MAKING THE DECISION:
Deciding to purchase replacement windows for your home is a big deal. The cost can be quite high depending on what style and type of window you choose. So knowing the correct questions to ask is not only important, but essential for the wallet.
The purpose of this hub is to provide the knowledge you need to ask informed questions and hopefully derail the unscrupulous salesman or contractor. All references to pricing will pertain to windows with one operating sash known as single hung windows. Pricing for other styles such as double hungs or casement style windows are slightly higher.
kEEP IN MIND ALL PRICING INFORMATION IS BASED ON MY KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT WINDOWS ACTUALLY COST AND STANDARD PROFIT MARGINS.
WHY LISTEN TO ME?
The last 17 years of my professional life have been spent in the building product industry with an emphasis on windows and glazing. I've worked in production, distribution, service, management, ownership and sales. I've seen a lot of things and heard a lot of stories.
Most of my experience has been in new construction but I've also done a fair amount of replacement projects. Each job is usually a bit different and rewarding. Even so, the industry can also be dangerous; (in the sense that the less you know, the more apt you'll pay more than you should). - The following is a general breakdown on what you should know before allowing anyone to sell you replacement windows. My intent is to keep you out of the dark.
HOW REPLACEMENT WINDOWS ARE SIZED AND PRICED:
Some replacement windows are priced by a call out size. For example, a 3' wide by 5' tall window would be "called out" as a 3050, (a 3' 0" width by a 5' 0" height).
The majority of replacements however are sized and priced by the united inch (UI); which is the sum of the window's width + height in inches. For example, if you have a standard window measuring 36" wide by 60" tall, the UI is 36 + 60 = 96 UI.
Most windows priced by the UI are done in ranges; usually 1-50 UI, then 51-100 UI, then 100-150 UI, and so on. So ask this question first. How are my windows being priced? Is it by the UI or the call out size?
This is important because better deals can often be found in standard call out size windows. Unfortunately, most applications call for custom sizes; but it never hurts to ask.
Just in case, here's a short list of standard window widths and heights. A standard call out size may contain any combination of these measurements.
Widths: 16" 18" 24" 28" 30" 32" 36" 40" 42" 44" and 48"
Heights: 24" 28" 32" 36" 40" 44" 48" 52" 54" 60" 62" 64" 66" 72" 74" 76" 78" and 84"
Example call out size: 18" width and 52" height is a 1644 call out size, i.e. 1' 6" wide by 4' 4" height.
General rule # 1: look for a price per UI around $1.30 base window cost with no options.
Your next question is to ask what the window prices are with and without installation. This is important because sometimes companies advertise a low window price and pad the installation. So make sure this is an up front question. Then you can ask the installation cost.
General rule # 2: look for an installation price roughly 50% of the base window price with no options.
BASIC INSTALLATION OF REPLACEMENT WINDOWS:
Even though each project is different, there are two primary installation procedures for replacing windows. The first is called a retrofit installation and the second a frame and flange installation.
In retrofit applications, the existing frame, along with its existing interior and exterior trim pieces, remains in the wall. The replacement unit simply "retrofits" between the existing frame components and then attaches through the side jambs.
This is the cleanest and most time effective method since there is no actual rebuilding of the window opening or refinishing the interior. With this method, the exterior trim pieces (the brick molding and sill) are wrapped in a weatherproof vinyl or aluminum cladding and then sealed.
This is an effective way to do things. The new windows are then insulated and often times finished out with a small interior trim price to cover any rough edges.
The FRAME & FLANGE:
With frame and flange installation, the old window unit is completely removed and replaced with a new and complete window unit. The new window is installed by nailing through an attached nailing flange into the existing window (rough) opening. This method is used when interior and exterior trim need to be replaced due to rot or other damage or the consumer wants an overall more integral window and wall application; it does require more time and expense however.
The principal benefits of retrofit applications are cost effectiveness, time savings, and a less invasive installation. Frame and flange applications offer greater window unit integrity, larger product selection, and more options for various colors and finishes.
