First Things First: Find A Good Window Company
Before we even begin to go over some clever ways to save money on windows, you first need to find a window company. In fact, we recommend that before you fall in love with a particular window fall in love with a window company first. One of the things that a good replacement window company should have is multiple brands to choose from for all of the different materials, styles, and budgets out there. Once you find a great company they’ll have a window to meet your needs.
A replacement window project for most people is a once in a lifetime undertaking. If you don’t like your new windows once they are installed you can’t just get them back and start over so you really need to take the time to get this right. In this business reputation matters, check references, read reviews, come and have a look at their showroom (if they even have one). You want to pick a company that is going to be there ten years from now to honor the warranty that they sold you.
Make sure that they’re going to give you detailed pricing. Make sure that they carry liability insurance. Find out what they cover in their scope of work. Will they move your furniture? Will they take down and rehang your blinds? Will they haul off the old windows? Be thorough, take your time, and make an informed decision.
A Caution Against DIY
Perhaps you’re thinking that window replacement doesn’t look so difficult. Maybe you’ve even watched our video on how we do it and you’re thinking, “I could do that myself and save a bundle.” While there are plenty of projects perfectly suited for the enterprising do-it-yourself-er, windows may not be one of them. What if you encounter a hidden issue that isn’t even apparent until the old window is out? What then? A 2018 Improve.net survey of 2,000 homeowners about their respective do-it-yourself projects found that:
- 50% said it was harder than anticipated
- 55% found that it took longer than expected
- 17% said it cost more than expected
- 55% said it did not look good
- 24% said it did not function well
- 21% said it did not hold up well
On average, people will spend nearly twice what they projected if the project runs over budget. The fact is, if you do a bad installation on a great window you just end up with a bad window.
Cutting Cost Without Cutting Quality
Choosing a great window company also means that you’re going to pay a little more but you know that you’ve got one shot at this so it’s worth it. You’ve also found the perfect window and you want to find some ways to save on the project without compromising what you want. Fortunately, we can help. Here are seven ways that you can save money on your window or door project.
Save Money On Windows: Way #1
Change the window type. There are a few ways that you can reconfigure your window types to save money. One option is to consider changing a large unit of multiple windows into a single window. For example, if you have an opening with three or four single or double-hung windows mulled together you could change them to one large picture window. If it must be a window that opens, consider using horizontal sliding panels instead.
You can also change window types with the goal of eliminating a window’s need for tempering. Tempered glass is more expensive than annealed glass and building codes dictate when it must be used. If a window is within two feet of a door it must be tempered. Considering this, if you had a large picture window within 24 inches of a door it would need to be tempered. However, if you divided it into smaller units of added a sliding sash next to the door you could save money by not tempering the glass.
Tempered glass is also required if the bottom edge of a window is within 18 inches of the finished floor AND more than nine square feet in area. So back to the large picture window example, you could avoid having to temper it by adding a horizontal mull to either reduce the area that will need to be tempered or, if it’s less than nine square feet, avoiding it altogether. Wet areas such as bathrooms require tempering if the bottom edge is less than 60 inches from the floor.
Save Money On Windows: Way #2
Consider your grid options. Grids are a great way to enhance the look of a window but that’s just it, they are purely aesthetic. And if you want to save money on the cost of your project eliminating some of your grids might be the way to go. First, consider where. Perhaps you keep the grids on the front, or the front and sides and eliminate the window grids on the back of your home.
Second, think about the layout of your grids and whether or not you could change up the pattern. See, grids are labor intensive being built by workers at the factory and if you can reduce the amount of work that goes into your window you can save money on it.
Lastly, the type of grid used is also a way to reduce cost. Many windows use grids on the surface of the glass called SDLs or Simulated Divided Lite. Up close, they are much more realistic in creating the appearance of individual window panes. The other option is the use GBGs or Grids Between Glass which are exactly as the name implies, the material is inside of the glass unit between the two panes of glass.
SDLs are typically much more expensive than GBG because not only is more material involved but it is much more labor-intensive. Where the GBG is a single unit, the SDL is typically three. There is the outside unit, adhered to the glass, a second unit between the glass panes called a shadow bar and third unit on the interior glass pane. All of these are installed by workers who need to carefully align them for a seamless look. Which, of course, increases the cost.
Save Money On Windows: Way #3
Choose standard colors. This is pretty straightforward. Factories will set up their processes to efficiently produce the selling or most common colors. Any color or finish that is going to require a different process will take more time and cost more money. Most window manufacturers with have four or five colors in their “standard” offerings so it’s not as though you have no options, just fewer.
Save Money On Windows: Way #4
Use standard sizes where you can. As we just mentioned, it all comes down to efficiency. And if every window is a custom size then after each piece is cut the machine will need to be adjusted before cutting the next. But if you have your factory worker spend the day cutting 35 1/2″ lineals for a standard 36″ wide window they don’t have to stop and readjust with every cut and they will get a lot more done.
Typically, when a home is built there are some pretty standard sizes that get used. Knowing this, window manufacturers will mass-produce these because they know that they will eventually be needed. When we replace windows we find that the home has settled and shifted over the years so we measure each opening and have a window custom made to fit. But there may be some that are close enough to go to a standard-sized window and it can be a great way to save money on your window project.
Save Money On Windows: Way #5
Choose a sliding door over a hinged door. A hinged door is much more expensive to produce than a sliding door so cutting a hinged door out of a project can save a pretty sizable amount of money. Today’s sliding doors are vastly better than the previous generation’s and are built to perform efficiently while being stylish at the same time. They are available in every fit and finish imaginable including clad-wood, premium vinyl, and aluminum.
Save Money On Windows: Way #6
Buy more windows. It’s simply a matter of volume. Windows, like so many other goods are cheaper by the dozen. If you’re thinking that you’ll replace your windows in several stages to soften the financial load, you may want to think again. As I said, not only are the windows themselves less expensive but the longer you wait the more likely you are to see a price increase over time. Most manufacturers have annual price increase but sometimes we will see additional price increases due to material prices.
Save Money On Windows: Way #7
Pay cash or check. Any money that we can save we can pass along to you. If we don’t have to pay 3% to process your credit card payment then neither will you. Not all window companies operate the same way but we believe in treating others the way that we want to be treated and being transparent, open, and honest with our business practices.