Ah, a complex question! First, no, not all windows are the same. Even if the specifications for SHGC and U-Factor are identical (so the theoretical energy efficiency is the same) the quality of the vinyl or hardware can dramatically result in a difference in the useful life of a window. And while thin single strength glass can have the same energy specifications, it breaks easier than double strength glass which is the minimum thickness used by Custom Windows. So be sure to compare equal quality because sometimes ‘cheap’ becomes far more expensive in the long run!
Also, remember that big-name brands also have big-expense advertising, not to mention distribution costs that increase as the cost of fuel increases. Custom Windows tries to ensure that every dollar that you invest in our windows goes to higher quality products, not expensive advertising or fancy showrooms. In fact, the only thing that could be considered an advertising expense is our web site!
I see advertisements in the paper that say they will install windows for under $200 which sounds like a great price! Is there any catch?
As the old adage states, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is!”
Every time we have looked into such ads, the reality starts with the fact that the window being advertised does not even meet Texas code for energy efficiency! So the first (of many) cost increases is to add Low-E glass so that the window can meet code. Even then, it may not meet the tax credit requirements, so upgrading to that glass package may be additional as well. Then if you want screens with that window, they are extra, too. And do you have aluminum windows currently, like most of Houston? Add even more for labor! Then the salesperson does the production measurements, so the first time the installers ever see your home is when they come to install your windows. And you could still wind up with single strength glass in the end!
We believe in doing things differently at Custom Windows. First, we know Texas Energy Code and will never ‘offer’ a window that cannot even meet code. And there are never hidden costs for things such as screens or removing your old aluminum windows. And if you or your contractor want to have us do the entire project, including installation, the same installers that will install your windows also do the original production measurements. And every Custom Windows’ product starts with at least double strength glass to insure durability.
Corners shouldn’t be cut just to reach an unrealistic advertised price.
In a word, No!
First, Custom Windows has been making and warranting windows for over 35 years in the same location. Where many window companies and their warranties have come and gone, including national brands, by refusing to cut corners to build cheaper products Custom Windows has continued to provide quality products and service for over 35 years. And this philosophy will not change!
Second, should you ever need warranty work would you rather chase an out-of-state manufacturer who may refer you to your dealer (who may no longer exist!) to chase somebody who will handle your problem, or would you rather make one local call to have things resolved? As an example, if an IG fails you could wait for a manufacturer to approve the replacement, then wait for them to make the glass somewhere out-of-state and then wait to have to have a third party install the glass. Instead, one simple call to Custom Windows and everything is handled promptly and locally!
No, a warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. With over 30 years of experience and customer satisfaction a Custom Windows’ warranty is worth far more than most, including nationally advertised brands!
No. Generally our installers do your production measurements in a day or two and since we manufacture locally in Texas, this extra time can be easily made up. More importantly, there are obvious advantages to having our installers do your production measurements that would far outweigh any delay if it did exist:
First, a salesperson who is not installing will measure to be sure that anyone can slide the window in place. Also, if two openings appear to be the same, the same size is often used for each opening. This often results in undersized windows that can compromise energy efficiency because of larger gaps around the windows. And to hide the gaps, the installer often has to use fillers or extra caulk.
Instead, with a Custom Windows installation the same team who will be installing your windows do precise production measurements for each opening which ensures that we produce the best fit for every window on your home. Even if you have a number of windows that appear to be the same size, the brick or siding means that proper size for each window may vary. By starting with precise production measurements for each opening, if a proper fit requires windows that vary by just 1/8” in height or width, that is what Custom Windows produces.
Second, in the construction industry there is a saying of ‘measure twice, cut once.’ While a professional Custom Windows’ salesperson starts by taking measurements for quotation and also looks at your home for any unique issues they may see, having the installers do production measurements adds a second set of eyes to every project.
Third, by having the installers do production measurements, they see your home and the entire project before anything is ever started instead of the installers arriving for the first time when they begin tearing out your old windows!
And while it may seem a small thing, meeting the installation team before production even begins lets you know members of the crew that will actually be working in and around your home.
When it is needed, yes! And when we do we use professional grade Soudal Door and Window foam with controlled application guns for precise placement and amounts. But it is important to understand that foam is not always necessary. Often foam is used to cover up the fact that the window is too small, so there are gaps between the window and the wall that must be filled just to hide them!
But if the window is correctly sized in the first place, the use of foam fillers is usually unnecessary – in fact, the nozzle of a professional application gun wouldn’t fit in a proper gap! (And, please, DON’t let someone spray foam from the can without a professional application gun to control the placement and amount!) With properly sized windows the use of a high quality sealant is enough to create good seal and protect your window’s efficiency.
And Custom Windows only uses the highest quality, Low VOC elastomeric moisture proof sealants by Soudal for installation. While these sealants cost 3 to 4 times more than the silicone or latex sealants most companies use, they provide the best seal that will not shrink over time like silicone and latex sealants. And it is this shrinkage that creates the gaps that allow air and water penetration that compromise your window’s efficiency!
So do we use foam? Yes, if needed! But even more important for your project is to ensure that you start with the properly sized windows in the first place and then use only the best elastomeric sealant for installation.
Come to think of it, this describes a Custom Windows’ project quite well!
What is the energy code requirement for Houston? Is it any different than Dallas or other parts of Texas?
Most people are surprised to find out that there is a difference in the energy code requirements between Houston and other parts of Texas. In fact, the IECC recognizes three different regions in Texas in their 2009 code, with three general regions with different requirements for windows, skylights and doors.
Custom Windows values knowledgeable contractors and consumers, so we are pleased to provide the IECC 2009 code summary for Texas below which also helps explain what the ratings mean and how they differ between cities as close as Dallas and Houston!
Assuming that you are replacing the single pane windows so common across Houston, yes, the energy savings will pay you back and more! Industry data shows that roughly 40% of your heating and cooling costs are lost through inefficient windows and doors. A Custom Windows Low-E vinyl window can save 50% and more of this loss. Putting this into numbers, if your average electric and gas bills combined is $400 per month (or $4,800 a year), and your old inefficient windows are costing almost 40% of this (roughly $1,900 a year), then cutting this by 50% means you are saving almost $1,000 per year. With energy costs expected to go up, the savings will also increase.
But what about the ‘and more’ savings? Well, here are some additional savings you can expect:
- Air Conditioner Life: Because significantly less heat is coming into the home through your windows, your Air Conditioner runs less and lasts longer!
- Air Conditioner Size: Are you thinking of upgrading an older A/C unit to a more efficient model? Industry data shows that in heat-dominated climates like ours, replacing single pane windows with efficient windows can result in the average 2200sf home needing two-tons less A/C for the same cooling!
- Home Value: Are you thinking of selling your home now or in the coming years? Then recouping your investment is even faster! Research from Remodeling magazine shows that over 80% of the cost of modernizing your windows is recaptured when you sell your home!
- Important Intangibles: Sitting next to a drafty or hot window is uncomfortable, but a modern window can dramatically improve your personal comfort all year round. And take a walk around your home to look at your furniture, floors, drapes and paint, all which will benefit from the significant reduction in UV radiation (up to 95% with our Cardinal 366 glass) that causes fading!