General rule # 3: Greater selection is available in frame and flange installations but look to pay more for the installation; sometimes 25% additional.
COMMON OPTIONS & COSTS:
If you haven't read my HUB on how to understand window energy ratings, I suggest you do so since some of the terminology introduced there is discussed here. Nevertheless, here's a list of options you'll want to ask for specifically (and have priced separately) when choosing your replacement windows.
LOW EMISSIVITY (LO-E GLASS):
This is a must when purchasing new or replacement windows since the energy savings far outweigh the initial cost. Typically, you should expect to pay between 10-25% depending on the product being used. For example, taking our standard 36 x 60 window with a hypothetical price of $125.00, the Lo-E up charge should be between $12.50-$31.25.
Argon is usually sold along with the Lo-E glass. A typical up charge should be 6-12% on top of the Lo-E up charge
INTERNAL GRILLES (GBG for short):
These are the metal or vinyl bars placed between the panes of insulated glass to add a sense of multiple lites and aesthetics. Some manufacturers charge by the lineal foot and some by the unit as a whole. If priced by the lineal foot expect to pay between $1.50- $3.00 depending on the type of grill ordered.
An easy example using our 36 x 60 window would be as follows. A common lite pattern for such a window is 6 lites over 6 lites. This equates to (2) 36" horizontal grilles (1 for each sash) and (4) 30" grilles (2 for each sash). Our total lineal footage is 16' multiplied by the lineal foot price. Using this formula, the up charge would be $24.00 on the low end. The lineal foot charge is typically used for specialized grilles such as beveled, sculptured, or metallic.
A more common way of pricing internal grilles is by the unit. Typically, the up charge is $10 to $25.00 per window for a standard aluminum or vinyl internal grille set.
Frame color other than white. In most cases, this is a standard 10-15% up charge.
Varying frame colors between the interior and exterior frame. This is a tricky one but I'd expect to pay no more than 25% for this option.
Laminated interior frame surfaces and sashes. Here's where you can spend some money. Please ask this question when considering this option but don't pay more than 25%*. (Personally I think the laminated interior surfaces remind me of 1970s vintage cabinets).
* Changed from 40% previously. My error!
There are other features you'll encounter on replacement windows but these are the primary players. The key is to ask a lot of questions and get your estimate broken down into as many options as you can. This way you can pick and choose easier and better understand your costs.
General rule # 4: Always ask for, and have quoted separately, any options you might want.
In conclusion, as you can see, the costs can add up if you're not prepared to ask the right questions. So let's finish with a simple cost analysis using our good friend, the 36 x 60 window. We'll use the upper end of the scale for this example.
* Window price base cost: $125.00 (96 UI @ $1.30 per UI)
* Retrofit installation: $62.50 (50% of the window base cost)
* Lo-E glass option: $31.25 (25% of the window base cost)
* Argon gas option: $15.00 (12% of the window base cost)
* Internal grilles option: $25.00 (Net add on)
* Tan frame option: $18.75 (15% of the window base cost)
TOTAL: $277.50 (Approximate guideline)
I wish to stress the amounts indicated are mere guidelines and will vary according to the type of window purchased and the difficulty of the installation. Always get multiple quotes, ask a lot of questions, request and verify at least 5 references, never put down more than a 25% deposit, get everything in writing (including the product and labor guarantees, which should be a minimum 10 years product and 3 years labor), and never pay for the job in full until your satisfaction is complete.
If you know what you're up against and ask knowledgeable questions, you'll be better prepared. And being better prepared limits the potential of being taken advantage of.
General rule # 5: Always do your research and never agree to a contract with anyone who will not answer all your questions in full!
There are many reputable and integral people in this business. There are also a few predators. As the boy scouts say, be prepared. -- Good luck. -- Any questions feel free to comment.
Joseph Davis from Florida on November 02, 2016:
Interesting. As someone who may be replacing windows on a soon to be purchased home, thanks for the information.
