replace windows

joe_mnDecember 15, 2010

how do you advise home owners who want to replace their own windows? my labor is cheap so i can spend most of my budget on the units themselves. i need 8 units, for bedrooms. average size is 30hx50w. sliders. do i go down to menards/hd/lowes and buy whatever the window dept guy says is good? i want all new units. not inserts. custom made to my RO. should i consider a window maker who caters to homeowners? i am in mpls, mn.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

First thing I would do is forget the Menards/HD/Lowes and find a true window supplier or a good quality lumber yard and see what they recommend. As far as Sliders these are typically the worst performing window you can purchase. You may wish to think about reframing the openings for either casements or double hungs. Minneapolis has pretty severe winters and you would have much tighter units as far as air infiltration and other performance values if you do.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eastbay10

You mention bedrooms. Check your local codes and that will dictate what type of window(s) you can put in. I agree with millworkman, avoid the big boxes if you can

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 10:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_mn

isn't a slider just a DH turned on its side? if i went to a DH, it would have to be a dbl wide unit. does a dbl wide DH unit usually cost more than a single slider like i have now? its not really a visual issue. i think a dbl wide dh unit would have a nice chunk of vertical wood in the center of the 2 units? i prefer more glass, less wood if possible.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

you are correct some what in that a slider is very similar to a dbl hung turned on it's side. The major exception being that very few are ever used anymore in house construction. So the weatherstripping and technology in engineering them is basically still in the early 80's because of the minimal demand. Thus they are about as energy efficient as an early 80's dbl hung which is minimal at best.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_mn

but a dbl wide DH will have a horizontal and vertical wood portion separating (4)pieces of glass. my last house was all DH windows. this house is 1/2 sliders, 1/2 casement. guess the builder had some stock he wanted to use. all the bedroom windows are sliders. 2nd story part of house.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 1:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

ok then, maybe look into casements for the replacements which are the tightest and most efficient window made

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 3:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_mn

menards quoted me $800 for a 38x63 casement. 75 for custom height fee and 75 for width fee. but it does come with screens. woohoo.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 12:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

Unfortunately that doesn't mean a thing to anyone as you gave us no info as to brand, model, material that it is made of, or anything else. As I mentioned yesterday I would almost NEVER but a window from a home center. If you buy it good luck but I would be careful if I were you.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_mn

i get your point. saying its a lowes window is like asking what a red car costs. not much detail to go on.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
francesca_sf

Disclaimer: I am not in the industry. I'm a homeowner who did research for several months before purchasing vinyl sliding doors and windows earlier this month. I'm happy to share what I learned.

The critical aspects of window installation seem to be (1) ordering the exact correct size (our window sizes are absolutely non-standard), (2) selecting a quality product (good quality frame and sash material; more rather than fewer chambers; thicker vinyl; heat welded joints, not screws; looks well-engineered) and (3) following the flashing and wrapping instructions of the window manufacturer to the letter. Otherwise your warranty is void. There are many free how-to videos on line that show to install a window. We were going to DIY, but found a building contractor with 25 yrs experience who is having a slow year. His prices were extremely reasonable and he's installed 100s of windows and doors.

Here are the window manufacturers which professional window installers think are the best quality product with the best stand-behind-their-product service: Amerimax, Anlin, Great Lakes, Marvin, Mercer, Milgard (mid-grade), Simonton, Superior. Harvey, Gorrell, Soft Lite, Sunrise, Okna, PGT. I'm sure there are more. Some are available only in certain regions.

Here are manufacturers that professional installers generally don't have a high regard for: Accuweld, Alside, Anderson, Atrium (filed for bankruptcy), Certainteed, Comfort Line, Gilkey, Jeld-Wen, Kolbe, MI, NuView, Pella, Primax, Serious, SilverLine, ThermoView.

Some companies make products specifically for the big box stores that are NOT the same quality as their standard lines. Confirm the spec's and the model numbers for an accurate comparison.

I found the best price at a local hardware store with an excellent reputation that caters to the building trades. Check your local Yelp listings. The reputation of the place you buy from is as important as the reputation of the window manufacturer if there is any problem down the line. The warranty on a good window lasts as long as you own your home and in some cases can be transferred to the next owner. So, it could be in force for a long time.

Check to see what the local building codes require and whether you need a permit to install windows and doors. A local building inspector can be a second set of eyes to make sure everything is done so that the windows are air-tight and water-tight.

If you order and install energy efficient doors and windows by Dec 31, you can get a 30% refund on the materials up to $1500. The deadline MAY be extended into 2011 but that is not confirmed.

That's all I know.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eastbay10

Great summary! You did your research and it shows.

