Abcleads.com BBB Business Review  NAHB member
Call us at
1-800-219-5332


All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:25 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Offline
I just got an estimate from Home Depot to replace 19 double-hung window (15 are 27"x52", 2 are 27"x37", and 2 are 23"x49"), and a 49"x48" picture window with Simonton 6500 windows. The estimate was $14,134, which seems WAY too high based on the anecdotes that I have been reading on the board (that is about $700 per window installed). I don't think there is anything special/unique about my installation. The Home Depot consultant gave the estimate on-the-spot. Using Andersen 400 Tilt-Wash instead would be $23,900 (also from Home Depot). Both estimates included a 10% window discount and an additional promotional 10% discount on any home improvement project for the month of November.

I am also waiting for an estimate from a local Okna dealer. Rather than give me an estimate on-the-spot or emailing something later, their protocol is to come back for a second meeting to show the product samples and go over the estimate in person (they want my wife there for that meeting :-/) Based on my chat with the Okna dealer salesman, my expectation is that a basic Okna 500 will start somewhere around $500 per unit installed, going up from there if I add extras (triple-pane, Krypton gas, SDL, etc.).

It seems strange to me that the Home Depot estimate seems so high, given that the product doesn't seem to be any better compared to Okna, at least on paper. Regarding that (i.e the ratings), why is it that both Okna and Soft-Lite make such a big deal about their air infiltration ratings why most other manufacturers will only say that it meets the maximum 0.3 cu.ft./min.ft^2, as if its not that important? How is it possible that Okna/Soft-Lite can look sooooo much better on paper, AND be more affordable than more well known brands? If it was such a "thing", wouldn't every manufacturer be trying to out do each other on air infiltration ratings? The Home Depot consultant had never heard of Okna before, and when I showed him the air infiltration ratings in the Okna brochure, he was very skeptical about the testing methodology and commented that vinyl windows are very similar across all manufacturers and that the installer is more important. He knows that Simonton meets the minimum Energy Star requirements, but has no idea HOW much better they are than the minimum. I kind of get where he is coming from. I get very suspicious when manufacturers make claims about their products being an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE better than the competition on a performance metric without costing significantly more. In other words, if it doesn't cost significantly more, maybe that particular metric is not as important as they would like you to think?

I have to say that I DO have concerns about going with a smaller manufacturer like Okna because these little guys do tend to disappear or get bought out by the bigger guys (e.g. see Soft-Lite and Harvey).

Should I look for a Soft-Lite estimate as well, even though they have been acquired by Harvey?

FWIW, I live in a relatively "expensive" town in MA (if it matters). Some locals have commented that we pay a "tax" (i.e. higher price) when dealing with contractors because they believe the residents can afford it, and there tends to be more red tape at the town building department.


Top
 
 

 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:23 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Offline
I've also been speaking to a home improvement contractor regarding another renovation project. The original idea was that he would replace the windows as well. He likes Harvey. Their premium Tribute vinyl window has an air infiltration rating between 0.05 and 0.07. Can't find the number for Simonton and Okna is better at 0.02, BUT with numbers so low and 175 sqft. of windows being replaced, the air infiltration difference between Harvey and Okna would be only about 8 cu. ft. per min (i.e. negligible)


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:31 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:11 am
Posts: 457
Offline
Get the Okna bid and Soft-Lite as well.
Despite any performance numbers they are obviously better to the naked eye to most vinyl products. The tilt wash is a wood window and I would compare it to like kind.
The air numbers are what they are and could be argued to be hyped or not.
Simonton has been bought and sold as well, I would feel safe with Okna or Soft-Lite but you never know.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:21 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
Posts: 4357
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
Offline
+1 to Todd's feedback. Get those other numbers and you will have a nice collection to pick from at that point.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Offline
I got another estimate from the local Zen Windows franchise. These are for the Zen Nirvana, which I think are equivalent to the Soft-Lite Classic:

$13,200 for 20 windows (this includes re-capping the exterior)

casing or sill rot repair is included for 1st 2 windows, $50 per window after

$350 extra to convert 2 double-hungs to casements

$100/window extra for Zen Lotus triple-pane (I think this is equivalent to Soft-Lite Pro)

$125/window extra to remove exterior capping and casing and insulate rough opening gap with foam before replacing and re-capping*

*I'm not sure if this is really necessary or worthwhile. Instead, we could just caulk the interior casings to the drywall. Come to think of it, this charge seems a little high considering that they are willing to straight-up replace rotted sills and casings for $50 per window.

