Ply Gem windows: a buyer’s guide

Image source: McCray Lumber & Millwork

Chris Gennone

By Chris Gennone

June 23, 2021

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Ply Gem is one of the largest manufacturers of windows and patio doors in North America. In 2014, they acquired Simonton Windows, one of the largest and most respected manufacturers of Energy Star-qualified vinyl windows and doors.

One of Ply Gem’s biggest selling points is their low prices and lifetime warranties on many of their building products. While Ply Gem windows are prone to leaks, they are still an attractive option for homeowners on a tight budget.

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Ply Gem window styles

Bay and bow windows

Bay windows looking out onto a lake

Image source: Ply Gem

Installing bay and bow windows in your home is an easy way to bring in fresh air, more natural light, and increase curb appeal. Ply Gem offers several different brands of low-maintenance bay and bow windows for new construction as well as replacement windows made from either vinyl or aluminum-clad wood, part of its MIRA series.

Find a local contractor today.

Double-hung windows

Double-hung windows above two armchairs

Image source: Ply Gem

Double-hung windows feature two sashes that allow you to open the window from the bottom or the top. While these windows don’t offer the same amount of ventilation and are more prone to leaking than casement windows, Ply Gem’s tight overlapping and interlocking sash helps to prevent water from coming in. In 2014, Consumer Reports stated that Simonton’s Pro-Finish Contractor double-hung window was named one of the best windows to buy.

Single-hung windows

Single-hung windows in a well-lit bathroom

Image source: Ply Gem

While double-hung windows feature two sashes that allow you to open from the top or the bottom, single-hung windows only have one sash that opens from the bottom. Ply Gem’s single-hung windows are available in both vinyl and aluminum, feature weatherstripping that prevents rain from coming in, and entry-resistant locks so you’ll feel safe and secure. Thanks to the enhanced durability of aluminum, Ply Gem’s single-hung windows make it a strong option for homeowners in coastal climates with more volatile weather conditions.

Casement windows

Casement windows in a bedroom

Image source: Ply Gem

Ply Gem’s casement windows feature hinges on the side and a hand crank which allows for the window to open outward at a full 90 degrees for maximum ventilation and easy cleaning. These types of windows may have lower energy efficiency than fixed windows, but they still have a tight seal when closed. Ply Gem’s 200 Series casement windows are made from a wood composite with a PVC frame and brickmould which helps protect it from further damage.

Sliding windows

Sliding windows in a kitchen

Image source: Ply Gem

Sliding windows open from the left or right side, providing wide views and maximum ventilation. You’ll be able to choose between 2-lite or 3-lite slider windows that feature operable end vents. Ply Gem’s sliding windows are either made from durable vinyl or aluminum with a selection of Low-E glass packages which can deflect heat and feature insulation between the glass panes to prevent energy loss.

Awning windows

Anwing windows opening up into a neighborhood

Image source: Ply Gem

Awning windows are incredibly customizable and are typically seen in areas of the home that require more ventilation like bathrooms or kitchens. Available as both new construction and replacement windows, Ply Gem’s awning windows feature stainless steel hinges on the top and open out from the bottom. Choose between seven different brands made from aluminum-clad wood, wood composite, or vinyl with a variety of different design options like colors, grilles, and energy-efficient glass.

Garden windows

Garden window over a kitchen sink

Image source: Ply Gem

Garden windows are a perfect way to bring in some more light into your kitchen or give some plants and herbs extra sunlight. While Ply Gem’s garden windows are limited, you’ll still be able to choose between one new construction and two replacement window styles available in vinyl. Ply Gem’s West 400 Series garden windows feature one fixed picture window and two single hung windows on the side for increased airflow.

Geometric windows

Geometric window in a kitchen

Image source: Ply Gem

Ply Gem’s geometric windows offer a more modern look to your home with a variety of different shapes including arches, triangles, trapezoids, and pentagons. While geometric windows do not provide any ventilation, they are weatherproof, energy-efficient, and help increase curb appeal.

Picture windows

Picture windows over a kitchen sink

Image source: Ply Gem

While picture windows are fixed and don’t open at all, they are energy-efficient and increase viewing areas and sunlight without any obstructions. The other benefit to installing picture windows is its weather resistance and low risk of leakage. Ply Gem offers a large variety of picture windows available in aluminum-clad wood, wood composite, aluminum, and vinyl.

Ply Gem window series

MIRA Series Windows

  • Made from an aluminum-clad wood
  • Choice of five interior colors, eight exterior colors, and 38 other signature and radiance exterior color options
  • Bay windows feature a fixed picture window in the center with either casement or single hung windows on the sides
  • Bow windows feature three or more windows available in several different configurations like picture, double-hung, single-hung, or casement windows

Average cost: $2,100 (after installation)

1500 Series Windows

  • Made from low maintenance vinyl
  • Available in three interior colors and six exterior colors
  • Awarded Energy Star’s 2021 Most Energy Efficient
  • Bay windows include either casement or single hung windows on the sides
  • Bow windows include either single hung, casement, or picture windows

Average cost: $1,600 (after installation)

Classic Series Windows

  • Made from vinyl
  • Available in three interior and exterior color options, energy-efficient glass, and a variety of different grille patterns
  • Bay windows feature a center picture window and either double-hung or casement side windows for ventilation
  • Bow windows include either double-hung, casement, or picture windows

Average cost: $1,700 (after installation)

5000 Series Windows

  • Made from vinyl
  • Available in two interior and exterior colors
  • Bay windows feature a fixed picture window and casement windows on the side
  • Bow windows include casement or picture windows

Average cost: $1,650 (after installation)

West Pro Series 200 Windows

  • Made from vinyl
  • Available in three interior colors and five exterior color options
  • Awarded Energy Star’s 2021 Most Energy Efficient
  • Bay windows feature a picture center window and either single-hung or casement side windows
  • Bow windows include either single hung, casement, or picture windows

West Pro Series 700 Windows

  • Made from vinyl
  • Available in three interior colors and five exterior color options
  • Awarded Energy Star’s 2021 Most Energy Efficient
  • Bay windows feature a picture center window and either single-hung or casement side windows
  • Bow windows include either single hung, casement, or picture windows

Average cost: $1,700 (after installation)

East Premium Series Windows

  • Made from vinyl
  • Replacement windows only
  • Available in five interior colors and ten exterior color options
  • Awarded Energy Star’s 2021 Most Energy Efficient
  • Bay windows feature a picture window with either double-hung or casement windows on the sides
  • Bow windows feature either double-hung, casement, or picture windows

Average cost: $1,900

Where does Ply Gem stand?

Ply Gem windows in a bedroom overlooking a lake

Image source: Ply Gem

Looking for the right windows for your new home can be a challenge. Along with other window manufacturers like JELD-WEN, Marvin, Pella, and Alside, Ply Gem is one of the top companies in the business, earning more than $1B per year in revenue. Ply Gem often compares to Andersen in terms of quality, but does edge them out with their lifetime warranties on several types of windows and lower prices, which are typically 33% lower than other brands. While there are some concerns about potential leakage for homeowners in colder climates due to sealant failures, but they are still high-quality windows available at a decent price.

Get in touch with a contractor near you.

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