Author Topic: Advice needed on new home windows  (Read 1622 times)

bonovox_co

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Advice needed on new home windows
« on: September 18, 2017, 03:52:37 PM »
I'm in a home I plan to stay in for a long time and would like better windows.  I live in Colorado and the windows in my home were a source of cost savings when the home was built.  Aside from cheap, many have mildew and operating problems and they are useless to the elements.   I'd prefer not to hear opinions of why I shouldn't replace windows as I know there is a lot of opinions on that in terms of cost.  We're staying and this is more a quality of life improvement that our household can afford.  I'd like to ask for those of you that have been through the process, what did you learn, what would you do differently, what to watch out for?  Did you replace all at once, or just areas you spend more time in?  I already know the quotes we've received are on the high side and welcome thoughts on how to get those prices down as well.
Thanks,

Amber-MT

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 04:11:28 PM »
We just replaced all 19 windows in our house this summer. We ordered Pella 250s from Lowe's during a -15% promotion. It was a quality of life issue for us too. We're in Montana and don't have air conditioning and being able to open windows has been life changing. We spent just under 6k. We had gotten quotes for the exact same windows installed for 11k and also for the fiberglass version for 14k. It was our first window install job, but we took our time and the results were at least as good if not better than what a contractor would've done (we didn't cut corners with flashing, caulking etc.). When shopping around, it was great for us that we were able to get a light tan (biscuit) color that matched our house well for just $200 extra total. I've been happier with this purchase than anything I've paid for in a very long time. I'm glad we did all at once since it makes the house look very put together and we know it will make a difference cosmetically if not in the appraisal when we go to sell. My main regret would be not doing it sooner.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 04:13:25 PM by Amber-MT »

LaineyAZ

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2017, 04:20:53 PM »
Yes, replaced all of my builder-grade/single pane windows all at once.  Used Window World which had great prices and they did a fantastic installation job.  They get high praise from other customers in online reviews.
Ditto that my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner:  helped with dust control, noise level, etc.

MayDay

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2017, 07:55:51 PM »
Think about what type you want and how long you want them to last.

Vinyl: cheap, look cheap, won't last. Glass unit will fail early and often. But cheap. Your existing builder grade units are most certainly these.

Fibrex- I don't know if other companies offer a similar material, fibrex is the brand name for Andersen's version. Vinyl/wood composite that performs much better than vinyl, has better glass, but is still reasonable.

Wood windows, with aluminum or vinyl cladding or fiberglass on the outside- has the look of real wood windows, various price points depending on if the interior wood is bare and you stain it yourself, or comes painted. Aluminum or vinyl exterior coating means no painting the outside. These are the most expensive generally, and last the longest (especially aluminum). 

There are also some all fiberglass ones that are expensive, I don't know exactly how they fit in with the wood types.

Think about the company. Lots offer warranties but if the company hasn't been around a long time, the warranty is worth shit.  The little guys go in and out of business constantly.

If you will install yourself, cheapest place to order is home Depot to my knowledge. Probably Lowe's is similar.

I've heard bad things about Pella Aluminum cladding (thin, and once you rip a hole in it the wood underneath will rot). Andersen and Pella are better.

I can provide more specific info if you know what type you are looking at.

Papa bear

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 08:27:53 PM »
There's nothing wrong with vinyl windows. There are some really good companies and high quality windows out there. For quality, they've held up just fine in multiple jobs I've done, including hard use rental properties. Vinyl requires little to no maintenance compared to wood, and by the time you're done trimming them out, look like most other windows out there.  If you don't like white, there are some manufacturers that offer vinyl clad in different colors or wood look.

You can get decent vinyl windows for 160-200/ window. (160 for me would be for mid range, double hung, double pain, low e, argon gas filled with full screen in white at under 200 total perimeter linear inches) I would recommend you looking into some manufacturers or distributors that you can buy directly from. You may have to sign up as a contractor, since they usually don't sell retail.

