One of the abiding mysteries of home remodeling is how to order replacement windows for a DIY installation. Let's dig into this topic and find out.
Why Install Windows Yourself?
Why would any homeowner ever want to self-install replacement windows? Having installed my share of windows, I find it a painstaking and exacting process. Multiply that by twenty or thirty, and there goes your entire summer.
But you can certainly save money when you are buying the windows only--not windows plus Pella's army of installers. I just did this the other day. I bought a window at Home Depot for $88, contemplated how this was about 500% less than if someone else installed it, installed the thing, and saved tons of money.
What I am omitting is that this was not for my house, but for my shed. And that I had to perform Sawzall magic to make the structure fit the window. That's because the home improvement big box stores have only a limited number of sizes on hand, and they will not custom order for you.
DIY Window Installation Done By Someone Else
Another self-install scenario is more plausible: hire a contractor or a highly qualified handyman to undertake the work. This still falls in the "self-install" category because you have control over who installs your windows.
I just spoke to a woman the other day who decided to do this because she wanted to support a local contractor she has known for years. More importantly, this contractor--an experienced carpenter--could make substantial repairs to rotting wood around her windows.
Where To Order Replacement Windows Sized To Your House
What if you want real, custom-sized windows for your home? It's possible, but you need to do some digging in your area to find an independent company that is willing to serve the homeowner.
I was lucky enough to find one where I live, Puget Sound Wood Windows, Inc. Dale Beauchamp from PSWW told me that his company does just this sort of thing: provides custom-sized replacement windows (and new-construction) directly to homeowners for DIY- or contractor installation. He said that the process, at least for his company, works something like this:
- Homeowner takes measurements of window openings.
- Homeowner comes into the company and discusses types of windows with sales staff.
- A second, more accurate measurement is made either by the window company or by the homeowner's contractor.
- Windows are ordered.
- Five or six weeks later, windows arrive. Homeowner takes receipt of the windows.
Be creative and do your research. Look at local companies. See if your contractor himself can order the windows. Then get two other contractors' estimates. It pays to look beyond the local Pella and Andersen franchises.