Are you glad you replaced your windows?

stinky-gardenerOctober 22, 2010

Did your new windows make your heart sing, or did you feel like you should have spent your money or other home improvements?

I'm trying to decide which home improvement project I should plunk my money into. My 1987 master bath could use updating. My kitchen could use updating. Neither room is a total clunker, but they could use improvements.

Ah, and then there are the windows! They could certainly look fresher, cleaner, better. While they aren't leaking (knock on wood!) they are impossible to clean with their storms that are hard to move. They probably aren't the most hideous windows on earth, but they could be a lot better-looking.

Have often thought that replacing the windows would give every room in the house an "upgrade." Also, both the interior and exterior of the house would be freshened up.

Would future buyers rather have a better bath or cleaner, brighter, newer windows? What would I prefer? What is *your* experience?

I'm new to this, so thanks for sharing the benefit of your experience and any thoughts you may have on the subject!

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Why does this remind me of the blind men each who were touching a different part of the elephant and reporting on what an elephant looked like? :)

John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend,

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:29AM
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Skydawggy, thanks for sharing the poetry. I think I hear what you're saying, but may I be so bold as to ask for you to indulge me with your opinion in your own words? I'm sure it would be at least as fascinating & more enlightening!

Thank you. ( I would value your opinion, even if by virtue of being an "opinion" it is subjective!)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:15AM
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In the past, upgraded kitchens and baths have been more appealing to home purchasers than something boring like windows. In todays market I think upgraded windows have gained some ground as energy efficiency has become more important. The point of the poem is that if you have a buyer whose main concern is aesthetics, then the kitchen and bath upgrades will be a main focal point. If it's energy efficiency, then they will focus on the windows.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Thanks so much Sky. I hear you. Thing is, in my master bath, I have one of those gigantic jetted tubs that in the 4.5 years I've been here, I've never used. It's gross. It's dead space. It not only looks ugly, it's not functional. However, having said that, someone else may find it quite acceptable, even attractive. I think it's a hideous water guzzler.

The shower stall is plastic & weird & I have never used it either. Again, others may not find it so offensive. I'm a girly girl who likes baths, so I use the small tub in the guest bath every night, which is fine with me since I'm small. I could drown in the other tub!
As for the windows, they always look dirty & they don't look "spiffy." I don't think about replacing them to save energy costs, I just want the house to look clean and well-cared for!

Anyhoo, am finding it hard to prioritize and fear wasting money and exercising bad judgement. I guess everyone grapples with these issues who owns a home. These days, most people are grappling with falling home values on top of spending for improvements. I bought this house in '06, when the market was sky high.

Thanks for listening to me whine & for the insight.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Perhaps this link will help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cost vs Value

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 4:55PM
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Skydawggy, thank you so much for the wonderful link! It is very interesting. I live in SE/VA and could find statistics for my area.

Nice of you to share.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 12:52PM
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Are you updating to sell or just for your own personal enjoyment? Anything, such as your tub that is non-functioning, will have to be fixed. Since you state you have storm windows, I assume they are single pane glass. Your windows will probably be a negotiating point when you do decide to sell. If you decide to replace the windows, just make sure they are installed correctly. Hire someone that is certified by the window manufacture and/or AAMA.

The only other thing you could stress to potential buyers is that the warranty for windows is for the owner of the residence. So if the buyer actually does the windows, they would get the warranty. Though some warranties do transfer, they are usually more of a limited warranty. So check the fine print.

As to which upgrade to do first, buyers are looking for what they perceive will get them the most for their money. And they don't necessarily want to pay for it. Right now, it's a buyer's market so price is everything. So you might not get any return on any improvements if you are trying to sell in the near future. That said, upgrade your kitchen first if you are looking for what MAY make your home sell before your neighbors. Consider hiring a professional to design the kitchen and go with a classic look. Don't overdo for your neighborhood. Actually make sure your area will even justify the higher price tag. Location is everything.

