Mister Window’s Guide to Buying Replacement Windows and Doors

Florida is experiencing one of its largest growth spurts in modern history.  The housing market is booming, and houses are being plucked from the market within just a few days of listing. Once the closing takes place, it’s time to make that home your own. One way to add your own flair to both the interior and exterior of your new home is through the replacement of windows and doors.  Mister Window has some tips and tricks to help you navigate the field of salesmen out there and get through the replacement window and door process.

Don’t Fall for Gimmicky Sales Pitches

Does your blood pressure go up every time you know you need to work with a salesman?  Are you remembering that time you almost bought a new Jaguar on a Hyundai budget just to make the salesman leave you alone?  Replacing doors and windows should not be a stressful situation.  After all, most of the action is going to take place at your home.  It should be a friendly conversation with a salesman who understands his or her product inside out and respects the customer.  Here are some standard window salesman gimmicks that should raise a red flag to potential customers.

Thermal Imaging Devices

One common tactic is the use of thermal imaging devices in an attempt to show you that their product is more energy efficient than their competitors.  Typically, they will show you two pieces of glass.  One is their “proprietary” glass.  The other is a competitor’s glass.  Then they bring out the thermal device to show you how much more energy efficient their glass is than their competitor’s.  The problem is that they are not comparing similar products.  Window manufacturers are getting their glass from the same two major suppliers.  Most offer the same glass options as their competitors, but often call them different names for marketing purposes. Any salesman who tries to convince you otherwise is likely just trying to relieve you of more of your hard-earned money.

Noise Sensors

Many salesmen will try to persuade you that their windows will reduce noise pollution by a certain percentage compared with your current windows.  During their sales pitch, they will use a noise sensor to show you how much outside noise is audible in your home, to reflect how poorly your current windows or doors block out outside noise.  Of course, when you are listening for noise, you are going to hear noise.  We all grow accustomed to the white noise in the background of our daily lives.  You already know if outside noises are a problem for you.  Don’t let the salesman create a problem that isn’t there in order to make you pay more.  Perhaps, prior to scheduling time with a salesman, spend some time consciously aware of the noises in your neighborhood to see if they really are a distraction.

Further, when you replace the windows or doors in your home, the new windows and doors must be manufactured and installed in a manner consistent with local and state building regulations, including, in Florida, certain hurricane impact standards.  One side benefit of new hurricane impact windows is a reduction in noise pollution in the home. 

“Proprietary” Windows

The use of “proprietary” windows in the sales pitch is common for window replacement salesmen when trying to upsell customers with claims of energy-saving windows.  “Our glass is superior!”  While all windows are certainly not the same, the same types of windows, available from two major suppliers, are used by all window installers.  Just because there is a sticker on the glass with a company’s name on it, does not make it different than the same type of glass offered by another installer.  The energy-saving windows are available to all installers.  There is nothing particularly special about this “proprietary” glass.  Their name is included on the glass in order to confuse the consumer and make it difficult to do price comparisons.

Pricing Magic

Pricing magic is another standard salesman gimmick.  It may be the most common.  They take the actual price for the window or door replacement project, inflate the actual price to an exorbitant amount, tell you about how this product is really worth the price, and allude to a “special deal” they might just be able to swing for you even though it expired last week that he or she might be able to pull some strings and get you approved for it.  It feels like you are about to really save some significant money.  They then come back with a price that is say 30% less than the original price.  Or even better, they try to get you with BOGO windows!  You start to think about the money they say you will save and the time spent with this overly excitable salesman who is trying to capitalize on your fear of missing out.  You wind up signing a contract for replacement windows and/or doors just so you can stop hearing this salesman tell you about his time in Pittsburgh when the Penguins were winning the Stanley Cup.

Don’t let FOMO rule the day or your wallet!  You aren’t missing out on anything; except perhaps the time you spent listening to a salesman attempt all of his shenanigans on you.  We all know that people on the internet have no problem voicing complaints, so if there is something bad to say, it will be in a Google review.  Go to a window installment company with overall great ratings who will cut to the chase and provide you with real costs.

