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The old windows in your home could be causing you more trouble than you might imagine. If they are often drafty around the edges, the spaces between panes fog up and their sashes have become difficult to open, it may be time for new windows. Window replacement doesn’t only help beautify the home, it also helps cut down on annual heating and cooling bills. Newer windows come with advanced features, such as insulated frames and coated glass, which allow homeowners to enjoy a more comfortable home without relying too much on their utility systems.
WINDOW REPLACEMENT SUCCESS: There are a lot of things you should consider to ensure the success of your window replacement project. Consulting a professional is a great way to start.
If you’re thinking about getting rid of your drafty windows and installing newer units, you’re on the right track. However, how can you really ensure the success of your window replacement, especially if it’s your first time undertaking such an upgrade?
What defines a successful replacement in the first place? Is it when you find products that suit your needs without your having to overspend? Is it encountering zero delays? Or is it going through the entire process with minimal disruption to your daily routine? In theory, the answer should be ‘yes’ to all these questions. In reality, however, only time will tell if your project can indeed be considered a success.
To make sure you’re making smart decisions throughout your project, it’s important to follow certain tips. Here are some of the most useful:
Tip #1: Find the Right Window Style For Your Needs
No window replacement project can be complete unless it adds something special to the appearance of both your home’s interior and exterior. Choosing the right window style depends on numerous factors, most importantly, your specific architectural style. A mismatch between your windows and home’s design can ruin your curb appeal, which is why you should pay attention to your home’s architecture before finalizing your decision.
For instance, most traditional homes, such as Victorian and Colonial homes, come with equally traditional windows, such as double hungs, casements, and bays and bows. Elaborate grills and designs are emblematic of these homes because they help accentuate their old world charm.
Large and minimalistic windows, on the other hand, are iconic symbols of contemporary homes. Picture windows and sliding windows are popular choices for these structures due to their expansive glass and thin frames.
If none of these windows suits your personal taste, you can always opt for uniquely shaped specialty windows. These units can be customized according to your specific needs and preferences. From round- to octagon-shaped windows, there is a specialty window that is bound to suit your home perfectly.
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN: You need to consider a lot of things when choosing the right window style, and your home’s architectural design is one of the most important factors.
Before making a decision, though, it’s important to discuss your options with a qualified professional. Expert contractors have the knowledge and expertise necessary to determine the ideal window styles for your needs.
Tip #2: Take Advantage of Promos and Special Offers
It’s no secret that window replacement is one of the costliest home improvement projects you can tackle. In fact, according to the latest Cost vs. Value report (2018), an upscale window replacement project can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $19,000. Because of this, it’s important for homeowners to take advantage of promos and special offers provided by window contractors.
Local Renewal by Andersen® companies, for instance, offer different promos every month or season. Some states also offer rebates through energy-incentive programs when you install energy-efficient or ENERGY STAR®-certified replacement units. Make sure to talk to your trusted local contractor and ask about the promotions they offer before purchasing new replacement windows in order to maximize your investment.
Tip #3: Educate Yourself About Financing Options
Unlike most cosmetic upgrades, such as refacing kitchen cabinets or repainting the home’s interior and exterior, window replacement projects can help pay for themselves over time through energy savings. However, it’s important to understand that there could be significant costs before you can start enjoying the long-term benefits of your new windows.
UNDERSTANDING WARRANTIES: Not all window replacement contractors offer warranties for their products and services. Talk to your contractor first to better understand your coverage.
Generally, you have five options when paying for your window replacement project:
- Through a Window Dealer (or Contractor) – To cover the costs of your new windows, many window dealers or contractors provide direct lines of credit through the manufacturer. If the contractor you hire works directly with their own installers and doesn’t hire subcontractors, they may also cover the costs of installation.
- Using a Home Equity Loan or Refinancing Your Mortgage – You might be able to refinance and release money for your home upgrades if you have established a good payment history through your mortgage. It’s also possible to ask your lender for an equity line of credit, which you can use to finance your window project.
- Using Existing Credit Cards – Many lenders offer credit cards with 0% interest rates for at least six to eight months. If you’re only planning to replace a few windows and you can settle your balance during the introductory term, you can avoid finance charges for your upgrade. Keep in mind, though, that payments depend on your monthly balance, and once the introductory term expires, chances are, interest charges will drive up your balance quickly.
- Using a Personal Loan – An unsecured loan offered through your bank or credit union is usually a great way to pay for smaller home improvements.
- Applying for Government Loans – The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Title 1 loans offer as much as $25,000 for single-home families who plan to invest in upgrades. They also run a special program known as the FHA PowerSaver Home Energy Retrofit Loan Pilot Program for projects aimed at improving a home’s energy efficiency, like window replacement.
Tip #4: Discuss Window Warranties With Your Contractor
Ignorance is the root of headaches and is the greatest cause of stress in any home improvement project. While upgrading your windows can be pretty overwhelming, the load gets lighter if you learn how the important things work. For example, not all homeowners consider the warranty of their windows when purchasing new units. Warranties are important because they help protect you from unwanted costs should a material defect or an installation mistake cause your windows to perform poorly.
Generally, there are two types of window warranties: material and labor warranties. Material warranties cover any defect on the product itself—typically caused by manufacturing errors. Labor warranties, on the other hand, cover problems caused by poor workmanship or installation. Before making that big purchase, take the time to discuss warranty options with your contractor. Not all contractors offer the same warranties—some don’t even offer warranties at all—so be sure you are clear on this before buying your new windows.
Replacing your windows reflects a considerable investment in time, money and effort. Of course, you want to make sure every aspect of the project flows smoothly. This involves planning things carefully and thoroughly. To make sound choices for your upgrade, be sure to follow these tips and do your research before making any decisions. You’ll also want a qualified, experienced contractor by your side to guide you through every step of your window replacement.
Sam Heer is the owner and president of Renewal by Andersen of Central Illinois and was the general manager for Renewal by Andersen from 2003 to 2009. A graduate of Washington University, he used his skills and knowledge to thrive in the home improvement industry. Throughout his vast professional experience, he has worked with well-known retailers and industrial suppliers, such as Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Sears and Grainger. Subscribe to Renewal by Andersen of Central Illinois’ blog to get regular updates from Sam regarding a range of home improvement topics, most especially window and door replacement.