Window Replacement - wading through the maze of options and sales

Background:

In 2012 we decided it was time to replace our 27-year old contractor grade double paned aluminum widows. Some of the seals had failed. Some of the window were leaking (water).

We planned to replace 19 windows initially and ended up replacing 21 in total. 11 of which were single-hung 3-0x6-0 that we replaced with double hung windows. Three had arched eye-brows and had to remain single-hung.

From my online research I was planning to spend about $400 per window plus a $150 per for installation. This is a long-term home investment and I want to take my time and do my due diligence. It is a time consuming and mind wearing process, worse than buying a car through a dealership and all the sales/financing BS.

Location:

Northeast Texas

The Search:

We talked to Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, Renewal by Anderson, Window World, Statewide remodeling of Texas.

I spent countless hours online reading reviews and sorting through the specifics and details of window replacement. Vinyl vs. Fiberglass vs. Aluminum. Low-E glass. Seal material: Metal - stainless steel vs. aluminum vs. butyl. 

I sat through several (5 or 6) 3 hour home sales visits. I saw the heat lamp sales pitch of each window... 

After many hours of google searching and reading reviews. I wanted to see a quote from Renewal by Anderson not to be confused with Anderson Windows. $32,000 - are you kidding me? 

A local Vinyl window with Low-E glass, Argon filled, double pane window. Color only in white or tan. Only $8,500...

A local contractor offering the Don Young Company aluminum thermal break window... $12,500. About $650/window installed.

The Cost Variance

Prices ranging from lowest $8,500 to $32,000 and everywhere in between. Where do we turn?

Decision Time:

I really like the fiberglass framed widows (Renewal by Anderson). I just cannot see spending $1700 per window on a $200,00 home. And, they could not match our existing brickwork on the arched eyebrow windows. Not, to mention the RbA sales method - nuts~!

The $8500 option was an attractive low cost option but the window seemed cheap and I was concerned about the installation. 

At the end of the day, you can research and purchase the best window, but the installation of the new windows is paramount to the quality of your new investment. All of these window sales guys are using sub-contractors and getting the real installation details around how the old widows will be removed and the new windows installed is hit and miss to say the least.

We settled on a Don Young Window - an aluminum window with a polyurethane thermal break. $12,500 installed price.

Don Young Widows

Because we live in Northeast Texas (Plano) cold weather is not too much of an issue. These are still Energy-Star rated Windows with a Durlite Tru-seal (the seal between the panes of glass). They seem to be a very tight window (we'll see in 5 years)

DYC Single hung Aluminum window

I liked the Simonton vinyl window but did not see an ROI for another $6-7,000... That was until 6 weeks later and a huge hail storm dented several of the window frames of our brand new aluminum windows~!

http://www.simonton.com

Conclusion:

I am so far pleased with the performance of our Don Young thermally broken windows installed by our local contractor (I did have issues with their sub-contractor and would highly recommend being on site/at home the day of the installation).

Knowing hail storms are common in NE Texas I would have to seriously reconsider the vinyl options. We also have several windows with architectural tops (arched/eyebrows) and this also limited us on to some windows as well. The fiberglass guys could not match our eyebrows on some widows.

Old Aluminum divided light windows:

New Don Young thermally broken Aluminum Window

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Comment by Dale Stephens on March 28, 2013 at 8:05am

Update: Combined with our other Home Energy Conservation projects (Nest Thermostat, Attic Insulation, Radiant barrier attic foil, Attic Breeze solar attic fan, LED lighting, etc...) our February 2012 Energy bill (electric and gas) for our 2000 sq. ft. NE-Texas home was less than $75 USD).

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