Still no final number from the Okna dealer, although he says Okna 500s range from $500 to $800 installed, depending on the options and install details.

One thing I like about the Okna dealer is that they are a family-owned business and ALL of the installers are W-2 employees. This seems to be very uncommon.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:11 am
Posts: 457
Offline
Id make decisions after the Okna bid for sure.
If you can get a Soft-Lite Elements or LS bid would be better. I would ask Zen to upgrade to Pro series, they can not get the other 2.
Window cavities in rope and pulley Windows tend to be large and would take a bit of time, prices on that will be all over the place depending on who bids it and what method they use.
The install and all the little details are important as the window .


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:22 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 2363
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Offline
thomase, the pricing of an installed product has far less to do with the raw cost of that product, and far more with the company selling it. Their size, business model, overhead, etc are the biggest factors, and this is why you may see a better window at a lower price. For that matter, you can see wild price swings on the very same window...
As far as air leakage, these ratings ARE very important, don't let someone tell you otherwise just because they are uniformed. Will it save you another 20% in energy? Of course not. It is an excellent indicator of quality though. I used to be very skeptical of this myself, but I learned pretty quickly when I didn't get any more service calls for drafts when I switched to a low air leakage product.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:03 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 856
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
Offline
Some solid advise from well respected industry pros to digest. I would never allow Home Depot or Lowes to touch anything on my house. OKNA lines or Soft-Lite Imperial LS will be by leaps and bounds superior to anything else that you have looked at so far.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Offline
I have another Soft-Lite estimate, this one for the Pro and Imperial LS. ALL prices are for full-frame replacement, including new aluminum wrapped exterior trim and new pine interior trim. Opinions are appreciated.

For the Soft-Lite Pro:
4 smaller double-hungs for $792 per unit
15 larger double-hungs for $855 per unit
1 picture window for $818

Total is $16811

Imperial LS is a 22% premium, so the total is $20,509. Seems like a lot.

Sales guy said most people get the Pro and the Imperial LS isn't worth the extra premium, especially considering that you actually get a little less glass.

This guy talked a LOT about technical details and claims the owner turned down the opportunity to carry Okna because, among other reasons, their claims aren't certified by an AAMA testing lab. Not sure what to think about that, because my understanding is that Okna ARE tested, just not by the same exact lab. Regarding tech, he talked about the how the argon is filled in a superior way which achieves 95% fill and only leaks at 1% per year vs. others (unclear where Okna 500 is on this metric). He also touted the fact that the Low-E is a soft coat that works better than a hard coat and lets in more light that competitors (also not sure where Okna 500 is on this). He spent a LOT of time talking about PGP vs. Cardinal glass and how Soft-Lite uses Cardinal, which is better (i.e. because of the way the do gas fill, Low-E coating, etc.).

I liked that the premium to install full-frame was only an extra $200 per window vs. the Okna dealer which is $250.

Okna still hasn't given me a formal estimate, but like I said, that comes only in the 2nd meeting. The Soft-Lite guy gave me a estimate on the spot and is annoyed that the Okna guy is using this sales tactic to manipulate me into shopping him "last". Based on talking to references and what they paid, I believe that the price for the Okna 500 full frame is going to come in somewhere between the Soft-Lite Pro and LS.

Finally, the Soft-Lite guy believes that the Pro is a better window all around than the Okna 500, which totally contradicts what I've read here (i.e. that the Imperial LS is the one which is more comparable to Okna).

He only had a full sample of the Pro on hand (and a cross section of the Imperial LS). Looks fine, but very similar to every other vinyl window I've seen.


Top
 
 

 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:25 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 856
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
Offline
Tell the SL rep that you would like to see a 36" wide double hung sample in person so that you can run a metal straight edge atop the bottom sash in front of the locks so that you can see how many .005" shims will fit underneath of the straight edge in the middle of the smiling sash. Game over......

