Ply Gem Windows Review (2021)

Learn about Ply Gem window series, materials, custom options, and more.

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Ply Gem windows
Photo: Courtesy of Ply Gem

Investing in new windows for your home is a big project that might require some help from the pros. Learning about different window options is a great place to start your search. Whether you're looking for new construction, renovation, or replacement windows, consider Ply Gem.

As one of the leading manufacturers of windows in North America, Ply Gem offers quality, durable windows in a variety of styles, shapes, sizes, and colors. Ply Gem Residential Solutions is a division of Cornerstone Building Brands—a leading exterior building products company—and manufactures new construction and replacement windows as well as other exterior building products, including patio doors, shutters, and siding. The company is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, and has been around for more than 75 years. Ply Gem gives back to local communities through their Home for Good project, donating more than $2 million in building products since 2016 to help the affordable housing crisis.

Check out this Ply Gem windows review to learn about the different types of Ply Gem windows and discover the best type of window for your style and budget needs.

Where to Buy Ply Gem Windows

Ply Gem windows are made in the U.S. through a network of production facilities, which helps optimize quick delivery to customers. Ply Gem windows are available for purchase through local U.S. distributors, including pro lumber yards, specialty distributors and dealers, builder direct orders, home centers, and consumer retail. Some window products are only available in select areas.

"The vast majority of our products are made to order to meet the size, color, performance, and code requirements for the specific project type and location of the home," says Steve Hoffins, vice president of marketing for U.S. Windows, Cornerstone Building Brands. Find a professional window installer here.

Ply Gem Window Types and Sizes

Ply Gem offers several window types and sizes, ranging from small geometric windows to large bay windows. Customizable window options include materials, colors, hardware finishes, grille patterns, and glass packages.

"The demand for window styles is dictated by the region of the country," Hoffins says. "To satisfy this varying demand for different window types, our manufacturing plants are strategically located around the country and equipped to make products that meet the needs of the local market." If you're unsure what types of windows exist or what styles are best suited for your home, start by reviewing the different window types Ply Gem offers.

  • Double-hung windows have top and bottom panels that open and tilt, allowing for easy cleaning from the inside. They are a safe choice for homes with kids and pets because they offer ventilation from the top or bottom. Double-hung windows are a popular choice for window replacement projects or new construction custom homes, especially on the East Coast.
  • Single-hung windows havea moveable bottom sash and stationary top sash, which helps improve weather resistance and energy efficiency. Because they don't open outwardly, single hung windows are a good choice for installing in walls that border small spaces like patios and walkways. They are commonly found in new construction builder homes.
  • Casement windows are hinged on the side and open outwards with a crank handle for full ventilation and wide-open views. When locked, they create a tight seal that prevents air infiltration. Casement windows are a good option for difficult to reach areas, like the space above a kitchen sink. They are often found in new construction custom homes and are a popular window style in the Midwest.
  • Sliding windows glide open from either side, offering a wide view and full ventilation. They are available in two configurations: 2-lite (two moveable sashes) and 3-lite (two moveable sashes and a fixed center panel). Sliding windows help improve airflow in small, horizontal spaces.
  • Awning windows are hinged at the top. They open outward and upward, offering sufficient ventilation, unobstructed views, and natural light.
  • Bay or bow windows are built with three or more windows at various angles. These stylish windows extend outward, adding depth to homes and attracting sunlight throughout the day. Bay windows contain three angular windows, whereas bow windows contain four or more windows.
  • Garden windows extend outwards and have a space for displaying plants or other objects. These versatile windows offer exterior curb appeal, natural light, and additional ventilation when opened.
  • Geometric windows are available in a variety of shapes including circles, triangles, and hexagons. They add visual appeal to homes and can be custom built to fit different sized spaces.
  • Picture windows, also referred to as fixed windows, have large viewing areas that let in natural light. They are a good choice for stairwells, attics, or other areas where opening up windows would be challenging.

