If you haven’t had a window replaced before, you may be surprised when you first receive your quote. If you’re wondering why window replacement is so expensive, or whether your quote is reasonable, consider this: like any contractor work, your quote isn’t just for buying a window—the window itself is just a piece of what’s included in the window replacement. If you are getting more than one estimate for windows, here is what to look at when you compare quotes.
It goes without saying that the window itself will impact cost. Whether you choose vinyl, fiberglass, or wood, material is a factor that impacts replacement cost. In addition, consider the various additional materials used to install a window: the screws, adhesives, sealants, etc. There are quite a few items needed to install a window properly beyond the glass and frame.
Your window quote should include itemized information on the quantity, style, and material of your windows, plus a total cost for the job. Ensure you know exactly which windows will be installed in your home, including finish, trim, screens.
Other factors that influence window quotes
Permits, certifications, and training
An improperly installed window may be a hazard to your safety or your property, and may not allow your windows to perform to their full potential. Consider a contractor who has been certified with the particular window or door manufacturer. These installation professionals will know the product, as they’ve been through training and certification to earn the designation. Hiring a professional also helps ensure that you have all of the proper permits to do the job. Many cities and counties require a building permit for replacement windows and will help ensure the installer followed the appropriate codes. Read our list of top questions to ask your window installer for more ways to vet potential installers.
Removal and disposal
Your old window needs to be taken out before a new one can be put in. Doing that without damaging your home requires caution, and may require siding removal or cutting into stucco or brick. Once the window has been removed, it needs to be discarded safely and appropriately, too. The exact details of this will, of course, depend on what sort of replacement you’re doing. After receiving a quote, you should have a clear idea whether your installer will be tearing out the framing of the window or just the sashes and tracks.
The actual labor of installing your window needs to be paid for, which should include the professional measuring of your current windows and recommendations on replacement options. This can be relatively simple and involve basic manual labor or it could be extremely complex and require an understanding of engineering and architecture. For that reason, this is one of the areas that will thus fluctuate the most between estimates. You window will only perform as well as it is installed, so it is important to work with a company that understands and can successfully complete the installation process. Replacing your windows through a Pella Window and Door Showroom means that your job is led by a Pella Expert Installer(SM), who is re-certified annually to professionally install Pella products. Your quote should also give you an expectation of the timeline for the installation process so that you can plan for your schedule.
Trim and sealing
Trim and sealants need to be paid for as materials, and they also need to be properly installed. This is a minor detail with a huge impact on the practical efficiency of your window. New windows need to be properly sealed and caulked or your new windows may not realize all the benefits of your efficient new windows.
Touch-up and cleanup
Touching up paint and sealant so that your new window looks as pristine as a show home takes time and finesse. So does cleaning up all the residue and debris produced by the job. Window installers should also clean up after themselves, leaving their work area cleaner than it was when they arrived.
How to tell if you are getting a fair price
If you’re receiving window quotes from multiple sources, be sure that they are answering the same questions for you so that you can fairly evaluate their estimates. Compare similar product types including material, style, and finishes. Also be sure to consider whether your quote includes installation, tear out, and haul-away. And don’t discount the value of your time - finding a trusted window company that can handle all of the details and make solid recommendations can save you time and frustration in the long run.