At All-Weather Window, Doors & Siding, we want to save our customers money in any way we can. Of course, we never sacrifice quality for savings, but we know some insider secrets to help you keep your window project within your budget. But before we get to that, we want to share the most important tip of all. Find a good window company before you do anything else. Once your windows are installed, if you’re not happy, you can’t take them back and start over. Reputation matters, check references, read reviews, and visit their showroom. Make sure they stand behind their work with warranties. Two guys with a truck may be the cheapest price, but it will cost you in the long run, and where will they be when your windows fail? You want to pick a company that is going to be there ten years from now to honor the warranty that they sold you. Even if you don’t choose us, make sure you choose someone reputable and trustworthy.
So now to the meat of it. How do you save money without compromising quality? Here are some insider tips from the crew at All-Weather Window, Doors and Siding.
1. Choose Standard Colors
One of the simplest ways to save money on replacement windows is to stick with the standard colors offered. Most window companies sell frames that are a basic color like white, almond,or taupe. These colors go with everything and every style of home. Because they can mass produce these frames, they are more affordable. Any color that is out of the ordinary, will take more time and therefore, cost more.
2. Change the Type of Window
There are two ways that changing the type of window can save you money. The first tip is easy, but just not often thought of as an option. Change multiple windows into a large picture window. Let’s say you have multiple windows in your kitchen. You can replace them with one large window and actually save money. Many homeowners are pleasantly surprised to discover this option. They end up with more light, and a beautiful, uninterrupted view. If it is a window that you really want to be able to open, you can install horizontal sliding panels instead of typical double-hung windows. The sliding panels also work if you need egress windows say, in a bedroom. The look is more elegant, but the price is actually lower. Just make sure you have enough windows that open in each room (for ventilation and egress purposes) and then change the rest into beautiful picture windows for lovely views and plenty of daylight!
The second way you can save money by changing window types is by eliminating the need to have tempered glass. Tempered glass is more expensive than regular (annealed) glass and building codes require it to be used if certain conditions exist. When a window is within two feet of a door, or if it is within 18 inches of the floor and more than nine square feet in area, it must be tempered glass. Wet areas such as bathrooms require tempering if the bottom edge is less than 60 inches from the floor. Knowing this, if you had a large picture window within 24 inches of a door, which would need to be tempered, you could reconfigure it by dividing it into smaller units so it wouldn’t have to be tempered. A good installer will explain your options.
3. Change the Grid Options
Grids are the horizontal and vertical lines that separate a window pane. Grids are labor intensive to create, so they increase the cost of the window. Grids, or grilles as they are sometimes called, are strictly for looks, so you can reduce them or completely remove them without compromising any window quality or function. Many homeowners choose to keep the grids only on the windows on the front of the house. More modern style homes can usually eliminate them altogether. You can also choose windows with fewer grids. You could choose windows with 6-section grids instead of 9-section grids.
There are also two different types of grids – grids that are attached to the surface of the glass making it look more realistic like there are truly separate pieces of glass being held in a frame. These are referred to as Simulated Divided Lite or SDLs. The other option is grids between the two panes of glass. These are referred to as GBGs or Grids Between Glass. If you touch the window, you cannot feel the grills. SDLs are more expensive than GBG because they require more materials and more labor.
4. Use Standard Sizes
As with color, sizes fall into standard categories as well. Window manufacturers mass-produce the most common sizes knowing that they will eventually be needed. Custom sizes require more labor and are more expensive. Typically, when a home is built there are some pretty standard sizes that get used. If you stick with those, you will save money.
5. Replace All of Your Windows at the Same Time
Buy more windows. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you are planning on replacing all of the windows in your home, it’s more economical to do it all at once than in several smaller projects. There are economies of scale involved. First of all, windows are cheaper in larger quantities and the company only has to process and coordinate the job once. And don’t forget that most manufacturers will have annual price increases due to material prices rising. It may be more economical to do it all at once and pay it off over time if you can get a decent interest rate on a loan. One other thing to consider is your time used to coordinate two or three projects plus the hassle of living in a home during several renovations.
6. Avoid Unnecessary Add-Ons
Be careful to buy only what you truly need in a window, especially if staying within budget is paramount. Don’t let anyone talk you into upgrading the hardware, adding special film to prevent breaking, or upgrading to triple pane windows if double pane will do the job for your climate.
7. Pay with Cash or Check
When paying with a credit card, most companies will have to charge you the extra 3% service fee that the credit card companies charge them. With window projects costing thousands of dollars, it doesn’t make sense. Paying with cash or check will be less expensive. Many window companies also offer financing to help you spread the cost out over time.
The last word of advice is to make sure your window installers are experienced. If you go with a reputable company that stands behind their windows and installation with a warranty, you should be assured a smooth, seamless, and safe experience. Quality windows installed poorly are simply poor windows, and they will not perform to your standards.