Rob jundt on October 21, 2016:
I did the same thing with weather shield sash packs. You'll keep the frame and change the jamb glides and balance system with new sashes. I'm sure their website will have info. Thanks for reading.
John on October 19, 2016:
My house is 20 ys old and when built had cheap windows installed and over the years the frames rotted. I have built all new frames out of pressure treated wood and pressure treated sills. Now the actual wood windows are rotting. I would like to keep the frames I made and just replace the current double hung, double pane window with a single hung window. I need to replace with a similair wood frame window in order to match the front and back porch windows which are fine as they are out of the weather. I need to replace 7 windows 32x72. Any suggestions on window manufatures would be a big help. I would be doing the installation myself
Bruce Feierabend from Pickerington on September 05, 2016:
Howart, It sounds like you are talking about what the industry calls SDLs (simulated divided lites) versus TDLs (True Divided Lites). When windows were made without thermal glass(double or triple pane) it made more sense to make a TDL window for the reason you mentioned if a pane of glass broke. Now with thermal pane glass it makes more sense to make each sash one unit of glass because the seal between the panes of glass are more likely to go bad before the glass gets broken and this way you have only one seal to worry about instead of 16.
To minimize the cost you can consider the GBG (grilles between the glass) option Rob talks about. The down side with that is the look is not the same but is substantially less in cost. To save more is to consider vinyl rather than wood.
If you really want the look, Marvin Windows among others have historical wood options with single pane glass and a removable solar pane on the outside that might save you some money as well.
The cost of $1000-$2000 per pane sounds excessively high unless we are talking a French door.
Howart on September 03, 2016:
We would be very grateful for your advice on this problem, and happy to pay for your time.
We have 50's French, multi-pane windows with individual lights. Window stores want to sell us double pane insulated windows with dividers in between or stuck on the outside. The problem seems to be that if you crack one small section, you need to replace the whole (16 to
20 light rectangle) pane at $1000 to $2000. Since points, putty, and labor are too prohibitive, do we have any choices? This is a problem because we have four to six windows as above.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on June 01, 2015:
Costs are much different now that I've been out of the business for over 7 years now, but one thing stays the same: vinyl is better than aluminum for thermal efficiency and glazing options. Metal windows will never achieve the proper u- values needed for today's energy efficiency requirements. Thanks for reading.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on June 07, 2014:
I would agree with that. Also, used vinyl windows may have slightly changed frame dimensions after being exposed to weather thereby not making them he best choice for structural integrity. Thanks for reading.
Mary Grohs on March 23, 2014:
Granddaddy of window pricing guides! Thank you! I am so much more informed. I will read more, but so far, I'm impressed and appreciative.
I've been told not to use 2nd hand white vinyl windows in my home from re-use shops because windows that don't all "match" will decrease the value of my home. Do you agree?
Shery on February 20, 2014:
I currently have wood windows in my house which was built in1988. I am looking to upgrade but don’t have a lot of money to spend on approx 23 windows. I plan to replace them over time. What would you suggest?
I hear vinyl windows are not the best choice- can you tell me why? Can you please give me some kind of idea based on all of your knowledge of windows what I can expect in terms of costs?
Thank you Rob.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on June 02, 2013:
Florida has stricter guidelines for replacement windows based on the threat of higher winds. That is about all I can say since I don't live in the area. My advice is to check with the local remodeler guild for trusted suppliers and contractors. Thanks for reading.
angela pascoe on May 19, 2013:
I am in the state of Florida any suggestions for me
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on May 04, 2013:
Thank you for your comment, and yes, this article is by now dated since it was written over 4 years ago. The questions that need to be asked concerning pricing, however, are still relevant. Thanks again!
Bruce Feierabend from Pickerington on April 28, 2013:
Informative but I find your pricing would not fly here in central Ohio. First this only applies to vinyl replacement windows. Then the prices at best are wholesale prices with the install price being behind the times even for when you originally wrote this and only covers labor. There is absolutely no mark up for a company to run the business. Maybe you work for free but no one around here wants to.
