Soft-Lite Windows Reviews | Explore Homeowner & Contractor Opinions


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Soft-Lite Windows Reviews

Read 44 Soft-Lite windows reviews and explore opinions on their most popular window lines, including the Barrington, Bainbridge, Classic, Imperial Pro and LS and the Elements Series. Click to explore Soft-Lite windows prices.

Additional Reviews | Elements | Imperial LS | Classic | Pro | Bainbridge

Have a question for our site editors, Dane and Tim? Email them and let them answer your specific project questions. Make sure to include your email address so they can get back to you directly (we never use or sell your email, we promise. )

Please note, this website is in no way affiliated with Soft-Lite Windows.

Editor's Soft-Lite Window Review

Soft-Lite is one of the premier vinyl window manufacturer on the market, along with Sunrise, Polaris and Okna / HiMark. The company manufacturers 6 vinyl windows, the Elements, Imperial LS, Pro, Class Bainbridge and Barrington. With the exception of the Barrington (their entry level window), the other models are very strong at their respective price point. The Pro and Classic models are the company's older less flashy models that are nonetheless very good quality mid range vinyl windows.

The Imperial LS and Elements Series are excellent vinyl windows, with some very nice standard features, components and upgrades. Both are considered top tier vinyl windows and if you can get them at a competitive price point, you can't do much better than these. All in all, an impressive line of vinyl windows for the money.

Consumers should be aware that the overall performance of the Soft-Lite line up drops off considerably below the Classic model, mainly due the weatherstripping used on the Barrington and Bainbridge lines.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Simonton 5300 Series vs Soft-Lite Pro

Hi Guys, I have been reading your website and was looking for a little advice on two bids. I know they are apples to oranges. I have one bid for Soft-Lite windows, and one for Simonton. This is for 8 double hung vinyl replacement window in the St. Louis area. I guess i'm just curious if either of these estimates are reasonable. I imagine the soft-lite is a far superior window over all. Thanks!

Simonton 5300 Series $2800 double pane
5500 Series $4100 triple pane.

Soft-lite Pro-LS $4600
Elements Triple Pane $5300.

Len- Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Len, these bids are very reasonable. I like the Simonton 5500 and both of the Soft-Lite bids. I think any of these models would serve you well. The Soft-Lite is the better window and the Pro is a good vinyl window, while the Elements triple pane is an excellent vinyl window.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite vs Silverline Windows

What do you think about Soft-lite ARMOR IMPACT PLUS 5300 or Anderson 2900 series?

Bryan - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

The Soft-Lite Armor Impact Plus is a solid hurricane window, I am a fan. The Silverline 2900 is not a good window, definitely not a fan.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Elements vs Gilkey Double Hungs

Hi Tim, thanks for all your work on this site, choosing replacement windows is very confusing and it was a wonderful surprise to find a site like this. We have 11 windows to replace and are trying to choose between the Soft Lite Elements window $679 U value .19 triple pane and the Gilkey Double 366 window U value .26 $804. Both with Argon gas.

The Gilkey window looks like it might be a more sturdy window, and the installers are company employees, however the SoftLite window has the better U value. (Gilkey has windows with higher U values, but this is supposedly their best seller)

Thanks in advance for your opinion.

Ann - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ann, Gilkey does make a very good window, although they are also much less well known than Soft-Lite (no judgement good or bad there, just a fact). The Soft-Lite Elements is more or less considered one of the top 3 vinyl windows available. If it were me, this is what I would go with -- Soft-Lite has a very strong reputation and the Elements is truly an excellent vinyl window with an air infiltration that just can't be beat. At $680 fully installed, it sounds like a fair price point as well -- considering it's the less expensive of the two bids you have, I'd say the choice is easy. This is obviously assuming that the installation team selling the Soft-Lite is well reviewed and you feel confident that they'll do a good job.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Softlite Elements vs Revere Berkshire Elite

We are in the market for new windows for our home. We had a triple pane Softlite Elements bay window installed in 2013 and are interested in triple pane for the rest of the house. We got a very reasonable quote from a very highly reviewed company for Revere Berkshire Elite triple pane windows. Internet reviews are not favorable but no one is giving specifics as to why the Berkshire Elite is not a good window. We have found that the triple pane feature is relative new due to a redesign. Any insight you have would be appreciated.

