Buying New Windows
January 13, 2006 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Buying New Windows -- Has anyone bought new windows lately? Our house sure needs them!

Our neighbors had new windows installed recently and we had the company representative come by yesterday to give us an estimate. For 10 windows, 3 of which are tall & narrow (requiring custum building no matter who we order from), the others are normal sized bedroom & bathroom & hallway & kitchen windows - the cost is $7,500, includes removal & installation. We have 6 other windows plus a patio door but those don't need replacing just yet.

This seems like a lot of $ to us. Granted they are very nice quality double hung windows - maintance free, sashes tilt out for cleaning, warranty transferable to any new home owner, etc.
Several homes in our neighborhood have used this company.

Does this seem a reasonable estimate? Of course we recieved the sales pitch - windows & installation is better than other companies, discounts for "first time visit", "family military service", etc.

Any thoughts?
posted by LadyBonita to Home & Garden (22 answers total)
wooden, not vinyl, no?
posted by jmgorman at 8:39 AM on January 13, 2006

Do some research into how much you can save on heating costs in say, 10 years with these. And then make your investment accordingly.
posted by jon_kill at 8:44 AM on January 13, 2006

Maybe look into installing them yourselves? Aside from the custom ones, of course. I've never done it, but my friends saw some at Home Depot that they liked, and the guy there explained how it's a very simple install. They're not professional carpenters or anything, and they were able to do it. Maybe that's worth at least checking out?
posted by bDiddy at 8:49 AM on January 13, 2006

And that would assume that you'll be there for those (say) 10 years.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:00 AM on January 13, 2006

They will add value to your home as an upgrade, particularly if they insulate better and reduce noise/UV. $7500 sounds about right - I was looking at about $11K to do a few windows on my old house, and those were top-of-the-line.

If you've got an older house and high energy bills, they can have a significant impact on that bill.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:03 AM on January 13, 2006

I don't know about the special order ones, but you should do what bDiddy suggested, and at least go to Lowe's to talk to someone. They'll explain it all, but you would want to look at what are called "replacement windows." With replacement windows, the screws go through the sides of the windows; "new construction windows" have a nailing flange, where you put the screws (or nails) through the front of the window. Obvs., not the glass. The sizing of the windows is a bit different. But, again, the millwork person at Lowe's or HD can help you out a lot.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:04 AM on January 13, 2006

Windows are damn expensive--the price you were quoted isn't really out of line for 10 windows including 3 custom units. I've done plenty of projects where the window bid (for a whole house, not a removal and reinstallation) comes out to close to $1000 per window. You might be able to get a little cheaper, but then you'll be cutting back on things like energy efficiency and durability.
posted by LionIndex at 9:07 AM on January 13, 2006

Those numbers seem in line with my experience.

(I have a friend who is a glazier and who is undoubtedly the wealthiest tradesperson I know.)
posted by solid-one-love at 9:13 AM on January 13, 2006

Thanks for the replies so far! We have a brick home with aluminum framed windows (a little harder to remove, the flange is inside the brick). New windows would be vinyl, double hung - from their website:

# Maintenance-free, high-impact construction. Never needs painting – color runs all the way through.
# Fusion-welded 3 ¼” frame and multi-chamber construction for strength, durability and increased thermal performance.
# Advanced weather stripping keeps out drafts, moisture, dust and noise, keeping your home clean comfortable and quiet.
# Double-action locking system enhances security and creates a weather tight seal.
# 7/8” insulated high performance glass options include clear,LowE w/Argon gas, SC75 heat mirror w/Argon, SC75 Heat Mirror w/Krypton and more.
# Full-length, integral handrails make sash opening and closing easy.
# Optional internal grids for added beauty & easy to clean
# Extra security with double strength glass
# Tilt-in sashes make cleaning a breeze.
# Special design sloped sill.

We don't have a Lowe's but we do have a Home Depot - we just aren't sure if we're up to this sort of diy project considering the brick house. Energy efficiency is certainly our main reason for this project - we need a new central air system too, but for now it's one or the other. I think the windows would have the greater impact.
posted by LadyBonita at 9:20 AM on January 13, 2006

Watch out for vinyl - you can't paint them. The colour you choose is the colour you live with. Even if it fades over time.

