Lowe’s or Home Depot make window replacement easy. They provide a turnkey service to provide you with the windows, offer support to order them, and even provide an installation option to install them. By creating a “one stop shop”, large stores can cover it all. However, how do you know if you are getting the best window replacement project you can at the big box stores? The information below outlines three areas to consider when choosing a box store to supply your replacement windows.
Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have several options to choose from when selecting replacement windows. For starters, each store has its own window brand that is only found in their store. Lowe’s has the Reliabilt vinyl line and Home Depot has American Craftsman vinyl windows. Both lines of windows are unique to each company, which means that you won’t be able to find the window brands outside of their respective stores. If you’re concerned about the quality of “in-house” brand windows, you should know that in a 2007 Consumer Reports test, Reliabilt scored the highest of all vinyl windows tested and American Craftsman ranked third.
In addition to its store brand windows, Lowe’s replacement window offering also includes the Pella brand. Pella has been in the window and door business for over 75 years and has a reputation for providing quality products. Pella’s after-sale support ensures that if you have a problem with your window, it will be resolved. Home Depot has the Andersen and Jeld Wen brands. These are large window manufacturers that have years of research behind their product. Like Pella, buying Andersen or Jeld Wen windows ensures that you get the support of the manufacturer after the purchase at the box store.
Window quality should not be considered a major concern when shopping from box stores. With the house brands ranked at the top by Consumer Reports and other brand-name window companies available, you will be able to find a product that meets your level of quality.
Buying and ordering windows is by no means brain surgery. However, there are many different factors involved with ordering replacement windows and it takes someone familiar with the process to make sure the order is correct. The challenge facing homeowners with stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot is achieving consistency in the employee experience. While each store has dedicated and trained staff for specific departments of the store, it is not always easy to determine how much experience that person has with the product they are selling. A carpenter (window) clerk today could have been on electricity three weeks ago.
This is not to say that whoever buys replacement windows at any of the stores doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Both stores hire strong staff, are well trained, and are very willing to help customers. Still, you should always make sure that the person helping you with your replacement windows is the most qualified person in the store. This will ensure that the details are covered and that your order is correct.
One of the attractive aspects of large home improvement stores is that they provide installation services alongside replacement windows. The “one-stop-shop” aspect makes it easy for homeowners not to have to find a contractor to install their windows. Additionally, large stores offer relatively inexpensive setup prices to accommodate most project budgets.
Before you commit to having the shop installers do the work, you should always find other installers to do the work. Find out what the average installation costs are for your area. Chances are, when you compare installation prices to Lowe’s or Home Depot prices, you will find that the box store price is significantly cheaper than a professional installation company or installer.
Before you think you’re getting the steal of the century, keep this in mind: the process for removing and replacing a window is basically the same, whether you pay $ 100 or $ 200 per opening to do so. If the job is done for $ 100, then for the installer to make the same amount of profit as the $ 200 installer, you must cut material costs or reduce labor costs. If material costs are reduced, you may not get the best sealant or highest quality trim around the windows. This can cause the wood to rot and the windows to leak.
Similarly, for contractors who charge $ 100 to install a window, they have to install twice as many windows to earn the money the installer makes of $ 200 per window. This means that they would have to spend half the time installing a window. If the basic process is the same, how good is the installation if it takes half the time to complete? Large stores use volume to compensate for their low installation price, and to achieve volume they must install as many windows as possible in the shortest time possible. Keep this in mind when considering the quality of the installation you will receive for the price that big box stores offer.
(The statements above are not intended to discredit box store installers. They are good hardworking people like you or me and they put in the work they do. Just consider how the system works before starting a project with a store. of boxes so you may not be surprised at the results if they are less than desirable).