What Should the Sales Process Really Look Like?

The sales process shouldn’t feel like a magic show with fantasy deals appearing out of thin air or random gadgets used to lure your cash out of your walled.  Reputable installers will look at the initial sales process as a fact-finding mission.  They need to ascertain the details that the customer finds important, and what their purpose in replacing the windows or doors is.  Then the representative will walk the customer through design options, where the installation company builds options that meet the needs of the customers.  The final step in the sales process is to present solutions and pricing based on the information garnered through the fact-finding mission and offering of design solutions.

Needs Assessment

The first step in a reputable sales process is to assess the needs of the customer.  Perhaps the customer is looking to update their windows for hurricane impact purposes, perhaps it is to upgrade the look of the home, perhaps the last windows were not installed properly, or the seals have deteriorated, and the customer wants to redo just one section of the home.  It is imperative that the window or door company’s representative has a clear understanding of the client’s needs and has the knowledge needed to indicate whether there are any other obvious issues with the windows in the home of which the customer is not aware. This requires a representative who is willing to listen to the needs and wants of the customer as opposed to simply telling the customer what they want and need.

Window inspection and measuring

The customer’s next interaction with the window or door company will be to schedule a time for a technician to inspect the windows being replaced, in order to provide a more technical and detailed overview of what will be needed to replace the existing windows with the options chosen by the customer.  As the windows or doors are being measured, the technician will be able to identify any other issues that may exist with the windows or doors currently in place that would need to be addressed when the new products are installed.

Fair Quotes

A fair quote is not an unreasonable expectation for a customer. As hurricane season arrives in Florida, price gouging becomes an issue as people panic when they see the National Hurricane Center’s estimates for the upcoming hurricane season.  The rush to hurricane-proof your home oftentimes leads to consumers spending more than they need to on hurricane-impact windows and doors as they buy into charlatan salesmen with their “proprietary” windows and magical pricing.

A reputable company shouldn’t make you feel as though you went to Oz and back during the sales pitch.  The excitement should lay in seeing your dream doors and windows installed, not when the conversation with the salesman is over.  Many reputable companies will even offer you a free estimate of what your replacement will cost and provide a realistic quote without all of the bloat.

Available Financing Options

Replacement windows and doors do not usually fall into the inexpensive category.  They are important functions of the home.  From allowing people to gain entry through doors and ventilating the home through windows to providing access to those scenic backyard views or protecting the home from burglars, windows and doors are vital components of every home, aesthetic or not, and require precision when installing.  While the cost of these replacements may be daunting, yet necessary, there are typically financing options available for those who are unable to foot the entire bill at one time.

Mister Window is a reputable installer who understands that windows and doors are necessary but expensive aspects of your home.  They offer multiple options with varying terms, including zero-interest financing options with no upfront costs.  They even offer terms up to 10 years.

Guaranteed Satisfaction

The fact-finding mission is a crucial process not only for the customer.  It is during this time the company representative learns what the customer’s needs are.  This allows the company to put together design options using the customer’s input, which then allows the customer to ensure they are getting what they asked for.  Through measuring and inspecting the company is able to ascertain more of what will be required to do the full job to the customer’s satisfaction.  Once the new windows and/or doors are installed, the company will schedule a walkthrough to ensure all of the customer’s needs have been met and satisfied.  Only then will the job be closed out.  Many places, like Mister Window, even offer lifetime warranties on newly installed products.  This is an easy way to ensure you won’t have to pay out of pocket for any repairs down the road.  By avoiding the vast array of salesman’s gimmicks through the use of a reputable company, customers are able to save valuable time and are able to save more money down the road.

What Is the Average Cost to Replace a Window or Door?

With the wide variety of windows and doors available on the market, it is difficult to pin down an actual average cost.  In Florida, with the need for hurricane impact windows across the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, the costs go up.  The further inland you are, the less you need hurricane impact windows that can survive sustained winds of 180 mph (which are required in Miami-Dade County).  The average cost of hurricane impact windows is $1,435 per window.  70% of the prices fall between $800 to $2,445 per window.  These prices do include white, vinyl frames with no grids (the most common configuration in Florida’s prone regions.  Materials and labor are billed under this amount as well.  While this number seems high, remember that windows and doors are just as vital to the home as a roof, even in a hurricane.  Any crack or leak in a window or door during a hurricane can change the pressure in the home, which may lead to the roof collapsing, which is yet another costly expense. 

