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What Do Vinyl Replacement Windows Cost?

Read Carefully Before Buying Windows

Man standing on vinyl window with tempered glass.

The Q & A here is to help consumers who have never bought vinyl replacement windows before make an informed decision by explaining what installed vinyl replacement windows really cost. Since 1995 consumers have been mislead about the actual cost of vinyl replacement windows. In 2009 Pennsylvania passed the HIC law making deceptive advertising by contractors ILLEGAL! Today low-price dealers continue using false advertising with the original $189 buy-up window.

Q. Why is advertising an installed vinyl replacement window for the low price of $189 misleading?

A. The price is misleading because the dealers’ cost for a base model vinyl replacement window with labor is over $200 per window. The 1995 advertised price of $189 is the starting point in a low-price selling system. So how do low-price dealers make a profit? Simple, there are additional charges that increase the price from $189 to over $385 per installed window. The extra charges are for Low-E glass and aluminum trim. These are never included in the advertised price. The $189 price only applies when a vinyl double hung window is replacing a wood double hung window. Here’s the catch, since 1995 no one has ever paid $189.

Q. What does the $189 installed double hung vinyl replacement window include?

A. You get a basic Alside white vinyl double hung window installed into a pre-existing wood opening. If your house does not have wood windows you will be charged $79 per window for aluminum trim. Low-E Argon glass adds $94, shipping & handling adds $11, plus a onetime trip charge of $150.00. If you bought 10 windows with Low-E glass and aluminum trim, you will be charged $3,880.00 or $388 per window. We have the same Alside vinyl windows with Low-E glass and aluminum trim for $369 each!

Q. What do window dealers typically pay for items like Low-E glass and aluminum trim capping?

A. Since the double hung window style is the most common window made today, most vinyl window manufacturers include Low-E Argon glass “free” in the base price of the window. A 50 ft. roll of aluminum coil 24” wide costs around $85.00. Low-price window dealers charge $173 per window for these two items. There is also a one-time fee of up to $150.00 added to the total order. This is how they double the price.

Q. Is false and misleading advertising by contractors violating any consumer safety laws?

A. Yes, according to the 2009 Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor Law, home improvement fraud occurs whenever a contractor makes a false or misleading statement to induce, encourage or solicit a person to enter into a written or oral agreement for home improvement services. Directly or indirectly publishes false or deceptive advertisements. Unfortunately, the Attorney General’s office will only pursue complaints filed by consumers so nothing has really changed.

Q. Low-price dealers have been advertising the $189 installed window since 1995, how is that possible?

A. Energy Star vinyl windows require Low-E Argon glass with aluminum capping for proper installation. Like we already told you, theses two items are omitted from the $189 price making an installed vinyl window look more affordable to first time buyers. The installed price doubles with Low-E glass and aluminum trim. The $189 installed price is the keystone to a marketing system developed and licensed in 1995. The $189 low price is used to get unsuspecting homeowners to call! It’s only purpose is to make the phone ring.

Q. How does the low-price selling system work? What can I expect pay for the $189 window?

A. The selling system is designed around an unprofitable $189 low-ball price that is advertised everywhere. The $189 advertised price is below what window dealers actually pay for a basic vinyl window with labor. The $189 price is used as bait to lure unsuspecting homeowners to call and schedule a free estimate. During the in-home estimate, the sales rep up sells the homeowner on Low-E glass & aluminum trim. Aluminum trim and Low-E Argon glass are not included in the $189 price. They add $173 to the final cost. If you purchase just one window with Low-E glass and aluminum trim the price is $523.00, not $189.

Q. What do vinyl replacement windows typically cost?

A. Basic white vinyl double hung windows start around $400.00 each with Low-E glass and aluminum capping around the outside frame. Depending on the window brand, style, size, color, options, glass package and frame quality, the average price can range from $385 to over $1,000 per window. Specialty windows like bow / bay and garden windows cost more.

Q. Do any low-price window companies manufacture their own line of vinyl replacement windows?

A. No, they do not. Each dealer is an independently-owned franchise. Contrary to claims made by a national dealer, all vinyl windows are made by a major window manufacturer then sold under a private label name to prevent price shopping by consumers. Alside Corp 1-800-922-6009, based in Ohio, is a major supplier to low-price window companies. Champion and Pella are the only two companies who make and install their own line of vinyl replacement windows.

Q. How does Century Custom Windows quality and pricing compare to low-price window dealers?

A. Our Alside double hung white vinyl window with professional installation, Low-E glass and capping costs less than identical windows sold by low-price dealers . Our professional installers have 25 years + field experience. Low-price window installers have far less experience resulting in more service calls due to improper sizing and installation. We offer you the same Alside vinyl windows for less money than the low-price dealers do. Our professionally installed white vinyl double hung replacement windows start at $369.

Q. What is professional installation and how does it differ from what the low-price window dealers offer?

A. The main difference is in the installers experience level and labor rate paid. Due to razor thin profit margins low-price window companies only pay their installers $30 per opening on a window installation. The installer must then buy aluminum coil, caulking, and pay their help out of the lower labor rate. Traditional window companies pay installers more than double the labor rate for the same job resulting in very few callbacks and more satisfied customers.

Q. Some window advertisements shows grown men standing directly on the glass, how is this possible ?

A. This illusion is done by switching from regular glass to tempered safety glass in the window sashes. Tempered safety glass is four times stronger than regular glass and easily supports a grown man. This is also fraud in our opinion since tempered glass adds about $100 to the cost of most windows and the advertising never discloses the fact that the windows the men are standing on contain tempered glass .

Q. What other gimmicks are used in the selling of installed home improvements?

A. Buy 5 windows get 5 windows free, buy 10 squares of roofing get 10 squares free. How can any business afford to give 50% away free and remain in business very long? This same gimmick is used by national carpeting dealers as buy one room of carpeting and get two rooms free. Always remember you only get what you pay for. If something seems to good to be true it usually is!

Q. Should Angie’s List, the J.D. Power Award and the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval be considered when shopping for vinyl replacement windows?

A. Angie’s List is a publicly traded company on the N.Y. stock exchange. Contrary to its slogan “No contractor can pay to be on Angie’s List”, 80% of Angie’s List revenue comes from advertising sold to contractors or service providers. Good and not so good companies advertise on Angie’s List. The J.D. Power award is given to a company for its product or service only after the company desiring the award signs up with J.D. Power and pays them to complete a survey of its customers. The award is bought and paid for by the company receiving the award. Before advertising in Good Housekeeping magazine, a company’s product must pass testing performed by Good Housekeeping Laboratories. Good Housekeeping only tests products from manufacturers that want to advertise in the magazine. Window manufacturers typically advertise in publications read by contractors and not in consumer magazines like Good Housekeeping. Windows made by most major window manufacturers would also earn the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval if tested.

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