We just replaced the twenty windows in the back of the house. Some of the windows had the seals broke and were not operating properly. So it was something that needed to be done. The new windows are a low-e window with a coating that cleans itself. The back of the house gets hammered with the rain and the sun, so it is amazing just how clean they stay. It's easy to notice since I also put in a garden window and it doesn't have the "clean" coating. I definitely recommend checking out the "clean" coating option on any window you buy. The house is quieter and no drafts in the back of the house. This summer the back of the house didn't heat up through the windows, so the air conditioner wasn't constantly running. The noise and drafts are noticeable when you go to the front of the house. I plan on doing all the ones in the front in the near future.

As far as energy cost savings, it just doesn't pencil out for us. I also have one of those 96% furnaces, that I haven't seen those saving numbers.

A home down the street just sold that had over 100K renovations by a noted remodeling firm. The new owners got a great deal. The house sold for 5K less than another one around the block. So do what makes you happy. The market is probably still going down, so you may be looking at 6-7 years before a turn.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 2:24PM
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Housefairy, thanks so much for the detailed response! I appreciate you sharing your viewpoint and experiences.

I should clarify. When I say the tub is not "functional," I mean to *me* it isn't. As far as I know, one could take a bath in it. *I* just don't want to fill up a tub with that much water for one bath. It isn't practical or eco-friendly. Plus, the jets, which must harbor grime after all these years, are a turn-off to me. No one that I know who owns one of these tubs ever uses it. Only one person I know of has replaced it. Most people seem to just ignore them or even remodel around them, replacing flooring, vanity, countertop, etc., but leaving the tub alone! In the '80's they must have seemed really fabulous, but not now!

I plan to be here 10, 15, maybe even 20 years more (if I can still navigate the stairs and do the extensive yardwork required.)

According to Zillow, my house is currently worth $108,000 less than it was when purchased 4.5 years ago! As you say, it will probably slide further in value. What I could buy for the money I spent in '06 in '10 is dramatically different! That upsets me a lot. I know; that's immature of me. It is what it is. My husband is probably ready to toss me out of one of our icky windows! He's much more mature and takes things in stride better than I do.

Speaking of windows...yours sound great. I love the sound of a self-cleaning window! Yahoo!

As for my kitchen...what I'd like to do is replace my laminate countertops, unify my appliances to stainless steel (they're currently a mish mash of finishes) and put hardware on my cabinet doors. I'd keep my existing cabs which are painted BM Bone White and I'm fine with them. Mine is a simple, humble, smallish kitchen...nothing glam (even though the price tag on my house was kind of glam, lol!)

It's really depressing, but I know I have plenty of company out there. I guess I just wasn't prepared for this, but who was? Have tried to be frugal and responsible. I'm not a spend now, worry about it later kind of person. I try to do the right things.

I think there should be a forum for people who are depressed about the housing market. Certainly innocent, unsuspecting people visiting the window forum may not be game for whining like mine when they open a thread!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 5:30PM
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If you plan to stay there 10-20 years then replace the windows if they are bugging you and you have the money. I really like my new windows and don't regret spending the money. It's amazing just how much quieter it is in the back of the house. Any home, eventually if you live there long enough, is going to require maintenance and upgrades. I guess the way to get around that is to always be a renter.

I didn't do the front just because I was afraid that there may be some kind of hidden structural problems with rotting windowsills. I wanted to make sure I had enough money on hand to cover any costs. Luckily everything went fairly smoothly. Then with a busy summer, the last kid going back to grad school, and higher taxes I just need a little more money in the "kitty" before I commit on the front of the house. I will say that I had them do the entire back because I wanted the house to have a cohesive look.

Stinky-gardener, a lot of people got caught up in the escalating real estate costs. So enjoy your home and garden.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 8:45PM
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Thanks, Housefairy!

Love hearing about your windows. They really sound like they've added a lot to your house and you are really liking them! You sound very glad that you replaced your windows!

Your last sentence made my eyes tear up. I guess I've been so tense about all this lately that enjoying anything hasn't even occurred to me. Last week my back was tied in knots and I have recurring arm pain...all due to tension I'm sure!