Shannon - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Shannon the Revere Berkshire Elite is a decent window in my opinion. Revere perhaps doesn't have the best reputation in the industry, but I think the Berkshire Elite is a decent-enoug mid range vinyl window. I have no idea what the air infiltration rate or U-factor is on the window, but I would imagine with the triple pane option that you would be getting t least a lower U-factor.

I'd be interested in seeing how the Revere Berkshire Elite compared in price to say the Soft-Lite Elements or the Soft-Lite Classic. Number wise, the double pane in either one would be comparable or better than the Revere option. Certainly the Soft-Lite is a better window, but the price might not justify it.

At the end of the day though, a mid range vinyl window with professional and thorough installation at a good price point is a pretty good combination.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

[Shannon's Response]

Dane, we had another company come out and quote us Soft Lite Imperial LS windows. In total, we need 14 windows and a 6ft patio door. Both quotes are for triple pane, although the Berkshire Elite features double coatings of low E, making its U factor slightly lower than the Imperial LS (.22 vs .24).

Berkshire Elite quote: $9,044 and includes lifetime warranty on all windows, replacement parts and labor. Note this quote is from Window Universe and all reviews are extremely favorable.

Imperial LS quote: $10,151 and includes a more limited lifetime warranty on the windows, but only 1 year on the labor. This quote is from The Mintz Co. (aka Comfort Seal) and reviews are more limited, but still positive. We're having a tough time deciding between the two. Obviously the Imperial LS is a higher quality window, but the reviews with Window Universe in the Cleveland area are excellent and they offer a better and more comprehensive warranty. We plan on being in our home for awhile as we have two small children so this is more about comfort than re-sale value. What are your thoughts? Thanks again.

Shannon - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Shannon, if it were me, I would spend the extra $1K and go with the Imperial LS without hesitation. While the U-factor might be a bit lower, I have NO DOUBT that the air infiltration on the Imperial LS is much lower. The Imperial LS is a great window and honestly you will be better served long term going with a great vinyl window like the Imperial LS.

Triple pane is nice and all, but it also means more movable parts to fail over the years…

Just my two cents :)

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

[Shannon's Response]

Thanks so much for your opinion. To clarify, either brand would be triple pane. Would you be worried about the difference in warranty?

It's so nice of you to take the time to help people with what is a confusing and stressful decision.

Thanks again! Shannon

[Site Editor's Response]

Shannon, Sunrise has the better reputation in terms of servicing the warranty. However, it does sound like the company that sells the Revere offers a good service warranty. At the end of the day, I would go with the better product, which means less warranty issues down the road.

It is amazing how confusing the window industry, isn't it? It's almost like its made intentionally confusing…although I don't quite see the reason for it…

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Window Prices

I've received bids for the following for 11 double hung windows in Kansas City Missouri, replacing original wood windows in a 1919 built house. All prices include installation and include lead abatement.

Soft-Lite Elements (company 2) - $9,640
Soft-Lite Bainbridge (company 2) - $7,245
Soft-Lite Imperial LS (company 1) - $6,910
Soft-Lite Bainbridge (company 1) - $5,335

It seems to me look company 1 has a pretty fair price for both bids based on the Bainbridge difference. Also, company 1 did not try to hard sell like company 2 did. I feel very comfortable with company 1 as well since they offer a lifetime warranty on the installation, use own installers, have a great reputation in KC.

I'm inclined to go with the bid for the Imperial LS and skip the hassle of taking more bids from companies that I think would try to get more money for less window.

Does that seem crazy? Thanks for your help!

- Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Lee, assuming that you feel comfortable with company 1's installation (and obviously you do), I completely agree that the best option in the Soft-Lite Imperial LS at the $6910. I also agree that your search is over. The Soft-Lite Imperial LS vinyl window is one of my favorite!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite In Indiana

We are building a 16' x 32' cabin. We want extra tight construction and energy efficiency. We are looking for quality windows (and a door) with a very low U-factor (possibly triple-pane) and very low air leakage. We would like the best quality for the price, but will consider a more expensive but higher quality option. What would you recommend?

Michael - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Michael, I assume you are in Indiana - try Soft-Lite, they should have reps/local dealers in your state, I believe Gorell had a plant in Indiana that Soft-Lite took over when they purchased their assets in 2012 so that would be a good bet. I believe Sunrise also services your state and they make some very high quality vinyl windows. Also call up Okna windows and see if they have anyone who services your area.

These are the three top vinyl window companies that manufacture great windows with excellent energy efficiency. Each company make a number of vinyl windows so the window model has a lot to do with the performance and overall durability. I would start out with their premium window model and work your way down until you find the model that is in your price range and offers the performance numbers that you want. I would stay away from the entry level window from each company since it sounds like you really want something that will provide the best long term value and results.

When it comes to working with top vinyl manufacturers like this, you will get what you pay for (but still get a few bids because some dealers charge more for the same window or they get a better deal because they do more volume on a particular model etc. ) Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft Lite vs Renewal By Anderson

I need replacement windows (65 of them!). I have builder grade vinyl windows that are 17 years old and I never liked them. My house is in an upscale neighborhood outside Washington DC. I am trying to decide between Renewal by Anderson and Soft Lite.

I am concerned the Soft Lite will not look as good on my home. Both brands have mixed reviews on the internet—both installers have A ratings on Angie's List and I know people who have used them and been happy. The Anderson windows are almost twice the price, but I would rather spend it, than be unhappy with the final appearance of the Soft Lite windows. I am not sure the function of the Anderson window is as good as the Soft Lite, after reading all of these reviews. Do you have an opinion? Thanks, Kara

Kara - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Kara, my own opinion is that with the Renewals, you are paying a lot of money for the name Andersen. Performance wise, the Soft-Lite is going to blow the RBAs away. In terms of aesthetics, I agree that the Renewals are quite nice. For a vinyl window, I personally think that Soft-Lite makes a nice looking window. Are you concerned with how they will look on the outside or the inside? On the outside, I would guess it will look roughly the same, unless you are going with a color other than white. On the inside, the Renewals do look very good, but for the money you are paying you could probably do a Marvin Ultimate wood clad window, which is one of my favorite wood windows. But. . . .wood windows aren't going to last the way that composites or vinyl windows do and they require periodic staining, etc.

One option you may want to look at is a vinyl window with a laminate interior. Most companies do a rather poor to just okay job with their faux wood finishes, but the ones that do it well are impressive (this is completely subjective, especially if you live in a nice home, so take this with a grain of salt. ) Have you gotten a quote on the Okna 800 series? I think this is one of the nicest looking vinyl window on the market and I know they are available in your area. The window offers several interior laminate finishes that are pretty awesome looking and I like the array of hardware options. The Okna 800, along with the Soft-Lite Elements and Sunrise Restorations are generally considered the three best vinyl windows available - and the most expensive.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Simonton Coastal vs Soft-Lite 5300 Impact Windows

Would you recommend Simonton Coastal Impact Window for $800/ window or Soft-lite 5300 Armor Impact window for $711/ window? Both would be retrofit. Thank you for your input.

Jennifer - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Jennifer, I would have to say the Soft-Lite 5300 impact window would be my choice. While you didn't mention any of the features, glass package, etc. , from a purely "reputation" standpoint, the Soft-Lite is a first tier vinyl window, while Simonton is a second tier company. The fact that the window is also less expensive makes the choice that much easier.

