Saturday, March 29, 2014

Windows and Roofs

When we decided earlier this month to stay in our home and not move, we also decided to go ahead and fix a few big things on our house.  Some home projects are inexpensive like electrical outlets and caulking, but others, well, they can be overwhelming!

We've tackled so many projects on our home, but we knew replacing the original windows that were left would be quite an undertaking.  We started by getting a quote from Home Depot's Home Repair arm.  We agreed to the quoted price.  We wanted it to be simple and straight forward, so we had chosen to simply take an easy route and call Home Depot.  A few days later, we had to sign an addendum.  Then, after a week or so, two fellows came out to measure the windows.  We expected to hear back from Home Depot in a week or two with a time for installation.  That phone call never came and four weeks later, I called to find out what the status of our order was.  It turned out that there was an issue and another addendum was needed.  No windows had been ordered and no one had followed up with us.  Hmmm.  This idea of going with Home Depot wasn't turning out to be so easy.  We cancelled the contract and chose instead to break up the window job and just take care of the windows in the den.  I'm glad we did.  I'm so glad we didn't do all of the windows at once, because the den windows turned out badly and at least it gave us the opportunity to choose better windows for our bedrooms and bathrooms.  

All of the windows in our house have to be made custom, because they aren't standard sizes.  We used a handyman recommended to us and he went through a company in Pennsylvania, Viwinco, for the den windows.  But, these windows make me sad.  Over the winter, they let so much moisture in and cold air in that there was ice on the inside.  Ice?  You might think that these were cheap windows.  They weren't.  A fellow from the company did come out and look at the windows.  He came out the following week and added thicker weatherstripping on the windows.  It helped, but didn't entirely fix the problem.  When I investigated what their warranty includes just now, it asserts that moisture on the inside of windows is the fault of the home owner (aka too much humidity in the house) and not the windows.  But, I don't believe this is entirely true.  I've been told by several people that condensation results on the inside of windows from improperly sealed windows.   

So, this month when we decided to take on the bedroom and bathroom windows, we went with Thompson Creek Windows.  They are more expensive, but the warranty is better--and the windows are better.  This morning my husband said to me--"did you realize our bedroom was 4 degrees warmer than it was the day before we got the windows installed?"  (The den didn't feel warmer after the new windows were installed.)  I hadn't realized, but we hadn't raised our thermostat.  We'd just replaced the windows.  I am thankful for my kids to now have windows that will open and that I didn't have to do any work when the project was done. The caulking around the windows was done beautifully and the guys worked hard to do an excellent job putting the windows in.  I don't have to do any extra work.  If you have to order custom windows, Thompson Creek is definitely worth considering.  

When we were getting a quote for windows last year, we also got a quote for our roof from Home Depot.  It almost gave us a heart attack.  We had no idea how we were going to tackle the cost they estimated.  So, we put it on the back burner and took care of other projects in the mean time.  Two weeks ago, we requested a roofing quote from the contractor that put a roof on our previous home.  We were hoping for the best.  And we were thankful for the quote when we received it.  The quote turned out to be half the Home Depot quote.  An extra warranty was offered with the roof and they were better shingles than the Home Depot quote was for.  

This experience has quite surprised me.  Standard financial advice when it comes to home projects has always been get at least two quotes.  I see the wisdom in that advice.  But, sometimes the cheapest price isn't always wisest.  Asking around and finding companies who clean up their messes and stand behind their work has helped us in the past.  And getting several quotes can take a lot of time.  I think choosing home remodeling projects is complicated and it's never as straight forward as it might seem.  The unexpected is always lurking in the background waiting to pop its head up.  

We are thankful for our roof and new windows.  But, more than that, I'm thankful that the Lord provided for us.  Even though the windows in my den aren't great, I'm still thankful that I can open them and let fresh air in.  The old windows didn't open at all and trapped mold between the panes.  I am thankful that the windows keep most of the cold out and that my children can now sleep in warmer bedrooms...

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