Replacing windows; where to purchase?

12 Replies

Hi there, on a cedar shingle sided house with a mix of old aluminum and wood framed windows, is it best to just measure and order from a place like home depot?  We have all the siding off, so it seems now is the time, just want to figure out the most cost effective way.  Any help is appreciated!

Ian - yes you are 100% correct that this is the best time to also get the windows knocked out.  If you are doing the flashing/install yourself, then yes you can go to a bigbox store.  

Even before doing that it could be beneficial to get a contractor out there to quote the job as you'll have his measurements for validation and he might point out things you might have missed (where tempered glass is needed, where jamb extension might be needed, potential one-off issues...etc).  I  would be honest with the contractor up front that you might do the work yourself and pay him $50 or $100 for his time and quote w/measurements. 

If you have specific questions about different types of windows, feel free to message me as I use to sell windows and window installs in a past life.



@David Hildebrandt thank you!  I did not know about thumbtack.

@Tom Shallcross thank you for all the advice!

I removed one window, it was aluminum frame within a wood frame, if that makes sense.  One of the windows I need to do is apparently actually a true wood frame window; large picture style window.  I can't seem to find the exact size windows so I was going to do slightly smaller windows, then build up the sides with some framing, and then get a drywall guy to tidy up the insides.  We will be doing flashing and the surrounding insulation like you mention.  LMK if that sounds right?  Much appreciated!

@Ian Saingarm - yes you're all good to go.  Some people don't want to deal with framing which means the window purchase needs to be exact.  Others do some framing but forget about the drywall which leaves some obnoxious sized trim on the interior.  If you have framing and drywall under control you won't need a contractor to take a look. 

Check your local code, but I believe tempered glass will be required for any windows where the bottom is within 18in of the ground, in a bathroom, or directly over a bed. 

Wanted to follow up on this and say two things.

1) replacing windows was very easy.  Pull the trim, pull out the windows/frames.  Shim/adjust frame for new same size or smaller window.  Level it, screw it down.

2) home depot costs on custom window sizes for drop ins was very cost effective. Between that an using restore, we have all new windows for about 1/5th the cost of quotes we got.

@Ian Saingarm

Yep. We usually go with Great Stuff foam on the slightly smaller windows. The Big Orange Retail Giant typically sells better DIY replacement windows than it's major Big Blue And Red Retail Giant competitor.

Window replacement companies are notorious overchargers. You get the right handyman, he'll reliably do replacement windows for $50-$75 a pop.

Whatever you chose to do, negotiate the price down.  I replaced 4 windows here in florida and due to all the energy crap, wind crap and what not, the first quote I got was 4000 installed.  I called two more contractors then negotiated with the cheaper one down to 2400

@Ian Saingarm I would consider vinyl windows with a nailing flange. They can be made to almost any size . Depending on brand purchased they will have a brickmould exterior that will never need maintenance and you can choose whichever jamb liner you prefer. The cost is usually much cheaper than a wood window.

Don't remove the wood windows if they're original. Have them reglazed, painted, and install a quality storm window. It will be of similar energy efficiency and the future homeowners will thank you when their new vinyl windows won't need replaced every 15 years for the rest of the house's life. 

To follow up on this,

For the replacement windows we ordered direct fit replacements from home depot and they were very reasonably price.  For the new installations where there were not windows we went to Habitat for humanity and got some nice quality brand new windows in the sizes we wanted and now the house has new windows for penny's on the dollar.  Install was not hard at all, people made a big deal about it but you just get slightly smaller windows and *firr* (not sure how to spell it) them in to the correct size.  


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