Not this kind of window shopping!
Welcome to Window Shopping 101. We won’t be doing any peek-through-the-glass yearning or slobbering on the sills of things we can’t afford. This kind of window shopping will give you a totally different outlook on your home (and the scenery outside).
If you’re in the market for replacement windows for your house, there are several things you need to consider. All will impact your budget. But if you plan it out correctly, hopefully you’ll come out ahead of the game.
Sash, Sill and Pane…What a Pain
First consider what type of windows you want for your home. There are hundreds of manufacturers in the market and they offer many variations on materials and design. While single and double hung windows of the vinyl variety are very popular today, you should at least take a look at a few others. Alternative window frames are made with wood, fiberglass and aluminum.
As far as design goes, each manufacturer will be a little different, but they generally offer similar types of glass and tinting, hardware design, window formation and energy efficiency. Prices, however, will vary greatly.
Let the Bidding Begin
Once you know what you want, it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts. Speak to several dealers and distributors for estimates. Ask for an itemized price breakdown for comparison purposes. If delivery fees apply, make sure they list that on their estimate as well. Don’t forget that the purchase price is only half the battle; you’ll still need to have them installed.
After you’ve gathered estimates for the windows from local sources, start talking with contractors to see what it will cost to have your old windows removed and the new ones installed. When you meet each contractor, also see if they have any pull with the window dealers. Sometimes, a contractor knows where the best deals are or is able to get a unique deal, especially if your order consists of a large quantity of windows.
All Things Considered
Before you make your final decision, take the long run into account. How long will you be living in this home? Determine the type of energy savings you’ll see over time. It doesn’t pay to splurge on the “best” windows if you’ll be long gone before their energy efficiency starts to pay for themselves.
On the other hand, it also doesn’t pay to be stingy right now and have your energy bills shock you every month for the next 10 years. One more thing - whatever window manufacturer you go with and whichever contractor handles the installation, make sure that they both stand behind their work or offer warranties. It’s worth a little extra to know that your windows will be efficient and in tact for many years to come.
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