I went through the same thing. Here's a good tip that I got lucky and
figured out. Many window manufacturers sell what they call a "builders'
series.'' Essentially, it's what they sell for new construction because
it comes with a 1.5 to 2-inch nailing fin. I bought these to fit my
rough openings, but I subtracted the nailing fin from window
measurements. When the windows come, all you have to do is score the
fin with a utility knife and snap them off. Otherwise, the windows are
essentially the same as the retro-fit windows that cost twice as much.
The problem is that these windows come in set sizes. The pricey windows
are the ones that they have to customize, so you might have to be a
little creative in the framing. It is definitely worth looking into, I
did 10 large double-pane, argon, low e, prairie style windows for under
It can be a snap, or it can be a nightmare. Depends on the house and
how experienced the installer is. If the measurements are off it can
double the amount of work - assuming that they're too small. If
they're too big, it doubles the material cost, and wastes a lot of
The whole trick is in minimizing the amount of extra work that you have
to do, and to pay great attention to flashing and caulking. There are
a ton of web sites that walk you through the process pictorially.
You might want to think about calling the local carpenter's union hall
and asking if there's someone waiting to be called that would like to
help for a day or two. Arrange an hourly rate. They'll help by
showing you how to do the first few - in other words they'll lead and
One window company indicates these estimated times for install.
(new construction windows)
First Time: 40 min
Experienced: 25 min
Professional: 15 min
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