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Zen Windows Reviews

Read 24 Zen windows reviews from homeowners and contractors to explore popular series such as the Karma, Nirvana and Lotus window models.

Have a question for our site editors, Dane or 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.)

Zen Windows Prices | Zen Karma | Zen Nirvana

Zen Lotus | General Reviews


Editor's Zen Window Review

Zen Windows sells Soft-Lite Windows, an Ohio based vinyl window manufacturer who enjoys one of the better reputations in the industry for quality windows and patio doors. The company sells three window series; the Karma, Nirvana, and the Lotus, which are based on the Soft-Lite Barrington, Classic, and Pro Series, respectively.

The Zen Karma uses a narrower frame than the Classic and Pro; it's considered their entry level series. The Classic and Pro models, however, are good performing windows that might lack some of the newer features of the Imperial LS and Elements models, but still are tried and true high quality vinyl windows.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016



Zen Karma Windows Reviews

The Zen Karma is the company's entry-level offering and is actually a relabeled Soft-Lite Barrington window. While Soft-Lite is often in the conversation as a top tier vinyl window manufacturer, the Barrington isn't my favorite window by any means. It's quite decent when compared to other company's entry level windows, but that isn't saying much. In general, I don't recommend that consumers go with the low end offering if they are looking to maximize long term value.

The Zen Karma series includes the following standard features: double weatherstripping, a lock/tilt latch, constant force balancing, and a nice exterior molding. Consumers can get the Karma model in brown, beige, or white or beige for the interior and exterior. While I would suggest most consumers "stretch" into the Nirvana or Louts models (similar and both quite good), the Karma window isn't a bad option for budget conscious consumers.

Dan - Site Editor


Zen Karma Window vs Silverline 8600

Hi, my husband and I are looking to replace ten windows in our home and the contractor is talking up the Silverline 8600 series.

We haven’t been able to find a whole lot of reviews on these windows. We don’t have a lot of money to lay out and don’t want to have to worry about them in five years’ time.

Can you give us any sites with info/ reviews and or your professional opinion? Thanks.

Joni - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Joni, usually on this site i recommend to most homeowners that they go with a mid range vinyl window from a credible and known manufacturer. However, if you are leaving your home in five years, you don't have to worry too much about the quality of the windows. However, you still want to get good installation because slip shod work could get you some real headaches come winter.

Here are some windows that you could consider. I would probably sneak the Silverline 8600 series in that list, although the 9500 would be my preference when it comes to the Silverline. If you are buying from the big box stores, go in and talk to the guys working the windows section and ask them what their favorite window is and what they would put in their house. Then go find your own installer with good references and experience.

Zen Karma
Soft-Lite Barrington
Sunrise Essentials
Simonton VantagePointe Series
Simonton Daylight Max Series
Ply Gem Pro Series
Milgard Styline
Silverline 9500

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017






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Zen Nirvana Windows Reviews

The Zen Nirvana is a relabeled Soft-Lite Classic window. This is an upper end mid range vinyl window that has been around for quite some time, but is quite a good design. It comes with nice features, components, and options. It's a step down from the Soft-Lite Imperial LS and Elements, but still quite a good vinyl window.

Tim - Site Editor


Zen Nirvana vs. Polaris ThermalWeld Plus

I’m looking to replace 21 double-hung windows with a good mid-range vinyl window in my house located near Cleveland, OH. All windows are double pane with grids, low-E glass, argon gas, foamed filled frame and sash, 7 have tempered glass in the lower sash as required by code and 4 are oriel style. Here are my quotes:

Zen Nirvana (relabeled Soft-Lite Classic)--$10,800 ($514 ea);
Polaris ThermalWeld Plus --$10,752 ($512 ea);
Polaris UltraWeld--$12,075 ($575 ea);
Simonton Prism Platinum --$18,286 ($871 ea) and
Universal Window Direct Unishield Plus--$15,550 ($740 ea).

After reading your website, I know you really like Soft-Lite and Polaris. Both companies manufacture their windows Ohio about an hour from Cleveland: Soft-Lite in Streetsboro and Polaris in Youngstown. The installers for Zen and Polaris both got excellent reviews. I like dealing with the Zen franchise owner, who lives less than a mile from me. Considering price and quality, which do you prefer? Great website…thanks for sharing all your knowledge. Carl

Carl - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Carl, you are right on about the Zen and Polaris bids (plus they are the lowest!) The Soft-Lite Classic at $514 is excellent. However, I might have a hard time getting away from the Polaris UltraWeld for $575 – that is a fantastic deal on a really great window.

