Another week with Ryan Carey ! In today’s show, we’re going to talk everything about window replacement.
Ryan discusses the two main types and the difference in window replacements: the insert or retrofit window and the full frame. He also explains the window replacement process and which type is best for each window or type of house.
They talk about replacing windows to address water intrusion and energy efficiency. Ryan also explains sash and glass replacements. Then he discusses the acceptable price range. He also talks about the type of vinyl windows and products from Lindsay Windows, Hayfield Windows, Alside Windows, and more.
Visit Ryan Carey at getmy3quotes.com. Send your podcast questions or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Reuben Saltzman: Welcome to my house. Welcome to the Structure Talk podcast, a production of Structure Tech Home Inspections. My name is Reuben Saltzman. I’m your host alongside building science geek, Tessa Murray. We help home inspectors up their game through education and we help homeowners to be better stewards of their houses. We’ve been keeping it real on this podcast since 2019, and we are also the number one home inspection podcast in the world according to my mom. So today we’re picking up pretty much right where we left off on last week’s podcast. We had Ryan Carey of My 3 Quotes on the show, and we’ve got him back yet again for part three of window replacements, everything related to window replacements. Ryan is an expert on this. He’s written a four-part blog series on the Structure Tech blog and we thought we gotta get him on here to just discuss all this stuff aloud. So thank you so much for joining us again, Ryan. Really appreciate it.
Ryan Carey: Very glad to be back. Thanks for having me.
RS: Thank you, man. How’s your winter been going?
RC: Not too bad. Once it gets the real cold days come along, you have the people who start noticing the drafty windows a little bit more. So it’s been pretty busy as far as that goes. Otherwise I’ve been staying plenty busy, just doing a lot of snow blowing. So it’s been busy around the house too.
RS: It’s funny. People do start noticing that stuff when it gets colder. I just saw on the email, a request come through for the rest of the inspectors. At Structure Tech, we do a lot of these single item inspections, troubleshooting inspections, get to the people’s pain points and figure out what’s causing them problems. And there was a request to come out to somebody’s house to do troubleshooting on their doors and windows ’cause they think they’ve got bad doors and windows. They’ve got all this frost accumulation and all this condensation. And I just, I wanna email the office and just say, “Look, they don’t have bad doors and windows. They’ve got the humidity cranked way too high in their house. We don’t need to come out.” But of course that’s dismissive. There could be more going on. We can’t just say that, but that’s my knee-jerk reaction.
RC: There are a lot of issues that are just the normal wear and tear. I was just at a house today where their window jams, just that’s your jam is your piece that fills out your wall depth from the window out to your casing, were just destroyed. And she thinks, “I need new windows.” Why are these are all, they have sun damage. They have some water damage ’cause there’s been some condensation like you brought up, she has blinds closed and getting a lot of condensation and then the sun beats on these laminate jam pieces and they look terrible. And she’s convinced, “Oh my gosh, my windows must be bad.” In this case, it really had nothing to do with her windows. It just had to do with the moisture and where these particular windows are positioned in her house, gets a lot of sun and then gets some condensation. And the windows weren’t great windows. They were older vinyl windows from the 90s, a little bit drafty, but they were functioning fine. It’s just that that particular house that, like I told her, you could get new jams and then take care of those areas a little better with both the moisture and staying on top of the wooden parts when they do start to deteriorate.
Tessa Murray: I just saw a house the other day in my neighborhood that was having its windows replaced. What are your thoughts on replacing windows when it’s below 30 degrees and it’s actively snowing?
RC: Yeah, they do install all year round and you will… Your typical winter day, which a lot of times is 10 or 20 degrees, like the better kinds of caulking, like the OSI Quad, is good down to zero degrees. So you can certainly do that. And there’s not a lot of time when you have the big empty hole in your house. It’s the old one goes out. You could kind of prepare and clean up the opening and then the new one that goes in and now you’re shimming and starting to insulate around it. So you do one window at a time. So it’s not a terrible situation, but when it’s down 10 below zero or whatever, you just stay away from installing. And of course everything expands and contracts and then that’s why every window that gets put in, it’s not flush against the stud. You gotta give it some downsize there and there will be some expansion and contraction of everything depending on when you put it in. But no, it’s okay. It’s okay to do windows in the winter.
