We will be replacing our sliders in our bedroom due to condensation problems. Have narrowed it to either Anlin or Milguard. Had not previously heard of Anlin, but am impressed by their literature and side by side comparisons. Appreciated the fact that they are based in CA and have specialized in replacement windows for CA. Has anyone installed Anlin, and if so how long ago, and are you happy with it?
I am currently untertaking building a large Additon to an Eichler (single story- they have a nice lot) and part of the scope is replacing all windows in the existing as well as installing windows in the addition portions of the house. They have opted to go with Milguard (Aluminum), I can say that I am very impressed with the way that they stand behind their product. First of all, the glass has a lifetime warranty, that is, if the seal fails, they will replace the glass. Second, we had an "incident" due to the high wind storm where on of the slidng glass doors was damaged, and they have agreed to send a rep out to assess (and presumably fix) the damage. Their pricing index is really hard to beat (I have not been able to find a vendor with a similiar warranty for the same price range) and the product is well made (in Sacramento or Hollister).
The major limitaions with Milguard is that they really increase the price for custom sizing (any size other than 6'8", 6'10" or 8'0", and widths must be at 1' or 6" increments. Also, the frames for slidng glass doors are intended for new construction, that is, they have nial-on flanges, and if you have any 8'0" applications between beams, slight modifications must be made to fit the frames between the posts and beams. Last of all, if you have any applications involoving replacing a slider with a fixed window above it (Any Eichler floor plan with 10' ceilings may have this), you will have to do some tricky fabrication with aluminum to create a header piece that will take the weight of the fixed window above the door (Milguards' engineering staff is trying to solve this issue with the project architect at present).
Unfortunately, I have no direct knowedge of Anlin products, just second hand info, but hopefully all the pros and cons of Milguard that I talked about might help you do comparision shopping.
Also, you might want to explore the option of getting a price on new construction rather than replacement windows, because if done properly (i.e. maufacturing the redwood trim on site to match the original trim, properly flashing and sealing, knowing where siding ends and trim begins etc.) new construction windows look like they really belong in an Eichler, rather than having frames installed over existing frames; reducing the window size and really looking like replacements. The biggest benefit to Aluminum replacement windows is that the frame is smaller than wood or vinyl, so you get more real esate on glass vs. frame, especially on remodel/replacement type windows. The upside to replacement windows are:
1. No permits are reqired in most municipalities around here (except San Carlos- No Eichlers that I know there anyway), therefore you don't need to meet egress reqiurements. (Check w/ local bldg. dept.)
2. Easier to install; less labor= less $$
If you need a good Milguard source, I have an excellent referral for Windows in the Mid-Peninsula (better prices than Home Depot and great service, installation available, and they have Milguard deliver them to your home-less handing), email me directly for their contact info. Hope I had some helpful info.
Renaissance Man Construction