When homeowners decide they need some windows replaced, they usually get quotes from window companies and then find out that it’s more expensive than they thought.
So why are decent window replacements so expensive? Many homeowners pay somewhere between $1000 to $1700, or more, per window.
Well there are three basic reasons. First, there’s the window unit itself. Second, it’s the project management and installation. Third, it’s the window company’s business model.
Let’s start with the window unit itself. Here‘s where you definitely get what you pay for, well, usually anyway.
There are many, let’s just call them, “sub-par, budget only” windows for sale.
A good percentage of these windows will only last around five years before troubles begin. The seal breaks causing internal fogging, or they open and close hard, or they don’t latch anymore, I could go on and on. So even if they are Energy Star rated, and sold by a national company, or the in-house salesman that was such a nice guy, doesn’t mean it’s a high quality window.
And the worst thing is, you thought you were safe because they have a warranty.
Unfortunately these sub-par windows will have a worthless warranty with them. When there is a warranty issue, the installer, if he answers his phone, will blame the manufacturer, who blames the distributor, who blames the installer, and you’re back to zero. After days of calling, waiting on hold, etc., you may be lucky enough to get just the glass unit shipped to you, and now you have to find someone to replace just the glass in the vinyl unit. Good luck!
So do yourself, and your home, a great big favor and stay away from cheap windows!
Then you have the duties and responsibilities a company must undertake when doing a window replacement project.
Coordinating the Project
Before installation can begin, the window replacement company must have the windows ready to go. They’ll coordinate the delivery date of the windows and gather an installation crew at that time.
Preparing the Space
When the new windows arrive in town, your window replacement company will schedule to arrive at your home. Then, they will prep the space for the work to be done. This often involves laying down layers of thick plastic or drop cloths to minimize messes.
Depending on how high up the new windows will go, the crew may also require ladders for removal and/or installation.
Removing the Old Windows
As we explained above, there’s a lot that can go into removing old windows.
It all depends on your home, the window design, the age of the windows, and their condition. At the very least, the windows will come right out.
At worst, they could be caulked shut. If that’s the case, then chipping away at the caulk to take the windows out could take hours. This prolongs the length of the project, which often means you have to spend more money.
This is the time when the window framing will be addressed. If these are in poor condition, such as having rot, then they’ll need to be replaced. This is again another lengthy job that boosts your project bill.
If your home was built in 1995 or later, then chances are that it has window flanges, also known as a nailing flange. What is a window flange?
Taking off the window flanges is no easy feat. The crew will need a Sawzall to separate the flanges from the window framing. This too will make your window replacement project costlier and a little bit messy.
Installing the New Windows
With the old windows out, it’s time to put the replacement ones in.
Before this can happen, the crew will inspect the construction and operation of the new windows. They should be of the high quality you paid for.
They should also work well. During this inspection, the crew also ensures the windows are square, level, and plumb.
Next, the window is insulated via insulation foam. This gives the window noise-canceling properties (to a degree) and makes it more energy-efficient.
After that, the crew will set up the interior trim of the window, caulking it in place. Also to finish off the exterior, they may add custom bent aluminum trim, if the exterior framing of the old window is unappealing. This is a tough job, especially because the crew must size the aluminum trim precisely using shears.
They’ll also have to attach the new trim with nails. As you know, time is money, so expect to pay more.
The above steps apply for most insert windows only. Full-frame replacements will take double, sometimes triple the time and work. You’ll probably pay twice or thrice the price you would for insert windows, then.
Although plastic or a tarp were laid down to prevent messes, they do happen. Debris from old nails, wood, and metal scraps may accumulate.
Once the installation is completed, the crew will clean up this debris, moving it to their truck. They’ll also move the old windows to their truck. This mess is responsibly disposed of offsite.
Third, window companies are set up to do one thing, sell you windows.
They’ll typically have an owner, a sales manager, an office manager, sales people, project manager, installers, and 2 –4 administrative people. Plus, once you add in warehousing, trucks, and a nice showroom it quickly adds up. So now, every window has to pay for huge overhead, driving the price above $1000 per window, or much higher!
Our model at EasyOrderWindows.com is a bit different. We remove the high cost of commissioned salespeople, layers of management, warehousing, trucks and our website is our only showroom. That allows us to offer our customers an incredible, triple-pane, window at a price that is about 25-50% lower than our competitor’s comparable windows.
We offer window buying for the savvy consumer, like you.