Let me know how it works out, but I would say the choice is pretty clear!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Classic Windows

I got a quote for Soft-Lite Classic windows. The Great Lakes windows are the Seabrook (?) model, which the dealer calls the 6000. The Vista windows are not the Panorama, but are the the lowest level either. The Soft-Lite quote is between the other two, but I've been reading better reviews for Soft-Lite. Vista is about $15,000, Soft-Lite $18,000 and Great Lakes $22,000 for 36 windows. Thoughts? Thanks!

Sunny - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Sunny, I think the answer is very clear in this case. I would go with the Soft-Lite bid, certainly over the more expensive Great Lakes bid. I think it's a no-brainer to go with the Soft-Lite over the Vista Panorama at that price, let alone their mid range vinyl window.

The only question left is whether you feel that the installation from the Soft-Lite dealer is going to be of good quality. If so, I think you've definitely got your winner. Soft-Lite has one of the best reputations in the industry and I think you will be happy for years to come.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Envision Windows

I recently got a quote from Window Nation for Soft-Lite Envision windows, but I can't find this window on the company website. The local company that gave me the bid said that they are an exclusive window made for them by Soft-Lite. Is this a good window or not? Thanks.

Elliott - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Elliott, thanks for the question, I hadn't heard of this Soft-Lite model so I did some checking. It does look like this is a relabeled window that is marketed by Window Nation. This is a fairly common practice that companies use for marketing purposes, mainly because when they say "we carry an exclusive Soft-Lite window that is available to no one but us," it often sounds impressive.

Here is the deal on the Envision window - it's simply a rebadged or relabeled Bainbridge Model, which is listed on the Soft-Lite website. The Bainbridge is one of their entry level models (a step up from the Barrington). The window is not bad by any means: air infiltration of 0.06, DP40 structural rating, .29 U-factor, .28 SHGC and .37 VT.

However, it is not as good as a number of the other Soft-Lite windows, including the Pro, Imperial LS and Elements models. I would say that with good installation and a fair price point, the Envision should be just fine for most homes. I would certainly get a couple more bids to compare prices and features and to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Element vs Alside Mezzo Windows

Dane, Here is what I' m looking at:

One company is Alside Mezzo, case price 10,997 or 422.96/window

Another is Soft Lite Elements (free 3rd pane) discounted price?? 16,714 or 642.86/window

Another company is AMI (I imagine Alside, even though they say it is not Alside window) in the middle at about $450/window

They are all highly rated on BBB and Angie's list. I like the Soft Lite window (and the company - seem more trustworthy), but are they worth $220 a window for 26 windows????? My wife is hesitant to spend the extra 5700 for the Elements. We should be in our home at least another 15 years. The Soft Lite company is happy to divide up the job over a year or two and are not pushy at all. I'm not much of a haggler, but I wonder if 550 a window for the Elements is a fair counter offer??? I won't hold you responsible, so don't hold back. Just tell me what you would do if you were middle class cop with normal family and bills.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Mike, if it were me I would go with Soft-Lite Element for $642 per window. This is actually a very good price. However, there is no reason not to try and get them to lower their price :) It never hurts to ask and the worst thing they can say is no. I'm not much of a haggler either, although my wife is amazing at it.

Here is my approach that keeps me in my comfort zone when negotiating - "We really like the Elements window and want to go with you guys, but it is a little out of our price range. Is there any way to get that price closer to $600, $575 (insert whatever price you want) per window. If we could get here, we're all ready to sign. " Basically, you are saying that the business is there's, they just have to get you close to your budget. You would be amazed how often this approach works.

Perhaps they will come down in price simply for the business. They may also run through all of the options you've selected (glass, hardware, etc. ) and suggest a way to lower the per window price to something that you guys can better afford.

