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Marvin wood/ultrex vs. Alside Mezzo. (Also, siding)

3 years ago

Hi all,

Background: My home is an 1980's colonial, suburban midwest. The windows are original, mid-grade Andersen double-hung (vinyl jamb liner, aluminum exterior, wood sash). No major problems, but the energy performance is terrible. There is a family room addition that has wood Andersen casements, and I was able to replace the sashes only in there for noticeable improvement in efficiency. Sash replacements aren't worth it for the double hung, so the main part of the house needs new windows, while the family room will keep the Andersens. Median home sale price in our suburb is 325k, and our immediate neighborhood ranges in value between 400-600, ours is roughly in the middle of that.

We have 18 windows, ranging in size from typical kitchen sink window to 65" tall double hung. I asked for quotes on Marvin windows while I was still learning the difference between the various lines.

One contractor gave me a quote for Marvin Ultimate $27,000. He said Integrity Wood/Ultrex is roughly the same cost. He also quoted Alside Mezzo for $10,800.

Obviously a huge price range. He made up a visual plan for an exterior update including siding, and is (probably based on my reactions to seeing siding samples) urging us to go with Alside Mezzo windows and Hardie siding. He said Marvin Ultimate windows are "the best" but are overkill for my neighborhood. He speaks highly of the Mezzo window, especially with the way he orders them with some upgrades (Low-E 3 and something about spacers). He said that the Mezzo is "the best" of performance for value. I haven't actually handled an Alside window in person. It struck me after he left that he didn't talk me down from Hardie siding or say that was too much for my neighborhood. He has been doing work in our area for around 30 years and does have a decent reputation.

We *could* manage the investment of the Marvin windows; it would just take budget from any interior updates that are kinda pipe dream at this point. But now I'm wondering if he's right that it's over investing for my neighborhood. My dilemma is: are these vinyl windows from Alside any good? Is he right that the price difference isn't entirely quality and performance but perception? If it were your house, how would you combine window type and siding? Would you do Alside w/Hardie or the switch, Marvin wood or ultrex with vinyl siding?

If you could share experience with either window brand that would be awesome!

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