5 fast ways to lower window installation cost

July 19, 2011

Your double-pane windows are full of condensation, you have cracked and pitted glass, your window frames are warped and peeling. You desperately need new windows, but you're in sticker shock over the quote you just got. So how do you get replacement windows installed--without taking out a second mortgage or robbing a bank?

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5 tips for saving money on replacement windows

  1. Contact the manufacturer. It is possible that your old windows are still under warranty. Even if they aren't, sometimes the manufacturer will make a warranty adjustment. Also, double-check consumer websites to see if there are any hidden recalls or well-known problems with your current model. If you're lucky, you might get new windows for free. Still, even if the warranty is pro-rated, it's better than paying full price.

  2. Negotiate the price. Window sales and installation companies operate on generous profit margins. The markup on materials ranges from 20 to 40 percent, and the window installation cost often has a markup of 50 to 100 per cent. If your job is a big one, you have some leverage to negotiate price on both materials and labor, especially if the window business is a bit slow in your area.

  3. Shop the internet and home improvement stores for lesser brands. The big window manufacturers spend a ton of money on advertising. Guess who pays for that in the end? The consumer does, of course. By doing a little research in online home improvement forums, and through Consumer Reports, you can find good quality windows that don't have huge ad campaign costs.

  4. You can also save money on materials. Why replace wood-framed windows with wood, when vinyl performs just as well, at a much lower cost? If you buy Energy Star® rated windows, you may also get a tax break.

  5. Do the installation yourself. If you have average carpentry skills, replacement window installation isn't that difficult a job. Most window manufacturers provide detailed installation instructions. Just follow the instructions, and you should be able to do as good a job as a professional installer, albeit a bit slower. You will probably need help, as larger windows are a two-person job. Recruit a friend or neighbor with carpentry experience and pay them money, food and drink--or offer to help on their next home improvement project.

With a little research and some physical labor, you may be able to save enough money on your new windows to afford that vacation to Disneyland.



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