Update July 10, 201: Since PGT addressed the asthetic concern on one type of windows, we have been quite happy with the product. After more than 5 years now, the windows and doors have maintained their look and reliability. The only issue we have come across is that you need to re-tighten some of the door handles which is extremely easy to do - took a few minutes to do a few doors where they had loosened up. All in all, working nicely. Good job PGT.
Update August 10, 2008: We had a large (200-400 pound) piece of the balcony above one of the windows hit the PGT window below it and bounce off it! The balcony above was being repaired and so parts of the old balcony had to come down. As that was occuring a very large piece fell and his the window. It didn't crack, it just left a smudge mark on the window which wiped off. Amazing. And now they look good inside too!
Update: September 12, 2006: PGT and our local installer began installing covers for the double-hung windows which address the aesthetic concerns. Discussed below. Once complete we will update the pictures. Assuming the look as good as they seem to so far, we can again RECOMMEND PGT windows for all homes - just make sure that you get the finishing touches for all the windows. Thank you for listening to many customer concerns!
Update: July 25, 2006: PGT Stated today that they have a solution for the concerns about the windows. We will post an update with the revised photos when available, but presuming they have addressed the concerns, we will be recommending the windows again.
Update:March 6, 2006: PGT stated today that they are taking this feedback into account for their next Single Hung WinGuard redesign, but until that is complete or until they offer an interim solution we can not yet recommend their windows from an aesthetic standpoint.
Check out the picture below.
January 2006:If you are planning to install hurricane windows, our current recommendation is to avoid PGT Industries WinGuard hurricane impact windows - other options are listed below. While according to their literature and video demonstrations WinGuard windows meet tough building department standards, the PGT WinGuard products are not aesthetically appropriate for any upscale home. Consider any luxury oceanfront home or any other home where the look of the home matters. PGT WinGuard single hung windows look unfinished. The following pictures, which are not disclosed on the PGT web site or literature, illustrate the problem with the PGT WinGuard windows. Unfortunately, since the problem is not disclosed prior to installation, you are out of luck later and PGT does not seem to care about the problem. Therefore, our opinion is to just go with another manufacturer from the start. This first picture shows the PGT WinGuard Single Hung windows. As you can see, unlike some of the other PGT WinGuard products, the WinGuard single hung hurricane windows do not look finished and look like poor quality products. Do those look like "Quality products"? Hardly. The difference between the single hung PGT WinGuard Window (shown above) and the PGT WinGuard Arch (shown below) is clear.
The red PGT factory writing adds to the look as does the gold sticker "which should not be removed" (according to PGT). [NOTE that PGT and our installer DID fashion covers for this so they now look finished. Just make sure that you get them too!]
The following picture shows the PGT WinGuard arch where they do provide fastener covers and the window does look finished. As you can see, no interior screws, labels or red writing is visible. Obviously PGT knows how to finish a hurricane window,
but not consistently and not for the PGT WinGuard single hung windows.
This is the PGT WinGuard arched windows, not zoomed in on the covers at the top of the arch - an area equivalent to the top of the WinGuard single hung window shown above. They are plainly finished. PGT WinGuard hurricane windows are not inexpensive, but the single-hung PGT WinGuard windows sure
do DID look cheap. PGT says "Quality without compromise" but this is clearly either a poor engineering job or a compromise, neither of which reflects well on the PGT WinGuard hurricane impact window product.
PGT WinGuard hurricane doors also have a finished look as the photo below shows, zoomed in on the top of the cover:
The PGT WinGuard door, not zoomed in.
As is clear the WinGuard doors and WinGuard arch look very good.
PGT's literature shows their WinGuard products in luxury homes from the ocean to all areas of the coast. What they fail to show is details on the finished product - I wonder why. If PGT WinGuard Windows were consistently finished across the entire range of WinGuard products, their look would be satisfactory, unfortunately that is not the case. During recent discussions at the end of October 2005, their sales support department stated that they had fastener covers because the windows look 'ugly' otherwise. However, on January 9, 2006, PGT Industries stated that they did not provide covers even though they do for their other windows. Local installers were also informed that PGT did not provide covers for all of their hurricane impact windows. Hurricane.com, was again informed on January 18, 2006 that these products do not include covers. Now, either PGT doesn't know what they are doing, or they want to sell a product (WinGuard) that should not be sold for a home that has any desire for aesthetics. The worst part is that they don't seem to care about the difference in appearance between the covered and uncovered WinGuard hurricane windows. Nor does PGT care to address the problem with the WinGuard windows after numerous attempts. In short, we recommend you do not use PGT WinGuard if you care about the look of the house when the installation is finished. The most important aspect of an impact resistant window is performance in a storm of course. But when you are going for Hurricane impact windows, the product must look good, otherwise you would be using plywood. PGT should consider spending the extra $0.50 per window it would take to provide top fastener covers for the PGT WinGuard product.
Other options are:
Window Master Inc www.windowmasterinc.com
IHI in South Florida http://www.ihillc.net/hurricane-window.html
Gulf Coast Windows at http://www.gulfcoastwindows.com/