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Economy Replacement Windows


I own a house build in the 1920. With 1,200 sqft and 3 bedrooms its a small-standard size town house in the north east of Ohio. This house is not the house my family and I are going to grow old in - we are planning to move in the next 5-7 years. The value of the house is under $100,000 so any decision on upgrades has to be an economical decision. I bought this house for a low price in a outdated shape. So far I've put quite a good amount of work into it and it turned out really nice. The next step is to put in 15 replacement windows as the old ones are 50+ years old, have been painted shut, or painted so many times that we can't open them easily or they are so wobbly in the frame that air leaks through them. They are single pane and with the harsh winter this year I need to replace them. I will install the windows myself.

With that in mind I went out to the big box stores to find an inexpensive yet functional window. All quotes contain the same "ingredients":
- 15 x Double Hung Vinyl White (most common size 28.5" x 58" - 9 out of 15 have roughly that measurement)
- all features standard
- Colonial Style Grid Pattern
- 2 Bathroom windows, tempered and both sashes obscured

- Home Depot: American Craftsman 70 series: $2,756 w/o tax
- Menards: Jeld Wen Builders Series : $2,523 w/o tax
- Lowes: Pella ThermaStar : $3,071 w/o tax

All stores told me they will price match the competitor. All current rebates are included. HomeDepot has 24months 0% financing. Mendards has 12months, Lowes 5extra % and 6months. The warranty on all windows seem similar. Only the jeld wen guy mentioned the warranty was transferrable - so when I sell my home thats a benefit.

I understand these are all lower grade windows and there are probably a lot cons.
Here is the question: IF all quotes from those stores were the same price - which one would you pick and why?
Also: Is there another option that I should consider?

Thanks for your help.

Re: Economy Replacement Windows

"I understand these are all lower grade windows and there are probably a lot cons." - not necessarily true. Depends a lot more on the installation.

A top of the line name brand window installed poorly is WORSE than an economy window installed right.

Remember that all window makers have to meet the same minimum std requirements.

What I dislike about the big box stores is not the windows - Pella, Jeld Wen or Mastercraft - it's actually the installers. The way these box stores work is this: they sub the jobs to their sub contractors or the lowest bidders, and what the customer gets is crappy, sub par installation.

Choose an installer carefully, one who will let you buy the windows separately (labor only), get references and check them out, and you'll come ahead.

If financing is an issue, you can have your installer do a few windows at a time, not all at once.

Re: Economy Replacement Windows

Hey DJ, thanks for your reply.
I will install the windows myself, checked the rough opening for rott or damage and will make sure its installed properly, level and square.

I did have an in house consultation and ran across the exact same issue you mentioned. I did not know that the gentleman was an outside contractor - he was dressed up in Home Depot Top to bottom. When I asked him if he could get me a quote on windows only and then with installation he told me about him being an outside contractor. Needless to say the quote I received was a bunch of number scribbled on a paper without any info on what is included. Since he quoted me $6,400 on the Andersen AC12 windows installed I was not looking further into that.

Financing isn't really an issue. Its nice to have the option no interest for 24 months + Home Depot is right next door. They've done a great job so far and I got most of my materials there. I am pretty sure they would price match but I wanted to have some opinions on the quality of those three window series.


Re: Economy Replacement Windows

Most of Home Depot's materials are just standard, or builder's grade, which is fine in most cases. The good thing about HD is the close location to job sites and the relaxed return policy - these are the number one and two reasons for their success.

But don't let their contractors install anything in your house. Just google customers comments on line and see how many law suits have been filed against them due to unacceptable installations. Yet they continue to offer their services, because of the PHEONOMENAL PROFIT MARGINS.

Re: Economy Replacement Windows

Yeah, makes sense. I wasn't planning on it anyways. Their quote for window only was $2,700 ... their quote for windows installed $6,400 so... there is your margin.


Re: Economy Replacement Windows
ckrohn83 wrote:

Yeah, makes sense. I wasn't planning on it anyways. Their quote for window only was $2,700 ... their quote for windows installed $6,400 so... there is your margin.


Good thinking! It's really nice to get opinions on stuff you are more concerned of such as quality.

Re: Economy Replacement Windows

If possible, you may want to figure out what it would take to use stock window sizes. You'll probably save 15-35% over custom sizes. Of course, you'll end up spending some extra time and money altering the framing and repairing interior and exterior walls.

The difference between builder-grade and premium windows will mostly be in how well the sliders fit into the fixed portion and how well they seal. The premium windows will also have a longer/better warranty on the sealed glass units, but they won't necessarily last longer. Some of the premium windows will have slightly better insulating properties, but all windows must meet energy codes. What price difference is really paying for is the higher incidence of warranty claims on the premium windows.

Think about it this way: if you have a 10-year or a 25-year warranty (and you pay twice as much for the 25-year) but BOTH windows have an average life of 30 years, which one is more likely to have a warranty claim? The 25-year window. Since the company needs to pay for those warranty claims somehow, they will pass that cost on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for better warranties. It doesn't necessarily mean one product is truly better than the other.

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