When we bought this house, we knew that the original windows would need to be replaced. Other home improvement projects took priority, like rebuilding our dining room after a flood, but the windows were a high priority. We knew the value of that project since we replaced the windows in our last home. It made such a huge difference. Here are the five lessons we learned by replacing our windows.
1. Windows are worth the investment
Our house was built in 1979 and the original windows seemed like the bare minimum you would need to keep the Southern California weather out.
Some of the screens were gone or ripped and it took every ounce of strength I had to open most of them.
They were drafty and did nothing to keep heat in or out of the house. I couldn’t open the slider while the baby was sleeping, upstairs, because it was so loud it would wake her up from the deepest of sleep. And that screen was mostly just propped up.
We don’t plan on selling this house anytime soon but knew it would increase the value of our home even in the long term. We also had a specific budget in mind and decided that replacement windows were the way to go.
According to the 2017 Cost vs Value report done by Remodeling magazine, the return on investment for replacing windows with new vinyl ones is over 73%. So if I spend $10,000 on this project, I can expect to see $7,300 added to the value of my home. I’ll take it.
2. Get 3 quotes. Always get 3 quotes.
When it came time to take the plunge, I had three different companies come out to give us quotes. My first quote from Window World. They had vinyl windows and came highly recommended by a friend who used them at their house. Their quote came in around $8,000. About what I expected to replace 14 windows and a sliding glass door.
My next quote was from Renewal by Anderson. The salesman told us, I should say, warned us that their windows were VERY high-end. What I wasn’t ready for was how high-end they really were. He quoted us $56,000. FIFTY-SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. And it was a hard sale too. Sign now and I’ll give you a huge discount type of sale. No thanks. Maybe if we lived in a harsher climate it would make sense but for San Diego weather? Unnecessary for this house and for our budget.
Finally, I had US Window and Door come and give us a quote. They had replaced our windows at our condo and we had a wonderful experience working with them. I knew their product, Milgard, was good both from personal experience and their reputation in the industry. (I used to work in the building supply industry and had a lot of coworkers come from their organization.) They quoted two different styles and I actually preferred the look of the one that was cheaper – my husband was shocked – and they were in line with the first quote, around $8000.
Since we had such a good first-hand experience working with US Window and Door before, we went with them. I think it’s important though to do your due diligence and get various quotes when you go into a big project like this.
3. Understand the process
Every step of the process was explained to us and both US Window and Door and Milgard were great to work with. The product was delivered on time and the crew showed up and got to work.
I was amazed at how quickly they transformed our home. They’ve made a huge difference in our utility bill and I don’t have to strain to open a window or worry that closing the slider will wake up the baby upstairs.
4. Manage expectations
When we redid our stair railing, we expected a huge visual impact. However, with windows, the goal isn’t something that you see every day, that they become something that you look through and don’t even think about. That’s exactly why this investment is worth every penny.
5. Keep warranty info handy
Our windows came with a warranty and I’ve had to have Milgard come out and fix a couple of items right after installation. The slider screen is starting to separate and I’ve started a claim with Milgard. It’s an easy process if you have your information handy.
If you are in San Diego and looking to replace your windows, give US Window and Door a call and please tell them I sent you!
Since we took on this project of replacement windows, we’ve since made some updates to the house. We have installed roman shades on some of the windows. This is a great DIY project that anyone can tackle. I love how it updated the space in our living room. We also painted the exterior of the house and it’s really made the still new to us windows pop.