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mark2741 07-21-2010 02:25 PM

Window Replacement
I'm a bit concerned regarding a window contract I *thought* was in place, and I guess technically still is.

I purchased a new (used) home about a month ago. During the home inspection I noticed that the previous owners had put that cellophane 'wrap' on to cover a large window. Also noticed that the hardware on the windows was shot. The 'windows' in question is actually 4 windows - 3 rectangular (longer heightwise) windows on the bottom, with a "half-moon" window on the top. Similar to this:

Except mine isn't nearly as decorative (mine has plain moldings and I have regular aluminum siding on the exterior), no grids, nor as large. The two outside lower windows are casement windows in which the hardware is completely inoperable. Additionally, on first look during inspection it looked like the bottom of the windows were rotted, but it turned out, after I moved in, that there is no rot - only a bad paint job of white paint over dark wood : ) I negotiated $4500 in credit for the replacement of the windows.

So I want to replace the windows with the latest in energy-efficiency, figuring the tax credit is a good deal. I was under the impression that the entire set of windows is really just one big set, i.e., one single window.

So the company that installed windows in my last house (and did a great job for a fair price) came out. The salesman measured the window and told me they would replace the entire thing, and recommended I go with two outside 'sliders' instead of casement windows (which was fine with me - I hate casement windows). Cost was $2200 installed (including a 10% discount for being a repeat customer). I put 1/3rd deposit downpayment. He said that one of the installers would be out to take another measurement within a week.

Yesterday, the guy showed up. He started shaking his head almost as soon as he looked at the window. He said that my upper window is not a standard size, and the sales guy should have noted that. I told him that's fine, but I'm not paying a dime more. He kept quiet and told me his boss would give me a call.

The owner of the company (they've been in business for 50 years) called me today to tell me that, because my upper window is a wierd size, it's "difficult to get right" when installing replacement. He recommended that I just replace the lower 3 windows and leave the existing upper window as is. He offered to reduce the price to $1500 ($700 off).

So, basically, I'm paying $500 per window. That seems awfully high. These are Alside Excalibur I windows - not high-end windows I know. I has Alside's in my last house and they were good so I'm not concerned about the brand.

What do you guys think? I'm trying to get another estimate or two but can't get anyone to come out this week and I wanted to get the window(s) ordered sooner and get this out of the way, as I have other stuff to move on to.

Ron6519 07-21-2010 02:39 PM

Fire that window company, get your money back and hire someone who can use a measuring tape. They screwed up the fabrication, the "weird size" thing is just BS.
Window styles are personal taste as far as I'm concerned but casements are more energy efficient then sliders or dh's.
Why do you "hate" casements? If it's because they don't operate properly, the issue is with the install or the window quality, not the classification.

mark2741 07-21-2010 02:48 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I hate casements because in the two houses I've had them, they've both failed. My friends/relatives who I have mentioned this to agreed that their experience with them has been bad. In my last house, the previous owner had top of the line Andersen casements installed in 2005. Five years later and the hardware was already stripped on one of them. If casements are in fact more energy-efficient than sliders, then I will definitely re-consider as I don't plan on opening the casements very often.

In regards to the fabrication - I doubt that is the problem as it's only been a week since I put the deposit down. I can't imagine they've had the windows fabricated already. And the sales guy did say that they would have an installer come measure before they order the windows, which is how this all started.

Scuba_Dave 07-21-2010 03:04 PM

Do you have a picture of the windows ?
Custom windows are custom...built to the size needed
He may have quoted you a price thinking the upper window was a "standard" size
Something they have made before or a size they stock

Ron6519 07-21-2010 03:09 PM

As I said before about the casements, either a poor quality window or a bad installation. Window hardware strips due to the fact the sash is binding on the frame and the hardware can't compensate for the excess friction.
There are idiots slapping in windows left and right who don't know their sash from a hole in the ground. Many of them are "contactors".
Your window fabricators are building these lower windows to match the upper. How can it be a "weird" size when their custom making them to fit?
These are separate windows with an arbitrary mull width. Why can't a window company that's been in business 50 years do this?
Somebody is blowing smoke up your rear end. My guess would be the salesmen screwed up the estimate and this is their way of correcting it.

HomeSealed 07-21-2010 03:33 PM

It is probably not a true "half-round" where the height is half of the width. That is my guess as to the discrepancy... Do you have a contract stating exactly what was agreed upon, or is there verbiage like :"pending final measurement" or something like that? IMO, you have two choices: 1. Hold them to the original contracted price/scope of work. Afterall, you aren't the one who screwed up so why should you pay for it. ..or 2. If they want to fight you on it, then cancel the contract and pick a different company. In my personal experience, anytime I screw up a measurement or an order, I eat it. That is what any decent company should do.

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