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Replacement Windows Advice

Read replacement windows advice from homeowners and consumers alike.

Have a question for our site editors, Dane and Tim? Email them and let them answer your specific project questions. Make sure to include your email address so they can get back to you directly (we never use or sell your email, we promise.)


Finding Local Window Companies

It is interesting that many of the local window companies that my neighbors have used years ago seem to have now been bought by bigger companies with a website that sends you to a corporate 800 number that is closed on the weekend. (And they don't return calls.) It also seems that people are purchasing windows from the manufacturer and then hiring an independent contractor by word of mouth for installation (which kind of scares me!). I live in the NY - Westchester Country area. This must be a naive question, but can you recommend how I can find a company that has a showroom, sells from most manufacturers, and then does installation? I was looking at Home Depot, however they don't seem to offer Okna 500 or Marvin Integrity that I was hoping to price. Thank you!

Katie - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Katie, during the recession, quite a few of the smaller window companies were purchased by larger companies, although there are still hundreds of small window manufacturers across the U.S. Most window companies don't deal directly with the consumer and have no interest in fielding calls (mainly because a high percentage of them would be repair issues that should be handled through the dealer or local company who sold them the window). Home Depot for the most part sells a low quality window when it comes to vinyl windows.

Here is what I recommend -- get a list of the best vinyl window brands -- Okna, Sunrise, Soft-Lite, Hi Mark, Polaris, Marvin -- type in "westchester county okna windows" and see what local companies come up. These are the local companies who are authorized to carry the brand. Call them up, have them come out to give you and quote and get your three or four bids. Each should offer a number of brands (in addition to the premium brands I mentioned).

Get the bids, and then compare all the prices -- installation is important, so also look up the online reviews of each company who offers you a solid bid at a competitive price point. Feel free to send me the bid prices and details when you get them and I'll definitely weigh in on what I think are the best options.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016


December 31 Tax Credit

Hello, Your site is really terrific! I need all new casement windows and doors for my townhouse. I was considering trying to get some of this project completed by Dec 31 to get an energy tax write off for this year. Someone mentioned that you shouldn't do replacements in the winter and I should wait until the spring (I live in New York), and said they had caulking issues due to an installation done in the cold. Is this valid? Thank you!

Katie - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Katie, professional window installers do jobs in the winter all the time. I would ask whoever comes out to give you a bid if it’s in issue, but it shouldn’t be. Assuming they use a high quality caulk, it should be fine down to as cold as -20 F.

Feel free to send me the bids quotes with a few details and I’ll take give you my two cents on what quote and window looks the best. Good luck!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016


Best, Better or Good Windows?

I am among the many that don't know a lot about windows, but am curious how you determine that a window is Best, Better or Good- beyond their specs? For example, I hear many good things about company a and more bad about company b. What is the basis for this assessment. If both companies products provide similar warranties, similar NFRC specs and similar aesthetics, why would one be Best and the other Good? Similarly, the crew you get to install a great window that does a bad job - would that be worse than a different crew doing a great job on a "good" window? Would like your thoughts on these notions - as knowledgeable in this field. I think it would help me, and maybe others. An unexcited-to -spend-many-dollars-on-windows homeowner. Thanks.

Tim - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Tim, windows (especially replacement windows) can be very confusing and difficult to navigate. Admittedly, there are often times good and bad reviews on the exact same company and it can be difficult to tell the truth from the fluff. In general, looking at the long-term customer satisfaction and durability of the window is what typically dictates whether a particular window company is deemed as producing a quality product or not.

For instance, it's very possible to get a vinyl window from a lower tier company that works fine and there are no issues. However, on a weekly basis I receive nightmare stories from homeowners who purchase windows and there's condensation between the panes, mold in the jambs, etc. after a year or two. These people paid thousands of dollars and are now stuck having to rip the windows out and get them replaced the right way with the right window.

I would say that 50% of the project is based on the quality of the window itself, while the other 50% is the installation job itself. Take a look at our recommended window manufacturing pages to find a top quality vinyl window manufacture in your area that can give you a bid or perhaps several of the top manufacturers, check the reviews online, make sure you feel comfortable with how the local company conducts its business, and you should be good to go.

If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask. Thanks!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016






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