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pennmanor

New construction window selection - need help!

pennmanor
4 years ago

I've been running around doing research on every major window manufacture trying to figure out what window to go with. I got quotes from Jeld-Wen (Siteline - $37K) and Sierra Pacific (H3 $27K). I'm looking at casement aluminum clad windows and am more lost now than when I started my research. What window manufacture offers the best bang for your buck window? Anderson, Pella, Jeld-Wen, Marvin, Sierra Pacific, etc? I don't want the best-of-the-best/most expensive but I don't want to cheep out on windows either. Our budget is around $30k and I'm committed to investing in quality windows. Any thoughts on what manufacture is the best in terms of value.

Comments (69)

  • Germain Wong
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Wait, what am I missing here, a $30-40K budget for a $1.5-2M build? NAH..... Doesn't make any sense! My build is a little below yours, and I am about to sign a window package that is going to be $200K (including installation). Granted, these are triple-pane windows with 0.16 U-value... even if double-pane, I reckon the cost would still be in the six figures, easily (if you want quality)!

  • gtcircus
    4 years ago
    Germain, you are not missing anything, none of it makes sense and I suspect this is a child pulling one over on the adults because no one buys 70+ windows for a multi million dollar house for $30,000. My house is small by comparison with only 14 windows and I cant replace those 14 for $30,000. Mind you, I am like you, I buy quality - but 70 windows installed would be six figures +
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  • c baldwin
    3 years ago

    Hello Pennmanor. What kind of windows did you decide on for your project. It has been 6 months since you posted so maybe they are installed by now? I don't think people were very fair about your design and goals. We are doing a 2400' house that has 30 windows and 3 doors and it does not feel excessive at all. I like alot of light and we are getting quotes for our 31 windows in the $23,000 range so a 40,000 budget seems acceptable for me. we are looking at aluminum clad/wood interior, 6 9/16 jambs, with divided lights, upgraded screens and hardware, I am looking at Sierra Pacific Carmel Line, JeldWen Siteline and Weathershield Premium. Marvin Integrity did not appeal to me because the jambs were not concealed. Marvin Ultimate and Kolbe were out of the price point. Andersen 400 Series did not have a color that appealed to me and the eagles were too expensive. I don't know why I did not look at Pella. Would love to know what you chose and if you are happy.

  • Natasha Tessier
    3 years ago

    Would love to know what was purchased?!?

  • c baldwin
    3 years ago

    We ended up purchasing Semco windows. The one in the showroom was quite beautiful and there are some homes featured on Houzz that looked very nice with them. We went with bronze because although I love black, I was not sure we could pull it off in our neighborhood which is 70 years old and no one does anything but white vinyl. The Semco cost just a hair more than the Sierra Pacific. They did not have as good of color choices as Sierra Pacific or Weathershield but more choices than Jeldwen and I liked that it is a long-standing family run business with a reputation for good customer service. I think they were about 25% less than Kolbe but all the Kolbe double hung windows I have ever tried to open felt so heavy. Semco action felt much smoother - more like the vinyl we currently have which is quite light and easy to operate. We open windows daily so ease of function was as important as looks. We have not installed yet. Feel free to reach out in about 2 months and I will tell you how they are working out installed. I hope we don't have any regrets!

  • Jim Belke
    3 years ago

    Very poor service with Jeld-Wen, they put me on a list to call me on Feb. 19, 2018 to set an appointed to inspect 13 leaking aluminum clad wood sliders. My initial call to them was on Jan 4, 2018. Windows installed in June, 2017. Water intrusion on left side with nowhere to drain, now frozen with cold weather. Insects and dirt also entering through bottoms. Totally understaffed customer support. Would never recommend anyone buy their product. Purchased through LOWES.

  • c baldwin
    3 years ago

    What a bummer! I heard Jeld-wen does not have good service. We ended up going with Semco. We are doing 2 phases, new addition and remodel. The new addition windows went in so fast. Carpenters said they were by far the easiest windows they have ever installed. They did 14 windows in under a day and barely any shimming. The windows are very pretty and all very easy to open - pop open with barely any effort (unlike Kolbe's which I found very difficult to lift up on their double hungs - they are just too heavy and too tight). Hopefully the replacement windows go in well too. I will up date after they have been installed. We went with the bronze which looked a little washed out on the chip sample but is actually very rich and beautiful. Love the color. Cannot comment on durability yet but so far we are extremely happy with Semco!

