Guide to Buying the Best Windows the First Time

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This 10 minute read will give you the knowledge to get the best windows, the first time.

You need new windows, and you need to find a contractor you can trust to install them.

You want to find a contractor that can take care of the job properly, take care of the job on time and stay on budget.

Of course, many people find locating a great contractor for their windows to be more difficult than they would like.

We understand the frustration, and we imagine that you’ve heard plenty of stories from friends, family, and coworkers about contractors that didn’t do the job right, or salespeople who kept pressuring to upgrade windows for one reason or another.

You might have even heard about companies that essentially took the money and ran.

The last thing you want is for that to happen to you.

So, what steps can you take to make sure you are getting the right windows and the right contractor?

We’ve prepared this guide to give you a much better idea of what you should be looking for with your windows and your contractor in Chicago.

This way, you can save all that frustration, not to mention time and money.

Let’s get started.

Do your research

Do your research.

Understanding what you need and how much you are likely to be paying for the windows can be difficult to determine for those who have never had to replace them before.

It’s not as if all the windows are the same, and it’s not as if you can simply look for the best price.

Quite a few factors are at play when it comes to getting new windows, so you will certainly want to make sure you are doing your research on the windows and the company you choose to install them.

Finding good windows isn’t too difficult. Finding a great company that can install the windows can be harder.

Our company strives to provide you with the very best when it comes to window installation in the Chicago area.

We are so confident that we’re the best, that we wanted to show you the sorts of things you should be looking for in a contractor, and we’ve compiled this guide to show you what you need so you can see how we stack up.

There is no reason you shouldn’t do plenty of research to make certain you are getting the best contractor and the best windows.

You deserve to make an informed decision, and you will find that when you have the top contractor on the job, it can make all the difference in the world.

Factors for window pricing

Factors affecting the prices of windows.

The price for the windows you need for your home can be affected by a range of factors.

Just because a friend of yours paid X amount of dollars for their windows does not mean you will have the same price.

Let’s get a better idea of what types of things can affect the overall cost of the windows and installation.

First, there is the quality and the type of window to consider.

Some windows, such as those that can offer soundproofing properties, are going to be more expensive than other windows on the market.

Windows of various sizes and even shapes can cause changes to the price, as well.

The number of windows you need is something to consider.

Large homes, or homes that happen to have large windows, can affect the overall price.

The condition of the home can be a factor, too.

Do you just need new windows, or do you also need to have work done on the window frames?

If you need to have additional work, it will naturally be costlier.

The contractor’s quality will be a factor, as well.

Naturally, you want to work with someone who has a wealth of experience in the field.

You also want to make sure they have a great reputation, excellent installers with real skill, and that they are insured and can offer a warranty.

When you work with a great company for window installation, it can cost a little more, but it is worth it.

After all, you want the windows to be installed properly.

When you start to look for windows for installation, as well as the installers, you need to think about each of these things.

Having an idea of how many windows you need, and the type of windows can start to give you a good idea of the price.

However, you will still need to speak with the professionals to get estimates for your home.

Consider for a moment just how many times you are going to buy windows in your lifetime.

Chances are good that you will only have to buy windows once or twice, and perhaps have the occasional repair or replacement for a broken window.

Therefore, it makes sense that you want to do it right the first time.

Do you really need new windows?

Do you really need new windows?

You are in the market for new windows, or at least you think you are.

Do you really need new windows though?

If you speak with a contractor who has questionable ethics, they will always tell you that you need to have some new windows.

However, that might not always be the case.

We want to make sure you are getting what you need and not just throwing your money away.

If you have had your windows for many years, you might believe that you need to have some replacements.

It is important to remember though that age is not a determining factor when it comes to replacing windows.

The quality of the glass and the weathering that may have changed those windows over the years are the important things to consider.

When you are determining whether you need to have new windows you can ask yourself a few questions about the windows that you have to get the answer.

Let’s look at some of the considerations.

Do You Hear Sounds?

First, are you able to hear sounds through the windows clearly?

In many older homes and properties, or even newer properties that utilize cheap glass, this could be the case.

You do not want to be able to hear everything going on outside.