Ply Gem Window Materials

Ply Gem windows are available in different materials, including vinyl, aluminum-clad wood, aluminum, and wood composite. "Our windows are all made-to-order to meet the size, color, performance, and code requirements for the specific project type and location of the home," Hoffins says. "From a window material perspective, vinyl windows are the most popular because of their inherent low maintenance requirements in addition to affordability and energy performance."

Using window color as a design element has become popular over the years. "Dark exterior colors like dark bronze and black have been trending for several years as they provide a bold exterior design statement and color contrast that traditional white and beige don't always offer," Hoffins says. Dark windows can achieve the desired look for historic renovation projects or modern architecture.

When selecting the best window material for your home, consider factors like energy efficiency, maintenance, durability, appearance, and price. Here is a breakdown of the different window materials offered by PlyGem.

  • Vinyl windows are durable and energy efficient. Benefits include premium insulation and low maintenance. Vinyl windows can resist harsh weather conditions and other threats such as insect infestation. Unlike wood windows, vinyl windows do not need to be painted, stained, or refinished.
  • Aluminum-clad wood windows provide the warmth and beauty of real wood windows and the durability of aluminum windows. Available in multiple colors, the strong aluminum exterior prevents damage from insects or weather. The wood interior can be painted or stained to match your design aesthetic.
  • Aluminum windows are durable and strong, with a narrow frame and large viewing area. This low-maintenance and sustainable window material has a lightweight build and excellent energy efficiency. Aluminum windows can also prevent insect and moisture damage.
  • Wood composite windows have a cellular PVC exterior and wooden interior, combining the look of wood with the low maintenance appeal of composite. They are built to withstand harsh weather, insect infestations, and moisture. Wood composite windows are also thermally efficient, which helps decrease heating and cooling costs. You can paint or stain them to match your home's style.

Ply Gem Windows Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is important when shopping for new construction or replacement windows. Advantages of energy-efficient windows include lower heating and cooling costs, increased interior comfort, and climate protection. As an Energy Star partner, Ply Gem is committed to meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criteria for helping consumers conserve energy, reduce heating and cooling costs, and protect the environment.

"Our windows can be configured to satisfy all of the Energy Star climate zones to optimize the thermal efficiency and comfort of the homes and their owners," Hoffins says. "We also offer impact-rated products that are specially engineered for hurricane zones."

Customers can also choose advanced glass packages that provide up to four times more energy efficiency than single-glazed glass. Here are Ply Gem's glass options.

  • Low-E (low-emittance) glass has a thin metallic dual layer coating that reflects radiant heat to keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • HP (high performance) glass provides high-performance insulation by combining Low-E glass with argon gas fill and Warm Edge spacer options. Since argon gas is denser than air, heat and cold cannot travel as easily through it. Warm Edge spacers help separate glass panes to further limit the movement of heat and cold.
  • Sound-reduction glass is designed to minimize the transmission of exterior sound and help keep unwanted noise outside.
  • Impact-rated glass, popular in hurricane-prone areas, is laminated and built to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Some Ply Gem windows have been designated as Energy Star 2021 Most Energy Efficient. Although Energy Star requirements vary by climate, in certain areas these windows could be eligible for tax credits outlined in the extension of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013.

Ply Gem Windows Product Lines

Ply Gem manufactures multiple window product lines for new construction and window replacement projects. Since Ply Gem manufacturing facilities are set up to meet local demand, the popularity of each product line varies by market. "The Ply Gem brand is primarily focused on offering high-design and functional windows to the new construction market," Hoffins says. "Because of that, our vinyl single-hung windows have the highest unit volume."

Here is an overview of each Ply Gem window series including styles, materials, and recommended uses.

MIRA Series

The MIRA aluminum-clad series combines the durability of aluminum with the warmth of traditional wood. These windows are designed for new construction projects, and available in 46 exterior colors including white, cottage red, and signature dove grey. The wood interior can be stained or painted. Choose from unique grille styles and hardware options to match your home's decor. Available window styles include double-hung, casement, awning, picture, geometric shapes, bay, and bow.