I honestly think you will be better served with the Soft-Lite than the Mezzo in the long run, but I understand that paying the extra money is a tough pill to swallow at the outset!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Zen Windows

I just received a quote of $12,900 for 20 Soft-Lite windows, the model is Nirvana (Classic) with half grid. Is this price reasonable? I am located in 02184, MA. This price include installation.

Wing - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Wing, without knowing any additional details, I would say that is a fair price. $645 for the classic, with installation, does not seem excessive. I would get a couple more quotes - Okna and Sunrise should be available in your state -get a quote from each of these to make sure that the price quoted is the fair market price for your particular project.

It is interesting you mention Nirvana, which is one of the window models of Zen Windows, essentially a private reseller of Soft-Lite windows, although I don't know much more about the relationship than that. Essentially, the Zen Karma is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Barrington, the Zen Nirvana is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Classic, and the Zen Lotus is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Pro. I would avoid the lower end Karma, but the Nirvana and particularly the Lotus are very well made windows. Peace. :)

Dane - Site Editor - from 2015

Sunrise Verde vs Soft-Lite Classic

I have estimates for 1 twin window and 2 sliding doors (where the door is non-standard 37x94). I am trying to decide between Sunrise Verde for both window and door) and Softlite Classic for window and (King Royal for doors). The quoted price is almost identical, so I'm trying to find out if there's any advantage between the two option in terms of quality of the product.

Magda - Homeowner - from 2015

[Contractor Response]

Magdalena, you have two excellent selections here and this alone puts you head and shoulders above most homeowners looking for replacement windows. I would say that the installer(s) should be your deciding factor at this point.

Have you checked references? This is a good place to start.

I like to call up the home office of the companies and ask them about the quality of the rep/installers in my area. They are going to be biased of course, but if they are really good, they will tell you. If they have had issues with them in the past it might come through in how they "praise" them.

Ask the installers how long the job is going to take. The guy who takes longer is often times the person who is going to be more thorough and do the job right.

Finally, what does your gut tell you. Lots of times, you get a better feeling from one over the other in terms of how well you think they are going to do the job.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Window Estimate

Old Pella windows, received price for Softlite triple glass Elements.
2 23.5x63.5 casements.
1 5 lite bow
1 120x66 casement.
1 172x80 sliding door.
2 31x18.75 awnings.
2 19x19 octagon stationary.
5 48.5x51.25 2pane casements.
1 23.5x51.25 casement.
2 33.5x19.25 awnings.

All windows and door will be new construction style. Quoted Soft-Lite window price of $27.000.00 with me doing the staining and poly on jambs and case moulding. Is this a reasonable quote?

Mike - Homeowner - from 2015

[Editor's Response]

Mike, from what I can see here, it looks pretty high in terms of a quote, but there are so many factors that I obviously don't know in terms of the job. Is there a reason that you getting triple paned windows - do you really need this, and can you get the quote for the double pane windows and see what this does to the price?

I would absolutely get a couple more comparable quotes so that you can really tell how they stack up against one another - I would try to get a quote on the Okna 800 and the Sunrise Restoration (there should be a dealer in you area for both of these manufacturers). These are going to be comparable window models in terms of quality and price and should give you a better baseline to compare price quotes.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft Lite Element Or Sunrise Ultra Plus

We can't decide between Sunrise Ultra Plus or Soft Lite Element Replacement Windows. We got quotes from both companies, Soft Lite being more expensive, but not enough for us to not consider them. Both companies have a solid reputation for installation, any thoughts?

Amanda - Homeowner - from 2015

[Contractor Response]

Amanda, both of these companies are very good and the windows you've selected are both excellent. If you feel like the installation is the same from both companies, I would probably go with the Sunrise Ultra Plus for the simple reason that it's less expensive. Unless there is something about the Element that you love such as the overall look of it, but honestly once the windows are in, you probably won't notice the difference.

Dane - Contractor - from 2015

Soft-Lite vs Vytex And Sunrise

I have narrowed down my quotes to the following, it is for 13 windows.

