Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why We Chose the Windows We Did

Since Jason had so many other things to think about and I was able to do a bunch of research online, I decided that I wanted to tackle the issue of the windows in our new home.  See, this house has Jeld-Wen windows in it and they are terrible!  With a capital T!  In the 10 years we have been in this house, we have replaced almost every. single. window.  About 5 years after the house was built, I noticed a haze on one of our large living room windows.  Eventually that haze turned into fog and that fog into condensation.  Soon I could hardly see out the window.  After contacting the window company (we do have a 25 year window warranty) they came out and replaced the window.  The window was free, the installation was not.  Turns out the seal went.  We thought that was a fluke.  Ah, no.  Apparently the spacer they used while making these windows was defective and the company abandoned that spacer shortly after starting to use it.  However, in the meantime, we have an entire house of windows with that faulty spacer.  So, every spring, more and more windows need replacing.  Remember, the window is free but installation is not.  So, every year, these windows keep costing us more and more money. Yet again we have 2 more windows that will need replacing this spring and this house is not that big nor do we have a tonne of windows.  So, needless to say, I have a passion for windows.  Windows that remain sealed.  Windows that work for longer than 5 years.  I want a good window so I was on a mission.  With all the "expertise" I have gained while studying windows, I came up with what I hope and believe is a good window company.  Let me share with you why I chose the window company I did - Durabuilt Windows - and I how I came about that decision.

1.  I was dead set against Jeld-Wen Windows.  I know they are local.  I know they are in abundance in the houses built around here.  But I don't care.  I don't like our windows and unless Jeld-Wen would give us the windows for free, I wasn't about to use them. 

2.  I chose window companies based on radio ads and personal recommendations and some that we saw and liked at the Kitchen, Bath and Renovation Show we went to earlier this winter.  Most of the window companies had some sort of catchy jingle on the radio ads and I remembered them because of it.  I also have a friend in the housing business and she suggested a particular company.  So, with all the radio ads and recommendations plus the ones we saw, I had a list of window companies 7 long!  I know, a lot of companies, but totally worth the research.

3.  I emailed each of the companies asking for a quote.  Window companies around here are more than willing to provide a quote if you provide a drawing of your house plans.  I merely sent them our pdf of our house plans and away they went.  Super simple on my part and mostly simple on theirs.  They do this all the time so they are good at it.

4.  After I received the quotes back, I typed all the information into a spreadsheet so I could compare each company.  Most of the quotes broke down the cost by window.  By making the spreadsheet, I could see at a glance what each company would charge for the dining room window or the bedroom window, etc.  It was really helpful. Plus I was easily able to sort them according to price.  As with anything you will always get some low prices, some mid line and some way higher than your budget.  I certainly had all of those.  The hard part was trying to figure out why some companies were more than twice the amount of others.

5.  I spent a great deal of time studying how windows are made and what the best windows are for our environment - hot in summer, cold in winter.  A harsh climate, most would say.  So, windows that are great in Toronto or Vancouver may not be suitable here.  I needed to know the window would work on the prairies and in our house, in particular.  I looked at the thickness of the glass, the total thickness of all the window components, what the spacer between the glass was made of, what types of glazing the company offered, what types of windows themselves, the thickness of the internal grilles and the patterns available, the sizes of windows available, the options for brick mould and jamb extension, the hardware used on the windows, the colors available, the warranty, and all the other many details that make up windows.  I tried to distill the information down to something I could understand and I think I came away quite knowledgeable about windows in general and some companies in particular.

6.  Once I distilled the information down, I discovered that 3 window companies stood out to me based on their options and their price.  Budget plays a huge role in choosing windows.  Some companies were eliminated just on price factor itself.  One company we were very interested in never actually sent us a quote.  Even after numerous phone calls and emails, promises from the saleslady that the quote would be in "by the end of the week or Monday at the latest", we still have yet to hear back from them.  Easy to eliminate when you don't have a quote, right?  We also eliminated a company based on their faulty quoting process.  They were WAY more expensive than any other company so we didn't even consider them.  The saleslady was quite insistent on talking with me so I told her her company was too high in price for us.  She was surprised since some of the other companies we were looking at were her normal competition and they were always very similar to their quotes.  I told her she was MANY thousands of dollars higher.  She looked into it and found they had made some sort of error.  I was already turned off to their company for the really high price with no obvious reason why so we didn't go with them.  Some got eliminated by sheer lack of interest by the sales rep.

7.  Once we narrowed the field down to 3 companies, we visited with each of those to meet with the salesmen, look at the windows, open and close them, ask the questions we still had and get a general sense of the company.  What a huge difference that makes!  From the emails, I would say those were the 3 companies that were most responsive, the companies that offered what we needed and the companies with a budget we could afford.  We learned what makes each company different from the other and it really cemented my opinion of which company to use.

So, the big question you may have is:  Why did you pick Durabuilt Windows and not some of the other ones I mentioned in my earlier blog post?  First of all, Durabuilt Windows was the name I heard recommended by the Shel Busey show on the radio over and over and over again.  The name just stuck.  He recommended them after having done lots of research on them.  I trust his recommendation so the Durabuilt name was in the back of my mind for a while.  I knew nothing about them but I was curious!  Secondly, Durabuilt Windows has the BEST (and I mean the absolute BEST) sales representative ever in the local office here close to where I live.  He is unbelievable!  He would answer every question quickly and completely.  He was always available for the many questions I had, always checked up on me to see how the research was going, and was so nice in person.  He was a HUGE part of why I chose Durabuilt.  If ever I have an issue with the windows, I would want to deal with him!  The catalogues Durabuilt gave me were loaded with information, as is their website.  Some of the competitors have terrible websites with so little information - Durabuilt has a fantastic website and most every question I had could be answered by it.  Some of the competitors had tiny little catalogues with only a few pages.  For me, the more information, the better.  Durabuilt had all the options we wanted.  I could pick what thickness of internal grilles I wanted from a few different options,  I could choose which pattern of grilles I wanted, they have an improved and updated window hardware that is better than the competitors, they are able to accommodate the larger window jamb we will be needing without adding a huge extra cost, they have great numbers when it comes to window energy efficiency (not something I will get into on here), they have a fantastic selection of entrance doors, they are a Canadian company located on the prairies, they are priced in the low-mid range and they are IMS Certified.  Did I mention they have a fantastic sales rep?  :)  The funny thing is, at the beginning of this whole process I wanted to go with Durabuilt.  I had no idea why but that's just what my gut indicated.  I tried to set that aside and really make a good effort to gather all the information I could to make the best possible choice.  Now I am back to my Durabuilt decision but at least I know why!  I am thrilled to be having this window in our home and I will be sure to let you know how they work out (you know, after we actually have them in our house and are using them!).  If you have any more specific questions on Durabuilt Windows or why we didn't chose the others I mentioned earlier, feel free to drop me a line.  I will answer what I can!

1 comment:

  1. Just so you know, I just love your blog. I'm always checking to see if you have updated it. :)


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