Choosing a Window Installer
What to expect when talking to vinyl
window installation companies.
Goto Window Pictures
This is the
most important step. If you don't know someone with 100%
positive feedback about their window
installer, send me an e-mail and I can refer you to
Most window installers prefer to
work with a particular brand of vinyl window and window
hardware, and they will install those windows in the way that
they prefer. For example, some of the companies interviewed
worked exclusively with Anderson Windows. Others swore by
Milguard Windows. Still others put their
reputation on Simonton Windows, or others.
Being a consumer, and not in that
business, there's now way for me to know if one window is
really any better than the other, or if there is a financial
incentive, or what the reason any particular window installer
will use only one manufacturer. Each window installer will
insist that his manufacturers windows and hardware are the
So far as which manufacturer any
installer uses, the most important thing is the reputation of
the installer. If the window installation company has been
around for a good long time, if they stand by their
installation and product warranty, if they are responsive to
problems after the installation, then which manufacturers
product they use is secondary.
Obviously there's no way to know if
a window installation company is responsive to problems 1 year,
2 years, 10 years down the line, that's where word of mouth
referrals come in. Any legitimate window installation company
relies heavily on word of mouth advertising.
Warranty is obviously something to
be considered. Not just that, but who actually warrantees the
product? Manufacturers all offer X number of years warranty
against problems in their product. And all installation
companies will offer a warranty on their installation work. But
who do you call if you see condensation inside your double pane
windows after 5 years into a 10 year warranty?
This is something you will want to
consider. An honest sales rep will tell you, that the warranty
is with the manufacturer. But in the event of a problem, a good
installer will stand by their manufacturer and try to handle
everything so that you don't need to jump the hoops a
manufacturer would require you to jump through. Again, this is
where the installer relies on word of mouth advertising -
keeping happy customers happy, and making new customers.
Next thing to consider are the
options that most window installers will offer. Double pane
windows help insulate your home by slowing the transfer of heat
or cold from the outside to the inside. The gap between the
panes acts as an insulator. The lowest cost options are windows
with plain old air in between the panes.
Plain old air in between the panes
works well, but double pane windows can work even better.
Gasses such as Argon can be manufactured into the windows,
between the panes, replacing the plain old air. Argon conducts
heat much more slowly than plain old air, so this option
insulates the home better. Obviously there is additional cost
involved, and that is something you will have to factor into
you cost / benefit / budget considerations.
Tinting too is an option. Tinting,
not in the sense of automotive window tinting, but more
scientific formulas that reflect much of the solar radiation
that heats the home in the summer. These tinting options do
very little to reduce the visible light coming into your home,
or darken your view of the local scenery, but they do an
extraordinary job of blocking the heat causing solar light from
entering the home.
In addition to the insulating
properties of the tinting, they offer greater privacy, since it
is much harder for anyone to see inside a home having the low-e
tinting. Not only do low-e tinted windows offer better
insulation and better privacy, but the insulating options can
qualify for rebates from your energy provider, and tax breaks
from local and federal governments - that aint bad.
Unlike the previous issues
concerning which manufacturer a window installer might prefer,
or which installation option they use, these options are
available from all installers, and probably are not a
consideration when choosing a particular installer. Only the
additional cost of these options quoted by any window installer
should be of any consideration.
One last consideration - don't
interview window installers with the intent of finding the
lowest cost bid. Any scheister can come along and offer an
unbelievable price. We've all heard horror stories of
contractors that take the money and don't do the job. Or they
rush the job to meet the buds at the bar to watch the game.
If you haven't got a referral for a
friend or family, then consider this technique - toss out the
high bid, toss out the low bid, make a choice between the
remaining bids. This medium is where you should find a majority
of bids, and you can feel safe that you're not over paying, and
you're not under paying a - too good to be true -
A few last things - Don't forget to
ask for a deadbolt lock for all sliding glass doors. They add
only a few dollars to cost, extra security for when you're
away, and your window installer will install this piece of
window hardware for you - handyman or not, you've got better
projects to do around the house, so don't forget to specify all
sliding glass doors are to be deadbolted.
Choosing a window
installer - conclusion:
Above all, be comfortable with your
window installation company. Evaluate your conversation with
the sales rep. Does he or she let you finish a question before
giving and anticipated answer? Is there any language barrier
with this person that could result in misinterpretation? Do
they seem honest or more of a smooth operator? Do some research
with your local commerce departments, and trust any referring
If you've asked friends and family
for a referral, give a strong preference to that company.
Forget about finding the lowest bid - you get what you pay for.
Don't pay to get yourself gypped! They'll only laugh at you
instead of sympathizing with you.
Don't worry too much about the
manufacturer, worry more about the warranty length, and who
services the warranty Whether you go with Anderson Windows,
Milguard Windows, or Simonton Windows, if your window installer
is in business for the long haul, you'll do just fine with
Nice new vinyl windows:
Window screen View outside Top
If you are located in service area
of northern california - san jose - santa clara county - sonoma
county - san francisco - oakland - sacramento etc, and would
like a referral, send me an email and you'll get contact
information, nothing more - I solemnly pledge NEVER to spam you
or sell your email address to anyone. Double pane vinyl
windows. Window installer.