It means all the outside noises, whether it is vehicles on the road, lawnmowers early on a Saturday morning, and everything else will end up causing noise pollution inside of your home.

This is a sure sign that getting some new windows would be a good idea. You will be able to rest easier without hearing everything.

Is There a Draft?

Another thing you need to consider when you are determining whether you need to have new windows is whether you can feel a draft coming in around the windows.

If you can feel air leaking into the home, it is going to cause some problems.

It means that during the cold months, cold air will be getting into your home, and it will cost you more money to heat your property.

In the hot months, when you are trying to keep the house cool, it will cost you more money, as well.

Getting new windows could help to keep your heating and cooling costs under control.

Do You See Condensation Between the Panes?

If you have double-paned glass, and you notice that it appears as if there is fog in between the window panes, it is a sure sign of trouble.

This means that the seal between the panes is broken, or that the desiccant in the window is too wet.

These types of windows can fail for a range of reasons, including natural pressure fluctuations.

When it does, it can have an effect similar to having a draft around the windows.

It means that the heat loss and heat gain through the windows is increased.

It might be time that you got some new windows.

Are the Windows Hard to Open and Close?

When you open your windows, do you have to struggle?

Does it feel as though the windows are simply “too large” for the frame?

This can occur for a range of reasons, which can differ based on the type of window you have.

You might have a buildup of grit, dirt, or dust that could cause them to be harder to open and close.

With single and double-hung windows, it could be due to having a spring that is too tight.

Broken or swollen window frames could be a problem, as well. In these cases, you will want to have some help from the professional to get a replacement or a repair.

Do the Windows Have Signs of Wear and Tear?

If the windows have signs of wear, such as chips, or rot around the frame, you will also want to make sure that you have them replaced.

Your windows are a very important part of your home when it comes to functionality, as well as aesthetics.

You should not wait too long before you have them replaced.

right types of windows

The right types of windows.

You will find plenty of different windows from which you can choose, as mentioned.

It’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of these types of windows when you are making your choice.

Please keep in mind that any prices listed here are estimates and are subject to change.


When it comes to vinyl, you need to be careful about what you get.

There are low-priced vinyl options out there that tend to cost between $450 and $650.

However, in this case, low prices mean low quality.

Poor vinyl tends to leak more often, which means reduced energy efficiency.

You know just how cold it can get in Chicago, so you do not want to have to deal with this.

Choosing a higher quality of vinyl tends to be the better choice.

They will last a long time, and have premium-grade coatings on the glass.

The vinyl windows also tend to offer better operating hardware, which can make them easier to use.

Improved hardware might seem like a small thing, but it can make a huge difference.

This higher quality of vinyl might cost anywhere from $650 to $950, but it is worth it.

Another one of the benefits of vinyl is that it will typically provide you with a better value for the cost.

In 2016, the national average of the amount recouped for vinyl windows was 73.8% of the total cost. For wood, it was 69.4%, which is still not too shabby.

Vinyl clad windows are yet another option.

These are windows that have a wooden frame and a vinyl cover.

The covering, or sheath, is usually only on the outside of the window. These are very popular, and will often cost between $950 and $1450.

Fiberglass and Composite

These materials have become popular with windows.

PVC and fiberglass have some nice advantages.

Namely, they tend to be quite strong and very durable.

Because they are solid core and do not have any hollow chambers, they are highly efficient.

These have a higher price associated with them, and they can cost between $1,950 and $2,250 in most cases.


Wood windows are traditional, but today they are a premium offering.

People love to have these types of windows because of the lovely aesthetics they can bring to the home.

This is often a huge factor with certain homeowners.

However, you need to keep in mind that they will require a bit more in terms of maintenance and upkeep.

They are costlier than vinyl, but less expensive than the fiberglass and composite.

The price for these windows could fall between $950 and $1650 per unit.

As we mentioned, prices can change based on a range of factors.

Once you have an idea of what type of window you might want to get for your property, you can start to look at the contractors to see what they can offer.

In the next section, we will cover some of the things you will want to think about when you are hiring a contractor.

Hiring the best contractors

Tips for hiring the best contractor.

There are some contractors that do not have your best interests in mind.

They are actively looking for ways to con people out of their hard-earned money, and you do not want to fall victim.

