Shifting house foundations and age often lead to the appearance of gaps in windows, through which energy escapes the home. When energy efficiency starts to become a major issue, then it may be time to get your existing windows replaced. The question is: What makes for a successful window replacement? There’s no secret recipe; just careful planning and a willingness to go through the replacement process with care and patience.
It all starts with your consultation. The consultation is when you should ask your questions and express your wants and needs. Need more light? Have style preferences? Now is the time to discuss them. Do a walk-through of the areas where windows will need to be replaced, pointing out why you need them replaced, and the features you’d want the new windows to have.
In turn, your contractor will share any thoughts, misgivings, and challenges the project may run into or will offer up insightful suggestions you may want to consider. Open communication during the consultation itself is essential to getting the best value for your windows, as well as avoiding any misunderstandings. Ask questions like these:
- Do you have experience in projects similar to mine? Were any in the last year?
- The amount of familiarity and experience is an indication of how well they’d be able to finish the installation without any major setbacks.
- Will my project require a permit?
- Permit requirements vary from state to state. Local contractors will likely know the process in your area better, and more easily be able to obtain the permits needed.
- What types of insurance do you carry?
- The contractor should have personal liability insurance, worker’s compensation, as well as insurance against property damage. Ask for copies of the certificates and make sure that the insurance is current.
The Written Contract
Once you’ve agreed on the terms, make sure you have a signed contract that clearly states the contractor’s name and contact details, the duration of the project, the payment scheme, warranties, and a detailed list of the materials and the budget.
Some contractors custom-build the windows and fit them perfectly to your home. This is especially true of those who offer patented or proprietary products. Keep in mind that, depending on the specifications, manufacturing may take some time to be completed.
When your windows have been delivered, make sure that the right number of units as well as the right models/designs were delivered. Do another walk-through with the installer before the work begins to go over the plan one more time and work out any discrepancies. Everything needed should be on hand prior to the installation. Drop cloths should be laid out and furniture moved, if necessary, to protect your flooring and furnishings from any potential damage.
The Installation Process
The whole installation process itself — from the measurement, leveling, and anchoring, to the insulating and weather caulking of the replacement windows — is as critical as the choice of window itself is. High-performance windows can be rendered useless and inoperable if installed poorly. Check well beforehand that the people installing your windows are properly trained both by the contractor in meeting the standards, and by the manufacturer in dealing with their products.
Service does not end once the installation is complete and the last piece of debris has been swept away. In fact, service carries over to years beyond the installation itself, in case any problems should arise. Separate warranties for the materials used and the workmanship are the manufacturer’s and contractor’s testament to the long-lasting quality of the windows they provide for your home. Read the all your warranty terms carefully to ensure you don’t void them inadvertently.
Alex Esler works as a Marketing Manager for Renewal by Andersen, the window replacement subsidiary of Andersen Corporation, a company that has revolutionized the window and door business for over 110 years. Their local, family owned offices in Southern New England, Greater Philadelphia and Colorado make up the largest replacement window company in a network of 100 Renewal by Andersen Dealers. Always eager to help and known to maintain a positive outlook in life, Alex remains driven and inspired by her work and the causes she cares about.