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Home Performance
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1,542 Posts
I'll have to disagree to some extent there Greg. It depends what you are buying. While TR's comment might have been exaggerated, there is a pretty substantial difference in the quality of most of the window and door products that you will find at a big box store compared to those sold and installed by professionals... The progression for me was: first, I installed doors that clients would purchase at box stores despite that I did not recommend it. Then, after realizing that they typically took twice as long to get set right do to poor assembly/manufacturing tolerances, i had to start charging more for those doors. Then, after ALWAYS having them be a PITA, and dealing with service calls a few years later, i decided that i could no longer install or recommend them at all. Sure there are some exceptions like Andersen wood windows, Simonton windows, and Thermatru doors from lowes, but the majority of the stuff that you find on the shelf is not good quality. I'd love to be able to sell a door that only costs $150-$300 instead of $500-$1000, especially when they really look about the same to the untrained eye. Unfortunately, when even a perfect install of that product results in issues down the road, that starts to affect one's reputation. That is the reason why most professional window and door installers won't touch them with a 10' pole.
 

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Windows & Dogs
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23 Posts
No, you are wrong in thinking out loud what you stated. There is nothing wrong with buying materials from big box stores. The problems occur, when you allow their contractors to do the job.
I can tell you that there is a difference between that $150 stock door and the same style door from a quality vendor. And yes the jambs have actually blown apart from my battery brad nailer. I'm not saying that this happens everytime but if you go to the big box and pull some of those stock doors out and inspect you will see that there are cracks in the jambs from the factory. That said, they still have a purpose...not everyone can afford a better door and not everyone wants to spend the money if they can.
 

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Banned
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17,158 Posts
TR, sorry, but all of the doors that I have gotten from the local big box are nothing like you are stating. You must be going to the wrong places.
 

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Windows & Dogs
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23 Posts
TR, sorry, but all of the doors that I have gotten from the local big box are nothing like you are stating. You must be going to the wrong places.
It does depend on region. Generally, the box stores get their doors from regional millwork companies so the quality could certainly vary. I can't speak for your area obviously but I can tell you the general sentiment out here is not good for any quality conscious contractor...I'm talking mainly about cheaper doors but even the nicer Therma-Tru's are put together better from other vendors than from big box.

For the OP, I was sincere when I say pick out a good door, you will find some that are marked up or dented or cracked so you have to weed through them to get a good one. A helpful sales associate will aid you.
 

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Home Performance
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That is true about the regional vendors as well. There are two different companies that do thermatru around here ( besides lowes ) , and I have had far less issues with one than the other.
 
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