Your home’s windows perform several essential functions, like keeping out the weather, bringing natural light into your home, and they play a crucial role in its overall style and curb appeal. If your windows are broken, bent, or drafty, it might be time to replace them.
Replacing your windows can be a significant investment. You not only need to choose the right quality window to match your climate and style of your home, but it’s critical to find an experienced professional window installer.
The most expensive well-built window, installed improperly, won’t work, won’t last, and will not look as good as they should. Improper window installation can void the window’s Energy Star rating and end up increasing your energy use instead of improving energy efficiency.
So how do you choose the right window installer with the skills, experience, and knowledge to do the job? Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice!
Look For Experience and Longevity
There are plenty of window installers around, so when vetting companies, look for one that has been in business for at least five years. If a company has a long track record, it shows that they probably provide quality installation.
With a strong economy, there’s a lot of competition for window installers, and many without skills or a track record are entering the business. The result can make for shoddy work, so only consider working with an established company.
Research the Crew, Not Just the Company
The increased demand for window installation has not only created new, inexperienced installers, but it’s also caused established companies to hire to meet the demand. Some hires might not have the experience needed to do quality work.
It doesn’t matter if the company owner has been in the business for 20 years if he’s not the one doing the work. Ask about the experience of the crew. Poor installation can result in problems down the road like cracked or warped frames, broken seals, and air gaps, so do your due diligence!
Look for Manufacturers Certification
Most major manufacturers recommend installers that have been trained and certified by the company to work with their products. Using the same company for both the purchase and installation of your windows can provide accountability later if there’s a problem. Look for the American Window and Door Institute certification.
Do Your Due Diligence
Even if your contractor has the experience, a quality crew, and is certified, you should still ask for and check references. Read Google and Yelp reviews, and check the Better Business Bureau’s website for ratings and comments. This is true for companies that are recommended by family and friends, as well as companies you find on services like Angie’s List.
Ask for the full business name, how long they’ve been in business, and proof of insurance, bonding, and licensing. Also, ask if they warranty their work and ask to see a copy of their warranty.
Focus On The Details
Before you hire anyone, get at least three competing bids and focus on the details. Make sure the proposals include specifics like the window brand, number of replacement windows, the size and type, plus any additional features.
Look for installation details like how the windows will be sealed and insulated. Make sure they’ve broken out labor and materials costs. If you want to paint the frames, make sure they specify using an acrylic latex caulk, not silicone.
Make Sure You Feel Comfortable With Your Contractor
If any potential contractor you’re vetting is giving you the hard sell, trying to upsell you without explaining why, avoids answering questions about timelines and their process, or will not provide references, walk away. A quality installer will tell you when your project will start, how long it will take, and will happily explain their process.
It’s best if your window installer replaces each window as it’s removed rather than pulling out all the windows at once. Make sure that they measure and order the proper windows, and that they are on-site before they begin ripping out the old windows. If there is a problem or a backlog at the factory, you don’t want to be left with plywood covered holes in your house for days or weeks.
The bottom line is, do your research, look for experience, knowledge, and honest upfront communication. Check off the boxes when vetting potential contractors and give yourself some time to go through the process. Get multiple bids and check reviews, references, and professional certifications.
Your home is a major investment. Proper installation of your replacement windows will keep your home safe and weather tight, improve its energy efficiency, and up its curb appeal and value.