Saturday, November 12, 2011

Who and How Much? Replacement Windows from Newpro, Marvin, and Window World

It's amazing how when you're shopping around for an expensive item or embarking upon a home improvement project how businesses that never crossed your mind suddenly catch your attention. Or should I say consume your attention. For about three weeks this Fall I became Mr. Replacement Windows as I sought replacement of 4 windows in our 1940s New England colonial home.

Hurricane Irene was the straw that broke the camel's back. Of the four windows in the modest addition that is my home office, one had a cracked pane, one was extremely hard to open and now that the wind was blowing rain sideways, one leaked. It was time to replace these 4 double-hung 6 over 6 windows. Who to call?

When it comes to a job like this I like to call out the most familiar in the field -and- a reliable contractor I'm familiar with to get a sense for the cost of the project.

With that in mind I called up Newpro on Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy's recommendation. Mention the Remdawg, he said in the ad, and I'd get half off plus free installation. Sounded good to me! I scheduled an appointment for an estimate later in the week. I also scheduled an appointment with a contractor we'd done a substantial amount of remodeling with on our kitchen previously. Somewhat strangely they funneled me over to "the window department."  What is it with replacement windows? Why is it such a specialty item?  I'd soon find out.

Here's the way it goes: Professional looking guy in a foreign luxury car pulls up in front of your house right on time. He's very likeable and is very good at what he does. He captures your hopes and dreams for the project, casts them upon replacement windows, and describes in sometimes excruciating detail why these windows are the most incredible things you've ever seen. By the end of his presentation you're convinced these are going to be a substantial upgrade to your life. When you're replacing all (or most) of the windows in your house the energy savings could reduce your heating bill substantially - and I could see buying into the story. But since we're talking about only 10% of our home we were able to avoid letting our desires get the best of us.

After much discussion we finally, mercifully got a quote from Newpro for our 4 very ordinary, right down the middle, double-hung replacement windows. For some reason I had in my head the job should cost around $2,000; $500 per window including labor. I don't know why I thought this. I guess it had something to do with other windows and doors we've had replaced in the house. $500 per seemed about right to me.

The quote? $6,000. $1,500 per window. You've got to be kidding me! They sounded like nice windows but the thing is - after talking with colleagues, friends and associates who have Newpro windows - they're not even that great. People I spoke with reported all kinds of problems with Newpro windows they inherited after purchasing a house. I can get behind a premium price if the product warrants it - but I wasn't convinced their windows were that great long term.

The familiar contractor representing Marvin came in over $4,000 - still more than $1,000 per window. What the heck was going on here?

I casually mentioned to a client I was working with at the time my dilemma. I just wanted some reasonably priced windows that would slide up and down easily, wouldn't leak, would look nice, and would provide better insulation than my current drafty windows. He said replacement windows should cost about $350 per and that I should call Window World.

I'd never heard of them but a Google search turned up - home of the original $189 (installed!) replacement window. I had no illusions about paying only $189 per window, but I liked the starting point. I scheduled an appointment for later in the week.

The salesman came out just like the prior two did. Right on time, very professional, checked out the windows I needed replacing, showed me his product, described the company, and efficiently worked towards a quote.

First off, there's no such thing as a $189 window - at least not in Massachusetts due to efficiency standards in effect here. But the add-ons were sensible. More efficient glass, grids in the glass, disposal fees, etc, etc. But as he's building up the quote I'm thinking to myself: "He could add on anything he wants and he still won't come close to the numbers I'd heard from the other two salesmen who proceeded him."

When he presented me with the total cost of $1,700 for all four windows ($425 per window - below my target cost of $500) I had to contain myself. There might be an opportunity to hold out and get some rogue discount like there was with the other guys. But he made it pretty clear - this was the best he could do today. We agreed to move forward with the project pending our calling a couple nearby references. They checked out and we went forward.

Along the way I kept thinking in the back of my mind that something was going to go wrong. The installation was going to be crap or the windows were going to be lousy. Or they'd increase the installation cost when they found some unforeseen catastrophe. But there was no such event.

An estimator came out for detailed measurements and the windows were ordered. About 5 weeks later an installer came and politely and cleanly removed the old windows and installed the new ones. A day later a different installer did trim work on the outside to tidy things up. I think they look great.

I immediately felt that my usually chilly home office was warmer. More a part of the house rather than a flimsy addition. The windows look great and they slide up and down with ease. They're perfect. They're just what I was looking for and they didn't cost a fortune.

How nice is that? And what in the heck ever happened to Remdawg's "half off plus free installation" offer? What a bunch of hot air that was. $6,000+ after discount? You've got to be kidding me. Sometimes I feel like I'm too negative about businesses that fall short of my hopes and expectations. And in this case I'm disappointed with some. But with Window World I'm happy. A fair price for a square deal and a pleasant experience. You can't ask for much more than that.