  • doc5md
    3 years ago

    @AnnaS- thanks for sharing your saga!! I will definitely go back and forth to work better pricing now!

  • Neil McIntire
    3 years ago

    Saw a comment above questioning the quality of Hurd & Sierra Pacific - didn't SP buy Hurd (not the other way around)? I have read a lot of what appear to be disinterested (unbiased) positive things about SP ... I know Hurd has gotten mixed reviews ...

  • Ryan Brigman
    3 years ago
    Thanks Anna S for your detailed saga. We are starting the same process and stuck on window selection. Although not as many windows looking at similar brands and black/black or bronze. Your experience is helpful. Seems like all the window guys on here bash all brands except Marvin. Hard to believe everything else that is semi affordable is crap!
  • CocoBee Lee
    3 years ago
    Annas! You’re the best! I was trying to figure out if there was a way to private message you on Houzz, And I couldn’t find one. But I need to know the name and contact information of your sales rep! By chance, you are in California are you? I assume that’s how the sales reps territories are aligned by region. Thanks again for the great info!
  • Anna S
    3 years ago

    Washington DC area, unfortunately.

  • PRO
    Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc.
    3 years ago

    I am a window and door dealer and would like to comment on Anna S. comment: "The short version of this post is - get many competing bids and let the suppliers know you are doing so. Every time we revised an order, the price would go down (even on individual windows that were not changed in any way). I got the impression that the online order systems all the manufacturers give their retailers use some sort of dynamic pricing algorithm that plugs directly into the factory, like online sites for airline tickets, and these algorithms dole out margin discounts in increments in an attempt to close the deal. While the quoting software provided by the manufacturers is generally web based, the mythical algorithms do not exist. More likely you are building your home in a highly competitive area where all the dealers have a good idea of what kind of pricing their competitors provide to win a job. The quoting software is updated on a regular basis by the manufacturer, but my experience has been that they never adjust a price in the downward direction. Most updates, if they affect pricing at all, generally result in minor increases (which drives me nuts when trying to hold a price over many month's time). In my case, I usually eat those incremental price increases and don't pass them onto my customers because I don't want them to feel that there is 'price creep" going on. While pricing is always a big factor for everyone when trying to build a home, it is worth cautioning that price alone should not be your only consideration. Windows and doors should not be viewed as a commodity because the service aspect can be a big factor for a long time to come and you should consider what that might mean in dollars and cents down the road. This is the reason why many high end window companies do not offer their products in big box stores like Lowes or Home Depot and instead are very selective about who they set up with distributorships. They want to make sure their brand is backed up with superior customer service by the Dealer. Additionally, my practice has been to provide all service parts (i.e. temporary door hardware, dunnage doors, touch up paint, broken parts, weatherstripping removed by painters and then thrown away, missing or damaged casement hardware, ripped or bent screens) free of charge during the construction phase. If I sell at low, low profits....I can't afford to do that. So, yes price shopping is a very important part of the responsibility of the homeowner who want's to control cost, but remember, sometimes you get what you pay for.

  • Jane Bruce
    3 years ago

    Anna S. I have had the same experience. This has been the most difficult decision of our build. However, I do agree with Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc. that I got incremental increases, not decreases. Both of you were most helpful and I wish that Pennmanor would have gotten more straight answers than blasting her for her budget. I am in her same boat experiencing the same thing. Our house isn't as big but we have 50+ windows. Vinyl is coming in at 30K+ and Aluminum Clad is coming in at 48K+. I am going with dark exterior and interior. I would have liked to get a concise answer to which manufacturer is best, but I guess getting no answer is my answer. I guess I am going with the manufacturer that I see the least bad reviews. Windows aren't easy!

