Replacement Window Estimates: What’s Included?
LESLIE: Michael in West Virginia is on the line with some questions about windows. How can we help you?
MICHAEL: Yes. I’m getting ready to do replacement windows in my house. And I was wondering – I’ve gotten a few estimates from some of the window companies. And I don’t want to mention any major brands or anything but I know that when they came to do a job across from me, they told the man that – after they gave him the estimate and everything, they came in and they said that this was the cost of the window. Well, then once they got there, they told him that that didn’t include the capping, it didn’t include this, it didn’t include that.
TOM: I hope you didn’t call that company.
MICHAEL: Well, I’m not going to call that company but I mean that’s – they’re a major corporation and…
TOM: Yeah. Well, I don’t care how big they are, that’s just bad form for a window installer. You just don’t do that.
MICHAEL: I was debating on whether just going ahead and having a company come by and go ahead and measure my windows. I’ve had two or three estimates, so they’ve already been measured. And I’m going to measure them again myself and then order them from a contractor, like Lowe’s or maybe from Pella Windows or somebody like that. And I just was wondering what you all thought about the warranties on the windows.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, there’s a label on windows that’s very helpful. And it’s called – it’s the National Fenestration Rating Councilm or the NFRC label. And it’s going to give you some key indicators of the quality of the window. And so, when you’re looking at these windows, you want to know what that data is because, this way, you can compare and contrast as to what’s the most efficient window.
Now, in terms of do-it-yourself or not, you know, it’s not terribly difficult to install replacement windows if you have some basic carpentry skills. And if that’s the case, you could go ahead and order them and do the installation yourself. I generally tell people not to do their own ordering because each type of replacement window gets fitted slightly different and you’re always better off having the manufacturer or the retailer do the measuring, even if there’s an additional fee. This way, if it doesn’t fit, it’s their problem, not yours.
But in terms of what happened to your neighbor, I think that should be the exception and not the rule. I can’t imagine a company pulling that but there’s always people out there that try these types of approaches where they show up with the windows and say, “Oh, by the way, it’s going to be a lot more to complete this installation.”
Typically, you can get a price for the window and installation includes the re-covering of all of the trim. If it’s going to be covered by aluminum or whatever, that’s all specified out in the bid. So I guess your neighbor didn’t know enough to kind of check for that or ask for that. But all of that work should be specified in advance. And if it is, then it’s a relatively painless process.
So I would definitely suggest you stick with name-brand windows like Pella, like Andersen, like Simonton and with their dealers that they work with. They usually have their own set of installers that I think, with those bigger brands, you’re less likely to run into that.
The problem with replacement windows is it’s just – there’s so many people in the business and they all have different sources of the windows. And you just don’t always get what you think you’re paying for.
Michael, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.