Nick on April 01, 2013:
Great writeup Rob. I plan on using this info for quoting out replacements windows. I noticed you are in KC, which is where I hail from as well. Any recommendations of a local contractor or company?
sboy777 on March 28, 2013:
Thanks, my wife knew she was right.. Im over thinking things again.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on March 27, 2013:
I would go with the exterior dimensions since they more than likely correspond to the actual frame dimension of the original window and thus, the rough opening. From your description, the windows are roughly 3' x 5' (W x H). That is a common measurement. As far as the depth, you'll have to make the new window fit by trimming back sheetrock or jamb extensions on the inside of your home. But trust me, for a more integral fit, the depth of a window is NOT as important as the frame dimensions. Interior trim work is typically not a weatherproofing issue while exterior trim, fur outs, and flashing are. For an extra reference, refer to my hub on how to install new construction windows in an existing home. Remember one thing, though. Erring on the side of your replacement window being a bit small is better than being too large. It's easier to trim out a new window than to remove structural lumber to make the rough opening larger, not to mention your header width will be off as well. Hope this helps.
sboy777 on March 26, 2013:
Can you help me out here?? We want to purchase Anderson replacement windows (series 100 insert w/o flange), but we want to make sure we are measuring correctly. (ie, what size window do I order?).
Existing exterior measurement of aluminum (single pane) is 35 1/2" by 59 3/4" but the interior measurement of the opening is 34 3/4" by 58 3/4" and the depth of the frame is 2 7/8". The house was built in 77' and has lap siding. I am thinking if I go with the exterior dim, than I will need to cut around the interior (sill & drywall) for the new window (3 1/4" depth) to fit. If I go with interior, the window will fit, but will need to adjust the exterior trim (easy fix).
My wife and I are doing the install, and we are ordering from HD. Were doing 3 windows like this (see links to pics). I want to use the interior dims to save hassle (I dont want the new window install screws to miss the framing) but my wife wants to use the exterior dims, without cutting back the sill/drywall and doesn't think the framing will be an issue. Please advise on best practice.
any help is appreciated
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on March 24, 2013:
Although I've been out of the business for awhile, that seems like a bit much for basement hopper windows. Thanks for reading.
staceynagel on March 15, 2013:
I'm replacing 6 hopper windows in my basement with
Affinity Elite Vinyl Hopper Windows
white. Low-E w/argon insulated glass
full screen, white locks..
each window is 32 x 18
when I was in the store, The woman told me thye were approx $135 each
they just sent me a quote for $350. per window with installation for a total of $2100. Does that seem like a lot of $$ ?
Cooper cook on November 12, 2012:
Thanks for all of the info. To be honest I had no idea that so much work had to be thought through when getting window replacements. But then again their not that easy to put in in the first place anyways. http://www.pellastlouis.com/
Twellzee on August 10, 2012:
Hi thanks so much for posting all this information. I'm posting from the uk. We have a double bay window which is really drafty and wanted to get it draft proofed, we have had several quotes and they have all said different things. The last company that looked at it said that the seal had gone and was rotting, therefore we would have to have a whole new surrounding box and new double glazed windows ( as the regulations state if you are changing the box the windows have to be double glazed ) however the other companys said it would be fine to patch up any rotting wood. We are very unsure of what to go for as we don't want a rubbish job being done! Would be telly grateful if you could advise me on this matter. Also in your opinion is draft proofing effective? Thanks, anna.
Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on June 20, 2012:
Great info. Thanks!
Steel Engineer from Kiev, Ukraine on June 19, 2012:
Very informative article. Thanks for the detail.
Nihal on May 16, 2012:
There are 5 windows measures 78"x78"
Nihal on May 16, 2012:
I had to install a new bow window- vinyl(new construction), got the quote for $4750. But the contractor came back and re measured for individual vinyl windows measuring 78"x78", which going inside the old frame of my original bow window. It's argon filed and spacing look like 1/2".
Is it worthy for the above price?