On the other hand, if you are close to the Zen dealer and feel comfortable with them, there is something to be said for that. I think you have two really good options.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018


Zen Classic vs. Pella 400 & Marvin Ultimate

Hey guys - we are shopping for 16-18 double hung windows to replace our late 90s wood windows. About 10 are oversized (31.5 x 72) and the rest are 31x 62. We have gotten quotes from Zen (Softlite Classic or Pro), Pella (I think 400) Marvin Ultimate, RbA, Sierra Pacific, and Window World (Aldine?) and are awaiting a quote on Softlite Imperial LS and Elements.

Our Brentwood, TN colonial home is in a neighborhood where some neighbors have replaced old wood with vinyl, some with wood. We think we want muntins at least on the front, and we want to stay in the home for at least 20 years. Trying to decide the best way to go - quotes have ranged from $9k for Sierra Pacific vinyl to $50k from RbA (reduced to $27500 during the closing pitch). Aluminum clad wood quotes were around $18-20k. What is the smartest move from a durability/resale perspective?

Thanks - hope that is enough info to help define the question. Brentwood has 8 months of hotter weather and about 2-3 months of usually pretty mild winters.

Appreciate the help!

Neil - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Neil, if you are looking to maximize your investment and get a durable window, then the Softlite Imperial LS and Elements is the best vinyl window out there. I would rate these windows over the Marvin Ultimate, but the Ultimate is an excellent fiberglass window (my notion is that the Ultimate is going to run 30% more than the Elements).

The Softlite Classic or Pro is going to be my next pick – quite a good mid range vinyl window. Below this is going to be the rest, which I’m not going to endorse given the options you currently have.

Wood clad windows are going to be less energy efficient and will not last as long. Check the Softlite Imperial LS and Elements in an interior laminate. They look similar to wood, but without the issues.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

[Neil's Reply]

Thanks, Tim. Any thoughts on what a reasonable price per window should be in those lines? Also, I can't find anything online that actually lets me see the frames of these windows (Elements, Imperial) compared side by side with the Classic and Pro. Is there a resource I am missing? I have seen all the Zen videos comparing Classic and Pro, and I've seen the individual videos for Elements and Imperial, but nothing crossing that line.

Neil - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

The Classic and Pro might range from $450 to $650 and the Elements Imperial might range from $550 to $750. I think that’s a fair range for project that don’t involve complex installation.

This page has good info and links to each of their windows and how they compare. Otherwise, the best person to ask is the Soft-Lite rep who comes out and gives you the bid!

http://www.replacementwindowsprices.com/companies/soft-lite-windows-prices.html

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018


Zen Nirvana vs. Ply Gem 6000 Series

I currently have 3 quotes for windows.

Ply gem 6000 series $8400
Zen Nirvana $9200
Vi Win Tech 6000 $7100

What is the best window out of the three?

Thanks.

Vincent - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Vincent, I think the bid prices reflect the quality almost to a tee. The Zen Nirvana is the best of the bunch, then the Ply Gem 6000, and then the ViWinTech windows are at the bottom. How many windows is this for?

I would try and go with the Zen Nirvana if you can as this is a good window. However, there is nothing stopping you from leveraging the lower prices of the other bids to see if you can drive down the bid price from the Zen dealer. Here is an article that suggests an approach to do just this.

http://www.replacementwindowsreviews.co/review-topics/negotiating-a-home-window-bid.html

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

[Vincent's Reply]

Dane, thank you for your response. This is for 17 windows. What about Pella Therma Star? I received a quote today that is for about $6500 for those. Are they a good window?

Vincent - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Vincent, that's a decent price for the Ply Gem and Zen, but definitely not on the low end of what I've seen. I would see what I could do to work them down in price.

The Pella ThermaStar is an awful window and you should not put that in your home. It is consistently rated one of the worst windows by consumer reports (and CR only tests retail windows, which is a low bar to begin with).

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

[Vincent's Reply]

Dane, thank you so much for your help. I was able to get the plygem down to $7400, which includes lead safe practices for 17 windows. The Zen window dealer is still at $9200 with lead safe practices. So he went down some but the lead paint brought it back up. I’m thinking of going with the plygem as it’s more in budget. Do you think that’s a good quality window or should I pay more for the Zen? Thanks.

