General contractor vs. window company?

marilanoSeptember 16, 2009

I'd like to replace my 35-year old aluminum sliders (and a couple of small picture windows) and patio doors now both because of the federal tax credit and because our HOA will be painting our townhouses next month. I also have termite damage and dry rot around some of the windows (and elsewhere). I'll probably go with Milgard Style Line for the Windows and Milgard Classic for the doors, which the contractor can provide, although I'm also considering Simonton 7300 (since I'd like a narrower frame) from the window company. I've gotten a bid for the windows and doors from the general contractor I hired to replace some of the siding and trim, and I've also gotten a bid from a couple of window companies (with good reputations). The contractor's prices are quite a bit lower for the windows (compared to the other Milgard estimates) and a little better for the doors. I'm wondering, though, whether I'm likely to get better installation from a company that specializes in windows rather than from a general contractor's crew. So far, it seems like the contractor's workers are doing a good job, but removing and replacing siding is different from removing and replacing windows. (P.S. I'll be getting new construction windows since a few windows now leak). What do others think about which kind of company does the installation? If you have any advice on Simonton vs. Milgard, too, I'd appreciate that. Thanks in advance. marilano

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dennisgli

If your GC has experience installing windows I'd go with them - particularly for new construction windows. Assuming they follow the manufacturer's instructions you should be OK.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 10:28AM
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lakeyjim

With termites and rot, there is likely some hidden damage that cannot be seen until the windows are taken out. Be prepared for this regardless of who does the work. It would also be foolish of someone to quote you a firm price and then "discover" a whole wall has to be rebuilt. That may be an exaggeration though. I'll go with the GC who is probably more capable of taking care of surprises.

You may want to ask them about this.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 2:11PM
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jdavis_2009

The two windows you are looking at are at the low end quality and the high end quality of vinyl windows. Milgard Styleline are low end windows. Milgard Styleline has a lifetime warranty but no glass breakage. Simonton on the other is considered a high end vinyl window. The price difference for each window is probably over $100. Most window companies deal with better quality windows while most contractors are pushing the Milgard low end line to make more money. Window companies seem to have their own installers who specialize in windows where contractors might have experience but might not. Since the contractor is probably trying to do windows because business is down you might want to ask yourself why he is trying to do windows?

If you want to go with Milgard get the Milgard Tuscany so you can have the glass breakage warranty and a better quality window. Another window to look at is Superior Ultima or Superior Deluxe. Both are good windows and have a glass breakage warranty.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 12:27AM
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johnallenmd4

I am shopping for windows and am looking for a window company to install my windows. I had a contract install my windows on my rental property and it turned out terrible. I called out Milgard to fix a window that wasn't closing correctly and the Milgard service tech told me I didn't have then installed correctly so no warranty. I got another Milgard dealer to look at the installation and they agreed with Milgard. I paid twice for my windows to get done correctly. The contractor didn't read the Milgard installation process on their website. He cut corners and now he won't come out and fix it. Since he only gave me a one year warranty on installation there isn't anything I can do about it. The contract did have great referals and had a clean BBB until I made a complaint. I am going with a certified window dealer of the window brand I choose for my own home.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 12:27AM
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