Protect your investment and your home by making an educated choice on a window retailer and installer for your replacement window and door project.
When you think it’s time to replace your windows or doors, choosing a reputable and knowledgeable retailer to work with you on ordering and installation can be unfamiliar territory. Bigger companies advertise and appear in your Google searches, but you might wonder if they are affordable and above board with their terms and rates. You’ll also come across small companies or independent contractors, but without reviews to rely on, you might wonder if they are experienced enough to carry out the job.
The bottom line is this—the selection and installation of your replacement windows can be just as important as the quality of the windows themselves, and choosing the right window retailer is critical to protecting the investment you’re making in replacing the windows and doors in your home.
Here are the five most important questions you should ask before starting a replacement project in your home:
How long have you been in business?
Longevity in business is often a good sign, and a company or a professional who has a long track record of successful installation of window and door products means they know the industry and are more likely to be up-to-date on best practices. Exterior renovation contractors that regularly do roofing, siding and windows, for example, will understand the importance of weathertight installation. A company that generally does kitchen remodels, but also dabbles in window installation, is probably not your safest bet.
Though choosing windows and doors from a big box store might seem convenient, these stores don’t focus on windows and doors, can lack expertise, and might not be able to provide the specialization or customization options you want.
Why should I replace my windows? What benefits will I see that I don’t have today?
An experienced window retailer should be able to walk you through examples of how replacement windows will benefit you in the long run. Based on your home’s location, its age, the makeup of your current windows and what issues you’re hoping to address, they should help you compare materials and discuss other benefits like improved energy efficiency, increased curb appeal and home value, ease of cleaning, noise reduction, durability in weather conditions, and enhanced safety and home automation.
What is included in my estimate—are there potential unexpected costs I should be aware of?
No one wants to be surprised with bills for additional services or upgrades after a job is done. Ask about everything that’s included in the estimate a company will provide, and what is additional. For example, some dealers or contractors will haul away and dispose of your existing windows at no charge, others will leave them at your home for you to discard. Some companies may add pressure through limited-time offers. If this is their tactic, consider what they are gaining by encouraging a quick sign-off on your order. Asking for full transparency, including information about the payment schedule, will help you avoid unexpected work or unplanned costs.
How will you ensure minimal disruption to my home during the replacement process?
Ask how long the process will take from start to finish, how often you’ll have workers in your home, and whether you’ll need to make preparations for them to do their work efficiently. Ask them what measures they take to protect your flooring and furniture, and confirm that there will be daily cleanup of the property—especially if the work will take several days.
Ensure you understand lead times that various manufacturers need to fulfill your order once placed. Weather and other factors can sometimes affect the ability to install the windows, but if you’d like your project to be complete by a certain date, ask if you can agree upon a “no later than” date in your contract.
If I’m not happy with the installation or I have questions after the product has been installed, how will you handle my inquiry?
If you’re working with a reputable retailer, they’ll likely have a process in place to manage questions or complaints during or after a job. When working with a smaller company, it will be important to know that they will stand behind their work and that they will be easy to reach should issues arise, even months after installation. Make sure you understand the types of issues that would be the retailer’s responsibility to resolve (installation-related) versus where you might have to contact the manufacturer about their product warranty.
The Better Business Bureau and other local review sites are a good place to check if complaints have been filed or if disputes have gone unresolved.
When you’re ready to start your window and door replacement project, JB Sash & Door is your local resource. The team of professionally trained window and door experts can help you with the entire process, guiding you through decisions and installation with ease to help take the pain out of updating your home.
This blog originally ran as an article in Boston Magazine as a paid partnership.