Vincent - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

I think at $7400, the Ply Gem probably becomes the best deal, but still not necessarily the best window. I would say this -- if you get good and thorough installation on the Ply Gem 6000 window, I think you should be just fine. Just make sure that the company has a good reputation and will be around to address any concerns that may come up in the future.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017


Zen Windows vs Wincore Windows

I have 5 quotes listed below for my Austin Texas location. What is my best option or should I look for more quotes. Project scope: 15 total windows, some large some eyebrows with legs..

4 = 70L x 47W
2 = 70L x 22.25W
3 = 70L x 35.5W = (total 70Lx106W grouped together/connected these 3 windows fit 1 large opening
3 = 52L x 47W picture+eyeb
1 = 28L x 58W picture+eyeb
2 = 82L x 34.25 picture+eyeb

Quotes:
1. Product Wincore 5400 $10,489.75
2. Zen Soft-lite Nirvana = $16,211
3. Zen - Kensington = $10,041
4. Simonton Vantage Point 6500 = $13,984
5. Simonton P Plat = $16,045

Thank you.

Jon - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Jon, I like the Soft-Lite Classic (Zen Nirvana), but it's also your highest bid so I don't want to pick it without giving you a little more of my take on all your other bids. Wincore makes a decent window, but I like their upgraded 7700 series more. I'd be curious what the company who gave you that bid would price out the 7700 at...if it's at $12000 or less it's definitely something to consider.

Forget the Zen Karma, I don't think that window is very good. Simonton's VantagePointe is just sort of okay in my opinion.

Installation quality has to come into effect so make sure that whoever you go with offers quality installation, good reviews and a labor warranty on their work.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016


Zen vs Simonton Windows

We just tore out a rotten window sill at our home yesterday (not the remodel project.) In our area, in vinyl, the local distributors carry Silverline, Pella, Simonton and the smaller companies (which I agree we should stay away from because the warranties are not great and the companies may not be around later for warranty work.) I have not looked at the home stores and hope not to because that seems to complicate things more. You have confirmed my feeling about the Silver Lines. I suspect that the same scenario applies to Pella.

I looked for Sunrise and Soft-Lite, but only found Zen about 40 miles away from the construction site. I will check into the other brands you mentioned, but if they are not available here that really only leaves Simonton reflections 5500 and Platinum Prism as worthy options here. They are expensive, but they seem to have a decent warranty. Again, I thank you so much for your help.

Nita - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Nita, the Simonton 5500 is a good window. Call up the Zen dealer and have them come out and give you a bid. Tell them you only want a bid on the Nirvana and Lotus, not the Karma model. The Nirvana and Lotus are the Soft-Lite Classic and Soft-Lite Pro (confusing right?)

Both of these models are quite good and are often at a nice price point. Not always so, but often. The more bids you have, the stronger your negotiating position.

Good luck!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016


Colorado Window Cost Quotes

Hi folks, I've been using your site for days now and would love some assistance. I have received 6 quotes from different companies in Longmont, CO and have my 7th in about an hour. Here is the breakdown of companies and quotes. Could you help rank these? I feel like my brain is suffering from information overload from trying to research all these companies and products. Also, we've only just bought the house and lived here 10 days! These are all for 17 windows, all same color and action and includes installation.

Renewal By Anderson - Composite - $38k
Zen Windows - Nirvana - $11k
Zen Windows - Lotus - $12k
Conservation Construction - Conservation 5 Vinyl (Amerimax?) - $16k
Pella - Impervia Fiberglass - $21k
Pella - 250 Series Vinyl - $16k
Alpen - 525 Series Fiberglass - $16k
Alpen - The Huntington (Kensington?) Vinyl - $10k
SolarGlass - Marvin Integrity Fiberglass - $17k
Colorado Window Source - Sunrise - $17k
Colorado Window Source - Amerimax Craftsman Portrait w/ 366 glass - $13k

Based on the reviews I've found on your site, RBA seems overpriced to the point of not worth it. Price is a big factor, but value is probably a bigger one.

Josh - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Josh, you have a lot of bids here and some very good brands represented. I agree that you can toss out the RBA at more than double the cost of the other window bids you have. I also think you can toss the Pella Impervia fiberglass option and the 250 quotes, the Impervia is not a very good fiberglass window in my opinion and the Pella 250 price quote is at the same range as the real winners of the bunch.

