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Windows!

At the end of May when Biker moved in, Keman and I discovered that one of the windows in his bedroom had no weatherstripping.  You could stick your finger out of the house, through the gap between the window pane and the frame.  I'd been thinking about replacing the windows for a while, as they are old metal frame single-pane windows, and the tracks were starting to fail.

Buying new windows is not a trivial thing.  They're expensive, and there is a big difference in quality between different manufacturers.  Fortunately, they all basically have the same features and options, and the price difference between the basic windows and the windows with all the options isn't very significant (about 6-7% more expensive for "fully-loaded" windows.)  I called half a dozen or more contractors and tried to set up appointments for them to come give me an estimate.  Some of them took days or even more than a week to return my call.  The first contractor we had out to give an estimate was Sears.

Sears sent out a pleasant, mostly non-pushy sales person.  He patiently answered all of our questions, explained what features were important in buying windows (explanations that I later verified online as being accurate,) and of course told us why we should pick Sears over anyone else.  He also told us what problems we would encounter with other companies, including specific problems with certain big-name window contractors.  He measured the windows and doors that we were going to replace, and gave us a quote that was significantly higher than I was expecting to pay. 

The next company to send someone out was Long Window (also known as Long Fence.)  The Long Window guy was an asshole.  He saw Jason, Biker, and Keman in the house, and decided he wasn't going to give me a quote unless all of them were at the table to hear his sales pitch.  He claimed that Long Window's policy is they do not give quotes unless everyone who is part of the decision making process is there.  I explained to him that the mortgage was in my name and my name alone, that I am the only one responsible for paying the mortage, and that my opinion is the only one that matters (that is not strictly speaking true, but it was true as far as he was concerned.)  He refused, and left.  Needless to say, they didn't get my business.

I called family and friends who had recently had windows replaced, and asked them who they used.  They all used local businesses, and their opinions were the same: "The windows are great, but I wasn't happy with the contractor."

We ended up using Sears, even though I know we paid about 50% more than we would have paid a local contractor.  I'm not interested in saving a little money and having to deal with the sorts of headaches other people have dealt with using local, no-name contractors.

Last week, I got a call from the project coordinator telling me that the windows were going to be delivered to the contractor on Friday, and we could schedule installation as early as Saturday.  That date sounded good to me, so he told me the contractors would arrive between 8:30 and 10:30am on Saturday.  I didn't wake up early, so naturally, at 8:45am my doorbell rang while I was still in bed.  Ten hours later, all the windows and both sliding glass doors in my house had been replaced with brand new, dual pane, argon filled, low-e coated, energy star rated, double hung, double lifetime warranty, glass breakage warranty, vinyl windows and doors.

Yesterday, it reached 95 degrees outside.  We didn't even notice until we went outside.

With the old windows, you feel the heat (or cold, in the winter) coming through the window.  It was significantly warmer standing in front of the window, than it was standing a few feet back.  With the new windows, you can touch them and they feel cool.

The sliding glass doors actually slide.  And lock.  So do the screen doors.

The windows lift with one finger, and close all the way.  The old windows sometimes wouldn't open or close without a sledgehammer.

With all the windows closed, you can't even hear a helicoptor flying overhead.  And of course, you can't hear screaming neighborhood children either.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
aerowolf
Jul. 3rd, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
So. Do you think you got a fair deal, even if you paid 150% what you would have if you'd used a local, much less professional contractor? And are you happy with what you paid?
wolffit
Jul. 3rd, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
In the presence of competition and informed choice, there is no such thing as an unfair deal.

I would have been happy if they paid me to put their windows in my house.
(Deleted comment)
tetsutora
Jul. 3rd, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
awesome, i'll have to remember to use sears when buy a house.
phyxis
Jul. 4th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Well... at the South SJ house, double/triple/quadruple glazing wouldn't have made a difference... not when the whole house is shaking from the trains.

I'd love double-glazed here in the apartment, they're still the (original??) bare aluminum + single-pane-plate glass windows. :P
kyhwana
Jul. 3rd, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
So you figure it was worth paying a bit more for going with Sears?
dogcandy
Jul. 4th, 2006 09:03 am (UTC)
It's a huge difference sometimes. I have lived in some places with severe climates. I lived in a building with windows that cost around $1800 each, 8ft tall, vinyl triple glazed double seals. At -60F the glass inside didn't feel cold. I have lived other places with the cheap windows, they warp, fall apart, break.. if it is a place you will be for a while it's worth it, also if you have the money. ;)

Worst place I lived had 4 layers of 4mil plastic stapled over the holes where the windows should be. At -60F it didn't get over 50F inside with the furnace running constantly.
cerisewolf
Jul. 4th, 2006 09:50 am (UTC)
I priced a few windows out of home depot while I worked there. That can be a really good place to go depending on who is working that department, with us we had some guys that had been doing it for 30 years and came in three days a week because they were bored with retirement. They really knew their stuff. That's how a lot of the older guys are at home depot and lowes.

I might stop in and stay with you guys during the week. We should talk, but I allways get your answering machine when I try to call ;.;
wolffit
Jul. 5th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
You should stay with me this weekend, Keman's gonna be out of town and I'm gonna be lonely.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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Galen
wolffit
Galen Wolffit

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