TM: I fell for the installer out with the sawhorses in the snow.
RC: They’re happy to be working though. [chuckle] ‘Cause a lot of times, yeah, if things do slow down for some companies in the winter, then those guys aren’t working and a lot of them are 1099. So they’re not all employees. When you’re not working, you’re not making money. So they like the fact there might be certain times, they hate the brutal cold and the brutal heat, but in between, that’s probably their favorite. But either way they like to be working.
RS: Yeah, beats doing nothing.
RC: Yep, for sure.
RS: Well, that’s a good transition just talking about replacement options. That’s something we never really got into on last week’s show. We meant to, but we just kind of ran out of time and it’s an important thing to consider when you’re having the windows replaced is exactly what is being done. And until you start getting into the nuts and bolts of this and start getting quotes, I think a lot of people don’t have any idea about the differences between different replacement options because it’s definitely not apples to apples. There’s different versions of how much you’re actually gonna be replaced… Or you’re gonna be replacing. And, Ryan, I’d love it if you could kind of kick that discussion off for us.
RC: For sure. And that’s one of the first things I’m looking at when I go to the house is what are the options here? And people certainly wanna know what those options are as well, including that person I was at earlier today where it’s like, maybe you just need some new jams here and then a different maintenance plan going forward as opposed to replacing windows. But the two main kinds of installs when it comes to window replacements are your inserts or retrofits and then your full frame replacements. And the difference to that is, a full frame replacement is everything getting replaced right down to the studs. So your entire old window frame is gonna come out, the new window is gonna go on typically with a nailing flange on the outside of the house. So that attaches to the outside of the house and then that can be all taped and flashed on the outside.
RC: And then on the inside, you do the insulating in between the new window and the studs and then you add your jam and casing. So with a full frame replacement, you do get new jam and casing on the inside of your house too. Some people are excited about that because maybe they’re changing colors from the golden oak over to the white and so they have… You can go whatever direction you wanna go. Maybe they wanna go with a wider three and a quarter flat trim, which everyone seems to like nowadays as opposed to the old two and a quarter narrower casing. So people can make changes at that point. But that’s getting everything out of the opening and starting fresh. And sometimes when people are worried about how the old window is insulated or if there’s rot in the frame of it, if it’s an old wood one, that’s the direction we typically go.
RC: But an insert window is type of install where you’re just gonna leave the existing window frame in there and put it, put the new window into that frame, therefore your interior trim does not get touched and your exterior trim, if you have it, is gonna stay as well. So what I usually look for when I’m just evaluating what are the possibilities? One, the best window for an insert is like, your old 1950s, 60s or earlier, double hung window. So got the two sashes that slide up and down, you can take those sashes out and you take the wood stops out from the frame and you have a flat wood frame that you can put this new window into. And especially the old houses like in Minneapolis and St. Paul, many of them have the big thick trim that beautiful trim. And it’s just a shame to think of doing the full frame and then starting over with new trim. ‘Cause so many times they really have their… It’s thicker trim too and it’s wider. And so a lot of times, people wanna keep that interior trim and an insert is not a bad deal at all into an old wood frame, assuming that it’s not rotted.
TM: Keyword, not rotted.
RC: Yes. And the other thing with that is that sometimes people look on the outside of their house and I don’t know if how many people know what a brick mold and sill profile on the outside of your house is, but brick mold is about a two inch wide piece that goes on the sides and top. And then there’s a sill at the bottom. There can be rot in like the… A part of the sill that sticks out and the bottom of the brick mold where it sits against the sill, that can be removed and replaced with new wood and then it can be wrapped in aluminum to make it maintenance free on the outside, which is common. So sometimes people see a little bit of rot and they go, “Oh, I probably have to do a full frame replacement.” But that’s not necessarily the case. So you can still do an insert if there’s some rot on the outside of the brick mold and sill. But if it’s all the way through, you lift up the fashion, you see there’s rot everywhere in the frame, then yeah, it needs to be replaced all the way. But when it comes to inserts, that’s your most common application, is an old wood double hung.
