How to choose an installer? And brand questions.

dadophNovember 26, 2010

Ok window gurus, have a few questions about selecting a contractor/installer. I've spent the last few weeks researching window brands, trying to educate myself on what my personal price/quality tipping point is.

However, what I'm having trouble with now is how to choose an installer/contractor. In our area, we have a few window and door dealers that handle the entire transaction from start to finish. In fact, we had one of those dealers install a Provia patio door for us last year and so far have zero complaints or problems. In addition, we have several building supply companies in the area from whom I can get pretty much any brand (assuming it's sold in our region). However, in those cases, while the supply company will provide a list of installers, they are not otherwise involved. It should be noted that our budget for this does not allow for premium windows.

Here are my choices:

Dealer A sells and installs Gorrell and Alside (Provia dealer mentioned above)

Dealer B sells and installs Gilkey and Thermolock

Dealer C sells and installs Seabrooke and Alside

Local Pella, Marvin and Anderson stores

Champion, Air-Tite, Primax, Window World stores

Lowes and Home Depot and whatever they sell

Building supply dealers offer: Soft-Lite, PGT, Simonton, Atrium

you get the idea...

Generally speaking is it advantageous to buy the window and installation from the same place? Or is one better off buying the window that they want from and hiring an installer separately? Seems to me if there is a problem the manufacturer and installer might blame each other. Whereas one stop shopping might eliminate that. From what I've gathered, proper installation is just as important as the quality of window, so I don't want to select a good quality window and then make a mistake with the contractor.

Finally, our home is all vinyl. Rather than "replacement" windows, which I understand are designed to fit inside existing window frames, should we be looking for new construction windows instead? One contractor told me that they would simply remove the siding, remove the old window, install the new window and put the siding back up, with no 'wrapping' necessary.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for the help.

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As for brands, you have started down that road by having a Provia door installed. I am not familiar with that brand but assume it is vinyl. So you should probably stay with vinyl.
As for the "turn key" approach versus buying the windows and hiring your own installer, you will save some out of pocket cash but how much is your time worth? I would say if you are somewhat handy, understand the construction process, and can supervise the installation, go the later route. Otherwise, leave it to a well qualified, honest, professional and in the end, you will be happier.
Just do your homework on brands and installers. Don't be dazzled by the last presentation and claims of superiority. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 11:08AM
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