Company A sells Sunrise Vanguard - $8200
Company B sells Soft-Lite Elements - $7450 or
they sell Simonton Generations Model for $6900
Company C sells Vytex Heritage for $8550

The Sunrise seems like the better warranty and does not seem to include the same exclusions that the Vytex seems to have. Any advice will really help me.

Jenny - Consumer - from 2014

[Installer Response]

I would have to say the Soft-Lite Elements, that is a fantastic deal and almost too good to be true. The Heritage is overpriced in your bids and the Vanguard is a solid window but I don't see why you would pass up the Elements. Just make sure that the installer is thorough and doesn't cut corners.

Brady - Installer - from 2014

Issue With The Spacer

I bought 10 of the Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows. I noticed that the "superspacer" (the grey plastic looking spacer in between the glass) is uneven on most of the windows. On several windows, this plastic strip curves up on the ends. On two of my windows the end protrudes down slightly into the glass portion. I also notified the installer about this issue in case they actually fall off or protrude any further. I e-mailed the company but I have not received a response yet. On the positive side, the windows looks very stylish. My only concern is the durability of the superspacer and the "lack of quality control" image that they give off.

Paul - Homeowner - From 2014

Soft-Lite Windows Reviews

I've looked at so many windows I'm sick of them. I have 16 windows to replace and I've managed to narrow it down to the Okna 500 Insul-Tec and Softlite Imperial LS. The quotes I got were $9680 for the Oknas and $9920 for Softlites. Any opinions on which is better?

Rob - Homeowner - from 2012

[Contractor Response]

They are both great options that will last a long time. With a fairly close match I would probably let the installer be the deciding factor. Either window should last a long time and not give you any problems.

Daniel - Contractor - from 2012

[2nd Response]

Both of them are great choices. The Softlite is always a good deal, they're a good company and have some good options, I really like their Edgetech Super Spacer. They are also simple to reglaze if you need it. The Oknas are also really good, reliable and nice. I'd pick the one whose installer you like best.

Matt - Contractor - from 2012

Read additional Okna Windows Reviews.

Soft-Lite vs Pella And Andersen

Sunrise, HiMark, Polaris, and Softlite are considered to be a kind of elite, status brand. I'm not sure if that means they are really better than the big players like Pella, Andersen, or Marvin. I think a lot depends on the dealer you get then from, since that determines some of your customer service. The dealers here that pushes Simontons are ok, and another one sells Alside (along with others). I've dealt mostly with the one who sell only the Sunrise brand. They've been around a long time, and I have never had a problem with them, but not long ago they were bought by a new owner. I'm not sure how that's going to go. They people here who sell Himarks (an offshoot of Okna) don't have much of a reputation, and the only place around here to get Alsides is a store that mainly deals in auto glass. With such limited options a lot of people go into the city to buy.

Macky - Installer - from 2012

Imperial Pro vs LS Model

The Softlite Imperial Pro and LS are very different but some people think they're the same thing. The Pro is a solid window, but it isn't as good as the LS. Their numbers are pretty close, but the LS is a better quality, with higher manufacturing standards and better performance over time. I just did a job that put LS on the main part of the house and Pros on the garage and basement, it's a good way to save some money. The Pro is a good option for garages. A while ago they switched to a different extruding manufacturer and ever since there have been a lot of problems. They don't calibrate their machines right sometimes & the window width gets off a touch. I'd go with the LS, they don't have any real problems.

Mike - Contractor - from 2011

Soft-Lite Elements vs Sunrise Vanguard

I can't decide on what windows to get or who I want to install them. I'm getting 13 windows, and I've narrowed it to three options. I can get Vanguard Sunrise for $8233, it seems to have the best warranty of the three. My next quote was SoftLite Elements for $7446 or Simonton Generations $6908, same installer. The last guy quoted $8590 for Vytex Heritage, I like them but their warranty seems to have a lot of exclusions. I know it's important to get a good installer, and I'm not sure which is better. They all describe different ways to seal the air gap, the Vanguard installer says that a good measure doesn't leave gaps and that putting anything around the frame distorts it. The Softlite guy uses some sort of foam/fiberglass insulation, and the Vytex installer sprays in a non-expanding foam.