RS: And I gotta say that that’s an important distinction, rotting at the brick mold, which is basically the trim around the windows versus actual rotting at the windows. I’ve done my share of replacing rotted brick mold where you just cut it out, you put a new section in, even if you’re not replacing the entire piece, you can get profiles that match where you replace like the bottom foot of the brick mold. You cut it out with the sawzall, you put the new stuff in, you put some wood filler in there, you sand it all and it’s… Unless you’re looking up, looking really closely, you can’t even tell that it’s different stuff and then you paint it all and it all looks original and you’re just, it’s a few dollars worth of trim. To address what looks like a rotted window and it’s really not. However, once that brick mold gets to a certain point and you get enough water getting in behind it because there’s nothing left, then it really can start to rot the frame of the window.
RC: With garage doors too that have brick mold around them, the part down along the ground where it wicks up water, that part will rot out. And many times people do that same thing, they just replace the brick mold down there, then sometimes they wrap it in aluminum, but otherwise yeah, if you do the Reuben method of painting it, then [chuckle] it’ll be just fine.
TM: So Ryan, what do you do if you had a house that had some rot at the window trim, the brick mold and the sill, and you decide to do like an insert where you’re keeping the original frame, but then once you get the brick mold off, you realize that there’s actually more rot than you thought and you’re gonna have to replace some framing, maybe even got down to the wall sheathing. Like at that point, what did the installers do? Do you switch over to doing a full window replacement or since you already have the windows ordered, then you just repair the rot that’s visible and put the insert in?
RC: Yeah. A very rare situation just because you can take… What’s nice about double hungs is you can open them up and you can look at the frames on the inside. So you see a lot of that. But in that rare case where, yeah, you’ve done an insert and there’s part of the frame that needs to be replaced, they will replace that part. They can put in a full sill or they could put in a full piece ’cause yeah, that insert is measured to go inside of that frame now, so it’s not gonna work to go out to the… Unless you build down the frame from the studs. So yes.
TM: You just said something really interesting with the double hung windows, you can actually take the actual sash out. And then is that… So is that something that a good window replacement company would do? Is they would come out and they would take that sash out and kind of inspect further of the interior, like the framing of the window to make sure?
RC: Yeah, well, many of them you can see just when you slide it up and you look over to the side ’cause you’ll see, in the older houses, it is still the wood frame or they have the old ropes and pulleys, they actually have a cavity there and a lead weight that is the counterbalance to the sashes. And so yeah, a lot of that though, you can see, it’s some of the windows that come later that have plastic jam liners that the sashes ride up and down in and you can’t see the frame inside of that. But again, that frame is typically protected, where it does work pretty well to, again, do inserts as long as there’s the wood on the outside where… Where I don’t like to do inserts, is when you have like an aluminum clad wood window.
RC: And again, people wanna keep their trim or they wanna save money. Now technically it can be done where they take those sashes out, they put the new window in that frame and then they basically wrap new aluminum around the existing aluminum that’s on the outside. So you have a new piece to go into. It’s not something I recommend to do. If I see an aluminum clad window, I want to do a full frame replacement every time. But there are certain situations where, yeah, they just want to… Trying to do a couple, trying to sell the house, whatever the case is and it can be done and still have all the warranties on it and everything. But you’re basically putting a window into a partial wood, partial aluminum frame using that wrap just to kind of cover up where the gap’s gonna be.
TM: Does siding, exterior siding, ever kind of help you in your decision making process as well? Like if you’ve got a stucco home, it’s gonna be a lot more work to do a full window replacement than an insert. So you lean towards insert.
RC: And that is a a great question. That’s why anytime when I’m trying to answer questions for people and they wanna get a few questions up front, I’ll just tell them, send me a picture on the outside, send me a picture on the inside because the outside is everything. So on the window out there, is there trim around it? If there’s trim around it, great, no problem. The trim can come off, the new window can go on there and then trim goes back up over the nailing flange. Sometimes you have steel siding going right up over the nailing flange of the window. So right up to the window. Now you’re left with, well, here’s our options. We can either cut back the steel siding. And put on the window with the nail flange and then put a piece of trim there now because that siding is gone.
RC: If you don’t want to necessarily get involved with taking off steel siding and putting it back on. ‘Cause you can do that with vinyl no problem. I do that all the time. Okay, no problem. We’ll take off the vinyl siding, put on the window with an nail flange, get the vinyl back on. It’s easy to work with. It’s bendable, where the steel though, you even get a little crease in it, now you’re like, “Oh boy, what are we doing, [chuckle] and where are we gonna get this siding? Is the color gonna look the same?” So you’re usually just gonna cut it back. Or a very popular method of full frame replacement is called Z-flashing where you actually cut the old window out by the nail flange so you don’t get to the nail flange.