At the top of the heap for me would be the Zen quote, which is a Soft-Lite Classic and Pro, both windows I like quite a bit. They are also the cheapest, which is nice to say the least. Zen is a franchise which calls for some consideration, how experienced are the installers, what kind of a labor warranty do they offer, etc.

The other two that I like are the Amerimax Craftsman Portrait window and the Kensington Huntington Window, each of which offers a good product and the bid price seems reasonable.

If you really like the fiberglass option and are considering going this route, I would put the Alpen 525 and the Integrity on par with one another. But at roughly $1000 per window, that's a lot of money, they must be big windows. Let me know what you decide!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

[Josh's Response]

Thanks for the response. So, the Sunrise quote was still actually unsettled, and I used the higher end of the range when we emailed you. The official quote came in at just under $15k for the Sunrise. So, we will be going with Sunrise. Somewhat more expensive, but by reading a lot on your site as well as others, taking a look at the Sunrise warranty, seeing how they hit great energy ratings using glass only to not rely on the gas fill, having the dual action sliders instead of single, and their use of noise reduction glass, we think this is the better value purchase.

Also, since the price ended up where it was, we can afford to replace a patio door as well. So we're pretty happy with our decision. Thanks so much for hosting your site and offering the personalized advice/feedback. We really appreciate it!

I will try to email again once we have gone through the install so you will have some more feedback on the installation company. With the combo, we are getting lifetime warranties on both the window and the installation, so there is a lot of peace of mind there.

Josh - Homeowner - from 2016


Zen vs Simonton Platinum Prism

Thank you for your reply. I realized after I sent my question that my bid for the Zen Windows included a painted exterior, and the other two quotes did not. Once I eliminate that, the Zen Nirvana window comes in at only $1,000 more than the Amerimax Craftsman Portrait, and about $200 less than the Simonton Platinum Prism.

It sounds like from your answer that the Simonton would be your third choice of these three? I admit that, though all three installers get great reviews on BBB, Angie's List, etc., we like the Simonton installer the best, though that's more of a feeling than anything concrete. Would it be a mistake to choose the Simonton for the installer; are the other windows that much better? Thank you!!!

Margaret - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Margaret, the installation is very important, I always say 50% windows, 50% installation. The Simonton Platinum Prism is a good vinyl window, I'd probably put it on par with the Amerimax Craftsman Portrait, but I would put the Soft-Lite Classic above these. But by how much, probably not a huge amount. If it were me and these were my options, I'd go with the installer who I felt was going to do the most thorough job, installed quite a few of the window I selected, and gave me the best overall feeling (and obviously had great reviews).

I have to say on the windows alone, I'd probably go with the Zen if it's only $1000 more, but again, the installer would probably be a bigger factor with the selections you have. Let me know how your project goes!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016


Zen Windows Price Quote

I received a cost quote of $12,900 for 20 Zen windows, the model is Nirvana (Classic) with half grids. Is this price bid reasonable? I am located in Massachusetts. This price included the 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






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Zen Lotus Windows Reviews

The Zen Lotus is a relabeled Soft-Lite Pro window, which although not a new design by any means, is a very good vinyl window. The Soft-Lite Classic and Pro are quite similar to one another, achieve good performance numbers and are quite well made.

The Lotus comes standard with some nice features and components, including a super spacer, good vent locks, frame foam fills, locking screen latch, delta safety locks and a metal reinforced meeting rail. It can be ordered in a number of interior wood laminates, as well as some 15 exterior color options. I especially like the wood laminates, which look quite realistic and provide the look of wood, without the cost and maintenance requirements.

Dane - Site Editor


Zen Lotus vs Soft Lite Pro Series

Hello, I am in the market to replace 28 windows. I currently have 1972 vintage Rimco insulated wood windows with 4 newer Anderson 400 windows mixed in. A lot of the Rimco glass panes have been replaced about 7 years ago but the windows feel drafty when cold and I am looking for better noise reduction properties. I have gotten a quote from Zan Windows for the Lotus Triple Pane windows and was quoted $575 per window.