200 Series

This new construction window series includes energy-efficient wood composite windows. Choose from double-hung, casement, awning, picture, and geometric-shaped windows. Options include energy-efficient glass, durable hardware, and patterned window grilles.

300 Series

Designed to look like traditional wood windows, the 300 Series includes low-maintenance cellular PVC exteriors and durable vinyl sashes that provide excellent thermal efficiency. These new construction windows come in double-hung, picture, and geometric-shaped styles. Choose from a white or beige interior and exterior along with matching hardware. These classic windows have four casing options: brickmould, flat, wide back band, and Williamsburg. Available options include energy-efficient glass and numerous window grille patterns.

400 Series

This energy-efficient wood composite window series provides the look of traditional wood with the low maintenance appeal of cellular PVC. Choose double-hung, picture, or geometric-shaped new construction windows with durable white hardware. Available options include four casing styles, advanced glass packages, and patterned window grilles.

1500 Series

This durable, low-maintenance vinyl window series was awarded as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021. These new construction windows are available in a variety of sizes and styles, including single-hung, sliding, casement, awning, picture, geometric shapes, bay, and bow. Choose from three interior and six exterior colors, classic and contemporary frame options, three grille profiles, and five grille patterns.

Classic Series

The Classic Series offers vinyl windows in many styles, including double-hung, casement, awning, picture, geometric shapes, bay, and bow. With a timeless design and quality build, these new construction windows provide excellent insulation, dependable performance, and low maintenance. There are three interior and exterior color options with matching hardware. Choose an advanced glass package for increased energy efficiency, privacy, and comfort.

1100 Series

The 1100 Series includes low-maintenance vinyl windows in custom sizes. Window styles include single hung, slider, casement, awning, picture, and geometric shapes. Choose from three interior and four exterior color options for your new construction project.

5000 Series

Made out of vinyl, the 5000 Series is a great option for new construction casement or awning windows. Other styles include picture, geometric shapes, bay, and bow windows. Choose from a white or beige interior and exterior. Windows in this series offer durability, low maintenance, and excellent insulation.

3700 Series

This aluminum window series offers dependable performance and value. Built out of extruded aluminum, these low-maintenance and durable windows are available in white or bronze. Choose between single-hung, sliding, picture, and geometric-shaped new construction windows. Options include stylish window grilles and energy-efficient glass packages.

4700 Series

The 4700 Series features low-maintenance aluminum windows with a sleek design and durable build. This new construction window series provides value, performance, and style. Window types include single-hung, sliding, picture, and geometric shapes. This series also offers windows designed for coastal areas that provide increased protection against strong storms. Color choices include white or bronze.

4800 Series

Made out of extruded aluminum, 4800 Series windows have a streamlined profile that offers a large viewing area. They also have a thermally broken frame for added energy efficiency. Choose between single-hung, sliding, picture, or geometric-shaped new construction windows. Impact-rated window styles are also available for added protection against storms. Color choices include white, black, and bronze.

East Premium Series

This vinyl replacement window series offers superior performance and style. Window options include double-hung, sliding, casement, awning, picture, garden, geometric shapes, bay, and bow. This versatile window line has five interior and 10 exterior color options as well as custom glass and grille options. The East Premium Series was awarded as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021.

East Pro Series

Also awarded as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021, the East Pro Series features vinyl replacement windows. These durable and energy-efficient windows are available in a variety of styles, including double-hung, sliding, casement, awning, picture, geometric shapes, bay, and bow. Available options include custom glass packages, stylish grilles, and 10 exterior colors.

East 2000 Series

This energy-efficient series offers vinyl replacement windows at a value. Choose between double-hung, double-slider, picture, or geometric windows. This low-maintenance window series is designed with interlocking sashes to protect against harsh weather. There are many available options, including advanced glass packages, custom window sizes, five exterior colors, and stylish window grilles. The East 2000 Series was recognized as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021.

East 5100 Series

This replacement window series features vinyl casement and awning windows. Receiving recognition as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021, the East 5100 Series is both energy efficient and functional. Upgraded options include advanced glass packages, special foam for optimal thermal performance, and specialty screens.

