The Situation:

You have just purchased your dream home. The kitchen needs an upgrade and that ugly carpet with the stains needs to be replaced, but other than that, its move in ready……..

Sound familiar? Then you may know that the above statement means that 5 months later, and nearly $100K in renovations, you’re just realizing that there’s still a draft in the house even though you have replaced all the insulation. On top of the cold in, you are now noticing that the front door has been damaged while the (HVAC, Flooring, Drywall, Tile, Cabinet, etc.) where being installed.

Then one day you are browsing a big box store website for sales (as it seems you do daily now), when you see a vinyl window for $185 and think hmmmm, I have 10 windows in my house so I suppose I can splurge on new replacement windows for $1,850. Isn’t that a nice front door for $900? If I can pick this up on a save the tax weekend, I can get the whole house done for just over $2K and a BBQ dinner for some of my buddies to help me on install them.

The Reality:

Your next steps are to measure for the replacement windows and front door and you realize that the $185 window was for your basement and is 30″x18″; however, your opening is 32″X 48″. Checking back on the website, your budget just doubled and delivery isn’t included. Not a problem, $19.99 for a van rental plus gas and I’m in business, right? DIY forever! Fire up my Youtube to figure out how I should execute the install because my buddys are coming over on the weekend, doesn’t look that hard.

Load up the van which is kind of tough, because now that I see all the replacement windows and front door, there is a lot of material here. Hit the road and drive in the slow lane to make sure nothing moves en-route, but what was that popping noise?

Get home just as my buddies arrive and we start unloading the windows and front door only to realize 2 windows broke on the way and, while most things can be returned to the big box store, these can’t. Add $600 to the cost.

You rip out the old windows and front door and start to install the new ones only to realize that they are all the wrong sizes and what is this jamb thing the guy from youtube is on about?

Price vs. Cost:

This was me in 2014. Having moved out of downtown Toronto with enough knowledge about home improvement to be dangerous to myself. I was looking to save money and missed one key lesson in home improvement: Price vs. Cost.

While the price of replacement windows and the front door from the big box store seemed attractive, looking back at the all the credit card transactions, the cost was nearly 4 times my original assessment. Not to mention the days of prep and installation, cold house with open window cavities, energy loss and complete discomfort.

Yes the Price was nice, but the Cost was so much more and didn’t stop there.

Big Box stores specialize in new construction grade material. As this pertains to replacement windows and front doors, this means that the product is designed to last between 5 to 10yrs with 10yrs being a bit of a stretch. Replacement windows are designed to last 20-30yrs and are custom built to your home’s specification. These windows are not found in big box stores, but rather, through local dealerships near your home. They use higher quality materials and upgraded glass options to insulate your home by up to 20% more than new construction windows.

They also use certified professional installers (at least the good ones do) so the job will be completed correctly in usually a day. Industrial grade caulking, spray foam, etc., plus having all the tools at the ready, means your replacement windows will be improving your homes energy efficiency and comfort without the DIY headaches for now and peace of mind into the future. Poorly installed replacement windows can result in long term damage to your building envelope which further increases the cost of the project

When it comes to Price vs. Cost, you will be surprised to find out that the price for the replacement windows and front door for your next project is not much higher than your DIY price and substantially less in terms of costs both now and ongoing.