Gren on May 11, 2012:
I am considering buying an apartment that has 2 very large windows facing a fairly busy street in one room. I'm pretty sure they're quite new and in good shape (~3 years old), but I would be interested in replacing them with something that would offer the best possible sound insulation. So I have two questions:
1. What is the best, most cost effective way to get the best sound insulation possible?
2. The windows are an unusual size: about 3 feet by 8 or 9 feet. How much do you think replacing such windows would cost?
Thanks very much!
Brandy on May 08, 2012:
We're looking at replacing 13 windows and looking into the Simonton 5500 triple panes. My first question, what is your overall impression on Simonton in general? Something you would put in your own home or steer clear of? Second, I see you've been out of the loop for a few years now but based on what you know could you look at my price quote through a local company? They are willing to break down price by window but not labor vs material (window) etc. as they won't sell just the window without install. The UI of each window is as follows:
My quote is $11,014 for all windows to include install, tax R&R and clean up. I would need to add an additional 10% for color options.
What is your take?
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on May 03, 2012:
Knowledge such as yours is always welcome although this article was not intended as an advertising forum. I hope others will contact you based on reading your comment.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on May 03, 2012:
Thanks for reading but due to my time out of the business my knowledge is limited with regard to the mfr. you refer to. My article is not manufacturer or price specific.
Owl4 on May 01, 2012:
I'm doing a remodel in the wake of a fire, so it is pretty much a rebuild. I wanted to get larger windows in my sun room can you give me an extimate of the price point differenc between 36X48 and 36X60 windows? They would be tempered and energy efficient. We had awning windows previously but that may change. Thanks!
John Lippold on May 01, 2012:
Chris- what style are your windows currently? Dh, sliders, or picture?
John Lippold on May 01, 2012:
I know a lot about plygem. What is the installed price per unit he is giving you. And what type of install?
John. Lippold on April 29, 2012:
I am a window wholesaler who sells all AAMA certified and tax credit eligible windows in maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, DC, and the Carolina's. Every window comes with a lifetime factory backed warranty. And a factory direct installation with premium materials and sealants NO SUB CONTRACTORS. The window is only as good as the people installing it and the MATERIAL. You do not want a water based caulk. We also wrap all of the exterior wood on the home so you never have to paint again, also it will help wick water away so wood does not rot. We also replace all rotted wood. I have 18 different windows to offer from a variety of top ranked manufactures. The company I work for ranks 20th in the whole US out of every remodeling company. Most important thing is you project will be done right the first time. I have basic windows with u factor of.29 for 385 installed life time warranty on everything including accidental glass breakage ( warranty is also transferable). I also have premium windows with injected foam, composite reinforcement, . 01 air infiltration, r5 glass package, .18 u factor for 500-800 per window installed. Hope this helps! I can do a lot of the region and know this industry like the back of my hand. If you have any further questions about anything you can email me at email@example.com. I know it can be a grueling process!
Ted on April 28, 2012:
Hello, The salesman is quoting me $37.47 per foot for triple pane, lo e, argon, plygem windows installed. Any thoughts? Any experience with plygem? Thanks, Ted
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on April 27, 2012:
With so many windows on the market, along with me being out of the business for nearly 4 years, it would be difficult and unprofessional to offer current advice. What I can say is this: use these basic principles to arrive at a few questions to ask potential suppliers/contractors. having a base knowledge of what you you are ready to
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on April 27, 2012:
Those are all great ideas and just what I would do in your situation. Thanks for reading!
Chris on April 25, 2012:
Hello, I have been wondering what kind of windows to use to replace 4 single pane windows on the north side of the house. They are 48"x72" I need something very energy efficient . Do to the cold weather
Scott on April 17, 2012:
Thanks a ton for all the info you have here. You probably saved me alot of headaches and maybe even $.
You rock bro!