Keith - Homeowner - from 2011

Soft-Lite vs Sunrise Windows

I like both Soft-Lite and Sunrise windows. Soft-Lites have fiberglass insulation stapled to the jambs and head, which I think is stupid. For an insane fee they'll give you a foam insulating wrap, which is better, or low-expansion foam, which is the best choice. Personally, if your openings are level and square I think you do better to order a window that fits nice and tight, with just enough room for some shims. If your jambs are plumb and sills are level, you can usually get a good fit without doing anything too crazy. If you have really large openings, then you might need something a little more complex. Sunrise windows have a flat jamb and the foam tape they use sticks out a little. If you anchor them well, then spray foam insulation under the sills you can then seal the frame with silicone or something similar.

You also need to check out the extrusions and framing before ordering your windows. Some have a groove that they fit in, and I prefer leaving a little extra space and using spray foam to ensure a good fit. Foam rolls can help with a loose fit, they help get a tight seal and insulate too. I like have multiple lines of defense against water and air infiltration. A good seal, plenty of insulation, and a tight fit are all important. Ask your installer how they handle all of this, there are plenty of different ways to make sure a window is sealed and well installed.

Mike - Installer - from 2011

Soft-Lite Elements vs Marvin Infinity

My home was built in 98. The builder's windows are double hungs and I get awful drafts, condensation and frost in the winters. Last year we ended up with mold inside the glass. In Michigan we have hot summers but very cold winters. I need new window but I have a tight budget. We're going to do the upstairs now and the downstairs later. I plan to sell in a few years so I don't need a super great window, just something that looks nice and will last a few years. I'm looking at either the SoftLite Elements in vinyl or the Marvin Infinity in fiberglass. The quotes for the two are about the same. The SoftLites have some better numbers, but I'm told that after a few seasons of expanding and contracting they lose that. The Marvins have a metal spacer, and I'm a little worried that it will cause condensation, which is why I'm replacing the old ones.

Danica - Homeowner - from 2011

[Contractor Response]

The Infinity is nice, but the Softlite Elements is much much better. The vinyl won't have issues from expansion and contracting, maybe if you had a window the size of a bus but not for a residential window. They are designed to last a long time. I've done an energy audit on a house with windows around 10 years old and they blew a 0 air infiltration.

Holland - Contractor - from 2011

Imperial LS vs Gorell 5300

I need some advice on choosing a window. I'm looking at Softlite Imperial LS and the Gorell 5100 and 5300. Both with double glass, low-e coating, argon filled. Which is better? I'm waiting for final quotes on both of them, but I need to know the differences in quality.

Zed - Homeowner - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I think both of these are good windows, you should be happy with either one. Look into the installers, and if one seems better I'd go with that one. If they seem equal then just go for whichever is cheaper. They are both good, and if the installation and price are comparable then just pick one.

Steven - Contractor - from 2010

Soft-Lite Bainbridge vs Pro

SoftLite redesigned the Classic and Pro series a few years back, and they are really similar to the Bainbridge in terms of quality. Personally, I really like the Bainbridge. It's better than the ones you usually find in big box stores, but they are an affordable window and not too hard to install. It also has a thinner frame, which is nice for smaller openings when you want to maximize light.

Jeff - Installer - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I like the Pro, it has double strength glass and a Super Spacer that isn't metal. It has a very traditional design, while the Bainbridge has rounded edges for a little bit different look. Both have foam filling, the Bainbridge also has a foam insert and the Classic and Pro use injections. But they are very close to the same window, pretty much the same features and everything.

