What am I missing? Buying from big box stores

jimmylandSeptember 12, 2010

I'm a big confused on where to buy federal tax credit eligible replacement windows.

I've pretty much settled on Milgard Tuscany line, and will probably be doing new construction instead of retrofit for the consistent look with my sliding door.

Now, my question is... the quotes I'm getting from a window company is significantly higher than the prices at a big box store, like HD. They seem to be similar in sizes, I'm looking at single-hung, low-e coating, argon filled. Both say it's Milgard Tuscany line. So why is one over $350, and the other $119?

Am I missing something? Both are without installation since I already have a contractor I'm working with.


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Most products that are sold at a mass marketer as "Lowes, Home Depot, Menards and such, DO NOT Employ experts in any field. You may get a retired expert now and then, BUT remember these people are hired to stock the shelves and help you put items in your cart! Can you believe that? WOW! They employ bodies, and give them dangerously low training / pay, most have no interest in the sale or much product knowledge. Once the sale has occurred you are directed to the manufacturer.

Make decisions based on facts of reputable sale people no matter what you are purchasing. Get informed! Windows and doors are not created equal, each climate has a clear winner and looser! All of these products need to be considered in the overall design of a home taking in to consideration window coverings in the colder climates, as well as air flow and heat register locations.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 12:53PM
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Well stated!!!!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 2:17PM
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I see. So there isn't any difference between the products at the different stores since they're the same manufacturer and product line. The difference in price is the experience of the sales people.

Thanks, that does make my decision easier.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 2:50PM
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You are your own best advocate in this situation. Take a bit of time with the project and educate yourself on what are good differentiators of performance and narrow the search that way.

You will get a better product in the end.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 3:48AM
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There very well could be differences, some companies make a line just for HD or Lowes, some sell the exact same product, some sell the exact same product but with a private label or different series number. The problem gets to be that with the sales people not really having a clue as to product knowledge you never can be 100% sure what they are saying is correct.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:27AM
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Big box retailers took over the market by storm, offering lower prices! And it was so, better selection lower prices. But the long term has proven that better selection, well maybe is not so! Their selections are based today on what sells no matter what the quality or product reliability. Coupled with quite a bit lower talented field of store level staff in the respective departments. Pay is possibly the problem, coupled with staffing shifts. They may have an on staff professional, but they will not be in until 2 or three days from now!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 9:42AM
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I have no personal opinion on this, but I have heard of people who have had their orders completely messed up by the HD/Lowes people, and it takes weeks to straighten out. That's probably one of the things you get with a window professional. Also, when I did my windows, both reps (from window stores) could immediately tell me when a window needed to be tempered glass, and when it had to be a fire escape compliant window. My architectural designer missed one of those...the window guy basically had to change that window to be compliant. My friend's architect missed one or two of the tempered windows.

It's just like anything else...if you know what you're doing, and are OCD about double checking everything, then you're probably fine. If you're like me, and burnt out after trying to save money with an architectural designer, and want your actual build to be smoother, then you work with professionals, and hold them accountable when the order isn't right.

In our area, prices are marked up quite a bit. By getting quotes from people 40-60 minutes away, the prices were much more comparable with the big boxes...good luck!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 1:00PM
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Thanks for the answers. I am the OCD type that has to make sure I understand why every thing's done a certain way, and where I would need tempered glass, and why. For a $2k-$3k difference, I don't mind running around and reading up more about the windows.

Which is why I ended up on this forum. I know a lot of window professionals are on here, and was hoping to get some insight into whether there is a different product line of the Milgard Tuscany built for big box stores versus local window shops.

I'm not here to debate the socio economic impact of lower prices versus higher wages. At this point, my concern is with cost and quality of material. I already know the difference in cost ($200 per window), and am just looking for advice based on expertise and experience on the quality.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Maybe someone else knows for sure but I doubt Milgard would manufacture two different windows and call them both Tuscany. As was said by others, companies will often manufacture for the Big Box under private label and the like.
As for the price discrepancy, it could be apples and oranges (make sure they are bidding the same thing) or simply a mistake but that is too large a difference. Something is wrong.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:47PM
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