RC: The nail flange stays in the wall, you cut out the old window, the new window goes in to that opening into the stud opening and now it screws in through the frame instead of to the outside of the house. And then you use an aluminum piece called Z-flashing that tucks behind the siding and then goes along the side of the window and tucks over the front, sort of like a drip cap does over the top of the window, you have that, that kind of goes all the way around. There are some companies that that’s all they wanna do. Like Andersen renewal is a big one. They have a specific Z-flashing method they use ’cause they do not wanna mess with siding at all, whether it’s vinyl or they’re steel or anything else. And actually they have a piece that looks, it’s a nice looking finishing piece to their Z-flashing.
RC: So they kind of have it down to a science. That’s what they always wanna do. When I come out, I… If it’s vinyl I’d… The perfect world, you always do the window with a nail flange. That’s the best way to do it. But then I’m gonna run into windows that have brick mason re-openings or, we’ll get to the stucco too, which you brought up, you’re not gonna remove the brick. So that’s definitely, you’re gonna cut out the window again by the nail flange, put a new one screwed in from the outside. And then they use a backer rod, foam backer rod in this kind of commercial caulking that goes on the outside in between the window and the brick or the stone or whatever the case may be.
RC: With Stucco again, if the stucco goes right up to the window, now you’re talking about cutting the stucco back or doing that kind of Z-flashing, install. Stucco’s tough ’cause little pieces can fall off. Now you’re trying to… You’re hoping that your line of caulking is gonna cover any little pieces that might get agitated and [chuckle] fall off when you’re doing that type, if you’re cutting stucco back, it’s obviously trickier. And some companies do a Stucco waiver that, okay, if pieces fall off, while we’re making this cut, sometimes that’s gonna happen and that’s not our responsibility to do, fix everything from the Stucco ’cause some of the Stucco is really old and it’s cracked already and now you’re trying to cut it and now a little bigger piece comes off while making a cut. There’s not too much you can do to prevent that from happening. But usually you just have a little tiny pieces and that line of caulking will usually cover that up when you’re working with Stucco.
RS: Okay. Now Ryan, you talk about putting in the Z-flashing and I guess my question is, if they’re doing that, how does that integrate with the weather-resistant barrier? Because when you think about the wall sandwich, you’re gonna have the siding, you’re gonna have something on the outside, that’s your first layer of defense. But in the case of, say, vinyl siding, there’s no expectation that vinyl’s gonna keep water out. Water is guaranteed to get behind the vinyl. And what really keeps water from reaching your wall sheath in and rotting everything is your water-resistant barrier. Sometimes it’ll be Tyvek, might be tar paper, might be another newer product, green guard or something. So you’ve got your water-resistant barrier, but if you’re just slipping the Z-flashing up underneath your siding, how does it integrate with that? Because that’s one of the most critical details on windows, is getting the window openings flashed properly and having everything lapped in the correct sequence so that water drains out and it doesn’t get stuck behind it. So how do they get that right?
RC: Yeah, all they can do with that is tuck things, they can still do Tyvek in the stud opening, but then tuck it in as opposed to attaching it to the outside of the wall. And same with that piece of metal, it’s just tucked so, and then it’s lapped, it’s overlapped the right way from the drip cap down. So water stays to the outside of it, but obviously it’s nowhere near as good as when you can have the nailing flange out there and then completely do the window tape around that and the pan flashing at the bottom and everything you’re talking about where… Yeah, it’s not… Again, in a perfect world, that’s what you do. In some worlds, you do the Z-flashing and it still does… It keeps the water from coming in to that opening, so there’s still warranties on that as far as, if it’s in your wall, from vinyl siding, it’s gonna come down and hit the drip cap and then come out to the sides and then run down the outside of the piece of Z-flashing ’cause it’s overlapped over the top. And run down and stay to the outside of the house. But yeah, it’s not nearly as good as when you have a nail flange.
RS: Got it. All right, thank you.
TM: That was a good question. I was wondering about that too.
