1 replacement window, 3 vastly different estimates. Help!

rovoJuly 26, 2012

Newbie here; I've been on a crash course in window replacement and am thoroughly confused. I apologize in advance if any of this has been covered in the threads, but can't seem to find the information I'm looking for and would love some advice from the experts here.

We have a typical cookie cutter 12 year old home in a nice area. A few years after purchasing, every single one of the 32 windows had condensation in the panes. All are Gel Wend, who did replace the glass after much hassle. A few years ago, the large (7' x 5') south facing vinyl window on the front of the house cracked out of the blue. Had to replace the glass on that one out of pocket, and now realize that the entire window should have been replaced. It is is racked and bowing, and the outside trim has obvious dry rot. I believe the style is a picture window over a slider, where both sides of the lower windows open. Naturally, it is out of warranty. So, I now have 3 estimates: one from a GC who said the window is fine, he would just pull it out, re-shim, and replace the trim work. The second estimate, from a window replacement company, estimated $2200, not including any potential work from water damage to the house. They claim to offer a variety of windows, but only wanted to talk about Milgard Tuscany series. The third, also from a window replacement company, estimated $1350, not including potential structural damage, for a Simonton series 7300. Also did not offer any other brands.

I knew enough to check the license/insurance status of all three, but am flying blind here as far as really determining how to get a decent wi dow installed correctly without breaking the bank. I assume the first GC did not know what he was talking about, but what about the other two? Are these reasonable prices, in your opinion, for these windows with installation? And why the big price difference? I've read that proper installation is everything, but both companies seem equally reputable. Are there any specific questions regarding installation that I should be asking?

Thanks in advance!

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PRO
Windows on Washington

Pulling out a window that is failed (even if it is failed because of the installation) to stuff it back in is usually bad logic.

Can you post up a picture of the window in question.

The Simonton window you mention is a pretty solid unit and certainly comparable to the Tuscany.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 7:10AM
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EcoStarRemodel

Installed prices are determined by the wall construction and what's involved in removing the old window.

Expect to pay a premium to have just one window installed. If dealers only install one window at a time, the most they could install in one day would be just 2 or 3 windows so they have to charge a lot more per window unit than if they were replacing 10 windows all at one location in the same day. There are many company's that won't even bother with just one window.

Your post also highlights once again the differences in quality products and the lower end ones like Jeld-Wen. Hopefully, the next person who comes on here and starts arguing with one of the Pros that the cheap window they are considering is justifiable because the energy efficiency numbers are comparable to a higher priced, quality window, will find your post and save themselves some aggravation.

Thanks for posting, I really hope you will go with either the Simonton or the Milgard. Both are pretty decent windows and as long as they are ordered and installed correctly, you should not ever have any problems with them.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 8:05AM
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rovo

Good to know that my instincts were correct in regards to the GC who wanted to simply stuff the window back in place. As for going cheap: I wouldn't do another Gel Wend ever. This may not be our forever house, but the window sits right over a bed, and keeps the room blazing hot or freezing cold, depending on the season. Hopefully,this replacement window will improve the temperature control. Wish I could replace all of the junky windows in the house, but as it is, this is coming out of my miniscule kitchen update budget, so I want to be wisely frugal.

It seems that both of these recommended windows are comparable, and given the large price difference, I'm just wondering whether there are specific installation questions that I should be asking to determine whether the less expensive bid also comes with a shoddy installation :) If not, I would certainly go with the Simonton for value and price.

I have attempted to upload some photos here, but can only seem to upload one at a time. Hopefully, you can get an idea of what we're dealing with despite the heat reflective screens in place. One long window sits on top of a center picture window, with two sliders on either side of that. I will attempt to upload an inside shot next. Bear with me as I have ancient software and little time to learn the ins and outs of image enhancement...Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 1:18PM
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rovo

Ok, and now for the inside. If you look carefully, you can see the bowing in the center both at the top and on the sill itself. Left window barely opens, right window oves all over the place. Again, my apologies for the poor picture quality.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 1:25PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

That is a solid price on the Simonton window for that opening and given the fact that it is one window.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 7:34AM
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rovo

Ok, Simonton it is! Thanks, windowsonwashington.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:11PM
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EcoStarRemodel

I agree. Simonton builds a very solid window and that seems like a pretty decent price. Simonton pricing on combination units like that are more aggressive than most manufacturers.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:27PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:27AM
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rovo

Just wanted to follow up and let you know that we went with the Simonton and so far, it's been great. Even during the recent triple digit week long heat wave, that room maintained its temperature. Good windows are well worth it!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:35PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Nice follow up.

Post up some pictures of the new unit.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 7:09AM
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rovo

Sorry it took so long to post a photo! I don't have a good one, and the new trim still needs painting, but just to give you an idea:

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:37AM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Looks sharp.

Well done.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:40PM
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