series is from either Ply Gem or Great Lakes - GL offers the Bayshore, Seabrooke, Lifestyles and Uniframe window models. I would ask what replacement window model the 9000 Series is most closely associated with, I've listed them here from entry level to premium (the Uniframe is the Great Lakes premium model). I would also ask to the rep to give you the performance numbers on the Series he is suggesting (U-factor, SHGC, AI and VT) in order to compare them to the Sunrise option.
Great Lakes Grandview Windows Reviews
Great Lakes Grand View 4000
I was planning on Pella windows because I used to work for them and I know they're a decent company. But the contractor that I want to use really likes Great Lakes, and I trust him and know that he knows what he's doing. He likes the Grand View 4000. They are expensive and the numbers look good, but I'm not sure because I don't know much about them.
Great Lakes Grandview Review
Great Lakes has really good customer service. I've been installing them for years, and whenever I need a part or have a problem, they are all over it. I'd rather work with them than anyone else.
Great Lakes Window Review
Great Lakes makes a good window. The Grandview is a pretty good deal for the price. They have some seal failures, but from what I've heard they always send new glass without a lot of hassle.
Great Lakes Grandview 5000 Window
I have a bunch of windows to replace - sliders, double hung, casement, and a sliding door. I've pretty much narrowed it down to a few choices. They all qualify for the $1500 tax credit, which is nice. I'm looking at:
[Response From Contractor]
The Simonton is always a good bet. Great Lakes makes good windows, and they have good customer service. Either would be ok. I would stay away from the Alsides unless the money is a problem.
Read more on Simonton windows reviews.
Great Lakes Uniframe Windows Reviews
Editor's Uniframe Window Review
The Uniframe is the premium vinyl window from Great Lakes and generally consider a very good vinyl window. I would put it at the bottom of the first tier vinyl windows out there.
depending on the price point, it should be a contender against some of the better vinyl windows out there.
Great Lakes Uniframe Window Review
I have a quote for 9 double hung (on the large side 35 x 59) with grids, one sliding window 71.5 x 43.5, one sliding door 71 x 79.5. Interior white wood grain. Full screens. The cost of the windows w/o installation is $8900 for Great Lakes Uniframe. Does this sound high?
With the large sliding window and sliding door, plus all of the features, that price does not sound out of line. Have you gotten 1 or 2 more bids to compare this too? I would definitely do so and you can let the other guys know that you are collecting three bids to make sure that they are coming in with their most competitive price quote.
Great Lakes Patio Door Reviews
Great Lakes Patio Doors
We would want a vinyl door or a fiber glass one. But both the local contractor and HD said the doors are not standard size and need to be customized. Soft lite does not do customized doors in vinyl or fiber glass, hence the wood one by Marvin. A third contractor quoted $4500 only for smooth fiber glass patio door from Great Lakes. Is Great Lakes a good product? Do you think it is a better idea to have the windows and doors done by different contractors?
[Site Editor's Response]
Jackie, I don't think it's imperative to have the windows and doors done by the same company, as long as the different look of the hardware doesn't bother you. Great Lakes generally makes a good product, depending on the window model you select. In all honesty, I don't know much about the quality of their doors, I would imagine they are solid. What I would do is ask for the U-factor and air leakage numbers and see how they compare to the Marvin.
Great Lakes Comfort Smart Reviews
Great Lakes Comfort Smart Pricing
I came across your website while researching windows – great site and info! I’m learning a lot. I’m writing to ask your insights on brands, types and pricing.
[Site Editor's Answer]
Suzanne, you should be able to get an excellent vinyl window within your budget, although it does sound like there is some extensive installation work so let's see how the bids come in before I make that claim. I think you should see if you can find the following brands sold by local companies -- Okna, Sunrise, Soft-Lite and Zen. With the exception of the Zen, I believe all three of these brands come in an interior laminate that may or may not match your interior. These laminates should be as realistic as the Comfort Smart or better and also offer energy efficiency -- although I'm not sure how they compare to the triple pane Great Lakes bid you received.
