Why is everyone so interested in buying cheap windows for their home? I suspect it’s not because of the price of a single window but is due to the fact that the average home has so many windows to replace. Many homes have 20 or more windows and that can add up to a lot of money when the time comes to upgrade. Even the seemingly insignificant difference of only $50 per window can amount to a thousand dollars or more in many homes. But is the search for a “bargain” product justified if you want something that you can depend on for as long as you own your home?
I’m sure that everyone has their own opinion of this topic but I am a true believer that “you get what you pay for”. On the other hand, I am not convinced that it’s always necessary to buy the most expensive brand name that you can find. Perhaps there is a place somewhere in the middle where quality and value meet.
It’s a fact that custom shaped windows cost more than “standard” windows. In other words, windows that are less commonly used such as those with a hexagonal or circular shape will be more expensive than the traditional double hung or slider windows.
It’s also best to avoid windows with titles such as "architectural grade" and keep in mind that “Authorized Dealers” usually offer only one brand of window. This eliminates your ability to compare the prices and quality of different manufacturers.
Be cautious of extra features and “add ons” that are offered to you. They may be nice but are they really worth the extra money? Energy saving features such as Low-e coating and krypton or argon gas between the glass panes do work but how long does it take to recoup your energy savings versus the additional expense? As far as installing burglary latches or specialty hardware such as cranks and pulls are concerned it’s usually much less expensive to buy and install them yourself. Vinyl is also much less expensive than wood or fiberglass and requires no maintenance.
Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate! Most window replacement companies will negotiate price the same as car dealerships. Don’t be ashamed to make an offer of 20% less. This can save you thousands of dollars and most companies will negotiate with you. This is a very competitive business and it’s not easy to find customers. If you find a company that is not willing to negotiate than it’s best to move on. You can always return to them if you can’t beat their price with competitors.