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Old 10-08-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


I have been researching, shopping and talking to many people regarding new construction windows. As everyone probably already knows there is a vast selection of windows available quality/not quality, cheap/expensive, effiecient/not effiecent to choose from. I am very confused as to the windows at Home Depot or Lowes. Some people swear up and down that manufactures make a different product for the "box stores" and to stay away. Others say that the windows are the same yet, but service and knowledge might be lacking, So basically if you know what your doing and what you need go for it, if you need advice or installation then stay away. I am just perplexed by the whole deal. I can not see Pella or Andersen, reputatable companies making sub-par products and risk giving themselves a bad reputation. Additionally if its rated energy star it has to be up to a certain specification doesn't it? I am not sold on one or the other, but the box stores definitely run a little cheaper although I do not want to take the time to install windows that are shotty at best. What does every one think and what have you heard about this? The feedback I have gotten has been all over the map.

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Old 10-09-2009, 12:11 AM   #2
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


"What does every one think?" You asked, so I'll share an answer. My experience with installing windows is with new home construction, some years back. In my area, there are the two major big box stores, Lowe's and Home Depot. Up until July 01, we had a locally owned "Lumber and Mill Supply" business, but they went bankrupt. We now have a "Pro-Build", which I'm sure is a chain outfit. Bottom line: IF I wanted just one or maybe two windows for a job, then maybe the big box stores. IF I was building a house, especially for me, and wanted numerous windows, of high quality, with not only a warranty but someone to back that warranty--I would use a builder supply business that the contractors use. Most of the employees in these businesses are not the "technician of the day" in their areas. They are there because they know their materials, their product lines, and have been employed there for over a month. My two cents worth. Thanks, David

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Old 10-09-2009, 06:48 AM   #3
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


I personally believe that there are very few large manufacturers who won't produce a special version of their regular products for, say, Home Depot or Walmart. After all, it's those retailer who set the price limit and then try to find a product to meet that price point.

OK Proctor and Gamble might not make a special "Tide" for Walmart, but most of the others cannot afford to turn away a Home Depot or a Walmart and will make a special product for the large box stores and/or sell it closer to cost just to keep the overhead paid up...

Their risk is low and the potential high. So, IMO big box store versions of well-known brands are standard practice. It's just you-the-consumer might not notice the difference on a one-time deal, or over 10 years.

Buy paint at a paint store, buy windows from a dealer. "Saving money" isn't a Holy Grail...pony up the extra and get a good product. Cheaper in the long run.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:43 AM   #4
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


I'm using Andersen 400 series windows bought from HD. I checked a couple of venders (JB Sash, Moynehan Lumber) and it's the same window that any dealer will get. Andersen does have a lower line of windows under a different brand but they are not passed off by HD as the same 400 series.
In addition, I get no finance charges for 6-12 months and 10% off by opening a new account by buying from HD.
Long story short, if the model numbers match, it's the same window.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:58 AM   #5
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


I receive 10% off coupons from HD all the time
In addition if you place an order over $2500 they will usually give you 10% off plus additional discounts
Andersen used to use an OSB base for the sill plate, now its a solid piece of wood
Using an OSB board as part of a window sill was a problem IMO
Especially if you leave the windows open a lot in nice weather - like we do
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:30 AM   #6
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


I had a client 2 years ago that wanted to replace an old bathroom window with a new Pella vinyl replacement. I went to my Pella rep and ask about MY price for that window. (Always cheaper than the box stores.) Funny thing is that my Pella rep said "Pella doesn't make those windows. They lease thier name to another company that makes them and we CAN'T get them!" So go figure, huh? And .... just because something has the same model number or any other number doesn't mean it's the same. Example: A company may make 5000 cordless drills this week for their high end retailers, who sell primarrily to contractors. Now the next week they may make 5000 of the same drill but use cheaper motor windings, brushes, trigger switches, gears, chucks and batteries. Have you priced batteries? Their can be a big savings just using cheaper batteries. All these cheaper parts are put into the same housing as the drills made last week! WA-LA...... Box store junk with the same model number!
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #7
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


This has been discussed before mainly by big box bashers. Nobody has come up with matching model numbers and different products. Do you have an actual example?
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Old 10-10-2009, 11:24 AM   #8
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


I have bought Andersen 400 series windows right off the shelf at HD, I have special ordered same thru HD, and I have bought contractors mis-measured windows that were ordered thru a Mill store
I haven't seen any difference between the windows on the 3 methods of supply

I worked at Lechmere ages ago, remember how stores would price match if you found the same thing at another store for less?
Well guess what, Lechemere & other stores all received the same item with a different modle number
So if you tried to find the same thing at another store it would be a different model number
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Old 10-10-2009, 11:39 AM   #9
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


My examples come mainly from everyday consumer products that contain surfactants like laundry and dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, and bleaches. In these cases it is easy to establish what products have been diluted and rebuilt for some of the big box stores.

I know of plumbing supplies where cheaper components are used to meet a price point. You can't go by a model number but have to take them apart which they don't expect you to do. Some stores buy on performance and price of a product and as long as the manufacturer meets those criteria, the stores don't care how they number the product. Just make sure there are sufficient qualtities available within a few hours for the store to place orders as they run low...
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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What's the Deal wih Box store Windows


Found this on another site
I'm sure they do this for lots of stuff

Quote:
We were looking at a coordinated collection from Kohler in their special order section. I happened to notice that the same NAMED faucet was in-stock for almost $70 less. The less expensive one had a product code that was one number higher. Of course the staff had no idea why the special order one was so much more expensive.

I went home and did some digging on the Kohler site. The model that matched the "special order" featured at Lowes was there but not the stock one. I then did a search on the stock model number. What popped up was the same faucet with an exact description of it being a custom build for big box, and more importantly, what made it different. Plastic internals.

So, I did some playing around and at least for Kohler you can increment the product number by one and find out exactly what they did to cheapen the big box standard product. Seems to me a pretty good way to combat pricing issues.

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