Buying Replacement Windows

When buying replacement windows, there are a whole host of decisions to make and options to choose from. To keep the process as simple as possible, we have outlined the ten key factors to consider when you are buying replacement windows and talking to potential contractors.

1. Decide On Types & Styles

There are so many different types of windows out there that you will get bombarded with all of the different choices available, so before you even start, determine what type of windows you want. Are you looking for a specific style?  Do you only want wood or are open to looking at vinyl windows as well? What is your budget? How long do you plan on staying in your home (this may help you determine whether certain features are worth buying.) Certain key factors will help you narrow down your decision before you even start.

2. Prioritize what is important to you.

With so many options out there, you need to prioritize what is important to you to narrow it down.  If the company is important (such as you only want Anderson or Pella windows), then only look at those companies but figure out how you can make them work in your budget.  If energy efficiency is the most important factor in your decision, then only look for options with energy efficiency like low-e coatings or triple paned glass.  If style is the most important factor, stick to what you like the look of best (within your budget, of course!)

3. Get Multiple Estimates

Most replacement window companies will provide you with a free in-home estimate. Let them come out and take a look at your existing windows and show you a few window options to consider. This will let you see the actual windows and the price for.  Don’t close any deals at this point – this is just information gathering (this is especially true if the salesperson is pushy).

4. Stick To A Budget

There are so many options out there for replacement windows, even among each specific company, that it is important to stick to your pre-determined budget. Unless you budget is totally off for what you are planning on doing, make sure that when you discuss window options with the contractors that they are showing you windows that meet your budget criteria. Many times, they will try to steer you to their higher priced options, but unless that is something you really want, make it clear to them that you are looking to spend less money and if they can’t accommodate you, you’ll find another company. Chances are that after hearing that, they’ll quickly start showing you more moderately priced selections.

5. Get Estimates That Are Broken Down

A project estimate should be broken down by price by materials, labor, prep work, disposal fee etc. This will make it easier for you to compare “apples to apples” when looking at different windows or different installation contractors. You don’t always have to use the company that supplies the windows as your installers, but they may give you added incentives to do so, so by getting a cost breakdown you’ll get a better idea of how much everything costs.

6. Check The Warranty Info

Most replacements come with a window warranty and knowing about them will give you some indication of how high quality a product is. Also, find out if there are warranties related to the actual installation of the windows, whether anything voids the warranty (like using an outside contractor for installation) and whether you can transfer the warranty if you sell your home.

7. Ask About Payment Options

Buying replacement windows is no cheap endeavor, so if you are not looking to lay out all the money at once, find out which manufacturers allow you to pay the balance off in installments, without interest, which may help you make a decision on choosing a company.

8. Understand The Timelines

Ask how long it will take for the installation to happen.  Some companies use this as a way to force you into a decision, but remember that you’re the one spending the money, so you get to call some of the shots.   If you want the windows by a certain date, tell the company that if they can’t accommodate you, you’ll look elsewhere.

9. Compare Prices And Check References

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, compare prices, warranties and what’s included.  Check references or check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is reputable. Don’t rule out your gut instinct about which company you feel most comfortable with either.

10. Stick To Your Plan!

You’ll see many options out there and may deal with a number of rather pushy salespeople.  That is why it is important to go into this process with some ideas about what you want (or don’t want) and your budget.  Stick to that plan and don’t let salespeople sway you into something you don’t really want or can’t afford.