WOW, has this process been a pain. I have 5 double hung windows that need to be replaced in Chicago. Here are my estimates so far:
Home Depot - Simonton Vantage Point 6500 - $4966
Feldco - "Sophia Series" window - $3220
Pella - No idea. He never wrote back to me on his estimate
Gilkey- High Performance Windows (23 chambers and triple pane glass) - $4250
Chicago Window Pros, they would install Lindsay Windows, the Sunview type - $2750
I also have another company coming next Tuesday. It is a company called Window Wizard
There are two issues I am having with this whole process. 1. They pretty much all give the same salesperson pitch. Lifetime warranty, we have 23 chambers, we have 17 chambers, we fill our extrusion with insulation, we test each and every person for use of drugs, etc... Oh and don't get me started with the warranty garbage. "We have a lifetime warranty!" "We have a lifetime warranty THAT is TRANSFERABLE!" "We MAKE our own windows so you only have to deal with us." Blah Blah blah. Want I want is a window that will last for 15-20 years. I do not need a lifetime warranty. Last time I checked, EVERYTHING breaks. Just from wear and tear. Don't try and sell me something that I know is B.S. just to get the sale. Tell me the truth.
The same could be said for just about any industry/purchasing decision. Your feedback on window companies is well founded though. They create confusion and supply the information that is most self serving.
This is why it is imperative that the customer do one of two things:
- Educate themselves on the process, performance, and finer points of window replacements...or
- Work with a window contractor that you trust and that gives you the straight scoop.
You probably already have some inklings about the different contractors and about which salesperson you think gave you the straightest answers.
Just having a cursory knowledge of the windows might help you sort through even better as compared to solely relying on your gut.
A 15-year life-cycle is a minimum requirement as far as I am concerned. A well designed replacement window should live every bit of that and more.
It is all a big song and dance and very time consuming. The heat lamp thing was pretty funny too. Needless to say, I have concerns dealing with a salesperson when choosing what window but then I have to deal with a foreman for the installation and if I have an issue, I have to deal with the service department. If I could find a company that had a project manager that dealt with everything, then I wold do with THAT company.
While the Heat Lamp demo is a great "Pop and Sizzle" sales demo, it is hardly a good evaluation tool (I know you know this but future readers should be made aware of the fact that it purely theatrics).
Most companies (including ours) is separated out into different levels. We try to be as effective as possible and I am not sure that I would hinge a decision on what company to pick based on dealing with one person. While it may be easier in theory, we have found that we are more efficient they more that we separate out the divisions and stay organized that way.
2. I am only going to live in this condo for the most 3 years, so I really do not need the top of the line window. BUT I do want the top of the line installation. I think there are more problems with just the installation problems vs. the window. I just wish there was a way to find a good installation person. Has anyone used Angie's List? The Better Business Bureau website is pretty much useless.
In the end, I may just go with the cheapest, watch them install the windows like a hawk and be done with this. I enjoy buying a car more than having to deal with windows. UGh
p.s. Sorry for the grumbling. I had to vent. On to happier things.
We have this question quite a bit (i.e. short duration ownership of the home and not overbuying on the window decision).
Overbuying is a problem regardless of the ownership timeline on the home. At the end of the day, you might find (provided you can sort though all the quotes and information) that the best window of the bunch is moderately prices and someone selling something that belongs in a barn is the most expensive.
Don't use price as the sole determinant of what is the "Best".
Also, be aware that putting in a cheaper looking window may cost you money in the end. Home Buyers today are a well informed bunch and may see a cheap window as a poor reflection on the home. Yes, it will likely be better and an improvement over what you have currently, however, if it looks cheap, it looks cheap.
Home Buyers will notice quality and the price difference will likely be worth the investment.
The BBB can be a good cursory evaluation tool, however, recent information on that organization has indicated that the ratings may not be as useful as previously thought.
Angie's List seems to be a good tool for many customers.
If you feel like you need to watch the install crew like a hawk, that is a poor commentary on the company and your choice. You will also need to familiarize yourself with proper installation details and workmanship if you go this route.
What may look like an acceptable install to the consumer, can be 100% wrong in professional terms.
Buying a car is a bit easier many times. There are multiple evaluation tools and informational sites dedicated to sorting through all the details.
I would argue that this site can, if used properly, provide you with every bit of information you might need just as completely.