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Why Do Builders Use Cheap Windows?

January 12th, 2024 | 5 min. read

Why Do Builders Use Cheap Windows?

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Have you recently bought a new-build home? Are you noticing your windows starting to have problems? Can you tell the windows weren't installed very well? 

If you said yes to any of these questions, we know you are frustrated. You've put thousands of dollars down to make an exciting purchase only to have to put more money into fixing the things that were brand new. 

Your frustration turns to curiosity and research. Why do builders use cheap windows in new-build homes? 

As a San Antonio custom window installer since 1989, Southwest Exteriors has helped thousands of homeowners transform their homes with high-quality, long-lasting custom windows from Marvin, ProVia, Anlin, and more. 

Many homeowners we work with replace their windows with us because they had a poor experience with a bad window installer, and we understand how annoying this is. 

So, if you recently bought a new-build home with cheap windows that are failing, you want answers. 

This article will outline the top five reasons home builders use cheap windows, including cost savings, ease of access, and more. 

 

Why Builders Use Cheap Windows In New Homes

 

1. Cheap Windows Cost Less

So, why do builders often reach for the less pricey windows? The first reason is the cost.

In the building and remodeling world, staying on budget is huge, and cheaper windows help a lot with that. They're like the generic brand in a grocery store – it does the job, and it doesn’t pinch the wallet. When you're building a whole bunch of houses, these savings add up.

It's a game of numbers, and cheaper windows help keep the math in check. Builders can then use the saved cash for other parts of the project or increase their profit a bit.

With any product, cost and quality go hand in hand. Low-quality windows are cheap, so builders save money but leave you with a project in a few years. 

 

2. They're Easy to Find and Easy to Use

Ever notice how some things are just everywhere? That's how it is with cheaper windows.

This availability is a big plus for builders. Because these cookie-cutter windows are always in supply, they can get these windows fast, keeping their projects on track.

No waiting around for special orders or dealing with supply issues. It's about keeping the workflow smooth, and readily available windows do just that.

Cheap windows that are always in demand will be made quickly of a lower quality, which is why your new build is suffering and your windows are failing. 

 

3. They Aren't Concerned About Longevity

Not every builder is thinking about how your house will stand up to the test of time. Sometimes, it's more about the now – finishing the project and moving on.

Cheap windows fit the bill perfectly for this mindset. They work fine initially, but they might not be the champs of longevity.

It's like buying cheaper tires for your car. They'll work for what you need them to do, but you'll probably end up replacing them in a few short years. 

Unfortunately, most builders aren't concerned about how long the windows, siding, doors, roofing, or any part of your home will last. This is a big reason why you are left with needed new windows a few years after purchasing your home. 

 

4. They're Easy To Install

Another big reason? Cheap windows are often easier to install. Think of them like those easy-to-assemble furniture pieces.

These cookie-cutter windows are exactly as they sound - cut to fit the most common window sizes.

Custom window installers measure and order new windows to fit the exact opening of your old window down to an eighth of an inch. This ensures the new windows will fit your home perfectly, allowing them to function properly and last. 

If a window does not properly fit the opening, many installers will fill the space with caulk, which is not a proper or long-term solution. This can lead to gaps around your windows, allowing drafts and moisture to enter around your windows and into your home.

Builders like things that don’t give them a headache, and windows that slide right into place are just that. It’s all about efficiency and keeping those construction timelines tight.

 

5. Risk Management

With any remodeling project, there is a risk in installation. Construction sites can be unpredictable – things get broken, and stuff goes missing. That's where cheaper windows come in as a sort of safety net.

If a window gets damaged, replacing it won’t hit the budget too hard. It's a practical choice, like using plastic cups for a backyard BBQ instead of your best glassware.

Builders are often juggling a lot of risks, and cheaper windows can be one less thing to worry about.

When a custom window installer damages a window, they foot thousands of dollars to replace it. If a cheap window is damaged during construction, the builder only loses a couple hundred dollars. 



Cookie-Cutter Windows vs. Custom Windows 

Now that you know five common reasons why home builders use cheap windows, you have a better understanding of why your home's windows may be failing and why anyone would choose cheap windows in the first place. 

Builders have their reasons for going with cheaper windows, from saving bucks to playing it safe. When considering overall cost, risks involved, and their concern for longevity, you can probably see why most builders opt for the cheaper option.  

However, this doesn't mean that cheap windows are the right solution for your home. While they do cut costs for builders and are more budget-friendly for any homeowner looking to replace their windows, it's important to remember that cost and quality go hand in hand. 

  • Cheaper windows may be okay for you if you don't plan on living in your home for very long or aren't concerned about the quality and longevity of your windows.
  • Custom windows are best for long-term homeowners who want to do their project once and do it right, but they do cost more. 

Finding the right windows for you all depends on your wants, goals, and needs for your home. You first must outline what you want to get out of your new windows, how much you want to spend, and so much more. 

As a San Antonio window expert, Southwest Exteriors is here to help guide you through all aspects of your project, from finding the right products to looking for a trustworthy contractor. 

Whether you have cheap windows in your home or are looking to replace your faulty windows, you want to know which type of window is better for you - affordable windows from a big box store or custom windows? 

This article compares custom windows to windows from a big box store in cost, quality, and more. Then, you will have a better understanding of how different types of windows stand against each other and which is better for you.