RC: You’re just tucking it in, and that’s kind of the same with aluminum. When you’re wrapping aluminum on the outside, you just kinda need a place to tuck it, but you can’t go in that far obviously.
TM: Here’s another question for you too. People that are wondering about the energy efficiency of windows and the whole reason they’re replacing their windows and they’re motivated is energy efficiency and saving money. On a 1900 house that has a double-hung window and it’s a weighted pulley system that helps lift up the sash, there’s a huge section void in the wall where that pulley lives, and there’s no insulation in that. And so, in my mind, it almost seems criminal for a window replacement company to sell these people on new sashes, but not even touch on the fact that we’re just ignoring this void of insulation in the wall.
RC: Yeah. Well, that’s called filling the weight cavities. And you can do that with any type of insert install, ’cause once you clip those ropes and get that out, there is a cavity there that you can fill with insulation. So insulating the weight cavities is, yes, a part of what you should do on a retrofit. And there are… Sometimes they even have a little hatch down at the bottom that you can pull out and you can get the weight out. Other times the weight is just gonna stay there.
TM: Stay in there.
RC: You’re gonna insulate the cavity. I was doing work on a very old building with really large double-hung windows, and I can’t even imagine how many pounds were in the lead weights in these things. But those were actually all taken out and they are so incredibly heavy as you can imagine, when you’re dealing with a four-foot by four-foot sash on one window. And so they need the big weight cavities to handle that. And those took a lot of insulation to insulate the weight cavities, ’cause they were so big. But yeah, that is something that should be done, doing the retrofit on that.
TM: Good to know.
RS: Yeah. Thank you for asking that, Tessa. I was thinking the same thing.
TM: [laughter] We have the same concerns here. Water intrusion, and energy efficiency, and all these things that a lot of times, I don’t know, is that part of the sales pitch from these companies when they come out and they’re selling windows? Do they talk about that type of thing with people?
RC: Well, not as much, because for one thing, depending on the type of company and whether it’s one of those 10 step sales companies, they get trained in really good on the product and the parts and pieces, and the dog and pony show stuff, but not so great on the install methods. So, there are just lots of hemming and hawing [chuckle] when you ask a lot of those specific questions. And I remember that first company I worked for, which was more of a sales company, they would say, “The way to answer that is, it’s nothing those installers haven’t run across 100 times before. Don’t worry, they know what they’re doing.” [chuckle] Yeah, it helps too obviously to see the install, to see it happen, or have done the install yourself. Just to see what things come up when the windows are out of the opening, and then just getting used to all the different things that are happening on the outside of the house, like you asked about, that is all such important stuff. And yeah, are there trim boards? Is there brick mold? Does the siding go right up to the window? Here’s the options, here’s all the different install options for that type of window so you go through the full frame and you go through the insert or…
RC: And then one of the things I mentioned in that blog as well is, just the sash replacements. If the window frame is in good shape, and sometimes this comes into play a lot with aluminum-clad casement windows and they get hail damage on the sash, which has just rolled aluminum on it, so it’s easier to dent. Where a lot of times the frames are extruded aluminum, so it’s thicker and it doesn’t dent as easy. So the insurance company will come along and they’ll approve sash replacements. And then you gotta look and see, does this company still exist? And sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And then they’ll typically go to approving the entire thing. If they do exist, then you can reorder new sashes. Even that, it doesn’t always work. But things shift and the way things are made can be different. But someone knows if they’re not too old, work okay with sash replacements, and that type of a situation where you’re just replacing the part that either moves up and down in a double hung or the part that cranks out with a casement. Just that whole, the glass and the part that encases the glass. That’s your window sash and those can be replaced, and then your entire frame stays. So you’re not putting in a new window with a new frame, like an insert window is.
RC: That window has a frame. A window with a frame going into an old frame as opposed to just, we’re putting just the movable parts into this frame. And that’s where you brought up just sash replacement kits, where those are just putting in new plastic jam liners and two sashes that go up and down, but those don’t seal as well as a window that has its own frame to it where the sashes go up and down inside a solid frame. So I like doing an insert as opposed to a sash replacement kit. But just replacing the sash themselves can be done on a lot of different kinds of windows, depending on if they’re still made. ‘Cause sometimes you’ll see everything fine with the frame, but had some condensation or just that trouble spot where the glass meets the wood, and… But it’s gone, it can’t be revived anymore because it’s so rotted out. So it’s like, “Okay, get a new sash for that.” Or if you got the hilt, those are another way to go.
