What questions should I ask when replacing my windows?
The windows in your home provide light, views, a patch of warmth for the dog to nap in and a sense of movement as the breeze moves through the trees. From the outside, they offer a glimpse of your inner world, warm light on a winter night, music spilling out onto the lawn on a beautiful spring day and the kids waving as you head to work. Unfortunately, old or improperly installed windows can also leak heated or cooled air, along with your hard-earned utility bill money. They ruin your view with condensation and can ruin floors by leaking every time it rains.
Choosing windows to replace old windows or for new home construction is a major commitment. When you’re ready to tackle it, approach the process with confidence by asking these questions to find the right window company for you.
Top 5 Questions You Should Ask:
1. Why should I choose your company?
You’re entrusting your window company with a significant financial investment and you’re going to have to live with the result for years. First and foremost, find a company with a good reputation and ratings. A Better Business Bureau certification is a good indicator that a company stands by its work and is willing to resolve problems quickly and fairly. Check Angie’s List, Home Services Review and other consumer-driven rating systems, as well as looking for membership in trade associations, a sign that your prospective window company keeps up with trends and technology in the industry. Ask friends and neighbors whose opinions you trust for referrals.
A good contractor should offer a detailed bid with warranty options for the windows and the workmanship. No reputable company will ask for complete payment in advance of the job. Your city might require a permit for window replacement; your contractor should be willing to coordinate this.
2. How do you compare to the competition?
Choosing new windows means thousands of options with endless variations to consider, many of them technical details. Most of us don’t start out knowing a U-factor from an SHGC rate (the measures of how much heat can escape and how much heat from the sun is allowed in through a window). Your window contractor should be willing to explain these terms and offer clear comparisons of their products to the competitors’.
When deciding between window companies, keep in mind that it’s important to have the windows installed by the same company from which they were purchased. This can avert any problems with miscommunication or mistakes during the installation process that lead to frustration and wasted time.
3. What have you done in my neighborhood or close by?
4. Can you fit into my busy schedule?
Your window company should understand that life is busy. Taking a whole day off from work to wait for installers who arrive late is exasperating. Expect a firm commitment to a start time for your window installation. Ask for an explanation of the process, the duration of the job, how many technicians to expect, even a description of how loud or messy the job might be. No one can predict everything that might happen on a project, but being as prepared as possible will give you peace of mind.
5. Is your product the best fit for my needs? (Budget, design, etc)
Budget is the foremost aspect for most people when preparing for window replacement, but make sure you consider long-term cost effectiveness versus short-term savings. Differences in energy efficiency, varying maintenance needs and the durability and longevity of materials are all factors to take into account when choosing windows. Your sales representative should explain all the options and help you determine what best fits your needs and budget.
The factor most affecting the cost of new window is the material. Some window companies specialize in one type of window and guide you to that product when another would be more suitable to your needs. The contractor should have a wide range of products and their sales staff should have the knowledge to help you choose the best material for your home. Their experience with a variety of products means they get real-world feedback from clients about how their windows perform in different environments, so they can give you good recommendations for your situation.
That large variety of manufacturers and products can also indicate that the contractor builds good long-term relationships with their vendors. This can assure that you’ll be covered if your windows need warranty work or require replacement due to severe weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
Changing windows can transform your home, adding a subtle modern touch or complementing a traditional look. Finding a style that enhances your home can greatly impact its resale value. Hiring a good window company will allow you depend on their expertise to confidently choose from the innumerable options you will be presented with.