Windows cost WHAT?!

I assume general ranting is appropriate for the Pit as opposed to, say, MPSIMS. Report for forum change if it isn’t.

Anyway, I finally caved in to the Andersen Windows (well, “Renewal By Andersen”) sales rep and had somebody come out for a price quote on replacing five windows (kitchen, living room, three bedrooms) and the sliding glass door that exits out onto my balcony. First, it appears that the three bedroom windows are three inches too far off the ground (sometime since the house was built, California may or may not - I have yet to find anything specific in California law - have mandated that “all rooms that have a window and a closet must have the windows no higher than 44 inches off the ground” as they are assumed to be bedrooms and it makes existing the house in case of a fire easier). Second, the quote was $25,000 - but they’ll cut 15% off the price if I pay within 30 days.

It just seems to me that this is quite a bit of money just for a few windows. Okay, there are some details - for example, they need “double scaffolding” to replace one window as it’s three stories off the ground, in addition to cut three new holes in the bedrooms because of the 44-inch law - but still, $4000/window plus $6000 for the door?

Now that you’ve gotten the ridiculously high estimate out of the way, you can go ahead and get a few more.

I would be wary of that 44" rule, those are usually mandated for new construction only.

I’ve found a couple of local government sites that suggest that you might not need to comply with the 44" rule if your house is older.

For example, this guide (PDF) from San Ramon says:

And this page from Daly City, talking about replacement windows, says:

See if you can find the building code from your own city.

I’m skeptical of such a code requirement, certainly the “bedroom” explanation–are there no bedrooms to be built above the ground floor, in California?–but in any event you aren’t required to remodel your house every time the code changes.

IME, “window” contractors are universally overpriced scams.

Yeah, that’s crazy. I guess Andersen is the “Rolls Royce” of windows. Definitely talk to some other folks.

Rule of thumb: If a home improvement company advertises on the local news or local AM radio, they will quote you approximately 500% of what a local mom n’ pop will charge you.

Yeah, but you haven’t deducted how much you’ll save by having better insulated windows. I’m sure it’s a lot, because all the ads for new windows tout the incredible energy cost savings. You’ll probably recoup the entire cost after a few months of lower electric bills.

How much does it cost to put a four-inch pile of dirt on the ground under each window?

Well, yeah, if you get a quote from one of the most expensive brands out there, it’s going to be high.

Shop around. You don’t need gold-plated windows.

And anybody who says they’ll cut the price, but only if you sign up soon, should be dumped immediately.

It’s actually not the insulation. Window frames are a very small part of the area of the side of the house. If you replace single-pane with double-pane, that could make some difference. And if your new windows leak much less than the old ones, that can be a big factor.

I had the same experience. 5 windows and 2 French doors for $22k or downgrade the doors to sliders and pay $17k. The salesman assured me I’d recoup the cost in 18 months and all the savings after that would be FREE MONEY!!!1

I invited him to get the hell out of my house.

Wow, he said 18 months? You’d save a thousand a month in energy costs? If you even pay a thousand a month for energy, you have bigger problems than windows.

Oooh, can I tell my Anderson windows/Craigslist story?

We were in the planning stages of building the house we are now finishing up when a set of new, but previously installed, Anderson windows appeared on CL (they still had the stickers on them). They’re the top of the line, casement, wood clad, nice, big windows. 13 windows and a french door, for $2000. Apparently they were taken out of a new construction in a very fancy Kansas City neighborhood when the new owners didn’t like the color of the exterior trim. We snapped them up and made them fit the new build.

They really do seem to have a lot less heat/cold transference than other windows we’ve had, and they’re gorgeous, but no way in hell would I spend what they cost new.

I’m assuming the 44" height is being measured to the floor in the room, not to the ground outside the room.

As for the OP, check around, including local window manufacturers and the big box stores. Windows can vary in price, depending on whether you want real wood, vinyl, etc. And check in at an architectural salvage store, or the Habitat for Humanity store for used windows.

Windows are expensive, for sure, but that’s a ridiculous price. Even if we’re talking wood, full-frame replacement, it should be around $1000 per, give or take a C-note or so.

The story about lowering existing windows is not credible. I can see the cost of scaffolding to replace windows several stories up adds a few thousand to the cost but 25 grand is outrageous. Get quotes from independent contractors, this is clearly a scam.

I think Lowe’s or Home Depot carries Jeld-Wen windows. Get a quote from them. Avoid by any means Sears Home Improvement if you value your sanity and bank account.

That’s pretty high for an inside sill.

You should call your city hall or go down and talk to the city building inspector about the height requirement and ask about needing building permit . The company has to pull that . I had a sliding door put in and the company said I have to get the permit and told them wrong that I checked with the city hall.
I agree you should shop around before going with Andersen window

It’s a maximum height, not a minimum.