This is why it is invaluable to hire a professional company to install your replacement windows and/or doors.  These types of companies will provide viable solutions for customers that balance wants and needs with budgets and regulations.  Finding a professional with honesty and integrity, who will listen to what the customer cares about and needs, and provide the right solutions within a specific budget is not an impossible task, but it is a worthwhile task.  They are out there and worth every penny.

How Much Will It Cost to Replace and Install Windows?

Homeowners can expect to pay an average of $100 to $300 per regular window installed or an hourly rate of around $38 to $40.  More complicated installations (including oversized and specialty windows) will add to the labor costs. These costs could rise to $800 to $1200 per window installation.  For example, while the average price of a regular window may be $100 to $300, the average cost of a new sliding glass door is $6,140.00.  70% of the prices for the sliding glass door fall between $4,200 to $8,200.  Again, these prices include the standard Florida configuration of white vinyl and no grids and also include labor and materials.

Factors That Affect Pricing

  • Size of the opening:  This part isn’t rocket science.  The larger the window opening, the thicker and stronger the glass needs to be.  This is especially true for hurricane-impact windows.  The glass needs to be very strong in order to pass impact resistance testing. This holds true for doors as well.  Clearly, homes with large openings will pay an average higher cost to have windows and/or doors replaced, as the thicker and stronger glass needed for large panes will cost more money.
  • Types of windows:  There are a lot of options when it comes to windows and no two types cost the same.  Fixed windows (like picture windows or architectural), casements (windows that open and close on hinges that open outward to the left or right), and awnings (top-hinged windows that open from the bottom) are the most expensive windows to replace.  They rely on a single pane of glass to fill the opening, which, per above, means the glass needs to be stronger and thicker for the larger area. Single hung windows (they have a fixed top sash that is stationary with an operational bottom sash that slides up and down) and horizontal rollers (sliding windows that move from left to right on horizontal rollers) are the least expensive as the window has two or more pieces of glass in each window, reducing the strength and thickness of the glass needed to cover the opening.  The functionality of the windows plays a key role in pricing as well.  The more moving parts there are, the more expensive the window is to install.  For example, fixed windows are less expensive than casements or awnings because they are stationary and have no moving parts, whereas casements and awnings have hinges that allow them to open.  Double-hung windows are more expensive than single-hung windows because both the top and bottom sashes move.
  • Decorative Options:  There are ways to customize doors and windows to match a homeowner’s preferred style. If the standard white vinyl frame with no grids is not aesthetically pleasing to you, there are a variety of grids and colors that can be included in the cost of the replacement windows.  Custom grid patterns in particular can seriously increase the cost of window replacement as there is significant manual labor needed to create the template for your custom design and then there is the added expense of prep assembly for those custom grids.  Custom colors will also increase the price of replacement windows.  This is because of the downtime needed to prepare assembly and run the order through production.  Without an order of several hundred units, this may not be a cost-effective option, unless the price is not a factor for the homeowner.  Interestingly, the same does not hold true for replacement doors that have custom colors.  Many times custom colors can be ordered without much impact on cost.
  • Using the right professional:  Contracting with a professional is the linchpin to the replacement window buying process.  When you go for the rock bottom prices or contract with the magical salesman and his “proprietary” windows, you open yourself up to unrealistic scenarios and crushed dreams and risk poor installation that, without that lifetime guarantee, will cause you more headaches and cost you more money.  It just isn’t worth it for fake prices and products.

Mister Window has well-trained representatives available to guide you through the process of choosing replacement windows and doors for your home.  They will never present you with useless gadgets or waste your time with fake deals.  They are professionals who understand that your time is valuable and your opinions matter.  Contact the professionals at Mister Window today for a free estimate!