Mike - Contractor - from 2010

Soft-Lite vs. Seaway

I live in Virginia and desperately need to switch my old single pane aluminum windows - I can feel the cold just seeping in! I have a bid from a local company that sells Seaway Encore windows and I'm getting 5 casements and 16 hungs. I haven't found much on them and don't want to go with them until I get some more information. The bid price was $10,500, which is $500 per window and is including the installation. There isn't any work to the frames so I'm not sure if this is a good price or not. I also have an estimate from one other local company that sells the Soft-Lite Elements windows and this was $14,000, which is $666 per window.

Kelly - Homeowner - from 2010

[Contractor's Response]

I've installed Seaway windows in the past and they are a good window. $500 for the Encore with installation does not seem excessive to me, I would say that's probably right in the middle of what you could expect (without having seen the job of course). The Soft-Lite Elements is a great window, better than the Encore for sure. I would have the Seaway rep quote you a price on the Ovation series. But the Elements window is really good and $666 is also a very good price. I'd probably go with the Soft-Lite, unless that Ovation comes in at $550 and then you might consider that.

Holland - Contractor - from 2010

Imperial LS vs HiMark And Okna

The HiMark is better than the Simonton as far as looks and appearance. If you want a premium window and aren't in love with the HiMark, then the Marvin Ultimate is a good option. The Imperial LS are top tier, too, but they still aren't better than HiMark or Okna.

Todd - Installer - from 2010

Imperial LS vs ProVia Integra 300

I'm trying to decide between Provia Integra 300 and Softlite Imperial LS. The Softlite seems sturdier and seems to fit the frame better, but the bid is $650 more. That isn't a huge amount, but are they worth that much more? The Integra has a double compartment in the sill, but I don't know if that really cuts down on drafts or just makes it harder to clean.

Sam - Homeowner - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

You should take a look at the Softlite Elements. I like it a little more than the LS. The ProVia is good too and you should be happy with either one.

Harry - Contractor - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I really like ProVias doors. I haven't used their windows but the company is reliable. As far as Softlites go, I think you can never go wrong with any of their windows. The price difference is hard to determine, $650 is nothing if you're ordering 30 windows and it's a whole lot if you're only getting 2. I don't know the specs on the Integra, but I think it's NFRC certified and qualifies for tax credits, if you get the low-e and super spacer package.

Will - Contractor - from 2010

Bainbridge vs Ideal 5000

I'm looking for info on the SoftLite Bainbridge and Ideal 5000 Series. Any input?

Richard - Contractor - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I don't know a lot about the Ideals, it isn't something I see much. The Bainbridge is pretty solid, they have good numbers and Soft-Lite stands behind everything they make.

Wayne - Contractor - from 2010

Imperial LS vs Vanguard vs Energex

I think the Energex units are right up there with the Sunrise Vanguard, as well as the Okna and Soft-Lite brand (of course it really depends what series/model we are comparing). Each window offers some nice unique features that will fit different consumers needs. The Sunrise has a nice slim profile so if maximizing window glass is important, I'd go with this one. The Soft-Lite Imperial LS offers great value from a company that has been around a long time and is super well regarded in the industry. If you are willing to go with a newcomer and new product that looks good but lacks much in the way of real world data (and will save you money because of it), then the Energex is your go to choice.

Thomas - Contractor - from 2010

Customer Price Comparison

I need 21 windows for our Kansas City home, one a large picture window. We plan on staying in the house, so we want something that looks good, will last a long time, and have decent energy efficiency. So far, I have estimates for Window World Series 6000 at $9250, Easton Vinylmax $11,300, Softlite Imperial LS for $12,850, and Simonton 5500 for $12,530.

Brenda Homeowner - from 2009

[Contractor Response]

The SoftLite is the best of those, in my opinion. Simontons would be my second choice. The Window World is the lowest quality, I wouldn't even bother. The Vinylmax might be okay, but it's a smaller company without a proven track record. I wouldn't spend that much on a company with so little info available.

Brad - Contractor - from 2009

Private Policy