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Ensuring Proper install of High Perf Replacement Window

pjpfeiff | Posted in General Questions on

I’m looking to replace an uncomfortable west-facing picture window which is right where we like to sit, with a high performance unit (i.e. U=0.14, SGHC=0.2), and my main concern is getting a proper install.  This isn’t something I think I should tackle myself but I’m also not aware of high-performance builders in the area.  So specific questions I have are:
(1) Am I worried about nothing and most installers could do a good job?
(2) Or, any tips on finding a good installer?
(3) Are some units easier to install OR more forgiving of imperfect installs?  For instance, I have a quote for a thick IGU from LiteZone that could have a frameless install (they recommend this).  Would that be any easier to install/more forgiving than a window with a frame?  Or would it be harder/less forgiving?  Or is there no real difference? 
(4) Any windows I should be looking at outside of LiteZone or Alpen?  I’m assuming overseas brands are a poor choice due to the shipping for just one unit.

I am in the Harrisonburg, Virginia area if that helps.

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  1. tdh2106 | | #1

    Reviving this thread to see if anyone would be willing to share their experience with LiteZone?

    I'm presently between LiteZone, Alpen and a handful of other Canadian/European triple glaze windows. In the quotes I received, LiteZone's IGU was slightly more expensive for smaller windows and slightly less expensive for larger windows, as compared to Alpen's thin glass triple glaze. But the price paid per unit of thermal protection is vastly in favor of LiteZone (because costs are similar but U-Value/R-Value are WAY better). Other than price, I'm considering:
    --Whether LiteZone's frameless install imposes more labor costs or provides less protection to the envelope. My building science engineer and contractor did not think so.
    --Build quality seems to be high, but I do not have first hand knowledge.
    --The many layers of film reduce visible transmission. This can be counteracted with less low-e coatings, but that reduces the window's R-value. With fewer low-e coats, LiteZone can get ~45% VLT and 11+ R-value, which is still 'lite' years (ha!) ahead of the competition. We'll probably make that trade for our heavily shaded site.
    -- My architect thought the 4" thick frames and white interior would look odd. I don't think I'd mind.
    --Whether the company is doing enough business and has enough capital to be around for awhile. If they go bankrupt, their 25 year warranty (yay!) would not be worth anything (boo!).
    -- For what it's worth, dealing with both companies has been pleasant so far. I'm rooting for them both -- North America needs better window options.

    Thoughts anyone? Thanks in advance!

    1. pjpfeiff | | #2

      I can't help you because I went with Alpen. For just one unit it pretty well came down to shipping costs for me. But I would also be interested in hearing from someone with first hand experience for future projects.

  2. Tim_O | | #3

    Distance is going to significantly increase the cost of a window. Litezone is about as far as it gets from you before going overseas. I honestly wouldnt be surprised if a European supplier had cheaper shipping, you likely aren't terribly far from a port of entry. Seemray might be worth a look, as they are not terribly far.

    On the install side, maybe you can get a best practices install method from whatever window manufacturer you are interested in and buy the recommended material so your installer just needs to follow the recommendations and use the material you provide.

    Edit: I see you already purchased, I misread the reply above!

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