I have new windows!
I realize that this seems like an outrageous expense for someone with no real income to speak of, and that’s a good observation. But let me explain: I started this get-new-windows process back in June, after 4+ years of knowing that my windows were the insulating equivalent of having GAPING HOLES in my walls. And, oh yeah, I had a good job with a stable company that I’d been with for years. Oops!
So yeah, anyway. Way back in June, I made a few phone calls and had a couple of guys come out to give me estimates. The local, non-national-chain guy, Rick (whom I also happen to personally know), came in with the lowest bid. By a lot. A LOT. So low, in fact, that Rick asked me to not tell anyone what price he was giving me. He didn’t tell me what his markup was, but I figured, based on the National Chain’s price, that it wasn’t much. (Of Note: I was truly impressed with National Chain’s sales rep, presentation, and their lifetime warranty. If you are not local and able to use my guy, I would happily recommend the Other Folks. Ask me if you are looking.) I officially gave Rick the go-ahead to order my custom-built windows in mid-July. He estimated that their construction would take around 3 to 4 weeks. Woo!
Five weeks later, Rick checked in with me to say that it would probably be another week.
Three weeks later, they were finally ready! And shit. I was out of an income. Silver lining: I didn’t have to arrange to take any time off from work so I could be home for the install!
Delivery of the windows was perfectly on time. The truck drove up on the stroke of 10am, and Rick and his team (the delivery guy and Jenny, Rick’s assistant) unloaded everything in a matter of minutes. The delivery guy left, and Rick and Jenny got to work. By the end of Day One all of my old single-pane, aluminum-frame windows were gone*, and new, vinyl-clad, double-pane, low-E windows were in place. The immediate impression is that they LOOK FANTASTIC. Oh yeah, and I can actually open and close them without having to lift the window out of the track! And the distant rumble of traffic is stifled! Happy Cat noticed right away that the sun didn’t feel as strong, and he promptly relocated his afternoon sunbathing to the front door sidelight (not replaced).
Day Two was reserved for installing the two sets of patio sliders. I poked my head in now and again to check the progress, and actually watched part of the demo of my old dining room sliders. What a chore! There were winches and cables and a Sawzall (woo!), some quiet grumbling, and a surprised observation that the header wasn’t actually attached to anything… or bearing any weight. That, and a few other complications, slowed the process down. By the end of Day Two, only the lower level slider was in place, and it wasn’t sealed or trimmed out. But that would happen on Day Three, right after they finished the upper level sliders!
Wow. Okay. Um… The removal of the upper level sliders revealed that all of the same construction shortcuts had been taken during the original build. So, by the end of Day Three, I had two sets of installed-but-not-yet-sealed-or-trimmed doors. Yet, even with the openings around both sets, I already noticed that the dull roar of traffic was muffled. This is a completely added bonus.
Day Four finished up everything that was left. Rick and Jenny did a BEAUTIFUL job replacing the floor trim and creating new-from-scratch door trim. In fact, they did nicer work than the professional carpenter who had originally done the floor a couple of years ago. And my goodness, can Rick draw a beautiful bead of caulk. (Yes, I notice these things).
Now, with two people for two extra days on site, and the added materials that Rick had to cough up for some of the unexpected trim work, and the reconstruction of the effin’ door frames, it was only fair that he charge me a bit more than the original quote. And he did: $200. For all of that extra work. Two-hundred-stinkin’ dollars.
And then, I found something else out: He wasn’t actually making a dime on this job. THAT’S why he didn’t want me to tell anyone what he quoted me. You read that right, Rick’s markup was 0%. ZERO. Ze-ro. He and Jenny had just spent four whole working days at my house, laboring for free, installing windows (and doors!) that he wasn’t even profiting on. And I know Rick; he was probably paying Jenny for her time. Out of his own pocket.
Dude. I work for free on my OWN stuff. And I barter services, for one client. But to work for free for someone else? I know Rick, but we’re not best friends or anything. We don’t get together for dinner or go on bike rides. Years ago, he was the landlord of my then-boyfriend. This is not the kind of relationship that begs for free work. On the one hand, I wanted to pay him a whole lot more than he was asking for. On the other hand, I’m unemployed. I have no income. I’m not even getting unemployment checks yet. All I could do was round up. So I did. And I will publicly thank Rick for doing such a beautiful job. Thanks, Rick.
If you’re in the Boulder/Denver metro area:
Insulated Glass | Screens | Replacement Windows | Service Work
Photos of the install here.
*Rick took the scrap aluminum to recycle, and I have kept all of the “salvageable” glass panes and panels for anyone who might be interested in using the glass for pictureframing or the tempered panels for building a cold frame garden. I also have the screens for the old windows, if you live in my complex and want them for your own unit. Or rinse them off, and use them as the largest earring organizers EVER. Hit me up if you’re interested. Free, but you have to haul. :)