Window replacement - Cascade Windows by mycontractor.com
I would not recommend to work with mycontractor.com
nor would I recommend to buy Cascade Windows.
May 2006. I was looking to get my old single-pane windows to be replaced with dual-pane energy efficient windows.
I already had a bid from Home Depot to install Jeld-Wen Windows totalling $10,000 including material, labor and tax. However I was a bit suspicious that Jeld-Wen may not be the right choice. I sought a comparison web site that would compare the different Window manufacturers. The price difference is quite significant after all.
A Jeld-Wen patio door costs $550 at Home Depot.
A same size Milgard patio door costs $1250 at Home Depot.
What are the differences? As I was googling for 'Window replacement comparison' I found no good web site. Every "comparison" web site turned out to be in some referral business. Every single site that I visited wanted my address/ phone number to offer a free estimate.
Eventually I gave in and was referred to mycontractor.com
I filled out their questionaire and they called me back 2 days later to schedule an appointment for "their guy" to measure my windows and make an estimate. Wednesday 7pm.
I organized my schedule to be home at that time but about 4 hours before the appointment, mycontractor.com called me and cancelled their appointment. Apparantly they overbook their sales force assuming some prospective clients will not be home. (Similar how airlines overbook their planes assuming some travelers will not show up.)
We rescheduled for Saturday but the guy never showed up.
Tuesday I got a call. We rescheduled for Friday 6pm.
This time things worked out. I had my windows' measures taken before but mycontractor.com had a different system. Other companies would take exact measurements e.g. 23.5 x 48.7 inches and take all kinds of notes, basically take exact measures ready to build the windows using these numbers.
The guy from mycontractor.com would just take estimates. E.g. instead of 23.5 x 48.7 he would write down (20-30) x (40-50)
He said any size in that range will cost the same amount of money. Once I decide to purchase from them, a second guy will come and take *exact* measurements.
One of my Windows is half-circle shaped and he would treat it as a rectangular window measuring width and height. I seriously wonder how precise this type of estimate is as every other installer told me that this half-circle shaped window would be more expensive - both material and labor.
This guy from mycontractor.com worked with a flat fee for any size window.
He gave me a quote of $12,777 everything included. This would be Cascade WinPro low-E windows, with no Argon gas filling. He said the Argon would cost an extra $500 but not make sense in my mild coastal California climate.
His company only offered Cascade Windows for installation. He said that they are a lot better than the low-end Jeld-Wens. I asked him about how they compare to Milgard and he said literally:
'Not to knock Milgard, they are pretty good, but Cascade Windows are clearly better.'
I asked him how they are better than Jeld-Wen for example. He said that one of his friends worked at a Jeld-Wen plant. There would be no question that Cascade was better than Jeld-Wen. In particular, the PVC frame of Cascade Windows has steel inside while Jeld-Wen is solid PVC only thus being weaker.
He also said that Cascade is the only manufacturer that has the special coated low-E glass both inside and outside.
His biggest selling point was that Cascade is the only window with a special rubber spacer which will make it impossible that the seals break. Other companies use something based on aluminum which reacts to temperature changes.
At this point, I had all the information I needed and expected he would leave but he expected to write a sale.
The typical crook tactic followed.
'If you sign now, I can give you a 10% discount. That brings it down to $11,499'
Hm, I wanted to research Cascade and mycontractor.com further, and I did not like how difficult it was to get an appointment. So I said 'No, I rather pay $1277 more but have the time to make an informed decision'.
Then he said 'Ok, if you sign today, we will give you a free argon gas filling which is worth $500.
And you have 3 business days to cancel your order.'
I was in a rush, so I signed, total price was $11,499.
Over the weekend I found this web site:
This is a very good forum. You can read a thread started by myself here:
I asked there about the quality of Cascade Windows and experiences with mycontractor.com.
I also looked at the BBB (Better Business Bureau's web site)
The truth about mycontractor.com and Cascade Windows
- Cascade has changed their business name, they used to do business as WPI. One wonders if this is a strategy to avoid having to honor warranties. (The windows typically come with a 30yr or life time warranty)
From that discussion board:
"They [Cascade] are the company formerly known as WPI or Widow Products Inc. They are bottom feeders on the window food chain. Funny, at the IG seminar I went to a few years ago where I met the EPI manager, I also me two managers from Cascade. They were from a wood plant though. I would not let them insulate glass for my Dog House.
I would stay away from the Cascade window know that I know who they really are. Hope it is not too late."
- "Two coating of Low-E, one on the inside and one on the out, is a lie."
- "For your location, argon might not be worth the money on the cascade window, especially if they are filling it in Washington and driving it over the pass with a breather tube in the window that lets the air pressure out."
- "Cascade is a company who changes quite a bit. Look at past windows and the warranties. See if they stand behind their older products or just change names or owners."
- The story about the rubber spacer versus the aluminum based spacer was bogus according to 2 other companies I spoke to.
- When I called mycontractor.com I was told all Cascade Windows come with Argon gas filling. It would not be an option at all.
- BBB has no complaints against mycontractor.com so they seem ok, only their local Windows sale guy was not honest.
- I learnt from another installer that the glass of these major brands (Jeld-Wen, Milgard, Simonton) is the same. The difference is in the spacers, the lock mechanism, other hardware and the warranty. E.g. some manufacturers give a warranty that includes replacement even if a baseball broke your window.
Needless to say, I cancelled my order with mycontractor.com and will not buy a Cascade Window.