  • PRO
    Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc.
    3 years ago

    Jane Bruce, I think the "which brand is the best" is a question that does not have a single answer. All windows and doors have their benefits and their drawbacks. I love Kolbe windows (I am a Kolbe Dealer) but they can be a little above the budget for a lot of homes. I love Semco (I am a Semco Dealer). I think Semco delivers the biggest bang for the buck, but they do not offer a lot of the options that can be found in the Kolbe line. They are a smaller company and finding a local distributor may be difficult. Windsor has come a long way in the past 10 years in product improvement and offering and they can be very affordable (I am a Windsor Dealer). They are very widely distributed and should be easy to find. Drawbacks are that they are also offered in some large lumber yards, which can make them more affordable, but the service you may need can be lacking. Jeld-Wen has different lines of windows that can meet most budgets and are similar in features and benefits to the Semco and Windsor (I am NOT a Jeld-Wen Dealer). In my area, Jeld-Wen seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. That may have more to do with the distributor than the brand, but who can say. Sierra Pacific has a high end aluminum clad window that is perfectly fine, but in my mind does not stand out in any particular way. They also have a lower end line that is very budget friendly and is probably one of the best selling windows out there right now because of the price. I am NOT a fan of that particular window (the H3) but others find it to be perfectly acceptable. (I am NOT a Sierra Pacific Dealer). Loewen is a Canadian window that sports Douglas Fir as their standard wood species, but it is very expensive and distribution is limited (I am NOT a Loewen Dealer). Weathershield is also similar to the other premium brand windows listed and in my opinion is just another "me too" window. (I am NOT a Weathershield distributor). Ditto for Lincoln. Pella is probably one of the most well-known windows but as many professionals will opine here, there are issues (that googling can detail for you). In my humble opinion, you will find some windows that are superior to others and "for the most part" the window is not going to be as important as the service you are going to receive from the supplier, and the installation of the windows in the house. Those two things can be the defining factor of what makes a window "the best window".

  • noel Certain
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Window Design of Carolina's,

    Wow what a well written review... we are currently building a 4000 sq ft. home in Spring Hill Fl. and are looking for a Great Window manufacturer that has great warranty and good reviews from satisfied clients in our Area the Big 4 are PGT, CWS(Custom Windows Systems), MI, CGI at least thats what most Custom & Spec builders are using in this Area.{ Their are so many

    people in the same Boat as Jane Bruce, its a huge important investment you want to get right and so many times you look at the reviews of what is being proposed and those reviews are horrible and its not 2-3 people with bad reviews is many...I'm in the Same Boat too}

    I work for this builder as a Sub-Contractor so he has allowed me to select what windows I want. Their is so much to know so I have spent the last month reviewing and going to different dealers. We are also thinking about the option of Impact Glass but, I'm told it may increase the Budget by 3 fold:(. Here we have extreme heat/rain/ humid 90F + , so low e glass is a must, with argon is what I'm looking for but I worry about 10-15 years down the road will the Vinyl warp sag and lose form? Fiberglass is on the cutting edge but many manufacturers do not offer it. The Home is a Block Construction Typical Central Florida Home Facing North 1 story on Stem wall and Slab can you perhaps point me in the direction of what you would choose??? don't want the cheapest window

    want quality that will last 25+ year. We used to live in Northeast and in 1997 Bought 31 Marvin

    Windows for our Older Victorian, almost 25+ years later they are still awesome and never had

    any issues...They where Quality and where custom built for the home and they were worth every penny. Wood windows will not work here so I hope you can help me find quality built windows

    where the Manufacture really cares and the service will be their if needed. This Blog is great

    an believe it or not I have researched Blogs that are 4-10 years old and their always good

    information when you look for it. Thanks In advance....WDOC's ;) ......... Noel

    " This is what the home will look like when complete this is not actual build" side and rear mostly Double hung windows and a few Casements this is the front where the center Door opens the

    rest look like doors but do not open per code here. Fl.


  • Teri Coulson
    3 years ago

    Kolbe has a new line of windows (with an impact option) that is made of a material called "Glastra". Glastra is a fiberglass with a UV stable polymer hybrid. It is super strong and is backed by a well-respected manufacturer. It is called the Forgent series. Here is a link to explore. https://www.kolbewindows.com/windows/forgent-double-hung. Since it is a fairly new product line, you may have some difficulty locating a distributor.

