I need to replace all the windows and sliding glass doors in my house. They are so old and drafty that with the increased price of electricity, I am literally throwing money out the window. I have a handy hubby and a sturdy son – I’ll do the research and the buying – they will do the hard physical stuff. Do you think I am biting off more than I can handle?
The house has two sliding glass doors and thirteen windows. That’s a lot to replace.
I am planning on getting
three quotes from companies that are specialists. Most of them also sell the windows that they install. I know that if I use a company to replace the windows that I will most likely pay a 100% markup on the windows and labor. The quote will include a commission for the salesman, travel costs, worker benefits (if any), fees, and taxes. That makes for A BIG markup.
I know that now is a good time to get bids because most companies are slow and will lower their prices and give lots of incentives. There are also tax breaks for homeowners who upgrade their homes for energy efficiency. Los Angeles currently has a home efficiency rebate program that offers rebates on new windows, air conditioners, refrigerators and pool pumps.
I am still in the process of getting quotes for this job, but my first quote was way more than I want to pay – $7,500!!! This was already down from the original $9,000 quote. Yikes. If I just redo one of the sliding doors (which is the upgrade I want the most), it will cost me $1,500. That’s more than I want to pay to put in a door.
OK, so what is my alternative? We could do it ourselves. My hubby is VERY handy and my 20 year-old son is strong. I mean, how hard can it be? (Famous last words.)
Here’s where I am starting. I watched a free preview of a DVD that seems to have excellent instructions on how to install vinyl windows and doors. The two videos – one on windows and one on doors – cost almost $40. I looked at the library, Amazon and a DVD swap site, but they wasn’t there. I figure it is worth $40 to save possibly $5,000. (The cost of labor in the quote I received. Still have to cover materials.) Plus, the entire family will watch these videos together and learn valuable information. This is the kind of life lesson that home schoolers love.
I am considering hiring someone experienced to work with my husband and son for at least the first day. The question is, do I hire an expert or do it myself? What do you think?
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