Window replacement - Cascade Windows by mycontractor.com
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Summary: 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.
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.
An update from 'Anonymous': Well, I told you I would give you an update about the outcome of the remodel work that MyContractor.com failed to pull the permits on. After all was said and done (however, only said and still not done), about 3/4 of the work that MyContractor and its subcontractors did had to be redone, i.e. windows, siding, and other jobs they did at my house. So much for their 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' motto. Of course, nothing passed inspection to secure the permits until another contractor made the necessary repairs. I would like to know why the California State LIcensing Board has no complaints against this shoddy and fraudulent outfit! I understand that I am not their only victim re. not pulling permits to do jobs. I am preparing to send a very long complaint to the CSLB against MyContractor.com. Has anyone out there complained to the CSLB against this outfit??
anonymous from United States
A new method for cutting vinyl flush-fins now exists. It's been proven to be faster, safer and more accurate by far. It's a commercial-grade scoring tool thats edge-guided and desiged for exactly this porpose, making it totally fool-proof. Its great for scoring-back drywall casings when replacing existing windows with new nail-ons as well. No mistakes, no cracked fins, no mess to clean-up. Its inexpensive and they ship in a few days. I found it [bought it, and now use it every week almost] at www.vinylwindowscoringtool.com
firstname.lastname@example.org from United States
Low e coatings go ONLY on the inside, never, ever, outside. I'm a master-glazier and I can assure all that if it [low e coating]were outside the first time its touched you would see permanent discolored finger prints on the glass. I will assume the best, that the person above is just grossly mis-informed instead of saying ANYTHING to get a sale. Occationally, a window is shipped that the insulated glass has been put together wrong in, with the low e outside, and it doesn't take long to notice. The manufacturer has always cheerfully replaced the pane in the few instances this has happened from a few different manufacturers.
I would like to add my support of Cascade; I've known and purchased from them in their Window Products phase. I've replaced two windows using windows from Window Products which I purchased through my local building supply store, a store that's been in my community longer than I have. One window is actually a bank of two single sash windows. the other is a quite large single sash window, both low-E. I've had no problem with either and am preparing to replace the rest of the windows in my house with their products. As for mycontractor.com, it sounds as though we could all do without him. What goes around comes around and hopefully his will come around soon.
anonymous from United States
I am getting estimates for window replacement. Two actual installers have been to the house
and measured for the new windows. Both were helpful and explained the process.
They offered to get whatever brand windows I want. Thanks for the posts, now to choose what
will be here for many years.
anonymous from United States
I sell home improvements for a living and have for many years. Here are some tips for homeowners in California:
1. Make sure the salesperson is licensed, too. He must have a Home Improvement Salesperson license, or it is a misdemeanor. That insures the person has had a criminal background check.
2. Go easy on some of the sales people. The job really sucks, and it is no wonder they have an attitude sometimes. You would, too, when you deal with the public in this way. Many homeowners are not nice people.
3. Argon leaks out in about a year, so I have heard. It is not necessary in most applications. It provides little benefit.
4. Cover windows on the south side of your home from heat. They expand and contract a lot and it causes leaks due to the heat, breaking the seal. Most windows have some dessicant in the frame to absorb the moisture for about a year or two.
5. Low E is on the inside. It does really work well.
6. When I worked for mycontractor.com, they did not care if you were a licensed salesperson.
anonymous from United States
I'm hoping to get some useful replacement window information. I've been looking for vinyl windows with a good locking system when the window is partially open in a vent position. My current Milgard aluminum windows have a metal pin that fits into a notch in the frame in a partially open position as well as when fully closed. When fully closed this pin augments the main lock. When partially open the main lock is in air, so the vent lock is the only lock.
The Milgard Tuscany line has some plastic 'stops' you can flip into position, but they look very weak. I like the minimalist look of their Styleline windows better anyway, but they have no vent lock or stop at all. The main locks of both these lines are much better than when I looked 4 years ago. I don't want to waiting again until someone comes up with a reasonable solution. I want to switch to vinyl to eliminate the sweating, which has messed up the window sills.
My application is in the Portland, OR area.
Does anyone know of any brands out there that have a good vent lock feature. Where can I go to look at the various brands?
As a window contractor, once in a while I see that competing bids from other contractors are offering these Cascade windows. These bids tend to be lower than ours, and so I checked out this site (among others) to find out what the deal is. I feel that my suspicions are true, and that is that Cascade is not what I call name-brand, but rather offers cheap products. Good for them! Someone needs to cover that market, and that's perfectly OK. It looks like they've been around a while, so hopefully they are honoring their old warranties still.
I personally feel that our customers are well served by getting the BEST windows we know of for an honest price, but ultimately it's up to the customer to decide which way to go. We're certainly not the highest-priced contractor around here, but we definitely aren't always the lowest. Our all-family company only does apartment & condominium buildings, and despite the impression that most folks may have of landlords, they usually choose us and our high-end vinyl windows made by WEATHERVANE WINDOWS in Kent, Washington. In fact, we've never lost any job to anyone offering the low-end Cascade brand that I can recall. I sure hope that trend continues.
