When it comes to replacing your home’s windows, Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen are two of the biggest names in the window industry. But which brand is right for your home and budget?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen windows to help you make the best decision.
A Brief Comparison Table
Here’s a quick overview of how Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen compare:
|Vinyl, wood, fiberglass
|Vinyl, wood, fiberglass
|Many traditional and contemporary styles
|Many traditional and contemporary styles
|Solid vinyl construction, many glass options
|Thicker glass, wood interior finishes
Now let’s dive into the details on performance, aesthetics, warranties, and more.
In-depth Differences Between Ply Gem And Jeld-Wen Windows
- Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a top priority for most homeowners when choosing new windows.
Proper insulation is key for keeping your home comfortable and reducing energy bills.
Both Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen offer very energy efficient windows with low U-factors and multiple panes of glass.
Ply Gem’s triple-pane windows can achieve U-factors as low as 0.17, significantly limiting heat transfer.
Their double-hung windows have an average U-factor of 0.27.
Jeld-Wen is right on par with impressive U-factors as low as 0.16 on certain triple-pane models. Their Auralast fiberglass windows boast a 0.25 average U-factor.
So in terms of insulation, it’s a close race between Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen. Both utilize advanced technologies like low-E coatings and insulating gases to prevent heat loss.
When comparing specific models side-by-side, Jeld-Wen sometimes edges out Ply Gem slightly in energy efficiency ratings. But overall, both brands offer excellent thermal performance.
- Cost and Value
Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen windows range quite a bit in price.
As you’d expect, vinyl options are the most budget friendly, while wood windows command the highest prices.
Ply Gem windows fall into the moderate price range, typically between $200 – $600 per window installed.
Their vinyl models offer an excellent value.
Jeld-Wen sits at the higher end of the scale, with installed prices from $400 – $1000+ per window.
Their thick glass and real wood interiors add cost.
When it comes to bang for your buck, Ply Gem comes out ahead. You can get very energy efficient, durable vinyl windows that look great for a more affordable price.
Jeld-Wen does offer exceptional quality and craftsmanship though, so the higher cost may be justified for certain buyers. Weigh your budget and needs carefully.
The warranty coverage from both brands is quite similar.
Ply Gem’s limited lifetime warranty covers any defects in materials and workmanship. It also includes glass breakage coverage for a set period.
Jeld-Wen likewise provides a limited lifetime warranty on vinyl and wood windows that protects against manufacturing flaws. Their glass coverage extends 20 years.
One difference is that Jeld-Wen offers slightly longer finish warranties on certain product lines: up to 20 years on wood windows and 10 years on vinyl.
Overall, both Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen back their windows with reassuring warranties. For even more peace of mind, go with Jeld-Wen’s 20/20/2 warranty package.
- Styles & Materials
Homeowners can find just about any style they need from both brands. Traditional double-hungs, sliders, awnings, and casements are all available. For modern flair, there are also numerous geometric and custom shape options.
Ply Gem offers vinyl, wood, and fiberglass lines:
- Vinyl: Affordable and low-maintenance. Includes the Mastic Remarkable and Ply Gem Essential collections.
- Wood: Natural beauty with interior pine or oak veneer. See the Ply Gem Ultimate line.
- Fiberglass: Strong and thermally efficient. Features the Ply Gem Environments line.
Jeld-Wen also provides the three main construction materials:
- Vinyl: Budget-friendly and energy efficient. The Auralast collection is very popular.
- Wood: Gorgeous solid wood interiors. Choices like the Jeld-Wen Traditional line.
- Fiberglass: Innovative fiberglass-reinforced frames. See the Jeld-Wen V-2500 series.
No matter your preferred look, there are beautiful windows to match.
From colonial to modern spaces, Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen have attractive options for everyone.
Jeld-Wen does have a notable advantage when it comes to wood windows. Their real wood interiors provide a touch of luxury not found on Ply Gem’s basic veneers.