I know that the Lotus is the Soft Lite pro, which is a decent window, but I am curious on what I am losing out on by a not going with a company that has the LS series. Also, I have 2 large windows in the garage and 5 that face out into a sunroom with more modern windows. Do I need triple pane units there or can I save some money with double pane? Will there be a noticeable difference in appearance if seen side by side? I also have been talking with Rosario Windows, but right now I am leaning towards Zen.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kevin - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Kevin, the Soft-Lite Pro is indeed a good window -- with a low-e glass you can expect a .07 air infiltration, .28 U-factor, .29 SHGC, and .53 VT rating. The Imperial LS is a step up for sure and with a low-e glass, you can expect a .02 air infiltration, 0.28 U-factor, 0.23 SHGC, and a 0.44 VT.

The AI figure is the one that is most significant and is an overall barometer of the quality of a window. The Pro is good (basically its an older model, but many consumers really like it), the Imperial LS is great. I would think though that a triple pane Soft-Lite Pro would have numbers in this range. $575 per window is a great price for that by the way.

It certainly can't hurt to get the bid on the Imperial LS if there is a dealer in your area. Otherwise, I would say go with the Lotus Triple Pane.

Regarding triple and double pane, it really depends on where you live. Colder climates can require a triple pane for the increased energy efficiency. I would just be wary about large span windows with the triple pane. You just want to make sure that the frame can handle the extra weight. My notion is you aren't going to have a problem with a Soft-Lite window, but still ask if this is the case on any.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

[Kevin's reply]

Thanks, Dane. I appreciate to the response. I live in Columbus, Ohio. I was also wondering how they would insulate and gaps around the window frame with spray foam if they are not taking to whole unit out, like in a full window installation.

Kevin - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

You should be able to get a bid from Okna, Soft-Lite and Sunrise in Columbus.

It all depends on how they cut the existing window out. They might just use some low expanding foam if there is enough room. Often the replacement window fits in with virtually no room for insulation — just ask each company that comes out how they would handle this — after a few bids, you'll get a consensus for how they will handle it on your project.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018


Zen Lotus vs Apex Windows

Dane and Tim, your site has helped educate me on the differences in windows. I am looking to replace 22 windows in an 1895 Queen Anne on the southside of Atlanta, GA.

I currently have three estimates and wanted your thoughts as well as potential other vendors to contact

Zen Windows Nirvana - $11,858

Zen Windows Lotus - $14,058 (+2200 on the Nirvana)

Apex Windows - $15,571 (told me that a price increase will occur on March 1 to try and pressure me to make a decision)

Marvin Infinity - $31,000 (about $5,000 is for sill work to replace some of the old wood (5 windows)

Thanks for your help!

Paul - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Response]

Paul, the best bids you have are on the Zen Nirvana or the Lotus. Nice pricing on both. I would probably spend the extra two grand for the Lotus window, which is a relabeled Soft-Lite Pro and quite a good vinyl window.

Apex is sort of known for their high pressure sales tactics, no need to look here.

Marvin Infinity is a good window, but simply not worth additional $15K.

I think this is sort of a no brainer, but I would see if I could get Zen to come down a bit in price (even though it looks good to me). Never hurts to try.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018


Zen Lotus vs. Soft-lite Elements

Is the Soft-lite Elements the same window as the Zen Lotus? I'm confused. All I can figure out is that the Soft-lite Classic is the Zen Nirvanna. Apparently we have Zen in Austin, Texas, not Soft-lite. Would you go with the Nirvana or get the equivalent to the Soft-lite Elements if I can find it? Thanks!! Jan in Texas

Jan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jan, Zen Windows sell three models, the Karma, Nirvana, and the Lotus. These are relabeled Soft-Lite Bainbridge, Classic, and Pro Series. So the Lotus is the Soft-Lite Pro.

The Bainbridge uses a more narrow frame than the other two models and isn't the vinyl window I would recommend for most homeowners looking to maximize their long term investment.

The Classic and Pro models, however, are good performing windows that might lack some of the newer features of the Imperial LS and Elements models, but still are tried and true high quality vinyl windows.

While the Elements would definitely be my choice, if it isn’t available, then there is little you can do. I think the Soft-Lite Pro model is quite good and I would have it in my house.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018


Zen Lotus Windows vs Alside 3100 Series

I have the following bid. The price includes all tax, labor, materials and picking up and hauling away all job related debris. Price includes all construction needed to convert current openings.

