Live in a 20-year old townhouse in Maryland. Second owner.
The windows the builder put in are pretty cheesy and we are going to
replace them with vinyl windows.
We have two different companies coming in two weeks to give us an
estimate. Two other townhouses in the complex are having it done at the
same time so we can negotiate a decent price with an installer. The
neighbors have left it up to us to pick the windows/installer so we are
under some pressure to get this right.
We are looking for double-pane, middle-quality windows: a total of
19 of them for just our townhouse.
We would be most grateful for any suggestions from folks who have had
windows replaced regarding mistakes to avoid.
All too often I see posts where folks have sought advice _after_, for
example, treating a deck, etc., only to find out that they have used
the worst possible product or failed to pay attention to something
important and now are faced with either living with a bad job or doing
it all over again.
We are looking for recommendations for brands of windows and for
feedback, good and bad, from folks who have had windows replaced.
Many thanks for any advice offered/experiences shared.
Bob in MD.
One can spend a lot of dollars, not have a good install and windows
that don't operate properly. High end - Anderson (plenty of dollars)
IMO, Certainteed are excellent windows - dual pane, low-e, argon,
welded and sealed vinyl....(with outside molding). They are a
Windows (and doors) are the biggest cause for loss of energy in a
home. The quality of the install to me is the most important. A
window should prevent water and wind from entering the house. Un-seen
problems can accumulate water and cause further damage. You will be
miserable with a window that is hard to operate. If the installers
shows up without a level, send 'em home. Each window should be level
and plum and shimmed. A good seal (silly cone) is very important as
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland
and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore
excused from saving Universes."
I agree with the low e- glass. We had 5 replaced with Certainteed a few
years ago. They are retro windows which fit over the existing aluminum
frane. I'm having the final 11 replaced within the next 2 weeks. This time
I'm going to use Milguard because they are 30% cheaper than the Certainteed
windows from the dealer I used last time. The specs seem identical and here
in Southern California a lot of new and existing retrofit windows are
Milguard. Milguard is HQ'd in the Seattle/Tacoma area.
Good luck with your decision.
We had 33 windows plus a large sliding patio door replaced in the early
spring. We also had the wood siding replaced with hardi-plank and a new
roof put on. It was a major job.
We put in Jeld-Wen vinyl windows. These are kind of a middle of the road
windows as I understand it. They have lifetime warranty. Here's a list of
things to expect and watch for, from a home-owner's point of view.
1. Expect that removal of the old windows is a destructive process. You'll
get a few cracks and breaks in the interior walls that will need to be
patched and repainted.
2. Ask the installer how they seal the windows. What you want is a heavy
product usually called Window-Wrap. Its a thick heavy wide vinyl product
that is applied all around the window. Get them to show you a sample.
Normally its about 4" wide and about 1/32" thick. If they show you some
flimsy 2" wide plastic tape, move on to the next installer.
3. Ask about the type of caulk they plan to use. You should get the very
best caulk available (not the cheap latex stuff. We used a brand called "
Big stretch" that's about 2-3x the price of the cheap stuff.
4. Tell the installer you will be inspecting their work and you want to see
how they tape the windows. Our installer got in a hurry trying to finish
before Christmas. We caught them skipping the window wrap on four windows.
Before it was over with, the president of the company GAVE us the windows
and all the installation because she was so concerned about her companys
reputation and integrity. That's why we chose them in the first place.
5. Check the operation of every single window after installation for
smoothness of operation. They should not bind or be difficult to raise.
Make sure they install the windows with the weep holes on the bottom.
6. Local codes will probably require that some of the windows use tempered
glass. This is designated by an etched logo on the glass itself. Find out
which windows will be tempered and make sure they install them in the right
7. Have an understanding with your installer how they are going to store
the windows on site. They take up a lot of space and can get damaged if not
handled carefully. We stored the windows in my garage. This worked well,
except they also stored all their tools in my garage. That was a mistake.
At the end of the day, the crew tended to just toss their tools into a pile,
not respecting the rest of my garage and occasionally stacked things on the
windows. When I saw this happening, I spoke to the foreman and it was
corrected. Store the screens separately away from the windows. They are
the last thing to go on and can get damaged easily.
We are pleased with the windows. I live in Houston and my home was built
before we got really smart about energy efficiency. The windows made the
house much quieter. In our area, we have problems with radiant heating from
the sun in the summer, making some rooms hotter than others. The windows
took care of that problem.
To the Bobs, Oren, Lucas, and Dave: Many thanks for all the good
advice and suggestions, gentlemen.
Having the right questions to ask the installer puts him on notice
that I have researched this topic, done my reading on the subject (which
I have) and know something of what I am talking about.
Makes it less likely that he's going to take me for a sucker and do
any old sloppy-ass job installing them.
This job is very invasive, and disrupts your home. I would recommend you
include several items in your written contract:
- get a written contract. There are internet sites with suggested contracts
This is a Canadian site, but the ideas are the same:
- have start and reasonable completion dates
- hold back on paying 1/2 of the total estimated cost until after the job is
done. Leave yourself say a week, since problems don't often immediately
appear, and you may not notice some things, until things return to normal,
the workers are gone, and you've had time to check things out.
- cleanup will be done at the end of each work day, especially for interior
work. I didn't ask about this, and spent a lot of time each day vacuuming
the floors and carpets to remove the dust and debris left by the workers
- if drywall work is done, how will the contractor protect your home from
the dust from sanding, etc.? This dust is very bad. A well sealed plastic
barrier is good
- will all debris, including old windows, etc., be removed?
- if you can, ask for references, and/or talk to people who have had work
done by the contractor
- check the contractor's record at the Better Business Bureau
- we like our Farley windows so far. We've been using them for about a week.
Let us know how things go.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.