Build Your Own House

Windows For New Homes | Cheap Replacement Windows

Summary: You can buy replacement home windows and new home windows at builders cost just like we builders do. Inexpensive windows can save you thousands.

Carl, I have your book, the 5th edition, and find it very useful.

I am sorry you don’t recommend windows because I am having a horrible time with the selection.

I even subscribed to Consumer Reports but they hardly had a selection of windows reviewed, and it appears from those reviews that none of them are any good.

I have spent lots of hours on the window research and I am getting nowhere. If you don’t recommend windows, do you know of a reputable site or resource that does?

I need to decide on my windows this week.

Please help. Thank you, Alysha

Hi Alysha,

I can’t believe that the reviews said that none of them are any good…that’s ridiculous.

There are many, many excellent window manufacturers.

The building supply stores, home centers, and other window suppliers that sell those windows offer great prices to us builders.

And, as far as anyone is concerned, if you walk in their store to buy their windows, you are the General Contractor or builder and entitled to builders cost. Ask for builders cost because You are buying the windows, not your contractor! You are about to spend thousands of dollars with them...or not, depending on what kind of prices you are quoted.

And, when buying windows, every dollar you save is multiplied by the number of new windows you need! The average house has 20 windows!

Keep this in mind. Glass is glass, and windows are over 90 percent glass! Only the window sashes and the window operating hardware are different on windows. Why pay more for a certain brand? When you remove the window manufacturer's label NO ONE can tell who made them or how much they cost. Surprised?

Here are the basic guidelines I use to select new windows and glass doors.

1. I look for the best window price both from window manufacturers and the window suppliers. Almost all window manufacturers or window suppliers put their windows on sale from time to time, or have low price builder lines or contractor lines on sale all the time.

2. I decide on the architectural style and type. This is very important to me. To me the window and door design of a house is second only to the roof design.

Then I try and use standard or stock window sizes. This is very important and needs to be considered when a new home is being designed. If you deviate from stock or standard window sizes, the price increase is exponential. You could say that your budget goes right out the window.

When replacing windows you are rather limited as to size selection as the window size already exists. However, a good carpenter can make minor adjustments to accommodate slightly different window sizes.


Image Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy

3. They must be energy efficient as windows and doors are one of the greatest sources of heat loss or heat gain, second only to ceilings. They must be ENERGY STAR qualified.

4. I decide on the exterior sash material based on the exterior siding or veneer of the house. I will never ever use unclad wood (again) as it will eventually rot no matter what you do to it.

5. I decide on the interior sash material. I love wood interior sashes as they can be stained as well as painted.

6. I look for the best (longest) warranty. The warranty should include the labor for replacement. All windows will fail sooner or later.

7. I find my windows at the BEST price with the BEST warranty at a supplier I trust. Trust means they replace the window if it is defective, no hassles.

8. I don’t care what manufacturer makes them…Surprised? They are all capable of making good windows, at least good enough for me.

Here are 4 window and door manufacturers that I have had good experiences with.

AndersenJELD-WEN - Marvin Windows - Pella Windows

Hope this helps, Carl Heldmann