Install (14) "Lotus" Triple Pane Double Hung Windows by Zen Windows: $8500

Install (14) Alside Model 3100 Triple Pane Double Hung Windows by Zen Windows: $7200

Install (4) Hopper Double Pane Windows by Zen Windows: $220

Jim - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

I like the Zen Lotus part of the quote — the Soft-Lite Pro model, which is the Lotus, is good and $600 per window is a decent price.

Why the 14 Alside windows? I'm just not a fan of Alside to be honest and it seems weird to have two different brands of windows that look different in the same house. Again, my opinion.

If it were me, i would see if i could get all Lotus windows for $14.4K (the price they quoted the alside out at). I would say that if he could get to this price, I would sign a work order that day and be ready to go. Then I'd see what he said...

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017


Zen Lotus vs Simonton Prism Platinum Windows

Looking to replace 11 double hung windows and 1 large double casement and I am trying to chose a decent windows for a mid-range price. Currently have quotes on the Simonton Prism Platinum and the Zen Lotus. For installation I have a highly recommended company for the Simonton and for the Zen I would be using their contractors. I have read numerous pros and cons on both window manufactures. Pricing is slightly lower on the Zen but I am looking for recommendation on the better windows and warranties. I would appreciate any suggestions.

Al - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Al, the Simonton Prism Platinum window is quite a decent window, but the Zen Lotus is the better of the two. The Lotus model is the Soft-lite Classic, which is quite a nice vinyl window and the one I would go with. Make sure the Zen franchise owner and their installation team has a good reputation and offers a labor warranty.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016






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General Zen Windows Reviews


Zen Quote vs. Prism Platinum

Your blog has been a life saver in making some sense out of window replacement!! I'm a little further in my endeavor & have rec'd my first bid.

The quote is from a Simonton rep showing the Prism Platinum double hung vinyl window. The replacement opening is 70.5"W x 58.5"H. He showed me the sample window & described how two DH windows are attached side by side. I was quite shocked to learn that the "window mull" (frame) between the two windows would be 6-7" wide! That a lot of vinyl to look at & cuts out a HUGE amount of viewing area. I don't seem to be able to find the data I need to determine what other good to very good manufacturer may have a slimmer "mull". In your expert opinion I'm hoping you can guide me. I ruled out Slider windows because of the look of my house & existing window treatments.

One other note Simonton customers might want to be aware of is the notion of egress. The Simonton rep told me that my size windows, which I didn't think were small, would not pass code by about an inch on the DH because the frame takes up so much space - another reason I'm looking for alternatives.

I did not go with the Zen dealer because he wanted me to agree to his quote by phone or email before I could even see his window or meet him. I understand his business model is "get a quote in 5 minutes," but it's my choice NOT to sign anything site-unseen.

Again, Dane, thank you for the valuable service you provide sharing your expertise & honest opinions!!

Jan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Simonton windows tend to use quite a bit of vinyl in their frames. Is there a reason why you don't do a picture window across the span? Or if you went with a higher end brand like a Sunrise Restorations that uses a thinner frame, you might be able to do an XOX where you have casements on the side and a small picture window in the center.

I think you need to bring more people out and have them toss out ideas for the opening and really explore the options. I tend to think two double hung next to one another is an awkward look. There has got to be something better than that out there.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018


Zen Window Replacements

I am attempting to assist me nephew and family who lost everything in Hurricane Harvey. They need to replace all windows and I have some questions and would like to get some bids for them.

Thank you.

Donnie - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Donnie, you are welcome to ask me any questions you have. In terms of vinyl windows I recommend in Texas, I would say a higher end Simonton Impressions 9800, Don Young windows (they make an excellent aluminum window and a good vinyl window), Milgard vinyl windows also has a line specific to the Texas climate. Finally, I believe there is a Zen windows in Houston that is certainly worth getting a bid from. Good luck with your project, I can't imagine how hard it must be to rebuild after Harvey!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017


Zen vs. Window World

I've been given a quote for WW Extreme Gold windows. I have 14 windows and I'm getting screens, grids, and triple pane. What other options should I look at for window companies that are going to be in the $7,000 range. What would be a good cost for these? Also, should I get tempered glass or forget that option. I live in Louisville and plan on staying in the house 5 more years.

Also, do you know anything about Zen windows? In particular their high end triple pane one?

