According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value report for 2017, upscale window replacements – either vinyl or wood – will net you a positive recovery value if you ever decide to sell your home. If you’re considering swapping out your old windows for some new ones this year, then, you have quite a lot to look forward to.
But even if you’re not thinking of putting your home on the housing market, a window replacement can still give your home for a plethora of advantages. Energy efficiency enhanced aesthetic appeal, and better protection from the elements are just some of them.
To make sure that you get your money’s worth, however, planning must be precise and execution must be excellent. Here are some tips towards ensuring both.
Finding the Right Contractor
Your choice of window contractor is a major factor in the success of your window renovation project. The right professional can yield the promise of such a remodel, while the wrong one will not only waste your time and money, he may also put your home in danger. Fortunately, there are certain characteristics that are inherent in a good choice. These are:
- Extensive industry experience. Choosing a window professional who has gained years of experience in the industry is always better than going with someone who’s only just ventured into window installations and replacements. This is because years of doing the same work will equip an installer with the firsthand knowledge he needs to make sure that he can and will deliver successful results. In addition, a trained eye can spot potential issues before they develop – and be able to see the bigger picture more clearly as well. To choose an experienced window professional, ask for a copy of their portfolio and try to talk to as many previous customers as you can.
- Proven reputation. Being experienced pales in comparison to being an experienced solid contractor. A good reputation is always a good starting ground for assuring yourself that you are not about to face disappointment when you commit to a contractor. A good name also speaks for everything a window replacement professional should have: credentials, great product offers, dedication to the job, and a commitment to meet your expectations.
- Great customer service. Lastly, make sure that your chosen contractor knows how to get the job done and keep you happy. To verify this, schedule a free consultation with your contractor and talk about your project. Ask for insights and recommendations that can speed up the progress of the project, while keeping within sight of your objectives. These will give you a clearer look into the depth of their knowledge, and capacity to harness it for your project.
Understanding Your Warranty
Different contractors offer different warranties, and some are better than others. Some replacement window contractors do not even offer a warranty! When commissioning a window project, be it an installation or a replacement, your warranty is what will ensure that you get a gift that keeps on giving – especially exactly when you need it to.
A good understanding of what your warranty offers is a good measure of whether you will get the coverage and support that you need after the products have been installed. Remember these factors:
Length of coverage. Some warranties cover longer than others. Look for warranties that provide at least ten years of support and coverage.
Type. There are full warranties, and then there are limited warranties. Full warranties are much more stringent and should meet the following five criteria:
- In the event of a complaint, the customer receives full money back or replacement or repair of any defective part of product
- Free and immediate repairs
- If repairs are not fully satisfactory, the full amount is immediately available for refund
- The customer has no responsibility beyond reporting the defect to the company
- Acknowledgment of all implied warranties
Limited warranties, on the other hand, limit the liability of the manufacturer or service provider. Such a warranty may cover the replacement of defective parts free for a limited length of time, or require that the consumer ship the product to a manufacturer-approved service center.
Since distinctions between the two types of warranties can vary from state to state, the consumer must carefully read the literature and understand what is covered before the purchase.
Inclusions. Specifics also vary in warranties. Labor, at the very least, is something you should look for in an offered warranty program as this will help you make certain that you will not spend any more than you should, should the occasion ever arise.
Not all warranties are created the same. To choose the best one for your needs, always look at the length of coverage, type of coverage, and the set inclusions.
Choosing Your Materials
Finally, your choice of window materials will determine the satisfaction you will get from the project. There are several options you can choose from, including:
- Wood is among the most popular options for windows, and for good reason. The material – in the right conditions – can be energy efficient, looks great for almost any type of home, and comes in various shapes, colors, and sizes to fit your needs. However, it can easily rot, break down, or otherwise get damaged when subjected to temperature extremes.
- Vinyl is also another top choice for homeowners who want windows that will effortlessly match their aesthetic needs. Some types of vinyl can also be engineered to take on the appearance of real wood, at a more affordable price. Like wood, though, vinyl can warp and disintegrate under constant heat, and it doesn’t hold up to moisture well.
- Fibrex, on the other hand, combines the best of both wood and vinyl, without the inherent disadvantages. It is available in several styles and profiles to boost your home’s curb appeal, for starters. It also limits unwanted and unnecessary heat transfer, which can positively impact your energy bills, no matter the season. And it is virtually impervious to damage; in fact, some Fibrex windows are warranted to never corrode, break, blister, or fade.
Your choice of window material will determine the satisfaction you will get from the project. Choose one that best corresponds to your home’s specific needs, your region’s weather conditions, and your own aesthetic goals.
Similarly, there are different styles that you can opt for. These include single and double-hung windows, casement windows, bow and bay windows, and even specialty windows. Additionally, there are accessories that you can invest in to boost your window’s attractiveness or energy efficiencies, such as grilles and insulated glass.
Remember, when choosing your material and style, it is best to consider your: 1.) home’s specific needs, 2.) your region’s weather conditions, and 3.) your personal aesthetic goals.
As the president and general manager of Renewal by Andersen® of Los Angeles, Lance Schepps is committed to helping clients make their homes more energy efficient, comfortable, and beautiful. He believes that the first step to achieving these goals is to help homeowners make smart window replacement decisions. Check out the company blog for more of Lance’s tips, industry news and company updates.