  • Jim Belke
    3 years ago

    Well, Jeldwen made my warranty claim difficult again. Screens on two windows were not the right size. The center frame piece was longer than the two end pieces causing it to bend inward letting some insects in. I contacted installer to inspect and he wrote me a letter re. his asessment. I called customer service and got their fax number and fax'd to them. They now wanted more info so I had to take photos with my phone and send them in, however they didn't have a cell number that would accept my photos. Well, then I had to put them on my laptop and forward to them. Now I don't know about you, but I would call that the run around and POOR SERVICE. I come from a 102 year old company that manufactured wood windows for years and have never treated any custmer the way I was treated. They did send me the replacement windows and the do fit.

  • noel Certain
    3 years ago

    Thank You Teri, I have asked the Rep. for a quote any feed back is appreciated

    I do love Marvin as Our old Victorian Up In Ny had them they where 24+ years

    old and I paid top dollar for them and I got my moneys worth....Quality!! they where

    26K in 1996 for 27-29 windows 3 where large customs....still a quality company

  • PRO
    M&M Interiors
    3 years ago

    windows are not my area of expertise, Bur for what its worth I can tell you we used Anderson windows 24 years ago when we built our home and they still look great! All of our neighbors bought Pella and had to have their windows replaced some years back.

  • Jim Reinhart
    2 years ago

    @pennmanor - thank you for starting this thread a few years ago. Your question provided some great information in spite of rudeness of some of the comments. Your house is a beautiful design. We are going through a build of similar scale and wrestling with the same questions. It would be great to hear what you chose and your satisfaction with the end result. Thanks!

  • Jim Belke
    2 years ago

    I chose Jeld-Wen wood ( knotty alder) slider windows. There were 13 to include a large front window, small kitchen, small bathroom, 6 large bedroom, 2 large family room, and 2 medium lower level windows. After one year I noticed water in the bottom trac with no way to get out.

    The right side of the trac had 2 weep holes to allow water out, however there's a foam stoper which would no allow water out. I was informed this was in place to not allow debris or water

    in. I was informed I had a condensation problem that I needed to correct. I have a humidifier and keep my house at 30 F in the Winter. They came to inspect about 6 months later and ran a piece of lined tape in the trac facing out. It was -27 F yesterday and will get down to -50 tomorrow. In checking bottom trac, a little frost on bottom so I need to cut back on humidifer rate.


    Last Summer while looking outside at kitchen and batrhroom window, I noticed the screens were bowing outward. I called customer service and they requested I take photos and send them in for review. My installer stopped by to inspect and said screens were too big. Jeld-Wen did not accept contractor' written statement. About a month later I received 2 screens in the mail and they were the correct size.


    My problem with Jeld-Wen was slow unresponsive service which leads me to believe they are understaffed and don't believe the installer or LOWE's management who also inspected.


    Jim Belke

  • Jane Bruce
    2 years ago
    So we decided to go with Quaker wood iron clad windows. They are perfect at a reasonable price. I hope this helps!
  • Karen Parker
    2 years ago

    Here I am in March 2019 just starting this process. My architect likes Sierra Pacific but I haven't done any research in in Southern Calif. As with several others in this thread we are looking for QUALITY without being the most extensive! I know we what an aluminum clad exterior and wood interior mostly casement. I was heading down to Ganahl's (a soCal lumbar store); they carry a wide variety of brands. Anyone out there in HOUZZ land with experience? Opinions of service and reliability these days?

  • noel Certain
    2 years ago

    I did check them out (Sierra Pacific) an got a brochure, when I looked at customer feed back and there reviews they didn't stand behind the product so I did not go any further they looked

    good on paper until I went deeper into reviews and clients whom had them installed.

  • Angel Florek
    2 years ago
    @fatamber I've worked with Marc from Gandahals lumber. might have spelt that wrong. GREAT service! Hard working and a fantastic communicator. And they didn't try to up sell me. in fact they offered less expensive brands with more customizations I was looking for. So glad to find them
  • Holly Stockley
    2 years ago

    Apparently Window Land is just crazy. Following along with some of the advice above, I stopped by to see the Windsor rep. We talked for a while, and he just sent me a quote. A solid $15K higher than comparable quotes from Andersen, Pella, and Marvin. I boggle.

  • HU-923511451
    2 years ago

    To: C. Baldwin.