For this reason, we are including this section in the guide, so you will have a better idea of what you should look for with your window contractors.

The advice you find here can help you with any type of contractor you need to hire.

The Misconceptions

There are some misconceptions that many people have when it comes to looking for a contractor.

One of the biggest is in the realm of experience. Just because a person says that he or she has years of experience in the field, it does not mean they are telling the truth or that they do quality work.

Experience and quality do not always go hand in hand.

Another one of the misconceptions is that the contractor must be a good business if they do not have complaints from the Better Business Bureau.

This is not true either.

It might just means no one has complained yet.

Sure, you can check out the BBB to look for complaints, but just because there are none does not mean they warrant your business.

Finally, just because you go with the lowest price, it does not mean you will save money.

You might save on the cost of the windows and installation, but if the company rushes through the job, forgets something, or does something poorly, it is going to come back to haunt you later.

It is much better to work with a company that does the job right the first time, and that can provide you with a quality warranty.

What Should You Ask a Window Contractor?

When you start to narrow down your selection, you will want to make sure you meet with the contractor and that you ask the right questions.

The following is a handy list of the questions that you need to ask.

  • Do you have a license as a contractor?
  • Will you provide a written lien waiver?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • Can you guarantee your work?
  • What industry organizations are you a part of, if any?
  • Will you be taking care of the cleanup?Who will be completing the job?
  • Can you provide references?

By asking these questions, you can get a much better idea of what this contractor is really bringing to the table and whether they are going to work for you.

You would never want to work with someone who is unlicensed and uninsured, for example.

What else you should consider

What else should you consider?

When you speak with the contractor, you will want to consider how he or she engaged with you during the interview.

Were they forthcoming, or was it difficult to get the answers needed?

It is essential that you work with a contractor who has good communication skills.

Were they able to tell you everything you needed to know about the job and provide you an estimate for not only the price, but the amount of time it would take to complete?

Have you checked to see the contractor’s reputation?

You want to make sure you find someone who is trustworthy, and that means you need to check references.

You are entrusting your windows to the contractor, and you are trusting them to be in your home – perhaps when you are not there.

Therefore, you need to make sure you are working with someone who you can truly trust.

You also need to make sure the contractor provides you with a contract.

There are many complexities involved with replacing windows, and you need a contractor who can provide you with a written contract that outlines what they are doing, their responsibilities, and all the other pertinent information.

What should be in the contract

What should be in the contract.

Speaking of the contract, let’s consider the elements that need to be in this binding piece of paper.

  • The contractor’s name, address, and license number, along with the name of the salesperson
  • Approximate dates for the beginning and end of the work
  • Description of the work being completed
  • Copy of Specifications
  • List of materials used
  • Schedule of payments
  • Notice to the owner regarding the lien laws
  • Liability and worker’s comp insurance information
  • Cleanup procedures

If you notice that any of these elements are not in the contract, make sure they are put in there before you sign anything.

Trouble Finding Great Contractors

Why Do So Many People Have Trouble Finding Great Contractors?

Now that you have a better understanding of the things you need to consider when you are getting your windows and choosing a contractor, you can see that it really isn’t quite as difficult as some might make it out to be.

So, why do so many others run into issues when they are searching for the perfect contractor for their windows?

The answer is simple.

They do not put in the legwork needed to make sure they know what they need, or who the best contractors are.

They never bother to look at anything beyond the name and the price of the contractors they are considering, and this can lead to problems.

You won’t have those issues though. You have the knowledge and tools you need to make sure you are working with the best contractors, and getting the right windows for your home.

We can help with your window needs

We Can Help With Your Window Needs

You might be wondering why we have taken the time to write this guide to show you how to find a contractor.

Wouldn’t it be better for us if we just marketed ourselves incessantly?

Here’s what makes us different. We truly care that you find the right contractor for your window needs.

We also wholeheartedly believe that we are the best in the Chicago area at what we do.

We do not cut corners.

We do not stand you up when we are supposed to show up.

We do not overcharge.

We do not try to oversell.

Use the information presented in this guide, and you will see that we are the ones for you.

Get in touch with us today.

Happy to help you get the best windows at the best price.

Call today to schedule an appointment.

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