How to Buy Replacement Windows with Confidence
When a home gets over 20 years old, the time to replace windows will probably have
arrived. A daunting task, to be sure, here are some tips that might help. New
windows can really improve the look of an older home while also
improving energy efficiency.
First you have to decide which windows you want to replace - all of them or just a few.
Next you need to factor in the time of the year. This is the type of project that will take several days and your
home may be exposed to the elements.
several replacement-window vendors/installers. It's always a good idea to get bids from 3-5 vendors and always let
them know that you are getting other bids.
Some types of windows, such as vinyl and aluminum-clad do not require painting and have low maintenance.
various window types the vendors offer (wood, vinyl-clad,
aluminum-clad) and the merits and costs of each.
Think about the
energy-efficiency options, such as standard insulated glass, low-e glass
and so forth, offered by the vendors. Think about low-e and other
high-tech energy-saving options in the context of the estimated
savings on your heating and cooling bills. Ask yourself: Do the expected savings
justify the extra cost?
Ask your vendors/bidders for references. Check each reference. Naturally you'll probably only get references where the
vendor knows a good reference will be given, but you never know. Ask the references: Were past
customers happy with the work done? Was the work completed in a
timely manner? Have they had any problems since the installation?
Did the contractor leave the site in a clean and undamaged
condition? Does the contractor have his workers on workers compensation (if not, you will be liable if one of them
gets injured on your property)?
Then choose a
vendor/installer based upon price, window type, references, liability risks to you and
Make sure that
the vendor/installer offers a guarantee(s). Sign a contract for the
work, as you always want to have something in writing. Never prepay the order.
If ordering the windows separately from a vendor, make sure
that the installer has signed off on the list to verify that the
windows specified are correct.
Make sure that
the installer is properly insured. Don't just take their word for it. Get a valid certificate of
insurance from the contractor's insurance company before you pay any money or before
the work begins.
A Few Extra Tips:
TWO MOST COMMON TYPES: The
two most common types of windows are CASEMENT AND DOUBLE HUNG. Casement windows are typically
operated with a crank and open like a door.
Double-hung windows have bottom and top sashes that slide up and
down to open or close the window.
windows consist of a single pane of glass per sash, over which a wood or plastic grille is placed. Insulated windows
will have two panes of glass.
true 'divided lite' window has a built-in frame (instead of the
grille) with separate panes of glass in each segment. True divided
lite windows are typically two to four times the cost of standard
Be Careful Of:
installer will undoubtedly insist on a substantial deposit. Always
try to negotiate the smallest possible up-front payment and a
schedule that matches the pace of work and material deliveries. Never, never, never prepay the full amount.
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