It doesn't matter if you want to improve your view, increase your home's security, or make your home more energy-efficient; if you are in the market for replacement windows, there are a few important factors to consider - cost, brand and material are just a few.
Here are some tips to help you get the best replacement windows for your home, and wallet.
- What Type Of Window Replacement Do You Need? The cost of replacement windows has a dramatic range. They range from really cheap to expensive, expertly crafted wood replacement windows. If keeping costs low is of primary importance to you, you'll find the prices of vinyl appealing. Figure out how many years you plan on staying in the condo or house. If it is less than five, consider vinyl replacement windows rather than wood.
- Make Appointments for Free In-Home Estimates. Call three window replacement companies specializing strictly in replacement windows to compare them. When you call the company, make sure the estimate is free and that there are no obligations attached to the visit. Some window companies will cleverly find out if you are married or have a "significant other" by asking leading questions. Be careful of this tactic, as if they find out you do have another decision-maker in the house, they might refuse to come out unless both of you are there.
- Ask For Info about Cheap Replacement Windows. Window replacement companies will likely tell you all about a high-priced or middle of the road window. Ask them to talk to you about a window replacement that is a "step down" from what they are talking about. Indicate to them that you'd like their business, but that you have a strict budget that you will be adhering to. If the salesperson knows you will be stubborn on pricing, he will do his best to sell you on a cheap window (which will likely be what you are looking for anyway). These days, vinyl replacement windows are growing in popularity because they are energy-efficient and affordable. And fiberglass replacement windows are another great option if you're looking for durable, energy efficient windows.
- Make Appointments with Handy Men and Contractors. Ask your neighbors and friends for references for handy men with experience installing windows. Have one or two evaluate your home and give you prices. Make sure that they have been given glowing recommendations before you invite them into your home. Ask them what kind of window they would use. It's also helpful to look for replacement window reviews and consumer ratings online before making a decision; you'll likely find valuable information about windows and local companies from Long Island to Reno, NV and everywhere in between.
- Stick To Your Guns. Have a budget that you want to stick with for your windows, but allow for wiggle room. Never make a decision on the spot, particularly with the window replacement companies -- they are trained to close deals! They will tempt you with discount prices, but it is always wiser to compare several bids. Ask for an extension of three days on the price that they quote you to give you time to think it over. Do not feel bad that you aren't giving them business--it is their job to prove to you why you should hire them.
- Compile Information. Keep all the window informational sheets and packets on your desk for comparison. It is likely that two or three of the companies or handymen will be using the same windows. This will make your comparison that much easier.
- Replacement Window Pricing. Here's some more information about generally what replacement windows cost.
Cost is broken down into two basic things - the price of each window and price of installation. Break down the bids into these two categories. Compare the cost of replacement windows in terms of price per window installed. The low end (depending on where you live) will be $300/window for Harvey vinyl replacement windows and the high end for a product like Anderson or Pella could be $1000/window installed.
- Quality. Factor in the quality of the window. Who makes the best replacement windows? That depends largely on your objectives. The price per window on Pella replacement windows, or Anderson, will be significantly higher than a price on vinyl replacement windows like Harvey. Decide if you really need the triple-paned window or if you just need a generic double-paned window. Most of the time the contractors and window companies will be showing you almost identical windows, but do your best to compare them on quality. Ask for brochures on the windows and set up a chart comparing the assets of each. Research the window model number online as well.
- Warranty. Ask about the warranty on the windows. Most of the companies specializing in window replacement will offer a warranty on parts and service. Handymen and general contractors will not offer service contracts usually, but the window itself may have a transferable warranty. Ask if the warranty exists and if it is transferable. A transferable warranty means that it transfers to the next owner for the duration of the warranty. If you are planning on doing a condo over and reselling it, a warranty is a great asset to advertise.
- Timing. The window replacement companies will lead you to believe that it takes over three weeks to get the replacement windows. Unless there is a serious back order on the particular window you are buying, it will take less time. These companies would like you to feel pressured into making a decision quickly, so as to "get the order process started." Ask them, point blank, how long the order will take, and that if it takes more than three weeks, you are not interested. It may be the case that it will take longer, but usually two to three weeks for regular replacements is the norm.
- Payment. Companies may seek three installments - one at purchase, another when the replacement windows come in, and the last at the end of installation. Make sure you are clear on the cost and payment schedule before committing.
One of the most important things about contracting a business or contractor to do your windows is to feel comfortable - both with the cost as well as the service. Deciding on whether a warranty is that important to you, figuring out a price that you can afford, and choosing the quality of the window are other important considerations. Good luck finding the best price!