    I am building a new home in the Colorado mountains, at a higher elevation. My contractor sent me to the Semco dealer for windows, who did a quote. 32 windows @ $39,000. 4 of them are small fixed windows, for lighting purposes, and are in the $400-500 range/window. So, I am figuring 28 windows at $ 34,000. I was happy with the price and quality of the windows,...AND... a local dealer, if a warranty is needed. This price is windows only, not installed.

    My problem is, that the lumber yard wants to save me $1,000 for the similar quality window from Sierra Pacific. I was torn between the 2 quotes and companies, until I read your letter saying you picked the Semco brand, which I was leaning towards anyway.

    I am curious to hear how you like the Semco windows, since they have been installed, and in for a year, or so. Hopefully, you are still connected to this page, to give me an answer.

    I built my current house 18 years ago, and decided on Jeld Wen, which have had too many seal and moisture issues, so that company is not even being considered, as still under 20 year warranty, and they would be happy to sell me new windows, vs honoring warranty.

    Anybody else out there care to comment?

  • PRO
    Zone 4 Architects, LLC
    2 years ago

    There are more options for windows than ever before, and a lot of good quality options to choose from. That said, every window manufacturer at every price point we have worked with has shipped windows which are defective in some ways. Sometimes it is a unit or two, other times it can be almost the whole order. At the end of the day, the local representative and service crew are the people who correct those issues for us, and we will not specify windows from companies who do not have that kind of support- period. Would have concerns about the ability of a lumber yard to follow through on your behalf for service and warranty issues.

  • PRO
    Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc.
    2 years ago

    Disclaimer: I am a Semco dealer. Semco has one grade of window. SP has several lines inlcuding a builder grade (The H3) and a high end line. If it is the H3, then I think the $1000 difference is low and there should be a bigger spread. Be sure you know which grade of window you are being offered. I agree with Zone 4 Architects. As a dealer of several brands, some brands make me work a lot harder than others :-P Make sure your dealer is prepared and has the resources to take care of you no matter which brand you choose.

  • HU-923511451
    2 years ago

    Thank you both for your comments. I just called the Semco salesman. He also agreed about only one line of Semco windows. He said that they have their own Semco trained warranty department there, for immediate window problems, due to distance and time for a Semco company rep to get there. He said they also sell Sierra Pacific windows, but he put the Semco windows in his own house ( vs the H3's ). I guess that sold me right there which brand to buy.

  • CEM TOSA
    last year

    @Jane Bruce if you are still on Houzz and see this, what product did you go with in the Quaker Line? I'm looking at the City Line as we are building with a modern look. How do you like your Quaker Windows?

  • butlerhousenet
    last year

    Don't go with 400 Series Tilt Wash vinyl clad windows. Mine are showing mold spots in the sealed glass. My home has them and slowly but surely the mold spots in the sealed glass are showing up. The windows are still under warranty but Andersen won't replace them claiming it's not a window problem. I've found a number of settled lawsuits over the past few years regarding the 400 Series Tilt Wash vinyl clad windows. Andersen will not honor their warranty. I suspect they have decided litigation is cheaper for them than replacing faulty windows.


  • butlerhousenet
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Don't go with 400 Series Tilt Wash vinyl clad windows. Mine are showing mold spots in the sealed glass. My home has them and slowly but surely the mold spots in the sealed glass are showing up. The windows are still under warranty but Andersen won't replace them claiming it's not a window problem. I've found a number of settled lawsuits over the past few years regarding the 400 Series Tilt Wash vinyl clad windows. Andersen will not honor their warranty. I suspect they have decided litigation is cheaper for them than replacing faulty windows.

    Link to more info about ANdersen warranty and lawsuits

  • PRO
    Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc.
    last year

    I am confused. If there is mold in the airspace between the hermetically sealed glass how would it NOT be a window issue?

  • PRO
    Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc.
    last year

    Was it your local supplier who refused to warrant this or Andersen? If it is the local dealer, I think I would bypass and go straight to Andersen.