I really appreciate your thoughtful reply.

If you have any pics, would love to see your windows!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Stinky-gardener here is a before picture taken last year.

Then here are two after pictures.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Wow! Thanks so much for sharing the pics! I love your windows! What kind are they? They look really great.

Your house is very attractive. I especially like the paint color and the roof. Very nice. You also have wonderful plantings. Great trees, shrubs and pretty container plants too. I see you have a garden window...that must be fun!

The new windows have a mored defined look and beautifully enhance the architecture. Good choice!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 8:15PM
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They are a vinyl LoE-366 neat glass window made by a local company here in the Pacific Northwest. The windows have equal glass sightlines and are wind rated for 134 miles per hour. The guys who installed them did a great job. The garden window is apparently only made by a few manufacturers, so the installer actually bought it from a different window manufacturer in the area.

Here's a pic of the garden window. I did change out the shelf. It came with a tacky glass shelf encased in metal. Because of the length of the window the thing had a bow in the middle. I replaced it with a piece of laminated glass to give it extra strength. That is why it has a green tint to the glass.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 9:17PM
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Pretty! Nice granite countertop too!

Lucky you...the Pacific NW is so stunning! My sister lived in Bremerton for 7 years (her dh was a doc in the Navy) & I had the most amazing time visiting them and seeing Seattle & Victoria & Vancouver B.C.! It was the ultimate trip of my life...1997! Your region of the country is amazing.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 10:25PM
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I'm a little late seeing this, as I just got on here to search for wood french door recommendations. But 2 years ago I replaced my old Milguard aluminum windows (house built in 1983) with my dream wood windows (Kolbe, gorgeous, but horrendous customer service). Oh my goodness what a difference. I am SO HAPPY I did it. Every person who walks in this house for the 1st time says, "I LOVE your windows; they are beautiful." I feel the same way, every time I look at them, dust the sills, feel the warmth. If you have the $$, I say do it. You likely will enjoy them every minute of every day. I just did a bath remodel and added new windows to match the others in the house. (I think you saw them in the Bath forum, but here's the best pic of them) The only difference is they now have wood framed screens, which my others don't have...

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 8:08PM
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Thanks for sharing Olychick...nice to see you again!

I love your house! You have impeccable taste. All of your choices have understated elegance and exude true craftsmanship...quality, quality, quality! Gorgeous!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 9:57PM
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Gosh, gee...:-) Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 11:17PM
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Stinky-Gardener, when I read your first post I thought, wow, does that ever sound like me! We have the same useless over-sized tub in our master bathroom that was part of an addition in 1989. Back then I thought I had the coolest bathroom going; now I just sigh at all the wasted floor space that acrylic monstrosity takes up. I don't think I've been in it in over two years!

My kitchen also has laminate counter tops, mismatched appliance finishes, and inexpensive painted cabinets. But it also has can recessed lights added a few years ago,the warmth of the original 50s v joint paneling, painted a crisp white, and the wooden beam that we added 31 years ago to cover up the place where the kitchen was sawed in two parts when we moved this house to our property. So while I still sometimes dream of a kitchen remodel, if it never happens, I'll be just fine.

The windows though, have bugged me for years. Like you, we have to deal with storms, and since we are both getting older, climbing ladders to remove them, clean them and then put them back up just isn't our idea of a fun weekend anymore! Besides, they seemed to only stay clean for a few months.

Yesterday I had eight of our windows replaced, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome! We had the 6 over 6 single panes replaced with good quality vinyl double hung windows without grids, and I just love the look! DH and I were discussing tonight how much larger the breakfast room looks since your line of vision is drawn directly outside instead of stopping at the grids or dirty storms. I am so thrilled with how good they look that I am seriously thinking of just going ahead and having the remaining ten windows replaced too. So yes, my new windows do make my heart sing, and are worth every budgeted penny I paid. Once again I'll build up my savings so that I can tackle the bath or kitchen remodel, and while that will cost a lot more than my windows and take longer to save for, I have my beautiful new windows to enjoy during that time.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:50PM
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