OKNA utilizes Keystone for their testing which is held to AAMA industry standards. That's just how SL reps train their dealer's sales force as rebuttals to win jobs over OKNA dealers. Hogwash. The Pro is still one of the nicer windows out there but it's a very dated platform and frankly the 500dx is a much more attractive unit. If you really want to see the SL dealer rep's eyes get totally glazed over ask him/her how white those exterior glazing bead durometer's handle the aging process in regard to dirty water from the glass sitting on them plus UV exposure................. There is a reason that OKNA utilizes dark gray and Sunrise's are black.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Offline
I've been leaning toward Okna all along, BUT I too am annoyed that this particular Okna dealer won't just tell me the price over the phone at this point. He has done the measurements and I know what I want at this point (i.e. grids, glass, hardware, interior/exterior trim, etc.) so it should be straight forward for him to give me the price. Instead, I have to do a 2nd meeting (with the wife), during which they will offer a 5% discount if I commit. This is a little manipulative, although not nearly as bad as Renewal by Andersen and the like.

If the product and install company is so great, it should stand on its own merits and they shouldn't need to resort to manipulative sales techniques. I would have much preferred the Soft-Lite or Home Depot approach where they entered all the parameters in an iPad and gave me a price then and there (take it or leave it, call when you've decided). On the other hand, the Soft-Lite guy did have lots of negative things to say about competitors (including Okna), and that rubs me the wrong way as well.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:25 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 856
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
Offline
I agree with you Thomas. The home improvement window industry has a lot sales tactics that I frankly don' t approve of.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:14 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 2363
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
Offline
Good info from DM above.

-Okna 500 and SL LS are great. Okna will have more glass, although some people like the "beefier" look of the LS.

-The Pro is fine, but not in the same league as the other two.

- Yes, these tactics are all too prevalent. While I don't love the Okna guy pounding to get back in the house, its more about what he does once in there that I would judge. He just (potentially) wants a fair and honest chance at the work, knowing that the next guy may try to get in there and put the screws to you... If otoh, he gets in there and gets pushy, then I'd retract.
The SL guy seems a little more problematic in his approach. He's either misinformed or lying, and doing so under a "folksy" guise of trying to save you money. Again, the Pro is not competitive with the other two, Okna DOES have the same structural testing by the same certifiying body (ANSI), all the negative talk about competitors, etc. I'd also mention that the real irony in SL pushing that certification narrative, is that they have an AAMA test facility on their premises, where other companies send their product out for testing. Which seems more ripe for shenanigans?... And again, I call them like I see them and the Softlite LS and Elements are great windows, but they push out some pretty questionable propaganda to their dealers. They are known for it.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Offline
Not to get too far off topic, and I understand that this is a forum dedicated to vinyl replacement windows, but am I making a mistake by not seriously considering wood or fiberglass alternatives?

When I started with this process, I just assumed I'd be going with an Andersen 400 window. The contractor I've been talking to regarding my room renovation (fireplace, built-ins, floors, etc.) said he installs Harvey, so I checked out a Harvey showroom. At that point, I liked the looks of their Majesty wood window enough and it seemed comparable to Andersen 400. It was only after I cast a wider net and filled out a request for estimates at HomeAdvisor that I was contacted by the Okna dealer and started seriously considering vinyl.

I always had the impression that vinyl looks cheap and wouldn't fit well in my 1979 colonial with original wood stained windows. However, I started considering as an option because my wife wants to paint all the windows and trim white. BTW, this is one of the reasons I'm leaning towards full frame (i.e. don't have to deal with attempting to paint polyurethane'd wood).

Anyway, I'm talking a lot but the point is I'm concerned that I haven't given wood a fair shake after talking to so my vinyl dealers. I've read some articles and blogs that argue wood, although it needs maintenance, can last beyond a lifetime, while vinyl, no matter how well constructed, maxes out at 20 to 40 years of lifetime due to gradual degradation and thermal expansion/contraction.

I'm worried that vinyl will be perceived as cheap if I ever need to sell the house.


Top
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Depot estimate too high? (and other questions)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 672
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
Offline
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sales rep wanting to come and talk man to man..


Top
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group