New Windows Advice

kf59May 3, 2013


My home burned to the ground last year and I am in the uncomfortable position of dealing with the disaster, insurance and my contractor. I have faith in the GC because they work a lot with insurance companies, but feel like I'm being kept in the dark on some items, especially windows.

First of all, I find it very frustrating trying to get basic pricing information on windows and doors. Everything online points me to 'free consultations'. My GC has specified $470 per window - double hung - including labor.

I can't get a breakdown on the labor cost per window, but I can't imaging it is much more than $150 per, leaving me with at least a $250 window.

I guess they are quoting the double-hung as an average despite the design calling for various other types like casement, awning and such. I would hope these are in the same pricing ballpark or less.

So they pointed me at the Andersen 100 series. It appears that that line doesn't offer double-hung. Now they suggest Silverline, of course not specifying the 1200, 8500 or 9500 series.

The online opinion on Silverline seems to be generally low, especially for my location in southern New York. The GC has tried to steer me from wood, saying that it will require additional labor to finish it.

Other than the expected 'ditch your GC, they're a thief' responses, can anyone shed some light on average pricing for a good, but not extravagent window?

Thanks in advance.

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$470 installed is on the very low end of what you can expect a quality vinyl replacement window to cost including installation, especially in New York. Anywhere from $500-$8 or $900 is going to be in the ball park. On the low side of that, you'll find less options, simple install, etc. On the higher side of that, may be elite products, with cadillac options and/or complicated installation.
On product vs labor pricing, that can be very difficult to nail down and will not provide an accurate comparison because some guys build their profit into the window sale, others into the installation. At the end of the day, it is the final price that is relevant more so than how you get there.
In NY, you should have all of the top products available (in no particular order):
HiMark, Okna, Softlite, Sunrise, Polaris.
Each manufacturer offers a "good, better, best" product line as well, so there will be something to fit your budget.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 11:35AM
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Silverline Windows are complete garbage and i question any contractor that recommends that brand. Andersen purchased Silverline years back to get into the lower end building business. If you want something that warps, leaks air, and looks cheap, then by all means get Silverline.
The higher end Vinyl brands that most pro' s recommend are as follows:
Okna , HiMark, Soft Lite, Gorell, and Sunrise.

Also, no reputable contractor breaks down their pricing for labor and materials. No one knows what his overhead expenses are and no one knows what his profit margins need to be in order for him to pay his bills. Asking him to divuldge that is alot like asking you how much your pay check is each week. Its actually a rather rude question, although i am pretty certain you didnt intend to come across that way.
470 is on the lower end of things for a quality product and install but Silverline, no matter which series, is total low end junk.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Thanks for the information - I assumed the Silverline wasn't something I wanted to consider.

On the issue of labor vs materials. They have broken this out for me on the kitchen ( Quoted labor so I could source my own cabinetry ) and flooring.

Since this is an insurance job, they already are going to make 20% in O&P ( Overhead and profit ) meaning they'll pocket close to $100K for the job right off the top. So, I don't really care if I come across rude or make them squirm when I know they're just trying to make additional profit on the subcontractors and materials as well.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Your arrangement is not typical of professional window installation/exterior remodeling companies.
If you are working with a regular GC and they are breaking up materials and labor in other areas, then I suppose that they could do it here too. That said, you might consider getting the windows installed by a specialist. I know that it is not rocket science and it seems silly, but the majority of the worst installs that I've ever seen were by "carpenters" working for builders and GC's. They can put it in square, but they generally have no concept of the best practices when it comes to proper flashing of the opening.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Agree. GC's are notorious for screwing up window installs. They prefer cheap labor .

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 5:17PM
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Not prefer DEMAND cheap labor!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 7:11PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Seeing as they only own the home for a year or less, they don't much care about the long term repercussions from bad labor.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:37AM
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