Here's my free advise (comes with a money-back guarantee):
1: Before getting any bid from any contractor, CHECK THEIR CREDENTIALS. For example, In Washington State, go to the Department of Labor & Industries website and check a contractor's licensing status, insurance & bond status/amount, and if there have been any claims/complaints against their insurance bonds. Also do an internet search on these contractors (try to find any complaints). Toss any that come up shady.
2: Get a VARIETY OF BIDS from different-sized non-shady companies. You might find three categories of prices out there: hillbilly, average, and highway-robbery prices. Toss the super high-priced proposals and focus on all of the rest. If any try to pressure you to sign a contract on the spot, tell them to get the ^&%#$ out of your home.
3: See what's being offered and (-in my opinion) toss all bids that don't provide LOCAL, NAME-BRAND PRODUCTS (do your homework on these).
4: Drive by a few recent jobs performed by these window contractors to make sure their work LOOKS TERRIFIC.
5: Don't feel too rushed to follow through with all of this. The windows you get are hopefully going to be there for how many decades? Hire the right contractor and get the right windows!
I feel that you'll find a great contractor that way. If you do your homework, you might even find a very low-priced company who does terrific work while offering a great product. There are regular, good old-fashioned, RED-BLOODED AMERICAN folks out there who know the trade with excellent working skills who have also learned (or are still learning) how to run a small business. That's where we came from over 15 years ago. Now, as a time-tested, reliable, successful, popular window contractor, our prices are a bit more fair to ourselves than they were back then, and I feel that our earlier customers got a heck of a sweet deal when we were still proving ourselves to the community.
John T. Kartak
Cutting Edge Windows, LLC
anonymous from Alameda, United States
I too have had a bad experience with MyContractor.com. They seem to promise the world, yet barely deliver squat. This is the worst general contractor I've EVER worked with!!! I entered into contract in September to have a French drain system put in our backyard. After giving a very high down payment, I was made an offer to have my gutters done to incorporate into the new system. I agreed and wrote another check for the down payment.
On 10/6/2008, the gutters were installed. I was given a receipt for the work by the sub-contractor, it was less than half of what I originally paid to MyContractor.com. I called the VP of marketing and sales and told him of the price discrepancy. He did some research and, after some tough negotiations, told me he would send his corporate office a letter requesting a refund check. This was on 10/10/2008.
I've called and left numerous messages asking for some resolution, getting the same response, 'the check is in the mail.' It's very unprofessional not getting a response from a company that pushed so hard to get your money. It's very frustrating to have to call your contractor to get status reports on what's going on.
It's been three weeks and I still haven't received a check AND the French drain project still hasn't started. (I was told it would start tomorrow 11/6/2008....we'll see). I hope this project meets my expectations, but even if it does... I WILL NEVER call, use, suggest, refer, recommend or mention this company, MyContractor.com, again!
This letter is in reference to our experience with MyContractor.com, in the installation of windows and sliding doors throughout our home. We want you to know that from the initial consultation, to the time the work was done, the experience was a pleasant one. It's not very often that one can say that. Prior to getting the work done, Patrick Packer and Jason Gregory came by and spent time assisting us with selection, and explaining the labor and time involved to get the job done. They spent time answering our questions and concerns. Their patience and courtesy was appreciated.
The labor began around the 3rd week and three employees showed up promptly and began their work. I was impressed with the speed and efficiency in which it was all done, in one day! Again, I was impressed with their courtesy.
Patrick stopped by to check on the work when it was completed, and to answer any questions/concerns, including demonstrating how the windows can be open and turned to get the outside clean.
We are very happy with our selection of windows and doors, as well as the quality of work done.
This was a pleasant experience throughout. We are very fortunate to come across your company. Every detail was taken care of and the work was done seamlessly. We would recommend your company to anybody, mostly because of the people who work for it.
Louis and Gloria (Oakley, CA)
anonymous from Oakland, United States
Louis and Gloria. Sorry you dealt with MyContractor.com! But the window people and installers were subcontractors that MyContractor.com hired to do the job. I'm sure if you asked the same window poeple who showed you the different windows, they would give you a different bid to do the same job. Look at the BBB and CSLB websites and see how many complaints there are against MyContractor.com.If you were to call Michael Finney and 7 on Your Side, they might tell you of the many complaints against MyContractor.com. A subcontractor and an ex-employee are taking them to court for non-payment. You were lucky to have gotten your windows done and not have a lien put on your house which has happened to a few Bay Area residents. Sorry to say, but as of 2-27-2009, MyContractor.com of California is no longer in business1
Gary Iskra has done it AGAIN!!! He ran MyContractor.com into the ground.
anonymous from United States
When he bankrupted Pacesetter,Gary Iskra also stuck Republic Windows, Chicago with $4-$5 million in unpaid receivables. You may recall them them as they got national attention over the holidays. When will karma catch up to this guy?
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