After the Energy Star guy recommended Alside (as well as Schuco) as being good sliding glass doors, I went and visted the local Alside dealer. They had a small number of windows and a sliding glass door on display. I looked at the sliding glass door, and was not impressed. It looked cheap. The wood grain print on the vinyl looked tacky. The hardware looked cheap. The construction didn’t look anywhere near the quality of the Andersen Frenchwood Glider at Home Depot. I asked about different hardware, and he said it was in the brochure. It wasn’t. So then he told me it was probably on the website. I really want a closer look at the numbers the Energy Star guy was mentioning. He said the Andersen door had an R value of 2.2, while the Alside had an R value of 10. My buddy who used to sell Andersen windows keeps telling me that the numbers all depends on how they do the tests. According to Alside’s brochure, their sliding glass door has a U-Factor of 0.31, which divided into 1 would give it an R Value of 3.23. The Andersen has a U Factor of 0.33 which divided into 1 gives us an R Value 3.03. Not anywhere near the numbers the the Energy Star guy gave me.
I am a lot more familiar with the Andersen name. I never even heard of Alside till yesterday. According to the Alside sales guy the “glass packages” are basically the same among doors and that it is the surrounding part that is different. If that is the case, the Andersen door seems to have a better surrounding part. I asked him why I should buy his doors over Andersens, and I never did get a solid answer. I asked the guy how much the door costs, and he couldn’t tell me because they only sell to contractors. Hmmmm. I am not impressed.
If I am going to go through the expense of putting new sliding glass doors on my house, I want them to IMPROVE the appearance of my house, and not make it look CHEAP!
Summary: Alside doors look cheap. And if they will only sell to contractors, and will not even give me a price, then I guess they are not interested in selling to me.