Straight Talk About Replacement Windows
If you live in the Denver area, we can help you to make sense of all the replacement window options out there
Do you know the exact type of replacement windows that will work best for you? If you do, then congratulations; we can get them and install them for you.
But if you’re not sure what you need, what’s out there, and how to choose, we can help with that too.
Talk about confusing! There are windows with frames made from wood, vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum, and many other materials. Then there are single-pane, double-pane, and triple-pane windows. When you then consider the various glass coatings, hardware choices, and other design features–it’s enough to drive you bonkers.
That’s why we thought it might be helpful for us to answer some of the questions we get asked all the time by homeowners.
The chances are about 99% that we can get whatever sort of window you want or need. We work with the largest window distributor in Colorado. When you go to one of those big-box home centers, you have a selection of only a few types and brands, because those companies cater to the mass consumer market.
In contrast, we are not married to one brand, but can get windows that are just right for your particular needs, from lots of different companies.
We have access to many dozens of manufacturers and probably a few thousand different window types, sizes, and styles.
Yes! There’s a game to watch out for, and you’ll hear it on radio commercials and when some companies’ salespeople visit your home. They’ll say: “We’re running a special! It’s only $199 per window, while supplies last.”
What they’re doing is called “bracket pricing.” What that means is the company charges the same price for windows that range from, for example, 31” to 40” wide. Then they’ll have another price for 41” to 50” or whatever.
What this means in practice is if you happen to have 40” wide windows, you may be getting a good deal, but 32” windows will be a bad deal, because you’re paying the same as the 40” people pay. Why do companies do bracket pricing? Because it’s fast and easy to use in a sales pitch.
We do things differently. We measure the actual window sizes you need, and order those exact sizes. When companies have showrooms and giant inventories of window sizes, who do you think pays for all that inventory sitting around? By our not having all that money tied up in inventory, we can get you better pricing. If you need a certain window today, then go to the big-box store and try your luck. But if you’re able to wait a few weeks, we can get you precision pricing for your exact window needs.
Above we talked about “bracket pricing,” how that can cause you to overpay, and how we use precision pricing. A close cousin to that is the salesperson who suggests that you should get one kind of window for your entire house. It sounds logical, right? You want windows to match, right?
Well it’s another sneaky way that you can overpay. Think about it: your home has windows that are in a fixed position. They may point east, or west, or southwest or whatever, but they don’t move around a whole lot. What companies don’t tell you is that you need the most-efficient windows where they get a bunch of light, and for other windows that are more shaded or facing north, you can do just fine with good but lower-priced windows.
It makes sense: your car doesn’t have the same windows on all sides, because you need an expensive windshield to withstand everything, but your back or side window can be simpler. Yet most window companies are happy to sell you on the top-efficiency windows for your entire house. We not only have precision pricing, but we do precision matching of your need to the right window.
Of course, all the windows we recommend will have a nice, consistent look; it’s just that the internal characteristics may be different.
Yes, unfortunately. They often make one big mistake, and it’s that they do not ask homeowners why they want to replace their windows. Any person who’s studied sales techniques has been taught to leave well enough alone: if you have someone who wants to buy a product from you, write up the order and don’t ask why! Otherwise (according to the sales training), you may make the prospect rethink the reasons, and possibly decide not to buy.
Here’s another way that we’re different, and maybe it’s one reason why we have hundreds upon hundreds of reviews from customers. (You can read as many as you wish here.) We will ask you questions that help us to understand what are the issues with your windows and what are your goals for new ones.
For example, if you said: “I want new, top-of-the-line windows because look at these ones we have now—they once were pure white but now look almost yellow.” If we heard that, we’d look hard at your windows, and we might say: “Your windows are yellow because the manufacturer used recycled vinyl. If you like how these windows work but just want them to stay white, we can get you new windows made from virgin vinyl, which will stay white. That will save you money over the true top-of-the-line models that are made for Alaskan weather, not Colorado weather.”
We love it when we can suggest a lower-priced alternative than what the customer had in mind: it has a way of making a happy customer forever.
Yes and no. Yes, if you happen to need precisely the type of window that they have on sale at the moment, then their pricing power might benefit you. But often they will have an amazing advertised price for one particular window, in order to get traffic in the door. As soon as you want anything at all that’s different—well now, that’s a special order and the prices are much higher.
Still, we urge you to shop around, including at those big stores. But be careful! You might get a window person in the window department, or you might get some guy who works in plumbing and is covering for the window person who’s out sick that day. You may get great advice—or advice from a plumbing guy.
At Northern Lights we have have two window specialists with a combined four decades of experience in…windows! They know all the features under the sun, and which ones have worked well for homeowners. They will help you to cut through all the options and tradeoffs and arrive at options tailored to your exact needs. They’re kinda our secret weapon when it comes to making homeowners happy with their replacement windows.
That’s a great question, but also a tough one. As you know with the packaging and marketing of any product, sometimes the flashy stuff doesn’t work as well as you hoped. Looks can be deceiving.
To some extent, price is a general indicator. If you are seeing advertised prices that seem too good to be true, you should be highly skeptical. If you’ve shopped around and most companies are charging in the ballpark of $300 for a certain size and type of window, how can these other guys charge $99? Either they’re cutting corners by using inferior materials, or they’re using offshore labor that comes with few protections for workers, or the build quality is shoddy because of pressure to meet production quotas. Maybe all of the above.
On the other hand, a super-high price might indicate extraordinary craftsmanship that’s worthy of some Beverly Hills mansion, but it might just mean that you’re overpaying for windows with slick advertising.
It’s a good idea to do some online research and see if you can find actual homeowner experiences with the windows. Let’s say you’re thinking of buying the Trailblazer window by Acme (made-up names). Go to Google and type in “problems with Acme Trailblazer windows” and see if anything comes up. Or type in “Acme window issues.” You get the idea.
It’s also important to look at the reputation of the company installing the windows. Does the company have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau? Does it have only a handful of stale, general reviews, or lots of specific, current ones? Does the company advertise heavily? Constant advertising costs a lot of money and you know who ends up paying it.
We’re biased, but we think the best advertising is word-of-mouth after a job is done well for a fair price.
No. We don’t do “hard-sell.” Sure, that approach can work on some people, some of the time. But pretty soon customers know they’ve been pressured, and that’s no way to build a business based on long-term relationships.
We expect you to take your time and think about any proposal we put in front of you. Take all the time you want, go home, sleep on it, and shop around. Ask us questions and then call us up to ask us some more. We understand that you’re just being a careful consumer, and we respect that, because we’re careful consumers, too. Besides, we’ve been helping homeowners in Colorado for nearly 20 years, and we’ll still be here when you’re ready to take the next step.
The truth is it depends on the season. As you know from living in Colorado, we have lots of severe weather, and sometimes it can last well into the spring. Then, as soon as people feel like the warmer weather is here to stay, there’s a crush of activity. The same happens when a hail storm blows through, and suddenly hundreds of homes need new roofs or other things replaced.
If you call us, we can give you an up-to-the-minute answer, but generally speaking, we can deliver and install your windows in 4-5 weeks. Because we work with the largest window distributor in Colorado, we’re confident that our delivery time will be as short as you’ll find just about anywhere.
That’s often not necessary, but it will depend on the construction and condition of your current windows. Often we are able to replace the glass and the interior portions of a window, but can keep the existing frame that’s attached to the house. In cases where serious storm damage has occurred, or there is some issue with the way the window was originally installed, we might recommend replacing the window all the way down to the wood studs. When it’s not necessary, we prefer to avoid doing that.