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Quality Window Estimates

Getting quality window estimates is one of the most important steps you can take when shopping for hurricane or storm windows. Our four step process should provide you with a commonsense approach to finding great windows and installers.

Get Several Bids

Consumers are always surprised by how much cost bids can vary for the exact same project. It's true of all home improvement projects - there can be a 100% cost difference between the most expensive and least expensive bid. The reasons are certainly varied, but the main one is that contractors are free to name their price. And consumers are free to select the overinflated bid - but we suggest you don't. Instead, get a few bids from some solid companies, we suggest getting 3 to 5 good quality bids to start out with.

Compare The Bids

Replacement window bids are rarely broken up into the price for the windows themselves and the labor or installation (ask the companies if they will break it up, some will, some won't). This makes it hard to compare the bids, especially considering that the price for different brands of windows will vary significantly. Make sure you are comparing vinyl windows or fiberglass windows or wood clad windows to one another. If one or more of the bids is out of your price range, throw it out. If one of more of the bids is 20% to 30% above what the others are for what seems like a similar quality window, you can probably throw it out as well. If the company does the hard press, buy today and save 1/3 on the price, you would do well to avoid them (quality contractors and companies don't need to rely on these pressure tactics).

Ask The Experts

Assuming you have a few bids that made the cut, go online and do a search for "replacement window forums". Several good ones include gardenweb.com and replacement-windows.com (our site has no affiliations with these sites btw). It takes a few minutes to register, but once you do you can submit your bid details (include the window brand and model, the price, the type of installation, and all other applicable details) to the contractors who monitor these sites. Usually they are very good about repsonding to your questions and will have some very blunt advise. Typcially, they will either tell you that one or more bids sounds like a winner or they will tell you to get some more bids. We suggest listening to these experts - they hear from consumers day in and day out and you are essentially getting some good free advise that is germane to your project.

Vet The Company

Even if the forum contractors say they like the window brand and price quotes, they really can't tell you whether you are getting quality installation (which is just as important as the window itself). So in order to insure a quality install, look for online reviews of the company. Ask for several referrals from past clients to make sure the work has stood up over time. You can often call the window company itself to see whether this particular distributor has a good reputation or not (the company may be disinclined to bash it's own distributors, but they also have their reputations to think about). Finally, make sure you feel comfortable with the company you decide on - your gut can be a good barometer to finding a good quality installer at a price that doesn't break the bank.

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