Getting the best price and value in your glass block window purchase may never be as important as it is today. The cheapest price sometimes comes with the worst service and poorest product quality.
How do you ensure you get an excellent value with the features and benefits you want in a new block window purchase? Use the 9 ideas presented in this article to stretch your dollars and exceed your expectations with this purchase.
Buy Prefabricated Window Panels Factory Direct – Since a large percentage of block windows are made to order due to sizing differences with the existing windows being replaced, why invest unnecessary time going to supply yards and retailers who rarely sell custom sized block windows? As long as you have your opening sizes the windows can be prefabricated and shipped directly to you anywhere in the United States. There is generally a substantial price saving to you versus having to find a skilled mason to put the windows together and the quality is higher since the windows are built in the factory, not at the project site. Consumers in states like North & South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and Louisiana where masons are harder to find have found this service beneficial. Compare Installation Guarantees to Years in Business – Did you ever buy from someone who gave you a “lifetime guarantee” only to call them one year later for service and find a disconnected phone number? If you’re looking to have your block windows professionally installed by a contractor ask them how many years they have been in business and how many glass block window projects they’ve completed. If you’re not comfortable asking these questions consider joining a consumer rating service like Angie’s list to get the straight scoop on your potential contractor. Beware of discounters selling metric sizes or off color blocks – Remember the Latin phrase – caveat emptor (which means let the buyer beware). Although metric sizes can work in openings you are creating new the standard metric sizes usually do not fit existing masonry and rough openings in the United States market. Another trick some “discounters” will use is to sell off color glass blocks. These are blocks where the shading or hue of the blocks may be inconsistent from size to size or from block to block. Evaluate the quality of your potential supplier starting with their web site, to the staff that answers your questions on the phone, to the manufacturers they use – Pittsburgh Corning and Mulia are two of the highest quality manufacturers in the market today. If the pricing seems too good to be true it just might be.
Buy air vents for your block windows with the initial purchase – An extremely popular feature with block basement windows are air vents to allow fresh air in the lower level and to minimize mold concerns. Air vents usually cost anywhere from $30 to $60 per window opening if you do it with the original installation and 3 to 4 times as much if old blocks have to be removed and an air vent added at a later date. Add a dryer vent through the glass block basement window – Dryer vents with standard 4″ holes can be incorporated into your block window at a much lower cost than having to create a hole in your concrete block or poured wall foundation. These dryer vents usually have flaps that open when the dryer is working and are closed when it is off. Find a specialty block window installer – In some areas of the country there are companies who specialize in the installation of glass brick windows, walls, and showers. Since they do this work every day the finished quality and value is usually better than a contractor that may dabble in block window installations.
Consider a vinyl framed glass block bathroom window – To make block window installations easier and more cost effective you can now purchase a block window with a vinyl frame (either with nailing fins for new construction or without the nailing fins for replacement window projects). These windows can be made with different sizes (8″ x 8″ and 6″ x 6″ are the most popular) and are available in a 2″ thick series that reduces the weight of the glass window by about 1/3 in comparison to the 3″ thick size. Higher quality Vinyl Wrap brand windows are manufactured with an integral vinyl spacer on the inside of the window and a specialized sealant for block. The windows are installed like a standard replacement or new construction vinyl window which allows an owner a wider variation of choices of contractors that should be qualified to install this window. Use color glass block vs. fiber optic lighting systems – If you’re looking to jazz up your block bathroom or upper floor windows consider using block that is colored. Coloring the block is usually less expensive than trying to light the block window with a fiber optic system and more vibrant than rope lighting strung behind the window. A church in Virginia used a variety of colored blocks in their window openings to create a stained glass effect at a substantially lower cost. Use acrylic block windows for more air flow combined with the looks and privacy of block – Although acrylic block windows are generally more expensive than glass, they are an excellent choice if you need a fully operable window with the privacy of block and a tempered glass rating. In the market today there are casement, awning, double hung, and slider windows made of acrylic to choose from.