The tax credit of up to $1500 will not carry over into 2011 much to the industry's chagrin. A credit of up to $200 for windows and $500 for exterior doors was a part of the recently passed and signed extension of Bush tax cuts.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

What type of glass did you get in your windows? Also I am sure the list you gave if for your area as well because my list would be different. Plus your list has new construction or full frame units as well as replacement type unit which are generally done by different types on installers, so it is a tough comparison and maybe not 100% fair.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
francesca_sf

millworkman - your point of new vs replacement units is quite valid. Do you know of some companies that excel in one or the other type of unit? I got low-E, argon gas, etc. that would qualify for the tax rebate with values of U <.30 and sghc .30. we lucky to enjoy the mild climate of n. california. no freezing temps hurricane winds rain. but then again got our earthquakes>

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 2:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_mn

francesca, can you give an example of 1 of your units. any that are 36Hx45W? you say vinyl. does that mean no wood core? is it a unit designed to go into a rough opening? or an insert? typical cost?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
francesca_sf

Joe, we live in a very indoor-outdoor "glass house" with 8 sliding glass doors, some as large as 12' wide. We have only 6 windows in the whole house. We are replacing 2 windows in the kitchen:

1. Window 1: approx 24"W x 44"H, fixed pane (in industry parlance, "picture window"). Since it is right next to a door (a 10' sliding door), it had to be tempered (local building code). A Simonton 7300 vinyl window ran $167. The best price I got for a Milgard Tuscany with SunCoatMAX Energy package was $113.20.

2. Window 2: approx 96"W x 44"H, horizontal slider, X-O-X. The Simonton 7300 ran $498 which included an upgraded ultra-vue screen ($10 extra). The Milgard Tuscany would run $423.20

Both Simonton windows have the energy package with Low-E 366, double glazed, argon gas that allows us to get a 30% energy rebate, so the first window was $167-50=$117 and the second was $498-149=$349.

Installation costs were all over the place from $100 per window or door to $1000 to $3000 per window or door! Crazy!

Retrofit into an existing window frame would have been less expensive. However our original frames were not high quality and "new construction", or putting the window into the rough opening, would allow us to preserve as much glass as possible, without having a big fat frame.

We live in a very modern home with very thin aluminum framed windows and doors. So, aesthetics were important. We sought as thin a frame as possible. The Simontons were only 1/2" wider than our original aluminum windows. So, they worked with the decor. They were noticeably thinner than the Milgards

Here's a fascinating tidbit. One salesman who sent me a quote accidently sent me his margins. Here's an example:

Milgard Tuscany 22 3/4"W x 42 1/2"H, U=.28, SGC=.22
Cost: $122.88
Selling Price: $178.17
% Gross Markup: 45%

I don't believe the vinyl windows have a wood core. I saw the cross-section examples at the showrooms, and they all seemed to have multiple vinyl chambers. The more chambers the better, I was told.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
muskymojo

I also live in Minneapoils and just replaced all my windows. I ordered new construction windows because I'm doing the siding too and it makes for a better install. Go to ABC Supply on E Hennepin and talk to Rob. I did a lot of shopping around and got a great deal there. Big box windows are garbage. I got triple pane DH with grids custom made for not much more than the big box junk. (u-factor of .23!)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 1:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

Ok musky, I will play along. What brand windows, what type of glass, who did the install, was it done properly?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
muskymojo

They are Vinylmax Radiance. Low e argon triple pane. I did the install and that's what I do for a living. I've never worked with this brand before but they seem like pretty good windows for the price. I still have to add jambs but that's no big deal. Are you on the same millworkman that's on THP?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
millworkman

No, I am not. Sounds good on your windows though.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 8:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_mn

talked to ABC. they can get stock units from kolbe, that are 38x63 for 450. custom HXW would be 200 more. these are wood core, clad, wood interior, low-e units, sliders. so 650 for custom or 750 for custom at lowes. but now we are comparing 2 different units that might be totally different.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 11:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
muskymojo

Isn't 38x63 what you're looking for? Can you get a stock unit that's 38x63 at Lowes? If not, then isn't it 450 compared to 750? Either sounds pretty fancy. I was looking for economical vinyl DH's and ABC worked out good for me. I got custom made triple's with full screens and grids for a few hundred more (total) than crappy Jeld-Wen double panes (Menards) that were standard sizes and I would've had to change my RO's a bit (smaller). Are vinyl windows out of the question? Mine were no extra cost for custom sizes. There were just price catagories depending on square inches (my small kitchen sink window was the same price as my larger bedroom windows).
Well anyhoo...Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 1:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Sliding Glass Door Brand Recommendations
Thank you for your help here a week or so ago, when...
Carrie B
Brand recommendation?
I would very much appreciate some recommendations on...
oakenacres
Time to replace the windows?
There has been almost constant ice build up around...
tonyzzztony
Need Help with new window brands
We are early in the new home construction process (finalizing...
mmdoh
wood window restoring in Nova
I live in a cedar home with big wood casement windows....
mommyshanti
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™