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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
Bored, want to enrich your life, go out and do something you dont know how
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":
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