Start Your Project Here
The window industry is a confusing place, even for us. Companies are constantly changing their products, top windows aren't even available to the everyday consumer, bids and quotes can vary by tremendous amounts of money, the list goes on and on and on. Typically, if you're here, it's because your windows are single pane aluminum frames from the 50s and they need to go. Or your windows are drafty and there's condensation between the window panes. Or your window sills and frames are rotting and it's time to swap it all out.
So how do you go about the process and find a good quality window at a price point that makes sense for your budget? Here's my attempt at explaining the answer. There are really only a couple of questions that you need to answer before calling up some local companies.
Step 1: Decide What Material You Want
Honestly, 90% of homeowners should probably go with vinyl window replacements. Maybe 80%, but you get my point. Vinyl windows have (or had) a bad reputation and the reason is that there are hundreds of builder grade vinyl window manufacturers who make a bottom-of-the-barrel product.
Notice I didn't say you should buy a crappy vinyl window. Most homeowners will be well served with a quality mid range vinyl window that is properly installed. Vinyl windows are more energy efficient than wood windows, carry a much better warranty, require no maintenance, and typically cost much less. That's a lot of advantages.
The other options are wood, fiberglass, composite materials, and aluminum. Fiberglass is 10% to 20% more expensive than vinyl, and is perhaps a bit more durable than vinyl over the long term. Composite windows are a complete mixed bag depending on who makes it and what they make it out of. Aluminum is very strong, but very energy inefficient, it really only makes sense in extremely hot climates that call for a really tough window.
Step 2: Get A Few Free Bids
They're free and they provide you with information. You don't have to sign anything then and there. In fact, don't sign anything then and there. Any company who tells you that you will get a huge discount if you sign a work order that day is probably not a company you want to go with. Take your time, get a few free bids and collect as much information as you can. Check out our recommended window brands to see which window companies owe recommend. Then find local companies who carry these windows and service your area.
Step 3: Negotiate The Best Price
Not everyone loves this part, but you can save yourself quite a bit of your hard earned money. This is usually what I tell people who are uncomfortable negotiating; call up the wincore rep (I'm going to use Wincore windows as an example only because this was a question I recently answered for a consumer and I'm too lazy to change the verbiage) and thank them for coming out -- be super nice and pleasant...then tell him that you REALLY want to go with him (i'll assume its on the 7700 model) -- you've done your research and you know that the 7700 Wincore Series is a good window and you've read good reviews on his installation -- but the price is simply out of your budget and you don't know what to do...if he was able to work with you on the price, then you're ready to sign that day.
Then say as little as possible (figure out what you want to say beforehand in case he asks).
If he says his quote is his lowest price, thank him and tell him you've got to think on it and you will be in touch.
I can almost guarantee that he will knock off something from the original quote.
Step 4: Choose The Best Option You've done the work to get the bids, you've compared them, you've negotiated to find the bottom price for the company and brand you want. Now go forward with the project.
Replacement Window Ratings
Energy efficient windows can help homeowners cut down on their energy costs and help create a more comfortable home environment. These are the five performance numbers and terms that consumers should look at when comparing different windows to one another.
U factor measures how much heat loss occurs and is sometimes referred to as U-value. U-factor is a number that ranges anywhere from 0.15 to 1.20 - the lower the number, the more energy efficient the window. A U-factor above .35 is considered poor, between .34 and .27 is considered decent, and a U-factor at or below .26 is considered very good. The Marvin Infinity has a U-factor of .30, an okay rating even though the window is considered a very good one. Check out more Marvin window prices.
Air infiltration measures how much air passes through a window unit and is often abbreviated AI. Air infiltration is a number that ranges anywhere from 0 to .30. An AI above .15 is considered poor, between .14 and .07 is considered decent, and an AI at or below .06 is considered very good. The 9500 window from American Craftsman has an air infiltration of .12 - not horrible, but not the best out there to be sure.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
Solar heat gain coefficient measures how much heat passes through a window and is often abbreviated SHGC. Solar heat gain coefficient is a number that ranges anywhere from 0 to 1. SHGC will vary based on location and overall temperature and environment. For hot location, consumers should opt for a lower SHGC, while colder climates usually require a higher SHGC to allow more passive heat through the glass.
Design pressure measures the amount of pressure (pressure load) that a window can withstand. (It is often abbreviated DP.) Design pressure is a number that ranges anywhere from 0 to 100. Most residential home windows will have a DP between 20 to 40, while hurricane or impact windows will have a DP rating between 45 and 100. The higher the DP rating, the more wind pressure a window can withstand. Most well made hurricane windows with a DP45 rating should hold up well under extreme weather. The 2300 Series from PGT has a DP50 rating and is considered a very solid hurricane window. Explore PGT impact windows pricing.
Visible transferrance measures the amount of light that passes through a window and is often abbreviated VT. Visible transference is a number that ranges anywhere from 0 to 1. The 2900 Series from Silverline has a .58 VT, not a great rating. More Silverline windows prices.
Avoiding Window Sales Scams
There are a lot of window companies out there and a handful of them will use less than ideal sales tactics in order to get your business.
The bottom line for consumers is that you want three quality beds, time to be able to process and properly compare the beds and finally to make your decision based on the most amount of information possible.
The theme that links the different approaches of these aggressive window companies is what's known as the hard sell. One of the tell tale signs of the hard-sell is if the company requires that any one in the household who makes decisions is required to be there during a sales presentation. This often means that the company will sit down and give you their spiel, and at the end, they will attempt to get you to sign a work order right then and there. This is a great deal for them, because it restricts the consumers ability to continue to collect your two, three, or four bits and then to properly compare them against one another. It also relies on the consumers sense of. Which we have all been subject to from time to time.
Buy Now Pricing
One way to entice the consumer to sign the work order right then and there is with buy now pricing. This is a pretty common sales tactic in which the initial price is much higher than the buy now or special today only pricing. Companies will often start with a very high per replacement window cost and then they will cut it down by 20, 30 or 40% if the consumer is willing to sign with that company at the moment. Typically, the reduced or buying our pricing is actually a pretty standard or slightly higher than standard per window price when compared with equality reputable company. However, if they consumer hasn't received many project bids, they would have no knowledge of how these costs compared with others.
Avoiding The Hard Sell
We suggest that consumers go with another company Than one that requires all of the decision-makers to be present during project bed.there are plenty of companies that will come out and provide free beds so there was really no need for consumers to rely on ones that insist on these strong arm type tactics. However, if you do decide to get a bid from one of these companies just make it clear to the individual who's providing you with the bed that you were going to collect your three beds before making any decisions. If they are a quality company, they shouldn't have any problem with a little competition and this will also help with the project cost bid.
Other Window Sales Scams
Many of the same companies that use the aggressive sales tactics, will also be very aggressive in calling a number of times and asking whether you've made a decision on your project or not. Some consumers feel that it becomes almost harassment like tactics to bully them into purchasing the windows from them. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply not get the bed from these companies in the first place. However, if you have received the bed and the company continues to call you can always be asked to take your name off of their list and to please not call again.by law, the companies are required to hear this request