So check 'em out if you're in the market for replacement windows: Window World


Anonymous said...

Bob, there is a Window World down the road from me. I got reading reviews online, and it scared me to go with them. We are waiting to include the window replacements with a larger project that will happen by 2020, hopefully. So I am happy to hear that your experience was good. Sorry you had to go through this, and thanks for sharing!

Andrew said...

Stumbled across your blog when looking up info on NewPro. How did the Window World windows hold up through the winter? Any issues after the fact with them?

Robert said...

No problems. Still happy with the windows. Thanks for asking!

Anonymous said...

Are you still happy with your window purchase? I, too, am looking for replacement windows and was shocked by the prices that we were being quoted

Robert said...

Still happy!

Unknown said...

Thanks very much for posting this. I am considering Window World to replace the 15 original (33 year old) single pain double hung windows in my home on the Cape and have been finding a lot of negative stuff online about them (albeit not very much local) so it was good to read something positive from someone local. I am getting ready to place the order but, before I do, was wondering if, since it's now been almost two years since you bought them, if you are still happy with the product? Thank you!

Robert said...

Still happy!

If I were replacing 15 windows I'd be a lot more concerned about the interaction than I was. As it was, I was only replacing 4 windows so it gave me taste of what it would be like to work with the 3 firms I got quotes from. It's daunting thinking of replacing all of the windows in your home, both in terms of disruption/potential for a really unpleasant experience and cost.

But when I think of the cost savings of 15 windows - my goodness - I can only imagine the huge quotes you might receive!

If we had to replace the rest of the windows in our house I'd call Window World first and maybe one other contractor just to keep Window World honest. But based on my experience with them I wouldn't hesitate to go forward with them again.

Let me know if you have any other questions - it's been a while but I'll do my best to help if I can.

Unknown said...

When I was looking for new windows I ran across your post. It was helpful. Thank you Robert. I found Angie's List was also useful in understanding the practices and pricing of the companies you reviewed. What you described with New Pro is exactly what I saw on Angie's List. Reviewers didn't complain about their window very much, but that was only because they never got that far. They were turned off by their sales techniques and the outrageous pricing. (I think Jerry Remy got paid for being a spokesperson or he got his windows for free, or both. I like him so I hope he didn't read their reviews and still decided to sign on.) Window World's Angie's reviews described a couple of installation issues, but for the most part they looked very good and appeared to have the best price. Another company that I heard on Newsradio 1030 was Rite Window and they did very well on Angie's. Rite had many reviews with almost all of them "A" grades and their price was close to Window World's. The most familiar name in windows is Anderson. I called their replacement company before I checked them on Angie's List. Anderson literally refused to come to my house unless I could promise my husband would be at the appointment! My husband was going to be there, but I was so insulted I hung up on them. When I saw Anderson on Angie's I found this was a common practice of theirs and they had many poor reviews for this and other sales practices. I was surprised the biggest name had one of the worse reputations. The success you had on your project prompted me to call Window World and I also called Rite Window. Both were very good on their approach and price. We actually decided on Rite because their salesman was very experienced and showed us a couple of ways we could save on our project, but likely we would've been just as happy with Window World. Shopping for windows wasn't easy and your story was valuable. I hope my experience adds to yours and helps others too. Take care.

Unknown said...

FYI: Follow-up. Rite Window did an excellent job. We've been very happy with the results. Thanks again

Susan said...

Thanks for the great review. We're currently looking for a replacement window company to replace half of our windows as soon as we get the insurance money for the Damn Ice Dam's. Believe it or not we have 58 windows in total to replace. So we're doing a lot of shopping around. So I'm going to give your recommendation a shout and also Rite Windows. Wish me luck, hopefully I can get a bit of a discount for ordering 29 windows at one time...

Len Mullen said...

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to add another data point for decision makers stumbling across this post.

In 2010, I played the same game with all the same players. One of the window installers brought a Window World window to compare to their product. RiteWindow was a little more expensive than Window World, but a LOT less expensive than the others. I wasn't sure if I wanted 'bargain windows' on the front of my house, so we installed the other three sides in 2010 and left the decision on the front windows until 2011. In 2011, we had Rite back to do the front. We got 17 double hung and one 'special' window for over the kitchen sink for $10,545 or $585/window.

One of the reasons I chose Rite was that Rite hires the contractor who installs the windows. My parents had just gone through an ordeal with a contractor installed bay window -- window company blamed the installation and the contractor said the window was defective. Since installation, we have had one window seal leak and Rite sent a guy to replace it in a week -- no hassles.

Robert said...

Thanks a lot for the data point on Rite!
Sounds like a great option to check out when getting quotes.

Anonymous said...