Marsha on April 15, 2012:
Hi! All the windows in our home need to be replaced. Currently they are all double hung, with the six over six lite grid to which you referred in your article. Our living room has a bow window (not bay), the view from which includes magnificent sunsets, a pond, Canadian geese, and other wildlife. We'd like to replace the three double hungs of the bow window with crank-out casement windows (and "invisible" screens?) so as to remove as many distractions to the view as possible. And we're thinking casements rather than a large picture window because we need to be able to open the windows for air flow. (The situation of our home permits us to go with open windows for our "air conditioning" until the temp reaches the upper 80s.) So what is your opinion of these ideas? Thank you so much for your time!
Anthony on April 14, 2012:
those prices you are quoting are ridiculously low and seem to be geared toward lower end vinyl opposed to the higher end vinyl windows.
quite frankly no one in their right mind would ever install a window for 75 bucks, thats unrealistic around here and no true craftsman would ever work that cheaply. you get what you pay for and coming up with these low ball prices will cause some uninformed readers to choose an unskilled contractor who has no idea what he is doing and will more than likely install low end products sold in building supply stores.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on March 18, 2012:
Having sold Simmonton windows for a few years, I'm aware of the quality and custoimer service. All that being said, I would go with Simonton. They really are fine windows. Hope this helps.
michele b on February 14, 2012:
I am replacing 9 windows. 6 are 24x60 and 3 are 36 x 60. I was given a quote for Simonton 5100 from home depot for $4350 complete and Energex Advantage by Affinity for $4300. Do you know have a preferece between the two. I am seeing a 3rd company that sells Dove windows next so I don't have any information yet. All windows will be low e and argon gas. They will also be double hung vinyl with grids.Thanks for any insight you might have.
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Anjum on November 15, 2011:
This brand we are going with is called THV Compozite. Here is the website of it.
Please let me know if you find some hidden skeletons about this manufacturer.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on November 15, 2011:
On the surface that appears to be a better deal. Proof that is does pay to shop around. The warranties appear strong and any window tough enough to withstand the rigors of a North Dakota winter is a keeper. I would still ask for a list of references, though. As for composite windows, especially fiberglass comp, I would feel comfortable installing them in my home. Although your quote is still significant, you must consider the warranties involved. Good products with proper installation will save you more in the long-term than a cheaper product that must be replaced and/or serviced, usually at your expense. Once again, thanks for dropping by and let me know how your final purchase ends up. BTW: what brand are you considering and I'll try to do my own quick research and email you back?
Anjum on November 15, 2011:
Rob your comments are much appreciated. I took your advice and obtained few more quotes and we are now considering Composite windows from a manufacturer from North Dakota. These are not mechanically fasten but welded. We have been told this product is between vinyl and fiberglass? Quote I have now is $9,500 for 15 windows (14 double hung and 1 slider). Product warranty is 50 years and instillation warranty is 5 years which is better than our first quote. Please let me know if this product is good and if the quote is reasonable?
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on October 29, 2011:
Thanks for visiting my article. From the outside the price quoted seems a bit high, but not knowing what size your windows are, as well as the options quoted, makes it difficult to say for sure. A lifetime warranty on the product is fair, but in my experience, a quality window is only as good as the installation. Typically, if a window is poorly installed, especially in an existing home with little to no settling issues, installation issues show up fairly quickly, usually in 12 months or less. So, what I am saying is that the warranty on installation appears a bit short. I would question the salesman and ask for a list of references from customers whose windows are at least 5 years post installation. As far as mechanical versus welded frames, I feel welded is better because it is more integral. Mechanical frames, on the other hand, withstand movement better. The key is making sure all mechanical joints are properly closed and sealed. As a homeowner, I would always get at least 3 separate quotes for your home and try to compare product, price, and warranty as closely as possible. I hope my reply has addressed all of your questions. Thanks again!
