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Community and Q&A

Alternative Source for Windows and Doors

tylertervooren | Posted in General Questions on

Given the extremely high prices of high quality / energy efficient building materials in the US, I’m wondering if anyone has ever successfully shopped for things like doors or windows on Alibaba.

I’ve been looking for a new garage door recently and thought, “Hey, I wonder if they sell this stuff on Alibaba?”

And, yep, they do. Fancy garage doors. Triple pane casement windows, every type of door you can imagine.

Of course, Alibaba is not at all designed for homeowners to make one-off purchases, and buying factory direct from overseas is probably a good way to get burned. But considering the possible savings, perhaps it deserves a look.

Anyone ever gone this route? Or even considered/researched it? What did you learn?

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  1. Justice3434 | | #1

    Hi @tylertervooren I am sorry I do not have an answer to your question but I am wondering the same question. Did you end up purchasing a door from Alibaba? I'd love to hear how it went for you if you did. Thanks.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #2


      Just be careful you don't run into code compliance problems buying windows that aren't tested to the appropriate standards.

      1. Justice3434 | | #7

        Thank you.

    2. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #3

      I think you'd have major headaches if you ever need any warranty work done on windows sourced this way. Malcolm has a good point about code compliance too -- if these windows are tested/certified at all, it's entirely possible they are certified to comply with a spec for some other country or region, and won't be acceptable for use in North American regions.


      1. Justice3434 | | #6

        Thank you.

  2. Tim_O | | #4

    When you make a large purchase on Alibaba/Aliexpress, they don't always do all the customs stuff for you. You may be picking your garage door up from your nearest seaport yourself. Broker prices can add quite a bit to the listed prices.

    1. Justice3434 | | #5

      Thanks for your response. This is something I should look in to. I live in Seattle so that could be helpful but again, something to look in to. Thanks!

  3. DC_Contrarian_ | | #8

    I need to buy something on Ali Baba just for the experience. The prices seem too good to be true. There seem to be a fair number of stories on the web of people who buy big ticket items and it works out OK for them, not completely hassle-free but not a ripoff either. I haven't seen stories of outright fraud.

    I'm not sure I'd start with windows though. As others have noted they have unique demands.

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #9

      I haven't heard of issues with fraud, either, but I have heard of issues with import restrictions. You could potentially buy something that wouldn't be allowed into the country (this has happened with some electronic items due to intellectual property theft and resultant enforcement actions). If the customs people block your item, you can't really do much about it, and may never see a refund from the seller.

      I had some seeds I ordered some years back from a vendor in Ukraine, and the guy didn't fill out the customes declaration form properly, so what I received was an envelope with a letter in it stating that the seeds had been confiscated due to incomplete customs paperwork. Agricultral products, such as seeds, are subject to a lot of restrictions to try to keep out things like pests and invasive species. In my case, it was heirloom basil seeds, and only a few dollars. If you ordered a bunch of windows, you'd potentially be out a lot more.

      You can call the customs people and ask about things like this, they'll know about import duties and potential restrictions you may have to deal with.


  4. AdamT | | #10

    If you're up to it, you can buy Insulated Glass Units (IGUs) from glass fabricators at greatly reduced prices compared to full windows. An IGU is the window less the frame, which you can site build. I'll attach instructions for this from one IGU supplier and here's another supplier's link that lets you spec and price IGUs:

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