  • Karen Parker
    last year

    I was please to find this string of question when I asked a question last March. Today is May 30, 2020. We did go with Sierra Pacific. 4 double French doors, 2 single French doors, 3 sliders and




    40 some casement (!) Someone should have told me to stop! Anyway, the installation was done by my contractor, saved quite a bit of $$. They did a good job because when SP came out they approved the install. SP also adjusts everything before the end and puts on the locks and screens AND we had them install a 5 panel folding glass wall - really lovely :)

    We love them; so solid and well made. I've had to call them back a couple times for little issues as we have settled in. Yesterday I had a crew out cleaning the construction mess and neither I nor the cleaner could figure out how to remove the screens on the sliders. Got the salesman on the phone and he was perfectly wonderful. (They are Flex screens; interesting)

    We are no where near done with the exterior of the house, so the pictures show some odd views. We spent way too much $ based on what other local new homes spent but we were looking for a specific style and we are pleased.

    Not a technical review; just my opinion.

  • c baldwin
    last year

    LOVE the color of the Sierra Pacific windows against that cream stucco on post just above. So pretty! Thought I would update as well on our Semco windows since it has been 2 years. Still very happy. I think they are beautiful! They remain very functional. We did have to have the slider replaced but that was a questionable situation. Prior to installing, the builder leaned the slider upright but at an angle for several days - maybe even over a week. It was not a smart decision on his part but ultimately he got Semco to work with us. Just FYI, don't lean your wood/metal frame windows and doors prior to installation, especially in changing temperatures and sunlight. The other problem with the windows was also builder related because when his guys installed the windows and checked the latches, they did not push up hard enough to catch the latch and instead caught the wood mullion, leaving scores in the wood. The wood is soft and vulnerable so keep an eye on the installers to not make lazy mistakes like this. I was shocked when I saw that it had been done on numerous windows. I could see maybe making the mistake once but they did it repeatedly. When you build a house, and spend so much time and money on the finishings, it is very dissapointing when a builder or sub, dents, or scratches something brand new. We have lots of those throughout our house and if I ever built again, I would discuss such things up front with the builder so he/she new that my expectation was that nothing would get damaged on install. I would definitely buy SEMCO windows again.

  • PRO
    Window Designs of the Carolinas, Inc.
    last year

    C. Baldwin, you may or may not have heard, Semco closed. I love that window and I will miss it and the wonderful people at Semco.

  • kbadgle
    last year

    Karen Parker, thank you for posting photos of your install. We are building a home and have decided to go with Sierra Pacific. What is the interior wood species and stain you used on the windows? Very nice!

  • dosshaus
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    I’m building a house and will be looking at windows, We built the house we are in now 22 years ago and used Marvin windows and love them, never had a problem with any of them. So what windows are really good now and have customer service to match?..our builder is a fan of pacific Sierra windows, We live in virginia


  • Todd
    2 months ago

    @Karen Parker thanks for posting the photos - we are considering Sierra Pacific for our new house build. We are looking at the H3 line in casements, fixed, awning and sliders. How are the sliders? Smooth? Do you have a video of them opening/closing?

  • Karen Parker
    2 months ago

    Todd, do you mean the simple sliding windows? Not doors?


  • Todd
    2 months ago

    @Karen Parker oh I thought you had sliding patio doors, I'm trying to find a video of them since I can't find a showroom with one.

  • kbadgle
    2 months ago

    Todd, We are finishing up our house build. We used Sierra Pacific Aspen Awning & Casement, Westchester DH, Single & Double Patio Sliders, Outswing Doors, Mult-Slide Stacking Window, and Multi-Slide Pocketing Doors. We haven't moved in yet, but so far, we've been very happy with them. They aren't the H3 series, but the sliders are very smooth.

  • Karen Parker
    2 months ago

    We have some sliding windows but the doors are french doors and the rest of the windows are casement.

  • christianjennings
    last month

    Appreciate all of the prior posts - in the selection process now. We are looking at double hung Quaker Brighton, Kolbe forgent and Marvin elevate windows. Overwhelmed with info and would appreciate any input on those who have experience with any of above.

  • cberkery
    last month

    Following. I need the same info. Just starting our window search for a new construction job that will commence in 4-6 months bit we need to identify the windows for HOA approval!

  • Karen Parker
    last month

    It is overwhelming. My choice may not be anyone else's. My suggestion is to physically look at the styles you want from as many manufacturers as you can tolerate and get exact bids from 3 or 4. Then negotiate - if that is still a thing in the pandemic age of construction. And start EARLY!