Anjum on October 28, 2011:
We are looking to replace 12 windows. Currently we have casement windows but now we want double hung fiberglass windows. Local window sales man gave us $1,000 per window quote. Warranty included life time for window and 2 years instillation. Windows are from well known manufacturer however the frames are mechanically fastened! I read somewhere that mechanically fastened windows are no good. Can you kindly advise on the price if I am being quoted correctly and if these types of windows are ok to install? My e-mail is email@example.com. Thank you
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on September 05, 2011:
Without actually seeing the windows you are being quoted it is difficult to say whether or not they are a good deal. Typically, aluminum windows are more expensive than vinyl (it used to be the other way, however). Having been out of the business for over 3 years now, I am not as up to date with prices as I used to be. It never hurts to get multiple bids on any home improvement project. Just make sure that you are getting an apple for apple quote. The installation quote you mentioned does sound fair as there is a lot of work involved in installation. As far as the tax credit goes, you will have to check the energy ratings on the windows quoted and match them up with what the govt. will credit. Typically, aluminum windows, regardless of glazing and thermal break frames, are not as energy efficient due to the nature of aluminum not being as good an insulator as wood or vinyl. Check U-values, R-values, and SHGC ratings and compare them to the govt's. mandate for the tax credit.
virginia f. on September 03, 2011:
I want to replace 4 windows. i received an estimate for $1,200 for (3) 48 x 72 tall aluminum single hung windows and $325 for installation. Also (1) 32 x 72 tall for $350, and $125 installation. For a total of $2,000 even. Does this seem right to you? Should I get another quote? Can I buy the windows cheaper and just have him install them? What about the tax incentive?
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on September 02, 2011:
Thanks for dropping by. By the seal are you referring to an air gap between the operating sashes and the sill, or the bottom/horizontal frame of the window? If it is just a gap between the sill and the operating sashes, and as long as the sill is intact (no rot) and level, then a retrofit would work fine. If, however, the actual sill is rotted or warped, you might have to pull the entire frame and replace it as a whole. There are instances where the sill only can be replaced. I would ask whoever is bidding your work to give a detailed listing of what they feel the issues are. An entire new window unit is NOT a bad way to go; just slightly more expensive. I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to send me more comments with any more questions.
amber on September 01, 2011:
I'm looking at have the windows in our house replaced. If we already know the seal on the outside of our windows let in cold air in the walls should we get everything replaced??? or can we still go with the retrofit??
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on June 03, 2011:
You would be best served to get at least 2-3 estimates, ask for referrals from each, and then check with the BBB. This way you know the contractors are on the up and up. Thanks for stopping by.
Dee on May 23, 2011:
Hello - I am in the process of getting estimates to have all of our windows replaced. There are 29 windows of various sizes and almost all of them are casement windows. I read your very helpful article, but can you give me more guidence on how to make sure I won't pay too much or be taken advantage of. I am on a tight budget. Thanks.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on March 23, 2011:
Response has been sent via email. Thanks for dropping by!
Robin on March 22, 2011:
We are looking into a company that is selling simonton windows. Double Pane, tilt windows, vinly windows, argon gas filled,low e. We are looking at replacing 14 windows. The salesman guarenteed us 30% off our electric bill every month. Lifetime warrenty on windows and workmanship. They are Simonton Windows. Please send me an email soon at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks so much. Robin
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on January 27, 2011:
Thanks WC: I'm glad this was helpful!
Windows Casement on January 27, 2011:
thank you success...
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on December 24, 2010:
Rebecca, thanks for dropping by. As far as the presence of lead paint on your existing windows my first thought would be that as long as the paint in intact, as in not peeling, flaking, etc., it would probably be OK to go ahead and replace them. To be safe, however, you might speak to a local lead abatement company for their opinion. Odds are if the windows have been painted a few times in the last 10 years or so all that lead paint is well covered and encapsulated. It is always better to be informed, though.
Have a great day!
Rebecca on December 23, 2010:
Thanks for the excellent information it is very helpful. I have an older home (Built 1938) and so although we have not gotten it tested I am certain there is lead paint in the house. Is there anything I should ask when getting installation estimates regarding the removal of windows with lead paint?
aleida_77 from Los Angeles on August 07, 2010:
Thanks for all of the really useful information. The new Low-E glass looks like it can really help to save cost on utility bills. Nice hub.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on August 04, 2010:
Andrea: It is very difficult to judge drafts in a new home without doing a blower test. If your problems are bad enough, I would suggest having one done to find the cause of the problem. Just because your windows are new does not mean they are the most efficient when it comes to air infiltration. Builders often use, unfortunately, lesser quality windows in new homes. I fought that battle for many years as I had to justify why the brands I sold were better, and thus more expensive. Good luck in all you do! Thanks for dropping by!