I liked your post. If you are looking for a cheap window that is just better than what you have, that is not EnergyStar rated but will provide you with some protection from the cold and a little more comfort WindowWorld is not a bad choice. I Have worked for window companies for years and have sold everything from $2,000+ windows to economy windows and usually when I just get the guys who want the kind of window you want I usually have them call WindowWorld.

But like everything else, not everyone wants a Chevy, or in WindowWorld's case a Yugo, many people want a Buick and some want Cadillac. There are many better Products out there for just a little more than a WindowWorld window that are EnergyStar rated, virgin vinyl instead of recycled, steel reinforced and foam filled in $6-700 range. If you are going to get more windows in the future and you are going to stay in the home that would probably be a better choice.

Anonymous said...

We bought the house in 2012 and our windows were really drafty. We had a total of about 25, but 7 of them were in really bad shape, so we wanted to replace those first. We had NewPro come out and after a 3 hr presentation they dropped a 14k price on us.But then, he discounted the price to 10k, but only if we signed that day. We told them NO way. We had Rite window come out next and their pricing was a little better. They were at about $5200 for the 7 windows. Which is alot better than 10k but still,almost $750 per window is a considerable amount, especially since the guy explained that my windows were pretty easy to replace. One thing i didnt like about the salesmen was, how bad he talked about the competition. I felt like he was trying to convince me why other companies were bad, not why RW was good.Anyway,We didnt make a decision at that time, but about a week later Rite W called us back and told us that he would give us a discount. We agreed and we ended up paying $4300. We had the windows installed and when i get home, i see that the cladding around the casing was missing on the windows. Not only did they not put new ones,but they had also damaged the old one that were there and ripped it off. Since we didnt replace all the windows the casing on the outside looked different and horrible.It turns out that the discount that they gave me was not really a discount, but they took out the coils to make the job cheaper, to which i would have never agreed to. They also didnt have to damage the cladding since the window replacement had nothing to do with the casing. The reason why i know this, is because 2 yrs later we wanted to replace the rest of the windows. I did not want to go back to Rite Window, and one of my neighbours had had window world come out and replace his windows. The salesman came on time, showed me the product, which by my standart was actually better than what rite w had,and after answering all my questions he asked if i wanted new cladding or not. He also said that if we wanted to keep the old one i could,to try and save money. That would save me $90 per window. For 18 windows my total was $8600 and that also included 3 big slider windows on one of which we had to convert it from a bay window to a slider. They had one price policy and had no discounts,wether i did it that day or a month from that day.I agreed and we chose a 15 months plan with no interest as long as it was paid in full within 15 months. Installation date came around, 3 guys show up on time and got the job done in 2 days. They were very proffessional clean and knew exactly what they were doing. They also didnt disturb the cladding on the windows which saved me almost $1700. Very happy with everything. And to respond to one of the comments above, that said a $2000 is a better than the windows from window world,I would say that that is not true at all.I have both, Rite window and WW installed and WW actually feels and looks much better. Compared to the newpro vinyl,it is EXACTLY the same product.The windows are Energy Star rated with foam insulation, and they are virgin vinyl as well and not recycled. Their warranty is lifetime, tansfarable, and includes glass breakage and seal failure. What most people dont understand is that window companies are 3rd parties. Not one window company makes "their" own windows. Meaning that they dont each have factories and manifacture them. In most cases they get windows from the same manifacturer and put their own loggo in there. So the same product will be sold at different prices deppending on each company's business moddel and size. From the research that i have done, Window world is the biggest window companies in the nation, with close to 200 location nation wide, which i think is important when you have a lifetime warranty. Compare that to 2 locations that Rite W and Newpro have combined

rxpsnh00 said...

I talked to 7 window companies and cant believe the variation in price. I have 35 windows to replace and had quotes from $115,000 to $48,000. All good seals all good quality all good u,sgh,vt ai, all virgin vinyl, etc.
I still think I am being taken to the cleaners because of ALL the pressure tactics I was warned about.
So much for live free or die in NH.
Will let you know how I make out.

Eileen said...

Just wanted to chime in on newpro. I have newpro windows in my house since 2012. They were higher in price that home depot, but I don't think the price was that high. Glad I got a good deal then. I have had no issues, very quiet windows to block out the noise from main street and pedestrians and even had them back to quote out my two doors. I'll report back if i move forward.

Lori said...

I'm glad I saw this post. I just had a Newpro presentation today for 7 double hung windows and a patio slider in a condo. The guy quoted me $20,000 I couldn't believe it. What a rip off. After reading these comments I think I'm going to set up appointments with window world and rite and see where it takes me. I also have appointments with harvey and power home. If anyone has a comment please let me know thanks!

Sweener24 said...

I just got a quote from Renewal by Anderson, $29,000 for a slider and 11 windows. It started at $43k and with the discounts, we got to the "lower number". Hard pass.

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