You can diy windows fairly easily. Good luck!


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Cranky

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 05:11:19 AM »
You know, I live in a neighborhood where a houseful of new vinyl windows is a sign of prosperity - one more thing about living in my neighborhood!

5 years ago we replaced all of our old single paned windows, most of which either wouldn't open or wouldn't stay open when you pried them up, with windows from a local place (comparable to WW). They took out 12 windows and put in 14, because my living room had a giant non-standard picture window that wasn't designed to open at all, and we replaced it with a window with side sliding windows.

Anyway, I was very happy with the entire process and I love the windows, especially being able to wash them from the inside, and being able to open them up and get a cross breeze.

They came in with a crew, and it took one day for them to do it all, though one guy came back the next morning and did some touch ups.

The hardest part was finding someplace that was willing to come out and give me an estimate without my husband being present, and I am not making that up. I called several places and had that problem. It's my understanding that they expect you to finance windows, and they don't want a contract without both homeowners being present because there will be a lien on the house. When I pointed out that I would be paying cash, I finally got someone out here.

Laura33

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 08:20:27 AM »
FWIW, I had a similar experience in CO when we built our house -- we chose a mid-grade vinyl double-paned window instead of the higher-end vinyl-clad wood, and boy was that a mistake.  I don't know if it is the temperature extremes, the strong sun, the wind we had, or what, but those windows ended up being my biggest regret.  If I were doing it again, I would get a vinyl-clad wood to have the extra rigidity plus the low-maintenance exterior.

I do agree that there are better versions of vinyl that might last better, though.  In our current house, we had to replace 20-year-old horrible vinyl windows (so leaky the 3M wrap you put on with a blowdryer would literally billow out).  We did clad wood on the first floor (since the first-floor interior is all stain-grade) and some Marvin vinyl windows on the second floor (which has white trim).  Almost 10 years out, the upstairs windows seem pretty solid, although we are getting some closing issues with the ones in the bathroom (e.g. not wanting to latch).  But we are also in a much less extreme climate here, so I don't know if the windows are better or it's just an easier environment.

The one thing I would do for sure when you replace the windows is double-check and thoroughly insulate the area around the windows themselves -- one reason many windows feel cold/drafty is because the windows are not installed/insulated properly.  We went through a LOT of spray-foam when we retrofitted the windows here, and it has significantly improved the livability of the living room (where I used to feel cold air blowing over my head even with the windows shut and the 3M film on).

I don't know if there is much opportunity to get the quotes down.  Our recent replacement were ridiculously expensive -- 33 windows, almost all non-standard sizes (some 8' tall and over $1K per window).  So we just did it in phases -- the renovated areas during the renovation; then the upstairs with the kids' room; and then we finally bit the bullet on the downstairs main rooms (the unusually-sized ones) with one of our bonuses.  But after having total shit windows in 2 of our last three houses, I just wanted them done right so I wouldn't have to worry about them for the next 20-30 years.  If you have experience, you can save money by installing them yourselves -- or hire out the install and do the trim yourself (either re-used or make new).  That's what we did -- I didn't want to fuck up the windows, so we had pros install those, but we did a second insulation check/top-off and then did the trim. 

Fishindude

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 08:43:35 AM »
Yes, replaced all of my builder-grade/single pane windows all at once.  Used Window World which had great prices and they did a fantastic installation job.  They get high praise from other customers in online reviews.
Ditto that my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner:  helped with dust control, noise level, etc.

I was pleased with Window World also in the midwest.
Cost runs roughly $400 per window to; remove and dispose of old, install new insulated all vinyl windows with screens, properly aluminum flash the exteriors, and caulk everything.

MayDay

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Re: Advice needed on new home windows
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 09:58:46 AM »
Laura is spot on about the spray foam.

Don't have the put interior trim on. After they install, spray foam around the window, then install trim.