- Glass, Screens & Hardware
The quality of insulation glass, screens, and hardware all contribute to overall window performance and longevity. Here’s how Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen compare:
Glass: Both brands offer double and triple glazing with Low-E coatings and argon gas fill. Jeld-Wen goes the extra mile with thicker 3.25″ glass for better insulation. Some models even have foam-filled fiberglass frames for better thermal performance.
Screens: Ply Gem provides heavy-duty aluminum mesh screens secured with exterior glazing. Jeld-Wen screens feature corrosion-resistant steel and fiberglass construction. Overall quality is similar.
Hardware: Ply Gem equips windows with durable, color-matched metal locking hardware. Jeld-Wen goes for premium hardware like concealed stainless steel hinges and sash locks. These provide a cleaner look.
So when it comes to components, Jeld-Wen invests in thicker glass and more heavy-duty hardware. Ply Gem keeps costs down with efficient design. Either option will serve you well.
Installation & Replacement Process
Installing new windows takes precision and expertise.
Both Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen have an extensive network of qualified installers to make the process smooth.
Ply Gem uses approved technicians that are background checked and factory trained.
Installation is included with full product warranties.
For Jeld-Wen, you can select your own local contractor or use an authorized Jeld-Wen dealer.
Their installers must meet stringent certification standards.
No matter which brand you choose, have any rotted wood or water damage fixed prior to installation. And don’t be afraid to ask for references to confirm an installer’s reputation.
For window replacement, the process involves:
- Removing old windows and disposing of properly
- Preparing and sealing the window openings
- Installing new windows securely and sealing for weather tightness
- Testing operation and doing final adjustments
With experienced installers, this process normally takes 1-2 days. Proper installation is crucial, so take the time to find qualified professionals.
Pros and Cons of Ply Gem Windows
- Very affordable vinyl and fiberglass models
- Energy efficient with double/triple pane options
- Hundreds of styles to fit any home design
- Limited lifetime warranties
- Wide availability through dealers
- Not as many premium features on base models
- Limited wood window selections
- Mixed customer reviews on quality
Pros and Cons of Jeld-Wen Windows
- Exceptional energy efficiency with thick glass
- Gorgeous real wood interiors on wood windows
- High-quality hardware and components
- Numerous customization options
- Stain-grade wood models for paint/stain
- Much higher prices than Ply Gem
- Not as readily available at big box stores
- Some complaints about customer service
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about Ply Gem and Jeld-Wen windows:
Ply Gem makes decent quality vinyl windows at very affordable prices. Their lower-end models meet basic performance needs for the budget-conscious. Higher tiers like the Environments fiberglass line offer better features and construction. Overall, Ply Gem is a solid mid-range brand, but not luxury.
Ply Gem windows are made by the Ply Gem company, headquartered in North Carolina. They manufacture a wide range of exterior building products including windows, siding, doors, and accessories. Many of their windows are produced right in the United States.
No, Ply Gem is not owned by Andersen. Ply Gem operates as its own parent company. Andersen is a competitor in the window manufacturing business. However, some Ply Gem window lines are available through Andersen dealers. But the brands remain separate.
It’s hard to name the single “best” window brand overall. Top options include Andersen, Pella, Marvin, and Jeld-Wen for premium quality. Milgard and Simonton are great mid-range choices. For budget value, Ply Gem and Atrium are excellent. Consider your budget, home style, and energy efficiency needs when deciding.
For shoppers on a tight budget, Ply Gem is the way to go. Their vinyl windows provide excellent insulation at a very wallet-friendly price point. Just be prepared to potentially exchange under warranty if you receive any defective units.
Homeowners wanting top-of-the-line quality and genuine wood construction should look at Jeld-Wen. Their windows feature thicker glass and more durable hardware for superb efficiency and longevity. You’ll pay a premium, but the performance may justify it.
There’s no universally “best” brand here. Look closely at each company’s product lines to find the right balance of affordability and features for your situation. With proper installation, either Ply Gem or Jeld-Wen windows can be a smart upgrade over old energy-wasting windows.