Wood replacement window cost?

Hi all,
My wife and I recently bought a 1923 Colonial with mostly original windows, most of which are totally shot. But generally, we bought the house in part because it is still so warm and woody - we really dislike vinyl, plastic and other modern materials. So we're looking to replace our old wood windows with new wood windows - we're not interested in vinyl or fiberglass (except maybe for the bathroom). I know this means we'll be paying a bit more from the start.
We just had the Pella guy over (their own guy) and he quoted us an installed price of basically $890 per window. That seemed high to me, but he said that with an older home like ours, there basically is no such thing as a standard window - they all have to be custom-made. He could be right for all I know, but that's why I'm asking here. I know you can go to Lowes and buy Pella windows retail for like $200 (before installation), but those are all standard sizes. I don't know exactly how to measure a window but from watching him do it, the measurements I took myself later came out to be about 30 1/2" x 54" for most of our windows. Sure enough, Lowes doesn't seem to show this size on their web site (32x54 seems standard), and the guy also said we have a slope in our sashes that they're going to have to compensate for.
The windows he quoted us did have low-E glass (I don't really know what this means) and were "pocket" windows - I checked their web site and I'm guessing these are the 850 series.
We want decent windows but really what we care about the most is just having wood windows that aren't absolutely falling apart. One good thing about Pella is that they offer financing - even if Pella is more expensive, that tips the scales well in their favor and means we can probably just do it now even with the high cost. But if I can get wood windows for half the price somewhere else, we may have to put off and save. I mean, this was like $8,000 total that this guy was talking about - that's a significant amount of money, especially when it's not even all the windows we eventually need done.
Neither of us is all that handy, so doing anything ourselves is probably pretty much out. We do need a pro to do the install.
Is there anybody else offering wood windows for much cheaper than this, installation included? We're in Long Island, NY if that makes a difference (everything's probably more expensive here). We assumed going through Pella themselves might save us a bit, so we were a little surprised when we got the price quote.
TIA,
Jeff
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

doesn't sound out of line for a custom sized window, installed. if you want to stick with wood, your other option is to put a standard sized window in that is a bit smaller, and fill in the siding on the outside (sometimes it is just a matter of changing the trim size) and patching the drywall on the inside. i think a second estimate from someone else would be a good idea. but your price doesn't sound out of line to me.
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marson wrote:

Well, that's both good and bad to know :)
I think it might be just as expensive to fill in our walls, which are plaster (not drywall) with custom moldings. Plus, then we'd have different trim - one of the good things about these pocket windows is we'd still have trim that matched between the new and old windows (since we can't afford to have all of them done, we're just concentrating on the really bad ones).
One other option that I hadn't really considered before is having our old windows repaired. I had always thought this would not be worth it - I assumed you'd probably pay just as much as a new window and you'd still be stuck with single-thick, uninsulated glass. But at $890 per window... I mean does anyone actually do wood window repair anymore, and if so, what could I reasonably expect to pay for that? I imagine with repair, it doesn't matter if I've got standard sized windows or not. The repairs we'd need seem to mainly just be stripping the paint and putty and resealing everything; the wood itself seems in decent enough condition. The windows themselves are just falling apart from neglect.
Thanks again,
Jeff
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If the wood is not rotted you can probably do the repairs yourself. It's really not all that difficult. While not necessary, a Fein Multimaster <http://www.feinus.com/p/multimaster/index.html will streamline the process considerably.
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--John
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I'm not able to comment on Long Island prices. I would be sure that you know exactly what is to be done for the price. If the installer is being paid on a piece work basis, you need to be particularly careful about what is included. In my experience, the care with which the siding, trim, flashing and interior finish are treated becomes a major issue. TB
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I would definitely consider repairing the existing windows. I have spent the last two years (off and on) repairing my wooden windows. They are 25 years old, missing putty in places and leaking on the inside. If the wood is intact and the joints are strong, It doesn't take much to repair them.
Strip the wood of failing paint and putty, prime, add new putty, wait a while, then prime and paint. As a homeowner, I have the luxury to take this job in steps, or if you don't want to do it yourself, hire out the labor. You'll love the look and you get to keep the original windows!
Good luck with the windows,
James
snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

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teabird wrote:

I was half-prepared to make this choice, then just tonight we finally looked hard at one of our bedroom windows that houses a window A/C unit and it is completely rotten. The previous owners were definitely pretty careless; on both this and another window downstairs housing another A/C unit, they simply removed one of the storm windows to make room and let all that water in. So the wood on the top sash just crumbles to dust if you push hard enough.
The way our bedrooms are, we have two identical sets of bay windows each in the two top, front rooms. So if we replace one window, we really need to replace all of them if for nothing else than cosmetic reasons. Given that the other windows, while not rotten, would still require a lot more work than I'd probably want to put in, I'm now back to thinking we'll just replace at least the front six. (I'm still thinking I might repair the rest, which are not in quite as bad condition.) And given what I'm hearing, I'll probably just suck it up and pay the $890 per window.
I'll probably still get one more quote, but I think my only other real option in wood is Marvin.
Well, thanks for all the advice... wish we'd looked harder at the windows before we bought this house! We love the house otherwise, though, but this was definitely not something we had budgeted.
Jeff
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

My greek revival farmhouse was built around 1800, and we have a hodgepodge of windows. A few are original, some were replaced before 1985, and we replaced a few in the past 20 years. I finally decided to bite the bullet and replace all the windows at once. We found some wonderful Anderson windows, double hung, double glazed, etc... which are solid wood but clad on the outside, so they will not need exterior painting, etc. The only metal parts are exterior - frames and sill. Yes, many of the existing windows are not standard size, but the installer has to re-frame the windows (new headers, etc.) anyway, so he's sizing them all up a little. Installed, they will be $325 each for "regular" size and $600 for the double-size windows. His price includes the window, installation, and both exterior and interior wood trim. I'll finally have all the exterior windows trimmed in the original style, and I can stain the interior wood frames to match the rest of the woodwork each room, instead of having to paint all the trim white, like it was when we bought the house.
I really think you might want to consider using standard-sized windows and just sizing them up where necessary. Check it out - it might work for your architecture, too.
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Consider repair instead of replace. It wouldnt surprise me if the windows can be refurbished for half of $890 a window quoted price. My friend and his wife down in Georgia bought a Victorian about 12 years ago. The windows were in pretty sad looking shape. One at a time they removed the windows from the frame and stripped the old paint and made repairs to the window. It took about 3 years to do all the windows in their home and they had never done anything like this before. They did do a huge amount of research on "how to" before starting and had repaired dozens of windows in their mind before actually touching one. They started with a small bathroom window and went from there. I think their main source of info was some books and/or tapes form "This Old House". I know they also had restoration information that included saving rotted wood on ships. Also just look for info on window maintenance, just knowing how to remove and replace a window pane will be really handy. They knew almost nothing about woodworking when they started this project, now a two car garage on the property has become a fairly extensive woodworking shop.
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Just because you have one window with some decay does not mean that you must replace all your windows. The only people you will here that from are those who want to sell you a lot of new windows. (flick, flick, flick, flick, flick....that's the sound of them pulling $100 bills out of your wallet.)
Take a look at the publication "Save Your Wood Windows":
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm#Windows
John
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