West Pro Series 200

Recognized as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021, West Pro Series 200 windows maximize natural light while conserving energy. Available in three interior and five exterior colors, this series offers new construction and replacement windows in a variety of styles, including single-hung, sliding, picture, bay, bow, and geometric shapes. Choose from several frame and grille options to match your home's style.

West 400 Series

This low-maintenance vinyl window line offers style, comfort, and energy efficiency. These new construction and replacement windows are available in single-hung, sliding, picture, garden, and geometric-shaped designs. Options include three neutral interior and exterior colors, custom sizing, and advanced glass packages.

West Pro Series 700

Recognized as the Most Efficient of Energy Star in 2021, this versatile vinyl window series offers several frame, glass, and grille options. Available styles include casement, awning, skywall, bay, and bow new construction or replacement windows. Choose from three interior and five exterior colors.

Ply Gem Window Installation

Since window installation must comply with local building code requirements, Ply Gem windows are typically installed by a building professional like a licensed contractor, builder, or installer. "As a window supplier, we provide a wide range of training, installation instruction, and consultation through our network of distribution channel partners as well as directly to contractors and builders through our experienced sales and service teams," Hoffins says. Ply Gem also has a dedicated team of after-sales-service professionals that can answer homeowner questions on care, maintenance, and warranty information.

Ply Gem windows are built with features to make the installation process more efficient for installers and homeowners. "For a confident DIY'er, windows can be an easy install, but we always recommend homeowners work with a licensed professional to provide guidance and inspect the work to ensure the proper process was followed," Hoffins says. Find a local window pro in your area here.

Similar to most of the building products industry, Ply Gem has been impacted by supply chain delays, labor shortages, and longer wait times due to the pandemic. Having multiple plant locations has helped minimize the impact, according to Hoffins.

Ply Gem Window Prices

Ply Gem offers a wide range of windows at a variety of price points. "Since our products are made to order, homeowners can select the features and options that meet their specific needs while also remaining within their budget," Hoffins says. "The window pricing is typically determined by the distributor or retailer or by the builder or remodeling contractor if the homeowner is building the house or doing a renovation."

Price varies based on many factors like window material, size, and installation. Ply Gem sometimes offers a homeowner rebate promotion when a minimum quantity of windows is purchased. Homeowners may also receive special offers and financing options from contractors or builders.

Ply Gem Windows Warranty and Customer Service

Ply Gem offers a limited lifetime warranty on its window products, which is similar to other window manufacturers. The warranty protects your windows for as long as you live in your house, and it can be transferred to the next homeowner. Specific warranty coverage varies by window series. Explore the Ply Gem website for detailed warranty information and register your product online.

Ply Gem has a contact form on their website for general inquiries and a separate form for warranty claims. They can also be reached by phone at 888-975-9436.

Ply Gem Windows Reviews

Ply Gem Industries, Inc. isn't officially BBB accredited, and there aren't many Ply Gem window reviews online. Positive Ply Gem window impressions discuss the value, installation process, and energy-efficient window options. Negative feedback centers around the warranty coverage, although Ply Gem is responsive in answering customer complaints.

"Ply Gem has a really good system," Lawanna writes on Consumer Affairs. "Customer service has been great for me and the whole process was very smooth. I enjoyed my experience with them and I'd recommend it."

"The experience I had with Ply Gem was excellent," Jeane writes on Consumer Affairs. "Their sales team was very pleasant and efficient. Additionally, the people who did the installation were delightful...it was a hard job and the installers went above and beyond. I would use Ply Gem again."

"Don't underestimate the performance and value these windows provide in comparison to other brands at premium prices, all the energy-saving features are present in this design at an affordable price point, " says Gary of North Carolina.

"Don't underestimate the performance and value these windows provide in comparison to other brands at premium prices, all the energy-saving features are present in this design at an affordable price point, " says Gary of North Carolina.

"I filed a warranty claim for failed windows with Ply Gem in June of 2020. It took until October before they sent someone to measure the windows to be repaired," a customer writes on Better Business Bureau.

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