Jim - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jim, I haven't ever heard of the Extreme Gold windows per se. I google it and nothing came up on any Window World website, which since they are a franchise, there are lots of sites. I'm certain this is a relabeled window, but honestly I don't know which window, so I can't comment specifically about the quality.

At $500 per window, I think there are some good options out there that I might recommend over Window World. As far as WW goes, you want to investigate the quality and reputation of your individual local franchise. Independent online reviews are the best way to go about this process.

I would get some competing bids to see what else is out there. Your neck of the woods might not have as much variety as others, but I'd look at Zen, Sunrise, Soft-Lite, Polaris, and Okna. As far as Zen goes, many of these franchises use the low to mid range Soft-Lite windows that are relabeled (the mid range they offer are good, their low end is just mediocre).

However, I have been hearing that some Zen dealers are using other relabeled windows -- if and when you do get your other bids, send them my way and I'm happy to give you my take on what you have!

Dan - Site Editor - from 2017


Zen Polaris UltraWeld Quote

Dane, I promised to circle back after I made my window decision and I've done so, please let me know what you think. I ended up going with Polaris Ultraweld casement windows from ZEN windows.

10 Series 8450 Casements: $5500
1 Series 7400 Picture Window: $460
$75 charge for debris haul away

The look of the casement window from them was much better than many others with both a nice beveled design on the outside, good specs, good seal, good spacer between the glass, low e and argon fill. Any questions please let me know. One note, the estimate accidentally left off grids, I am actually getting grids included for the same price, I confirmed that with John at ZEN windows.

Ken - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ken, the Polaris UltraWeld is an excellent choice. I actually didn't realize that they sold this window, but I'm beginning to see that different Zen franchises handle different lines of windows. I'll have to change my overall approach to Zen going forward, so thanks for opening my eyes to this!

The Polaris Ultraweld window is a very well made window. The installed cost on the windows seems very competitively priced to me. Congrats on getting a good window at a very good price.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

[Ken's Reply]

Well my local ZEN franchise doesn't push Polaris and I didn't even know they had them until Bob, the guy from your site that you connected me to, let me know that he was going with Polaris through ZEN and was happy with their double hung windows. I had to wait 2+ weeks until John my local ZEN franchise guy could get the brand new casement demo window from Polaris to bring by my house.

The screen fit nicer than most other casement windows I examined and the outside of the window has an extra finishing piece around the glass that looks much nicer than most other windows that are simply flat on the outside. I am going with white and it was nice to see they used a white seal on the casement as opposed to say Heartland windows that ZEN also carries that has a black seal and basically looks like your window is outlined in black. John says he's asked Heartland to make them with white seals and they won't even though they use white seals on their double hungs.

I could not find air infiltration numbers for the Polaris windows, do you have any? But I figure that casement windows are usually pretty good in that regard. The numbers for heat, light, etc. were all very good with Polaris. I also liked the crank and hinge mechanism on the Polaris window as it seemed sturdier than some of the other windows I inspected and since I've had a casement window literally rip itself off the house on a windy day before, I wanted to be sure the hinge mechanism was stout.

Of course the greatest window in the world could be crap if it isn't installed right and I contacted a few people who had ZEN windows installed locally including Bob from your site and everyone spoke highly of the install crew and the job that was done, so I'm hoping for the best. I will, of course, update you after the windows are installed. Happy to send pictures if you'd like.

Ken - Homeowner - from 2017


Zen Windows vs. Don Young

I need to replace several wood clad windows in my home. I would like to get an estimate of the cost involved for Don Young Vinyl casement replacement windows?

What is the price range I should expect for a 56x60 Sunshield 2 Lite professionally installed. The window sizes range from 48x60 to 48x72.

It is impossible to find comps on the various web sites.

Any help you can provide is appreciated.

Richard - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Richard, the reason it's so hard to find comps is that each project is so different from one another. There are tons of upgrades and options available on the windows themselves that throwing out a price per window is virtually impossible.

Get the bid from Don Young and then get a few more bids to compare it to. This is the best way to see what the fair market price for your project is. Maybe get a bid on a Milgard Tuscany, or from Zen windows, Gilkey if in your area, even Simonton (you want to stick to their Impressions or higher end Reflections series windows). Others to look for include Okna, Soft-Lite, Amerimax or Polaris.