Stephanie on August 02, 2010:
I am currently getting quotes from window companies. How do I know how low of a U rating I need? I want windows that are energy efficient and will last some time, but I do not want to pay an arm and a leg. I have seen prices (that include insulation) from 7600.00 to 2800.00. Also, how do you judge a warranty? I have read up on the efficiency ratings, but no where does it tell you what is idea for a specific region. This is extremely overwhelming when trying to make the best investment.
Andrea Crosby on May 04, 2010:
I moved into a new construction home, and the windows in the front of the house, although brand new, are very drafty. How do I know if it's the window itself, or just poor installation / insulation?
robert hoagland on April 20, 2010:
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on February 09, 2010:
JP: Yes. Proper installation is a MUST MUST!! This is where you get your references for the install as well. Most companies use the same installers over and over. The crucial point is to use a repuatable company and get a good warranty.
Pricilla: Thanks for the comment. Good luck!
priscilla carpender on February 09, 2010:
great site! thanks for posting.
JP on February 05, 2010:
Thanks Rob, what about who is installing them. I am sure you can have the best windows available, but if they are not installed properly....
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on February 04, 2010:
JP: First of all, thanks for stopping by! If I were you, I would look at the following criteria: 1)A U-value of.35 or lower 2) A structural rating of HR-35 or higher 3)an air infiltration of .2 cfm/ft2 or lower 4) at least 5 solid references that you can actually talk to concerning their windows. Hope this helps!
JP on February 03, 2010:
I too am thinking about buying replacement windows for my home. can you advise me what to look for. What is important to the consumer when looking for windows. What about certifications?
Morris Streak from UK on October 09, 2009:
You're right in that costs do matter, and another matter is style - whether the window would blend in with your house. Good guide you have here. I'm into home improvement myself.
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on August 15, 2009:
Thanks for the comment. I've answered your questions via email.
Joe Ann Carfora on August 12, 2009:
My windows are completely rotted. What would you suggest as a half way decent window? I have been told to be careful of vinyl windows - can you tell me why? I will be replacing about 35 windows in a 3 family house. The house is extremely old so I do not want the top of the line and I don't want something that is going to fall apart in 2 years either or have leakes after a few years. I have had my share of windows that leak. Can you give me some kind of idea based on all of your knowledge of windows what I am in for as far as costs?
Thank you kindly
joe ann carfora
Rob Jundt (author) from Midwest USA on October 09, 2008:
To Confident home: Thanks for your comment and reading my article. And also thanks for pointing out the error in my UI description.
My definition has always been as noted here since that's how the company I used to work for quoted every job.
Maybe it was a marketing ploy to advertise a lower price... nonetheless. Your definition is correct!
All that being said, the UI cost would still reflect actual cost if you took the 192 UI down to 96 but just charged 2X more per UI.
In fact, when I adjust this article in the future (since most of the pricing is at least 5% low due to current increases), I'll heed your professional advice.
As for the 25% down, that's probably a reflection of different market conditions.
Here in the midwest, a 25% down payment can still be considered low (I know it's shocking). I've even seen contractors offer no money down on complete siding and window replacement WAC. But that was before all this credit clamp down.
Time are changing of course. I do need to update this a bit. 8 months in this economy is huge.
Thanks again for your informed comment.
ConfidentHome from New Jersey on October 09, 2008:
I don't know about the rest of the USA, but in the NY/NJ Metropolitan area, UI is simply width plus height. There is no multiplying x's two. A 36 x 60 window is 96 UI.
Also, any customer should expect the downpayment to completely cover the cost of materials. No contractor in their right mind is going to take 25% down, especially at the very low pricing you suggested.