WhiteVinyl Window

In this article we are going to discuss the challenges of replacement windows online.

You will learn how to find them online, know whether they’re any good, how you going to get them home and who is going to install them.

Finding Windows Online

The first challenge is the act of finding companies that actually sell them online.

While I know you can buy anything online these days the selection of replacement windows online is not that large. Mostly just big box stores are offering the ability to purchase house windows online.


Home Depot offers a wide selection online from three different manufacturers.

  1. American Craftsman by Andersen (vinyl)
  2. Jeld-Wen
  3. Andersen

While the online selection is a bit smaller than the in store, they do have a nice website for making selections. American Craftsman windows are primarily constructed of vinyl and have some custom features that can be added to them. Jeld-Wen is both wood and vinyl while Anderson is a wood window with the outside wrapped in vinyl clad.

Lowes also has a nice selection. With companies like.

  1. ReliaBilt (pretty much just a Lowes brand)
  2. Jeld-WEN
  3. United Series 4800
  4. Therma Star by Pella (vinyl)
  5. Pella

ReliaBilt is a vinyl frame type along with United Series. Pella offers both wood and vinyl frame types. The Therma Star by Pella is there vinyl window series.

Other options for finding vinyl windows online is checking out regional companies. There are many vinyl window manufacturers across the country that build quality windows, but, it can be difficult to buy vinyl replacement windows online via these regional companies. They mostly sell to lumber yards or other distribution centers for contractors.

Man Installing Window Bought OnlineOne thing to keep in mind and I can’t stress this enough is that you really need to know what you’re doing when you order windows online.

Especially if you are ordering something custom. If you get them to your house and they do not fit most likely you’re stuck with them (been their myself and it sucks).

Are These Windows Any Good

The answer this question we must define what makes a good replacement window. When it comes to a vinyl window, to me, good one has narrow lines for the maximum exposure of glass. It’s energy Star certified and has welded corners.

The nice thing about the websites of the two stores mentioned above is they have reviews right there on the page. Companies like Andersen, Jeld-Wen and Pella have strong reputations in the industry and have been making them for many years I will place a few links below to pages to their websites that show the benefits of each.

How Are They Getting into My House

This may seem like a silly point ,but you don’t want to be transporting them yourself. In my experience the less handling the better. Most companies offer either delivery to their store nearest you or to your home.

Depending on how large your order is and what kind of vehicle you have will probably dictate which option is best for you. Most of the time they offer free shipping to the local store and have incentives for free shipping to your house depending on how large your order is.

Can I Install Them Myself

Depending on your level of DIY skills you may be able to install your windows yourself saving some money on your project. On a scale of 1 to 5 I would rate this project a strong  3.

Installing replacement windows is not rocket science but like anything if you’ve not seen it done before or done it yourself the process can be time-consuming. And if not done properly you will not gain the maximum energy efficiency from the new window.

Video: This is a good video demonstrating a typical replacement window application.

Am I Getting the Best Deal

While large box stores definitely offer a great selection and competitive prices. If you want to compare cost, it’s going to be difficult to do from your computer. The websites of these large box stores offer instant online pricing for replacement windows, while most other websites do not. You have to contact the distributors give them the measurements and specifications and they will draft an estimate for you.

Though I must say replacement windows from Home Depot and Lowe’s are a great option if you’re doing the project yourself, but, if you are not doing the install yourself I would recommend you get quotes from some local companies. If you know that you want vinyl replacements.

Woman Installing Vinyl Online WindowIf you are going to purchase full frame replacement windows rather than pocket replacement windows you may be better off contacting a local window distributor in your area. There are window distributors all over the country that specialize in selling all the national brands plus the regional brands in your area.

Keep in mind though that the time and effort that may be put into researching, finding, ordering and ultimately having final responsibility on whether they will fit are not may not be worth it.

You see, the typical markup on the window itself is only about 20 to 30%. When you take into consideration that, that has to cover all shipping and handling cost plus now the installer is not responsible for proper measuring ordering and ultimately the final window order.

Again if you go and buy the windows yourself and they don’t fit or there’s some problem YOU are stuck with them and the bill. That small markup tacked on by the window installer may be well worth the possible aggravation and monetary setback that you would incur should such a problem arise.

Click here to connect with local contractors in your area who are equipped to handle the whole job for you.

Am I Measuring Correctly

The most important part when ordering and buying home windows online is measuring them properly. There are warehouses full of miss-measured replacement windows across the country that could probably supply enough windows for 100 house development. If you’re doing the job yourself do not take the step light.

If they do not fit properly you may have to make modifications to the install in order to get the windows you have to work properly. Thus causing you unexpected cost more time and lots of aggravation.

Trust me on this one, it has cost me lots of time and money to gaining the experience I have in measuring and ordering replacement windows. Chances are this is your first and probably only time you’ll have to do this.

So research this well and verify your sizes with your installer. If you are the installer please double and triple check when ordering custom windows online.

Video: This is a good video on measuring replacement windows.

Let’s Sum Up How to Buy Replacement Windows Online

  1. Determine what type of window is best suited for your house. i.e. wood, vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum.
  2. Locate online where you can order windows. Home Depot and Lowe’s are two examples I gave.
  3. Properly measure and double checked the measurements. Also confirm your getting the right style of window i.e a pocket replacement or a full replacement.
  4. Compare the cost of having the job done by a professional versus the time, effort and aggravation you may incur when taking on a project like this yourself.
  5. If you’re going to move forward with the project yourself, finalize your order and place the order.
  6. Have them shipped to your house (this is highly recommended, if the windows show up to your house damage for some reason you are not responsible, if you pick him up at the store and they get damaged in the transit home or you don’t notice any damage until you get home you may be stuck with that window).
  7. Install the windows properly guaranteeing a tight seal for maximum energy efficiency.
  8. Finally, stand back and admire your efforts :-) on a job well done. This is my favorite part, my wife always laughs at me when I stare and admire my work.

Got a Question?

We try to cover as much as we can in our post, but there is always more as everybody’s situation is different. If you need some help we would love to hear from you, visit the Ask the Advisor page and fill out the short form.

Or check out our Facebook page and post your question right on the timeline, just “like” page and post your question and you will be notified once we answer. Pretty neat, right. Also include pictures if you have them this really help us to best serve you in our answers to your question.

by Brian Kiernan

Educating homeowners on replacement windows and providing simple information to get them a great product at a great price done quickly by a reputable window pro.

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