In the 1970s and 1980s, vinyl and aluminum re-siding scams were prevalent throughout the country. Many older homes during that time were built utilizing wood sidings, which after several decades were weathered, rotting and in desperate need of painting.
Along came a hoard of fast-talking salespeople who promised to make the home beautiful with new aluminum siding and then later vinyl siding, which would last forever and eliminate a homeowner’s need to ever paint again. Many times, they would bundle other projects in the home like house skirting, installation of windows and porch re-screens.
The problem with these fast-talking salespeople is that they preyed upon the elderly and construction illiterate to lock them into huge contracts with ridiculous costs and financing agreements. This is one of the reasons why the state implemented licensing for home installed financing companies and implemented mandatory cooling-off periods.
In many cases, re-siding a home became a scam.
The window replacement industry in the state of Florida is growing quickly because for many years the state did not implement high standards for window energy efficiency and strength. However, in the last 14 years, homeowners and builders started using better windows. This means there are thousands of homes in the state that have old, outdated and energy inefficient windows.
Fast forward a few years, and it appears the window replacement industry is quickly becoming a growing concern in the home installation industry. Even the most naïve homeowner must question how any window company can sell different size windows for the same price.
Every day, window installation companies are offering windows for any size in your home for less than $200 each. Does a 24-inch window cost the same as a 72-inch window? No, of course not. This is where the hidden fees like disposal cost, screen cost, basic additions and special labor costs are added to jack up the price from the advertised price.
It is a classic bait-and-switch.
Plus, if a warranty that includes abuse is too good to be true — then it is. The glass may be free, but the installation and repair may not be free. Plus, the glass and frame are proprietary, which means you must go to the original installer for any repairs.
If a car dealer ran an advertisement promoting a car for $2,000, would you buy it? Or, would you want to know what type of car it is, if it runs and will it work for your needs? A car could be anything.
So, when a window company advertises a window for any hole in your home for $175, does it matter what type of window and whether it will work for you?
Yes, it does.
In the window supply chain, there are multiple brands which offer unique selling features. In addition, there are numerous types, styles and configurations as well as varying solar heat-gain, UV ratings and glass strength.
If you live in a hot, sunny area that is prone to hurricanes, you might want to select a window with a high solar and UV rating with impact glass. Plus, depending on the location of the window and, more importantly, the ability of the homeowner to lift a window sash, the use of crank-out casement windows might be a better option.
When it comes to windows, there are options for size, glass strength, tinting, sash tilts, configurations, frame material, colors and locking mechanisms. While white vinyl Low-E single-hung windows are the most popular window used in the market today, it may not be the best product for you and your home. Just like buying a car, you must demand to know the benefits and features.
An adage that applies to the window replacement industry today — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When getting a quote for replacement windows, ask for a detailed quote explaining all of the fees and charges, including permitting. Then review the features and benefits of the windows being offered. Most importantly, never feel pressured into signing a contract.A few red flags that you might be getting taken advantage on a window replacement job are:
- Pressure to sign the contract now to get a special price.
- The company you are working with does not have a physical office in your area.
- The installer asks you to pull the permit for the job.
- The salesperson asks for a large deposit on the job or asks you to sign a financing agreement that you don’t understand.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply Inc. He is also the host of the Around the House televised show, weekdays on LSTV.