Vinyl is cheaper for sure, but I would spend more for the ability to change if I wanted.
posted by mikel at 9:42 AM on January 13, 2006

$7500 is an extremely high estimate for 10 windows.

Call at least 3 contracters.

I replaced 15 windows on an old beach house in NJ. This was 10 years ago and they were $250 each - installed.

And if you have no experience with removing and installing them yourself I would not advise it.

Each window took the guy about 20 - 30 minutes to complete.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 10:00 AM on January 13, 2006

That's okay - we're pretty lazy and aren't interested in maintaining wood or in painting it (one reason we like brick homes). Supposedly this type of window we're considering is fade resistant (color runs through the entire product).
posted by LadyBonita at 10:01 AM on January 13, 2006

My wife and I just had about 18 windows replaced in our house. The $7,500 for 10 windows sounds a little on the high side, but not terrible.

We did a lot of looking around. Our conclusion was that Marvin was clearly the best, but not necessarily worth the extra cost. We weren't impressed with Pella. The quality just didn't seem up to the standards of the sales pitch. Ultimately we went with Norco, which is now a product line of Jeld Wen. We got wooden windows with aluminum exterior, all made to order. Nine months later we are very pleased.
posted by alms at 10:03 AM on January 13, 2006

I had replacement windows installed this summer, and the cost was very close to $1000 per window. Double hung Pella windows, wood, oversized, with argon gas between the panes. I live in a brick house in an historic preservation district, which meant that my design choice was limited - but I would have chosen these windows regardless. They've made the house more comfortable, and much quieter. I'm pleased, so far, with the investment.
posted by tizzie at 10:08 AM on January 13, 2006

We had 10 Bonneville (Canadian product) windows installed for $6000 in the fall. Our huose is easily 40% warmer (altho with global warming it's hard to tell)
posted by Xurando at 11:44 AM on January 13, 2006

$750 per opening seems pretty darn high for the window quoted. We got something similar for about $350 per opening. Shop a few more contractors. We've got a brick house, and we were replacing 45 year old aluminum windows.
posted by fixedgear at 11:46 AM on January 13, 2006

We had 13 windows replaced with (wooden) Harvey ones. The sound reduction, insulation, and ability to clean both sides without a ladder have been amazing. We paid about $8000.

We didn't shop around much, but got glowing recommendations from two different friends about the contractor we used, so it didn't seem like an issue. Your price sounds a bit high for vinyl, which are usually cheaper than wood, but the installation issue you mentioned may account for that - you're certainly in the ballpark (at least if you're in my area...).
posted by jalexei at 1:47 PM on January 13, 2006

Price seems a little high to me. Last month I had HomeDepot do six ground floor windows for me here in Oregon for about four grand. I'd check with HD if there is one near you. Just call them up and have someone come on over. I'd also check with another contractor or two.
posted by pwb503 at 2:35 PM on January 13, 2006

Are you aware of the Energy Tax Act of 2005 ? It gives homeowners tax breaks for making energy-efficient improvements for purchases after January 1, 2006.
posted by bCat at 5:30 PM on January 13, 2006

Thanks everyone. We've decided to learn more about windows, get more estimates, and even see what home depot can offer.
posted by LadyBonita at 4:49 AM on January 14, 2006

Not knowing the dimensions of the 3 custom build windows, I still think that 10 windows for $7500 is a tad high especially since the remaining 7 are standard sizes. Shopping around for a better price never hurts, but make sure you're getting "apples for apples" in product/installation/service.

Some other things to consider:
-Since you've got a brick house, replacing your windows with clad frames means you've eliminated 1 exterior maintenance job from your list of "honey-do's"
-Be sure to inquire what the installation includes, for instance will they be replacing the casing or re-using the old trim? If they damage any plaster or drywall will they fix that? If they leak, what are the limits of their liability?
-The beauty of having an installer do the work is that they're responsible for measuring all the openings and manufacturing the units from their specs. So if they screw up, it's on them. If you should mis-measure and get stuck with a window that doesn't work you may be SOL. Or at the very least be doing a lot of retrofit work on the opening. And on a brick home that could be a real headache.
posted by SawBeck at 5:17 AM on January 14, 2006

SawBeck thank you very much for the very good list of things to consider.
posted by LadyBonita at 3:43 PM on January 14, 2006

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