Get your bids, compare them, and then use the different bids to get the lowest price on the bid that seems like your best option.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017


Zen Windows vs Sunrise

I'm helping my daughter near Atlanta with research for the first phase of replacing all of their windows - seven this time, six replacing old wood frame stopped in glass with vinyl replacements, full frame units required. Six are on a southwest A frame wall. Four are trapezoids.

In her area, she has access to dealers representing Soft-Lite (Zen), Champion, Sunrise and Simonton.

We're looking at mid-range products but wonder if she needs to try for a product that offers LoE - 270 to get a lower solar rating.

Also, do trapezoids suggest a manufacturer(s) that might be better even though all the windows are custom built? I'm wondering about the demands of the two non-90 degree angles.

Many thanks for the education your site provides. My husband and I were DIY folks in our day, but vinyl window extrusions, etc. are a new ball game.

- Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Kathy, I like your 4 choices of window brands, all quite respectable, my two favorite of the bunch are Sunrise and Zen, whose mid range vinyl windows are very good. The type of glass you opt for will certainly affect your performance. The more low-e coatings, the darker the glass will be, so that's the trade off there. I typically think the standard low-e glass is sufficient, unless your windows are south facing and get lots of sun. In that case, you may want to upgrade to a low-e 2 or low-e3 (each company calls their glass packages by a different name).

Vinyl windows are custom made in a factory and the extrusions are simply cut on an angle to create whatever shape and size they offer - most manufacturers offer specialty shaped windows, so no, the fact that one company offers a trapezoid doesn't mean they are better than any other.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016


Zen vs Okna Windows

Thanks Dane, I don't know how you guys do all this. I am in touch with Soft-Lite (Zen) and leaning towards the Imperial LS. A couple of reviews on your site say the Pro is not as good. Our dealer seems very good and is fine with selling me some windows for DIY.

Sunrise is supposed to be sending me some information. Our local Okna dealer doesn't do new construction and will not sell windows for DIY. Thanks Again.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

The Imperial LS is a great window. The Pro is good too, it's just an older model that lacks some of the nicer features. Soft-Lite did a bunch of R&D and then integrated the newer features and designs into the Elements and Imperials LS. I don't think you can go wrong with either - plus it sounds like you have an installer you really like. Good on you!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016


Zen Windows in Missouri

I originally thought that I was going to do replacement windows. But the sunrise with the full frame I was looking at I would have to take my trim off on the inside. If that's the case I didn't know if there was a better window to go with as far as new construction. I always thought Anderson was one of the better windows for new construction do you recommend any other window at a fair price for a good product

Chris - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Andersen Windows is an expensive window and they are best known for their wood clad windows (which are expensive, but very nice.) For most homeowners, I recommend staying with a quality vinyl window - they offer better value, performance and overall durability.

Did you see if Vista Windows or Zen Windows (these are essentially Soft-Lite windows) services your area? You are in Missouri, correct?

I think at this point you need to get a few bids from some more companies to get a consensus on whether you need to go with a replacement or new construction installation. You may get some variation in opinions, but by the third or fourth bid it should be clear what the best course of action is. You will also get a better sense of pricing with a few bids and get to see and feel the different windows out there.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016


Zen Windows In Denver

How do I get/find an honest contractor? I live in Denver metro and am constantly quoted $1,500 to $2,000 PLUS for a casement windows that are 36" x 42"

Thomas - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Thomas, what type of casement are you looking for? Wood clad, composite, fiberglass, vinyl?

This is a lot of money if we are talking about any window that isn't wood clad (wood interior, aluminum or fiberglass exterior). However, I could seen this price if you have gotten bids from Pella, Renewal By Andersen, Loewen etc.

There are a number of ways to find a quality contractor that services your zip code, but this is my preferred choice. Find a local company who carries a quality line of windows and get 3 or 4 bids.

Marvin Infinity is a high quality fiberglass window that should be much more affordable than the price you quoted. They offer an interior woodgrain laminate that does a great job of mimicking the look of wood, without the maintenance required.

Sunrise ought to have several dealers in your area who can give you a bid. I found these guys doing a quick search for "sunrise windows denver colorado"

Soft-Lite markets their Zen windows in Denver and has a local dealer - google soft-lite zen windows denver and they should come up - don't go with their lower end window, use their mid range or premium option, the Nirvana and Lotus, respectively.

Amerimax is sure to have local Denver reps since the company is headquartered in Colorado. Amerimax is considered a step below Sunrise, but is still considered a good overall vinyl window manufacturer.






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