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Old 10-24-2012, 01:40 PM   #1
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Worthwhile to replace old wood frame basement windows with new vinyl windows? Cost?


I've got a 1946 house with what seem to be original basement windows. There are inside and outside windows on either side of a jamb. The inside window tilts up to open. I actually just went through and reglazed (as needed) and repainted the outside (storm) windows and window frames.

Now there's a local window replacement/exterior remodeling company has a LivingSocial (like Groupon) deal for windows and that has me thinking about replacing them outright. I don't like the thought of invalidating all the work I just did, but, as I look at it, I'm realizing that the inside half of the windows are going to need some of the same maintenance (reglazing and repainting).

Some people say to stick with original wood windows because you can maintain them yourself. That does appeal to me in a certain way. On the other hand, they undoubtedly require more maintenance than new vinyl windows. I would also consider putting in glass block windows, though I'm not sure this particular company does that.

The current windows are in decent enough shape. I used wood hardener and epoxy wood filler to shore up any soft areas. The basement is finished and gets used quite a bit.

Any thoughts on this situation? Any idea what I can expect to pay per opening for materials and labor? The existing windows should be easy to remove and the openings are a standard size (either 32x16 or 32x14, I think).

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Old 10-24-2012, 03:16 PM   #2
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Worthwhile to replace old wood frame basement windows with new vinyl windows? Cost?


Do not let a sudden bargain drive your thinking here. That's a sure-fire way to end losing money. Like when the window company tanks because of these kinds of deals... Better to find the right product or solution for your needs and THEN find a company that's known for doing that kind of work, with the products you want.

You'd need to update your profile to indicate a location. But even with that it's generally a bad idea to ask pricing questions here. There are too many variables to consider.

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Old 10-24-2012, 10:53 PM   #3
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Worthwhile to replace old wood frame basement windows with new vinyl windows? Cost?


I'm in the Twin Cities (MN).

I'm not too leery of the deal. Like a typical Groupon type offer, you pay a certain amount in exchange for a certain higher amount in goods/services. Your original purchase is guaranteed against the business closing.

I know pricing is pretty variable. Would be rational to guesstimate that a $100 window (which is what some replacement basement windows cost at Menards or Home Depot) could be installed for another $100 in labor in a situation with few complications?

My bigger question is whether this is worth doing. With wood-frame windows, I know I can paint, repair, reglaze, etc. Vinyl windows don't seem to be nearly as "user serviceable." On the other hand, perhaps they wouldn't need as much attention.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:31 PM   #4
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Worthwhile to replace old wood frame basement windows with new vinyl windows? Cost?


Basement hoppers are almost never replaced as a result of trying to get more efficiency out of the glass. They are usually such small openings that the overall impact on wall R-Value is negligible.

Are your current windows single or double pane? Given the 1946 origination, I would assume single with a storm or no storm.

More often than not, folks want all the windows, they are rusty, or leak a bunch of air. Unfortunately there is not a linear relationship of size to price as there are plenty of manufacturing expenses that go into each unit regardless of size.

If they are relatively airtight, spend the extra money on insulation if you haven't done so already.

Vinyl, by design, should be completely maintenance free and therefore not require any painting.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:32 PM   #5
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Worthwhile to replace old wood frame basement windows with new vinyl windows? Cost?


Tough to say what the final price on the labor would be. All depends on how they have the deal structured.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:10 AM   #6
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Worthwhile to replace old wood frame basement windows with new vinyl windows? Cost?


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Originally Posted by TomServo View Post
Vinyl windows don't seem to be nearly as "user serviceable." On the other hand, perhaps they wouldn't need as much attention.
Right, short of wear there's not much to go wrong with vinyl ones. You're still going to have to pay attention to caulking around the edges, but unless it gets a lot of direct sunlight there's not much about finish that's going to be affected, unlike paint.

One suggestion, try and determine the manufacturer of the windows when you have them installed and write that down. A lot of the replacement windows out there seem to deliberately avoid putting their name anywhere on the units. So you're SOL when it comes to warranty work or repair parts down the road.

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