As some of the most important parts of a home, windows provide excellent ventilation, let in natural light, contribute to curb appeal, and enhance the outdoor viewing experience. Eventually, however, even the most durable and well-maintained window might start to give in to the harsh effects of the elements. When your units begin letting in drafts and you notice signs of deterioration, such as cracks, peeling paint, and rot, then it’s time for window replacement.
Installing new windows for your home, however, is an investment that should not be taken lightly. As a homeowner, you want to make sure that the installation is done correctly and that your new units will last you for years to come. So how do you make sure you’ll get the best value for your remodeling dollars? Here are the key factors you should keep in mind to ensure successful window installation:
- Preparing Your Home and Family
While you have your contractor to do all the work, you, as a homeowner, should still know and understand the basic window installation procedure, allowing you to know what to expect and prepare accordingly. To make the installation process as fast and smoothly as possible, here are some preparation measures to keep in mind:
- Schedule the job at a convenient time – When planning your project, think about your daily routine and how it includes the parts of your home to be worked on. Be sure to prepare yourself for a break in that routine for the duration of your upgrade, even going so far as to plan for accommodations for a couple of days, depending on how many windows you are having installed. Don’t hesitate to consult your contractor about the ideal time to start your project.
- Prepare the installation area – Your window contractor will prep the work area and protect your belongings from debris but you can do your own preparations by moving what you can out of the way.
- Allow for ample access – The installation crew will need easy access to the windows themselves. Therefore, be sure to keep the pathways completely clear of obstacles, including ensuring small children and pets don’t get into the work area.
KNOWING WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The success of your window replacement mostly depends on the contractor you hire. Make sure they operate locally, and are experienced, licensed, and highly skilled
- Hiring a Trusted Window Contractor
Many homeowners succeed in choosing the best windows for their home but fail in terms of choosing a contractor to install them. The result? Inefficient windows and wasted remodeling effort. That’s why it’s extremely vital to take your time in selecting a trusted contractor. You will have many options so choosing just one can get overwhelming but you can simplify the process by looking for these specific traits:
- Licensed and Insured – First things first, ask about licenses and insurance policies. A license is necessary because it means that a window contractor has met requirements to do business in your state while insurance coverage is critical because it protects you against liabilities should anything untoward happen during the installation.
- Locally Operated – A local contractor is familiar with your area’s climate and environment, allowing them to offer the best options for you. They are also aware of the building codes and can help you process necessary permits to get the job done quickly.
- Experienced – When contractors have years of experience specializing in a specific field, this speaks to the quality of work they perform. If you want the best in window installation then, make sure you’re working with a reputable window expert.
- Has a Skilled Crew – Subcontracting isn’t necessarily bad but a window installer with its own team has better control over quality, giving you a better assurance that your replacement project will go off without a hitch. To get a quick grasp of how their installation team works, check a window contractor’s certifications and awards.
- Using High-Quality Materials
Though all windows need to be replaced at one point, you can enjoy excellent longevity for your new windows by using only high-quality materials, especially on the frames. If you’re going to spend on window replacements today, you don’t want to spend that same amount again just a few years later. Investing in high-quality replacement units today will go a long way in saving you money in the future.
FIBREX MATERIAL: More and more homeowners are choosing Fibrex®, a composite material that combines the beauty and strength of real wood with the low maintenance requirements of vinyl.
It’s easy to say the frame is the most fundamental part of your windows. Why? It supports the entire structure and gives shape to your units while having a hand in the window’s insulation. It’s only fitting then that you choose a quality material that can further reinforce your frame’s function. There are many materials available to you, including vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and composite (or Fibrex). Before deciding on which material to use, be sure to do your research to know which option best suits your needs.
- Choosing Energy-Efficient Units
If you’re thinking about replacing your old windows, take this opportunity to upgrade and get energy-efficient replacements. Nowadays, there are so many energy-efficient windows to choose from and they are available in many styles, colors, and sizes, allowing you to pick out something that will suit your preferences exactly.
IT’S ALL IN THE GLASS: Go for glass packages specifically designed for energy efficiency when choosing replacement windows.
To make sure you’re choosing a real energy-saving unit, take a look at its glass package. The energy efficiency of windows rely heavily on the type of glass used. Energy-efficient windows usually multi-pane designs for increased protection against energy loss, low-emissivity (low-E) coatings to filter out heat without impeding natural light, gas fillings for enhanced insulation, and weatherproofing for additional protection against moisture. Quick tip: look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Certified windows mean the replacements met standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Learning about Warranties
WARRANTY COVERAGE: Warranties offer protection when material or workmanship defects get in the way of ideal window performance.
When installing new windows, you want to make sure they come with strong warranties. Reading through these documents can be a tricky process, as there can be lots of exceptions and loopholes, but you need to completely understand how these warranties work. The first thing you need to know is, not all replacement window warranties are the same. They differ on what they cover, how long their validity is, and how homeowners can keep them valid.
Essentially, there are two types of warranties you need to make sure your new windows possess—material and workmanship warranties. Material warranties typically cover issues on the frame, glass package, hardware, accessories, and other physical parts of your windows. Workmanship warranties, on the other hand, mainly take care of concerns with the installation work.
Replacing your old windows is serious business. It can be a significant investment so you’re going to want to make the most of it. Fortunately, you can ensure this by knowing the process, working with the right people, using the right products, and learning about warranties. Take note of the factors key to successful window installation and you can’t go wrong.
Michelle Lamb is the marketing department leader of Renewal by Andersen, the replacement window division of Andersen Corporation. She is a member of executive leadership team, responsible for marketing, sales and customer experience leadership for in-home sales organization.