Replacement Window Recommendations From Contractors & Installers

Replacement Windows Reviews Header

Home : Review Topics : Recommendations From Contractors

Contractor & Installer Recommendations

Our replacement window recommendations from contractors and installers. See opinions from industry insiders on what they think are the best windows out there.

Get Our Recommended Window List

Also please consider filling out the free form on our site for 3 quality window price quotes — it’s how we afford to provide free consumer information. We’re not incentivized by ANY company and will help you with ANY questions you might have, and help you navigate ANY bids you receive. That’s our guarantee to you!

Replacement Window Recommendations #1

Rotten Wood On Window Frame

Two of my Pella double casement windows with wood inside/vinyl outside are rotted at the bottom of the glass. Can I purchase replacements for just the portion of the window that moves/opens circled in red below and not the entire frame?

Outside of the house is vinyl sided with aluminum wrap around a series of four sets of side by side double casement window units, meaning that I would need quite a bit of exterior aluminum wrap replaced if I had to change out the entire window and frame.

Is there a different suggested fix? A way to repair the rotted bottom section of the glass casing? Thanks

Diane - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Diane, once the wood is rooted, unfortunately there is very little you can do. You can call your local Pella rep or take pictures and send it to them, but I would imagine that there is no way to repair a portion of the frame. When replacing the windows, you would need to remove all of the exterior aluminum wrapping, which would certainly add to the cost of the repair.

One suggestion is to find a few local window companies to give you free project bids to replace the windows - even if you aren't ready to actually do the project. One, you are getting free professional advise. Two, you are getting several opinions that should, after the 3rd one, give you a pretty clear idea of what options are open to you.

It's possible that you could just replace the two windows that have issues with and the look of the new windows will be close enough to pass muster. I wish I had some better news or advise, but without seeing it in person, this is what I would do.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

The Okna 500 series is one of the best windows out there. I wouldn't call the Harvey bad, exactly, but they aren't even close to the Okna 500. Your price is going to vary a lot from dealer to dealer and installer to installer. I'd find the dealer that offers you the best deal, but you don't want an installer that's going to cut corners and do a sloppy job. You have to be willing to pay a decent price for the install. A great window put in badly will leak and look like crap.

Harry - Contractor in Wisconsin - from 2012

Replacement Window Recommendations #2

My A Team would be Sunrise, Okna, Softlite and HiMark. I would also throw in the Polaris Ultraweld, Energex Elite and possibly Gorell's new products now that they were acquired by Soft-Lite (although I may be jumping the gun here, so let's wait on this one). My B Team would by Great Lakes by PlyGem, Simonton and Vista. However, the issue I have with the B Team is that they are often sold at premium prices when they are not the same quality as my A Team. If you can get the B Team products at a good price and with professional installation, you will be happy.

Holland - Installer - from 2012

Replacement Window Recommendations #3

Marvin windows are widely considered one of the best brands on the market. While there are some differences from one Marvin line to the next, they are almost always going to win out when compared to any other brand with similar features. The Sunrise Restoration is one of the few that beats it, with way lower air infiltration numbers. One factor many people overlook is what the numbers are on a 10 year old window as opposed to one that's sitting in a showroom. There's a lot of debate as to what has the best stats after a few years of use. The Marvins are pretty much going to make anyone happy, with consistent performance and good customer support (and you will pay for this quality, although not as much as an Andersen). Oknas and Sunrise are good, too, if for some reason you don't love the Marvins. When it comes down to it, to get a good window you're going to have to pay for it, and the bargain brands just don't perform.

Steve - Industry Guru - from 2011

Soft-Lite & Sunrise

I really like both Soft-Lite and Sunrise Elements. SoftLites 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

Replacement Window Recommendations #4

I'm curious how the pros think that Affinity Energex windows match up to Simonton and Okna. Thanks in advance for your comments.

George - Homeowner - from 2011

Just looking at the performance specs, they sure seem to be a good performer. Here is what I do know; Deceuninck produces a very good vinyl extrusion and this is what the Elite is using. The Energex Elite is their premium window and I know it's far better than the standard Energex. The Elite is a very nice looking window, well designed and made, has some great features and high end hardware, etc. I would put the Elite in my top 5 vinyl windows. I would say the standard Energex is on par with the 5100 series from Simonton and the Elite is on par with the Okna 800. If I were choosing between the two, I'd go with the Okna just because the window has been out and tested much more than the Elite.

Matt - Contractor - from 2011

Replacement Window Recommendations #4

The Gorell 5100 doesn't look like much, but take a look at the 5300. It's one of the best windows out there. Definitely one of the 5 best vinyl windows on the market, along with the Polaris, Sunrise, Okna, and Softlite.

Bill - Installer from Texas - from 2009

Read more on Sunrise windows reviews.

Recommendations For The West Coast

In California, I'd look at Anlin, Milgard, and Amerimax before buying anything else, they are all good companies with good windows and a reasonable price.

Jerry - Contractor in California - from 2006

Read more on Milgard windows reviews.

Replacement Windows Versus New Construction Windows

Am replacing old vinyl windows due to condensation and poor installation. Am uncertain whether I should be looking at replacement windows or new construction windows since I am also having vinyl siding installed on home (will cover old asbestos siding that has been partially removed).

Am also trying to decide if I should go with an all vinyl window or a wood clad window. Any advice on whether one or the other is better suited for my area of the country (Charlotte, North Carolina)? Want to hopefully stay in the mid-range price. Have looked at Jeld-Wen, Pella, Ply Gem and Simonton. Had to rule out Andersen - too pricey.

Dianne - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Dianne, hi, thanks for the questions.

Insert windows, also sometimes called pocket, replacement and retrofit, are the cheapest replacement windows. In most cases these are projects that don't have any issues with the frames, sills or jambs. You can pay from $75 to $125 per window. You lose some glass area using this method.

Full frame installations or new construction are big jobs that require the jambs, sills and stops being removed to get to the rough opening. Much more expensive, but necessary if you have water damage or wood rot.

The best way to know is to collect some bids and have the installers make the recommendation for your project. I always say get as many bids as you need to come to a reasonable understanding of what your best option is in terms of installation.

I'd say 90% of homeowners should go with a vinyl window over a wood clad. Lots of benefits -- energy efficiency, cost, maintenance, and life span.

I'll include a list of quality windows and brands.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Select Type Of Window
Select Frame Material
Window Brand Quality
Installation Requirements
How Many Windows?
Zip Code

Private Policy