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Thoughts on Ply Gem Windows?

BillA's picture

I'm looking at replacing old single pane windows on a 1950's cabin. I have a quote from a Ply Gem retailer. When I Google "Ply Gem window review" I see a lot of negative comments, although there was a comment that the Premium Grade windows are good. They appear to have 3 grades: Builder, Professional, and Premium. Anybody have any experiences they can share?





Decent Value in my opinion (post #199296, reply #1 of 7)



I've used Ply-Gem as a home builder on about a dozen projects. We've always used their Pro-line mid grade PVC window. 

For reference, The three grades of window should be re-named.

Builder = el Cheapo. Only used by homeowners who don't know better, or builders who need to save a few bucks on homeowners who don't know better. Sorry, thats a bit harsh, but generally true. The Gremlins of the window world

Professional = Good Builder Grade. Used by the majority of builders for production home projects.  These are your Chevy and Honda models. You get what you pay for, and you know what you are getting. 

Premium = Architectural. Usually a significant improvement on quality of the 'little' things. Gaskets, architectural details, frame insulation and structure. Think BMW or Volvo.


I've found the Ply-Gem product to be on par or better with most other manufacturers Professional windows. Architectural manufacturers like Marvin, Andersen, Loewen or Pella generally make their entry-level window to be similar to the Premium window of a Ply-Gem. 

Regardless, I would classify Ply-gem to be a balanced value window. The price is on par for Professional windows, and certainly better than the Architectural companies. The quality of finish is not flawless. Its not unusual to see little extrusion blemishes on the pvc, and a fair bit of flex in the frame. 

A conscious installer doing a pro job of plumb and square, and ensuring the flanges or brickmolds are fixed adequately will protect you from the vast majority of complaint issues associated with this grade of window. Oh yeah, and be sure to watch the window flashing videos on the Fine Homebuilding site, they are excellent. 

Hope that helps. Good luck!

Jeff Rempel


Decision is Ply-Gem vs Milguard (post #199296, reply #2 of 7)

Thanks a lot for taking the time for a detailed response. Trying to choose between those and the Milguard Tuscany windows. The quotes came in close enough that quality is a better discriminator than price.

PlyGem Windows (post #199296, reply #3 of 7)

How does the PlyGem Alenco 2 1100 series window compare to the Vanguard windows.  It seems the price to replace the same number of windows is about the same/different contractors.  Thanks.

Ply Gem (post #199296, reply #4 of 7)

We had 11 windows installed in 2011 - the quality appears to be OK - we had an issue with one window that cracked and was covered under warranty. EXTREMELY poor customer service – had to constantly follow up with these people. My opinion – steer clear of this manufacturer. If you have problems down the road, you will regret purchasing Ply Gem.

I had the wood clad windows (post #199296, reply #5 of 7)

I had the wood clad windows installed.  At first they installed the cheap-o window by mistake which was all vinyl and they are junk.  I like the window I have now.  Many suppliers recommend them over anderson saying ply-gem is equal and anderson you just pay for the name.

STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM PLYGEM (post #199296, reply #6 of 7)

STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM PLYGEM WINDOWS AS YOU CAN.  This is based on my experience with about 80 PlyGem windows in my 10 year old house.  They are worthless and so is their warranty department.  Before you know it, you will be trying to address leaks resulting in mold that can cause serious health issues.  Their warranty department blamed the problem on the builder.  While the builder claimed that their windows are cheap and no good.  My recommendation to you and everyone else is DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES INSTALL PLYGEM WINDOWS.  Now PlyGem siding is a different story.  I had it installed in one of my homes and it worked out really well.   

Ply gem windows (post #199296, reply #7 of 7)

A product can only be as good as the service. Ply gem service is terrible .I have broken window I need replaced and all I get is the runaround .One month later I still have a shattered glass window on the front of my house. My local glass installer is very frustrated with dealing with them also, so now I have to go through a 3rd party, the builder, which will cost me more. What a bunch of BS .I wish I had spent my $8k window package somewhere else .My architect was made aware and won't be suggesting ply gem windows in his designs in the future .