TM: Or maybe even a broken seal, like when you’ve got fogged glass, would that be another option if the frame is still in good condition?
RC: Even brings up another stage, which is just glass replacement.
TM: Okay, yeah.
RC: ‘Cause there are glass replacement companies and if everything’s perfect on the window, and you just have the foggy glass because you have a seal failure, now, there’s companies like Glass Doctor and…
RS: A Pane in The Glass.
RC: Yeah, that’s right.
RS: They’ve done work at my house a couple of times on my last house, I had a bunch of bad seals. I love their name.
RC: Yeah, you do find yourself using that many times and say, “Yeah, it’s really a pain when that happens.” No pun intended, I didn’t mean to say that, talking about windows. But if your window has a glazing bead, which is just that individual piece that holds in the glass and that can be taken off the glass, can be replaced, and then the new glazing bead put on. Some windows don’t allow for that, they’re really encased in by the aluminum on the outside and the wood on the inside, but most can be replaced just the glass itself. And then you just call a glass company, you don’t even need the sash, so basically it goes glass to sash to insert to full frame replacement, are all the different levels of the window installs.
TM: Can you touch on pricing for us, Ryan, the differences.
RC: Sure, sure. Between glass and sash, sash of course, is just gonna be more expensive ’cause you still have the whole aluminum wood part, so you can expect that to go up, I don’t know, a couple hundred to 300 somewhere in there when you’re going from one to the next. Insert pricing to full frame pricing, you can see, depending on what all is getting done, if you’re getting the staining included, all of that, but you could see anywhere from a $300-$600 difference per opening from an insert to a full frame replacement. And then of course, you’re jumping from a sash to an insert, that could be a $400 or $500 jump, so yeah, every one of them has its jumps. So yeah, a lot of different price points. That’s why when I go out there, I like to provide them multiple price points so they can really see. ‘Cause some of it depends on the size. What are we dealing with? Do we have a triple window or do we have a single window? What’s the situation?
RS: Now, I know you’re gonna wanna give Tessa’s answer of “It depends” to me, but what’s a good range that people can expect per window, getting them replaced, and I know there’s tons of variables, but just give me a good range.
RC: Yeah, well, on that range, I really hate to say, has gone up quite a bit in the last couple of years, as you can imagine with the inflation and everybody has upped their price from the manufacturers to the installers. But if you’re talking a single window and then of course, you’re gonna have your vinyl to your wood and fiberglass and all of that, but if you’re getting a good vinyl window and you’re getting a full frame replacement and with everything you need, exterior, interior, staining, that has gone from what used to be around $1000 a window to around $1500. And then if you’re going up to the wood or the fiberglass and including staining of that, there are several instances that I’ve seen where a single window is over $2000. Yeah, it has gone up quite a bit. And then when you go into doubles and triples, you’re paying obviously more for the window itself, but you’re not paying it as much more for the labor, ’cause it’s still one opening, you’re paying for a little more material, so it gets better. It’s not like if you have a triple casement that, oh well, then that’s gonna be 6000. If you’re a single, it’s 2000 or whatever, sure.
TM: There’s an economies of scale happening there. Yeah.
RS: It’s ’cause it’s still just one single opening, it’s one square.
RC: Right, it’s one opening, yep.
RS: Or box.
RC: And they’ll typically price it out by size ’cause of different amounts of material, but it’s still just the installers having to deal with one opening versus many, but just since… I think when I started with window… It was like $500 a window back in the day, [chuckle] 20 years ago day, but yeah, so those have obviously changed.
RS: Yeah, I never give out prices from a home inspection perspective, ’cause that’s a great way to get burned, but I’ll admit, in my mind, I was still in the $500 per window range.
RC: With inserts, you can still stay close to that 1000 range where with the full frames, you’re just not even… That’s where you used to be able to say, “Well, insert might be around 600, 700 and a full frame, 1000 or 1100.” Now that’s all jumped to, the insert is gonna be over 1000 and the full frames are gonna be up, could be 1500, could be 2000, could be 2500 depending on how many options.
