With a view

With our tax returns this year, we decided to put the state returns on our credit cards, and the federal we’d put toward new windows. However many windows we could get with that refund, that’s what we’d get. So, we researched. We’d met with the woman at our local Home Depot about two years ago and gotten a rough estimate of price. If prices were similar, we could do half to two-thirds of the house, and we planned which we’d do on the first pass: kitchen, bedroom, bathrooms, office (about half the house).

So, we went to a different Home Depot to look at windows, the HD with a fantastic garden section. And it took forever to get someone to help us in the windows/doors department, then they didn’t seem to know the product and just had us schedule an appointment with Home Services (a free in-home estimate.) We browsed the in-stock windows while we waited, noticed that the low-end series came in roughly our sizes, but we wanted to get windows that qualified for the tax credit. We did look at the cost of ordering the windows in our estimated sizes, and it was quite a bit cheaper than we thought, meaning we could do another 2-3 windows (yay!)

So, today, we met with the in-home guy (skipping a party we’d been invited to), and he gave us the installed advertised price. And that was a budget breaker. Yeah, that came with the installation guarantee, but the windows didn’t qualify for the tax credit (and sounded like the low-end series.) At that price, we could replace most of the windows in the house twice by ordering and installing them ourselves, so it didn’t make financial sense to go that route. The Home Services guy did tell us how to install the windows, and that if we were going to do that, we should get 2 to start, install those, then make a decision. That did make sense.

We decided to distract ourselves by installing some shelves in the guest room, but found we needed some different screws to finish the job. So, we went to Michaels to return a photo frame that a) didn’t fit the photos and b) had a corner that didn’t meet, then stopped by our local Home Depot to get the correct screws. We also wandered into the window department to check out ordering a few windows: one for the kitchen (draftiest) and two for the bedroom (noisy!!). We needed to wait on a couple making a door special order, but that gave us time to wander around, really check out the windows, see the difference in the series level ranking dealie, and I looked at in-stock replacement doors (when I mentioned to a coworker that we wanted a solid flat door for a room in our house instead of the normal hollow one, he said we should get an exterior door and cut it down instead of special ordering an interior one. It’s a little thicker, but the cost difference is huge.)

Anyway, we got up to the counter and started talking to the guy about the windows we wanted, and had a quibble over the measurement (TCB and I did), and the guy took us over to the in-stock windows and asked us if these measurements matched ours (since they’re made to allow for wiggle room in window height.) And they matched, so he wondered why we wanted the 8500 series, was it just for the tax credit? Yes, because pricing the in-stock and what we needed to order for the tax credit, we came out ahead with the better windows. And then he told us: the in-stock windows now qualify., we just had to look for the right label (get the new stock, not the old stock, designated by the black labels (new) or white ones (old).)

With that big decision point moot, we talked about the pros & cons of ordering the 8500 instead of the in-stock 1200, which came down to price per window and style. I liked the flatter style of the 1200 series better, our windows were in stock, it was cheaper and much faster to get these, we discussed ordering the full screens for them (half screens come standard), decided against it (even though they’re 20% off right now), TCB selected our three windows, I paid for them, I noticed a price difference from what I expected, I checked it out, then returned to point out that we’d gotten the ones with a grille, not the plain windows like we had discussed, we swapped them out, returned the windows, purchased our three correct windows, and shoved them into the Mazda3 (they fit easily with the seats down.)

We weren’t home a minute before TCB tore into the kitchen window. It was really easy to put the replacement in, especially since they install from the inside. So tonight, we’re sleeping with our draftiest window sealed up and the I-285 noise kept outside our bedroom. I plugged the numbers into my hand-dandy estimate spreadsheet and figured out that we can do the whole house, including the random window in the tool room that you can’t get to from inside the house, minus the large picture window, for exactly our window budget.

I think I’m going to stop on the way home for a few more. I’m thinking dining room and bathroom are next. Hopefully, I’ll see one of the folks at our local store again, because they were pretty awesome in the “let’s save you money and get your project done” department.

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