General Great Lakes Windows Reviews
Great Lakes Vinyl Replacement Window Issue
Tim, we had Johnson Window & Siding company replace all our windows in our 1910 two story house with "Great Lakes Solid vinyl replacement window - natural woodgrain". They are double hung half screen windows with now name that I can find. The sun has faded and peeled the finish on the top of the bottom sashes. We would like to replace the damaged ones, but have no idea what brand or quality they are since our bill only said "Great Lakes Solid vinyl replacement window - natural woodgrain". Johnson Window and Siding no longer exists. How do we go about finding replacements for the "replacements" with no name on them? Could I send pictures of them to you? The have two slide latches on each sash for removal besides the locking latch. We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
[Site Editor's Response]
Ken, there should be manufacturing information written somewhere on the window, often in the corner of the glass. I'm not quite sure how Great Lakes does it, each manufacturer tends to handle this a bit differently.
Great Lakes Windows Warranty
Approx. 18 months ago, we lost a seal on one of our many Great Lakes windows. I am STILL attempting to be able to buy a replacement panel. Their warrantee, which is still valid and still posted on their web site, guarantees that windows are covered for 20 years on a pro-rated basis. Since the windows were already 17 years old when the seal let go, we were aware we would have very little warrantee to apply to the purchase, and we accepted the fact that the purchase would be mostly our responsibility. To date, I have contacted them by phone, thru dealers, thru a web-site representative, & thru the web site in the contact us section.
Great Lakes vs Vista Windows
We've gotten several window estimates for whole house replacement windows. Most of our current windows are low quality, builders grade aluminum. We're looking at low-E, argon, double pane windows and are deciding between 2 companies. One uses Vista Window Co and the other uses Great Lakes Window. I see mixed reviews on both, and the price for the Vista windows is much less, so I'm wondering is it a good deal, or should we pay more fore Great Lakes? Any advice appreciated.
[Site Editor's Response]
Sunny, on the face of it, Vista and Great Lakes have roughly the same reputation in the industry. To be honest, both are known as good middle of the road vinyl window manufacturers. Neither is considered top tier, but they are both quite solid, which is a good thing for you. Vista carries one principal vinyl window, which they call the Panorama, while Great Lakes carries 4 different grades of vinyl windows. So my first question would be, which Great Lakes window did you get the quote for? I would say the Panorama from Vista is comparable to either the Lifestyles or Uniframe model from Great Lakes - the Uniframe is GL's premium series, while the Lifestyles is their step down. I would say the Bayshore and the Seabrooke from Great Lakes are both a step below the Panorama and I would not recommend these models over the Vista.
Great Lakes vs Ply Gem & MI
Allied Building Products has a private label window called "Cutting Edge" and I'm trying to figure out who manufactures it. Any ideas?
They're made by MI. They are also sometimes called Xacts. They are a cheap, builder grade window designed to be the lowest cost possible. If you have your heart set on Allied, look at the PlyGem Premium or Great Lakes 5000. Before you buy anything take the time to check out Okna, Gorell, Sunrise, Polaris, and SoftLite. With any of those, you'll be getting a window that's worth your money and won't fall apart in five years.
One Customers Take On The Windows
In the 1990s I was an installer with Great Lakes. They do have strong fused corners, and the glass is great, low-E, argon filled, all that. They're also good about providing replacement parts quickly and without hassle. I think their biggest weakness is the darker colored vinyl frames can warp when the temperatures change too much too quickly. If they've taken care of that issue, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
Great Lakes vs Sunrise
I like Sunrise a lot, I think they're one of the best on the market. I wish I worked with them, but I rarely have the chance to. They've been around a long time. They definitely beat Great Lakes, Plygem, or just about any other brand. I'm not familiar with Seaways but they seem decent, but Sunrise is always a good bet.
Read additional Sunrise windows reviews.
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