TM: Is there a price point that you would feel comfortable saying, “If you see a company tell you they can do it for X amount, run.”?
RC: Well, it always shocks me some of the prices that are out there, and I hesitate to, again, name anybody particular, but let’s just say some of the big well-known ones out there are just crazy expensive. But if you see a vinyl company, one of those high pressure vinyl companies come along and they’re charging as much as one of those big companies, one of those well-known ones, yeah, that’s where you run. ‘Cause a vinyl window should never be up in that range. A vinyl window should be more in that, I could see 1500 depending on what you’re doing, but if you’re seeing a single vinyl window being up above 2000 or 2500, whatever. That’s just not where it should be. That’s usually the interior jam and trim, staining included and kind of everything included in those type of full frame prices.
RS: Well, Ryan, you talk about vinyl windows, and originally, last week, we talked about having a discussion about the top three, Pella, Andersen and Marvin. But I feel like we should just save that for show number four, and you’re talking about different vinyl replacements and can you get into some of the lesser known windows out there, ’cause I know that there’s like… I mean, there’s probably hundreds of vinyl window manufacturers out there, right?
RC: Yes, yes, and that’s where if you’re talking about a vinyl window, and especially back in the day, if I was working for a company that only had a vinyl window, that is one of the first things they always ask, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that window before,” what is it… How is it like Marvin, Andersen, and Pella? They’ve heard of the big new construction nationally advertised brands, but when it comes to vinyl windows, they really do rely on the contractor to take the window out to the house, show them, or have it on display at their showroom, and really go off of that versus… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a vinyl window on a national ad or anything like that, because there are your… Some of my favorites because we’re in Minnesota, our Lindsay Windows, they’re out of Mankato. And they again, have their different lines, they have their pinnacle line, which is the really nice high-end line, and then they have step downs from there because they make windows for different parts of the country too. And if you’re putting a window in Northern California or something that just has a very little temperature variation, you don’t need a great window. You can do some of these cheaper made ones because you just don’t have all the temperature extremes, but they’re one I like to work with. Another Minnesota window brand is Hayfield and Hayfield is…
RC: Both of those two lines. Hayfield has been around since 1951, Lindsay since 1947. Again, when they’re made in Minnesota, you can pretty much be confident that they know they have to have windows that are good enough for Minnesota, so those are good things along with some of those other national brands that are made here too. So those a are a couple. Some of the other lines that I’ve mentioned before, is Alside, they’re a big window manufacturer, I had Alside windows in my house, the one that we have the picture of the beige window. Yeah, and they’re out of Ohio, but yeah, they have big distributorship here in the Twin Cities, and they, again, make many different lines and then they private label some for specific companies, but again, just always staying with their upper lines. You’re using so much of the same technology that it’s very hard to say that there’s little things I like about one over another, like I like the way Lindsay’s double-hung looks because it doesn’t have little plastic tilt latches on the top of the sash, you don’t see those. They’re operated by the hardware, you’re pushing the hardware farther, and that’s what tilts them in. Just little kind of aesthetic things like that that I like about them.
RC: But otherwise their U-factors, you’re gonna find these across the board, they’re all very similar in their top lines. They’re using foam spacers, most of these vinyl windows, in between the two panes of glass instead of using metal, they’re using foam, which is much less conductive, so it gives the window overall, a little bit better of a U-factor and less condensation down in the corners. ProVia is another window line that they make windows, doors, siding and I’ve been working a little more with them recently just because their lead time stayed reasonable during the last couple of years where things went a little crazy with people’s suppliers and different supply problems, they stayed pretty consistent.
RC: And again, they make a Endure series, that’s really nice, and then they have step downs from there. There are Great Lakes, Simonton, really, you could go on forever. SoftLite is another big one that some of the local guys use, but you put them all together, and this is obviously gonna make the people mad who bring this into a house and try to say, “This one’s the best and it’s better than every other single one,” they’re so similar. That’s where if someone wants, again, in their top line, look at the U-factor, get their top line, we’re in Minnesota, and you’re not really making a bad decision with any of those, but don’t buy that this vinyl window in the top of the line is better than this companies if they have the same U-factors, so this one is 700 more a window.
