The emphasis on low cost products drives lower quality products. Poor quality means products have to be replaced more often. When you have to replace building materials frequently, they cost more when you include installation costs. Walmart focuses on consumable products, ones that aren't expected to last a long time. They don't sell cheap house windows because …
Houses last 40, 60 or 100 years. Walmart does sell window accessories like screens, shutters, window film, window awnings and window insulation kits.
Sadly many production builders, to save a nickel here and there, install cheap house windows that even Walmart won't sell. So here are all the issues I've reported with the cheap windows in my brand new house. It's been 4 months since the problems were reported to Richmond American Homes … still waiting!
Problems with Cheap House Windows
First some background information. This is my 15th house and I ran a handyman business for 8 years. Shame on me for not identifying that the windows were single hung before I signed the contract. My advice to you is check houses besides the model homes as they don't put screens on the windows in the models (hmm).
- Window screens don't seal so lots of bugs getting into the house. This effectively means you can't open your windows (or you'll see something like top photo). Other builders in the area are more professional. They install much larger, fixed pane windows so you know right away they don't open.
- Window are very difficult to lock. The manager of the building supervisors (around 6 ft tall, 200 lbs) tried to tell me if he could close and lock the window, it was acceptable. Sorry as a woman who likes fresh air should be able to open their windows with confidence, weather permitting.
- Not sure if windows, maybe just the screens are square. In the photo above, the gap on the right widens as you move from bottom to top. Is something wrong with the screens, the windows or both?
- Metal bars used to open and close windows are not safe (see below). The ends have rough edges that can easily cut someone which worries me with my 7 year old granddaughter.
What's amazing is how such a small number of windows have so many problems. Only 5 windows were included in the basic floor plan so I had to pay more than $2,000 for 4 extra windows, bringing the total to 9 cheap house windows.
- Almost impossible to lock several windows (master bedroom near bathroom, study …).
- At least one window catching on something (master bedroom on right) when opening/closing the window.
- Another window loose (study) per the home inspector.
- 6 of the 9 operable windows are very noisy when opening and closing them.
- Several windows have bumps on the metal. These were marked before closing and now, more than 4 months later, there has been no attempt by Richmond American Homes to fix these problems.
- Caps to cover window screws are missing in most windows, all or close to half of them.
After writing so many fun articles about windows, this one was depressing because it's my house. Richmond American Homes is nothing more than a paper builder. They sub-contract everything out and accept no responsibility for problems.
Production builders simply send the contractor who failed on the initial work order back to your home. The contractors then decide what they're willing to correct. Their goal is to fix as little as possible because they receive no further compensation. It's the dirty secret about production builders and home buyers are caught in the middle!