Home Ownership Is FUN Theater: What it means when your contractor says, “I don’t even understand what these windows are!”

18 06 2010

(I was jostling between two posts, this one and one about how I can’t get over bad blood, but I’m tricking myself into feeling whimsical.)

Well before the idea of TBD came around, we knew that some most all except 3 windows in our house were going to have to be replaced.
The windows in TBD’s room and the office (front-facing) are all quite leaky, which we remedy with the ever chic plastic and keeping the doors closed. Our front bay window has the same drafty issues, however an adorable chocolate  lab thinks that she can’t defend the house if the windows are sealed, thus she rips holes in it*.

Now that the Being Responsible Parents Instinct is kicking in, we knew we had to move on getting the windows done.
The Plan: Measure windows, go to Big Box Home Store, pick up windows. Depending on price, install or have installed. VOLIA!

The Reality:  Pick up pamphlet from store. Read pamphlet. At least we have a jumping off point… under $200 a window. $100 installation unless we can figure it out. Estimating about $1k for the 3 bedroom windows. Determine that there’s something rotten in Denmark as we can’t seem to find the reference points to measure from. Determine we don’t really know HOW to measure these windows as per multiple reference books.

The New Plan: Call referred contractor. At least we can get the dimensions and some idea of what we’re getting ourselves into.

The Reality: Contractor comes over, can not understand where these windows came from as they’re not circa 1985.

Choice Commentary: “Are these? WHAT are these?”,  “Did they install from the outside?”, “Can you get your hands on some additional siding?”, “I don’t quite know what I’m going to find when we get this window out…”, “This window (kitchen) is not for a house, this is for a trailer/RV.”, “Where did they get these from?”, “Why isn’t there any trim work on these?”, “These aren’t even replacement windows…**”

The Harsh Reality: Our upstairs window  job has now over doubled our estimates “to do it right”. Our front window is also an insane amount due to 1 large piece of glass and two smaller “sliders”. $1,300 to replace our 2’x’3′ kitchen window to something reasonable/acceptable/correct.

Of course, my DIY Dad was all “You can replace windows!”
“They aren’t ‘normal’ windows to begin with… we can’t just pop them out and replace them.”
“Sure you can!”
“Um, no, we can’t. They’re installed wrong and we lack the know-how.”
“You can do it!”
“We are not replacing the windows ourselves. Sorry. We’re just not going to do it…”
“I replaced the windows on our old house!”
“Yes, I know, but these windows are different and aren’t that easy.”
“Neither were those!”
“The final word is that we’re going to pay someone to replace our windows and that’s that.”
“Just sayin’ that…”

*How do I know it’s Beans? We sealed the windows before heading to Europe for two weeks, sans incident upon return. Bailey comes home for one day and there’s tears… just puttin’ two and two together.
** Apparently there’s something about even “new build” windows being replacement, whatever that means.




4 responses

22 06 2010

Get a quote from a second contractor?
Let Dad stay in TBD’s room till he finishes changing the windows?
Spend your time & cash updating the insulation first, and do the windows in a year or two?
This is all new stuff to me too. Commiserating.

22 06 2010
Stephanie of Stopbouncing

We’re working on our third quote right now… everyone seems to be in agreement that we don’t know WTH the original owners were thinking. And Dad lives in Arizona (we’re in New York) so it’s hard for him to swing by. As much as I love him, um, yeah, I’d rather pay a contractor 🙂

22 06 2010
Dennis the Vizsla

I don’t know what it is with windows. All the windows in our house are crap too. We’ve had a couple of them replaced but haven’t gotten around to the rest of them yet. (Being in SoCal it doesn’t matter so much that they provide zero insulation, but dang, they’re ugly and hard to operate.)

22 06 2010

Sorry, I’m with your Dad on this one 🙂

I grew up in a DIY family, and the rule is to always try to fix it yourself. Calling in a professional isn’t an option. Very often 😛

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