RC: That shouldn’t be the case. If you’re getting a similar U-factor, similar technology and all… And the glass packs, you can compare the glass packs with… I usually get those three layers of Low-E coating and the argon gas, when you’re getting all kind of the same menu items there, the prices should be pretty close but the prices are going to vary widely because again, you got people who are gonna inflate the list price at crazy amounts and then do drops to try to get you to pull the trigger that day.
RS: And that’s why you should always call My 3 Quotes if you want new windows.
RC: Yeah, you’re just gonna get some quotes by email later without even a high pressure comment in there.
RS: ‘Cause you’re not married to any of it. With what you’re saying about how all of these vinyl window manufacturers make such similar products, we know that we got the big three, and I don’t want you to step on any toes, but I’m gonna ask you to anyway. Is there really ever a reason why you would wanna go with one of those big three if you’re gonna be getting a vinyl window?
RC: The only one that really makes a vinyl, a true vinyl window is Pella, out of those big three. The other ones, Marvin does the fiberglass and Pella makes a fiberglass to. Andersen makes their Fibrex 100 series, which is about their closest to just kind of a vinyl offering. But again, compare pricing because I don’t wanna step on Pella’s toes either, ’cause they make some really good windows. But as far as their vinyl window goes, it was a pretty basic vinyl window. I’ve been to the tour there, seen everything, it’s good quality, they have all the same technologies, but there certainly wasn’t anything that was like, oh, this is better than these other vinyl windows that I know a lot about. So I certainly couldn’t say it was a better vinyl window than anybody elses. But they do have the Pella name, and some people like that, ’cause a lot of these companies, a big reason they go with them, they’ve been around forever. Why have they been around forever? ‘Cause they’ve been putting out good products for a long time, and that just gives people a little at ease, that’s why they might go with a Pella vinyl over all of these brands I just mentioned that no one’s ever heard of.
RC: So they feel comfortable like, oh yeah, I’ll go with that Pella vinyl, and then I’m getting a vinyl and that’s gonna be in line with a lot of people’s vinyl pricing, and I feel better about just having that well-known name.
TM: I was gonna ask you along those same lines, are all those companies you named earlier for vinyl windows, have they been around for a while?
RC: Yeah, a lot of them. Everyone that I mentioned there, I think the newest, ProVia has been around since the ’70s. That’s about the… That’s last time I checked, I can’t believe it, but I think that’s 50 years or so. Now, if you saw one that was, oh, this one just popped up five years ago and they’re giving a lifetime warranty, it’s like, okay, well, are they gonna be around for that lifetime warranty, and that goes with any of these companies too, they can… Even big companies can go out of business, so the warranty is… That’s why people like to see longevity in the company that makes the window or the company that installs the window or both.
TM: Yeah, that should be a key factor in your decision-making process when you’re going with a window company.
RS: Well, that is a fantastic discussion on window replacement options and different types of vinyl, that helps me if I’m ever gonna be replacing my windows, a lot of direction they’re, Ryan, thank you.
TM: To me, it just confirms the fact that I would hire you, Ryan, to help me. Not just a… [laughter]
RS: Oh my goodness, yes.
RC: It’s a pretty easy process. That’s for sure. And get those multiple options and then just, I always get those quotes back a few days later and just email them out to the customers based on what we decided to get quoted out for them, what they needed, and then I always have recommendations too, based on their situation.
RS: Cool, all right, well, I think that will bring this show to a wrap, thanks for coming on again, Ryan, and wait, Tess.
TM: Oh, I was just gonna say, where can people find Ryan? You were probably gonna ask that. Sorry, Reuben. Give us your website, Ryan.
RC: That’s a great question, Tessa. I’m glad you asked. You can go to just getmy3quotes.com, and that’s the number three, getmy3quotes.com. You can email me directly, email@example.com, and even if you just have a question, you have… Many times people ask me questions from different markets in all over the country, and happy to answer those.
RS: Sweet. Well, thanks again for coming on, Ryan, and we’re gonna have you back again next week to do what we teased last week, we’ll tease it one more time. We’re gonna be talking about the big three, Andersen, Marvin, Pella. Which one should you buy? You’re gonna answer that once and for all.
RC: Yep, I’m gonna have one only answer right then.
RS: I knew it. No more depends. [chuckle] All right, sounds great. Thank you so much, Ryan. See you soon.
RC: Thank you.