One of the best home improvement projects you can tackle is window replacement. New windows can vastly improve your home’s curb appeal. In many cases, a home looks new and more up-to-date when the windows are replaced.
New and better windows don’t just boost your home’s attractiveness, they also improve its functionality and comfort. If you get good, energy-efficient windows, you can enjoy a more comfortable home while also lowering your energy bills.
In some areas, you might even qualify for tax rebates when you reduce your home’s carbon footprint by installing energy-efficient windows and other components. But how do you know if you’re hiring the right window or remodeling company for the job? Here are some tips.
Learn About the Products
If you buy cheap windows off the shelf, you can’t expect them to last long or to perform well. They are highly unlikely to be energy-efficient, strong or even beautiful. What you really need are windows that can last for up to 30 years, perhaps longer. Cheap windows are not high-quality, so you can probably expect them to last a maximum of five years before problems start presenting themselves.
Of what kind of material do you want your windows to be made? Popular options include wood, fiberglass and vinyl. Each material comes with its pros and cons, so be sure to do some research into what you truly want, what you can live with and what you definitely need.
Some window manufacturers like Pella® and ProVia® are known for manufacturing some of the best windows in terms of longevity, beauty, reliability and energy efficiency. Cheap window brands and knockoffs cannot match the qualities of known and trusted brands.
Whether you’re remodeling or building a new home, it’s important to understand the components you’re buying to prevent regrets in the long term. For windows, here are some of the components you should desire:
Solid warranties: Transferable warranties can be used to raise your asking price if you ever sell your home
High energy efficiency: ENERGY STAR®-rated products are typically your best option
Multiple panes of low-E (low emissivity) glass with an inert gas fill like argon
Great security features
Low seal failure rates
Available in the styles you want, with customization possibilities
Look for Certifications
Certifications are given by window manufacturers to professionals that meet their criteria and requirements. For example, contractors certified by the manufacturer of the products they carry is more experienced and will use the right tools, equipment and methods when installing the product. Such contractors are what you want as they will not do anything that might lead them to lose their certification.
Certified contractors are also subject to random inspections by representatives of the product manufacturer. Sometimes, a representative has to inspect the work when it’s done to ensure that the contractor adhered to the manufacturer’s standards and to assure the homeowner that their new windows were installed properly.
Learn About Prices
A huge part of your home improvement project is the budget, so it’s important to look for a window installer and products that match what you can afford. Note, however, that cheaper doesn’t mean better. If you want cheap, you can simply buy windows off the shelf and call it a day. But remember that you get what you pay for, so you are likely to end up replacing those windows again in a few years, which means you didn’t save much after all.
A good way to determine what you can and can’t afford is to ask several contractors for quotes. Three contractors should be good. If you think a contractor gave you a quote that’s too good to be true, that should raise some red flags in your head. Good windows installed by professionals are not exactly peanuts, so you should trust someone with a more reasonable and realistic estimate.
One more thing: you can’t trust window contractors that send you a quote before they see your home and make some measurements. Professional window contractors send representatives to make measurements, ask a few questions and find out what you need as far as design is concerned. They will also discuss your budget so they can come up with an offer that you can realistically afford without compromising the project’s quality.
Get a Feel of How They Work
This is about customer service. If you’re uncomfortable with someone, you won’t enjoy working with them. You can get a feel of what it’s like to work with a contractor when you talk to them on the phone and then when they visit you for the measurements and a discussion of your project.
You want someone who’s not only respectful of you, but of your family and your property, as well. And, you also want your selected contractors to be knowledgeable about the project. They present solutions instead of dwelling on how much work it’s going to be while at the same time piling on the costs of what they think you need.
Don’t settle for the first contractor you find. Make sure you’re comfortable with the person before signing a contract.
Get References From People You Know
You might have relatives or friends who recently had their windows replaced by a contractor. That’s a good place to start if you’re looking for a contractor yourself. Ask them about their experience, and find out whether they’re happy with their new windows.
Reputable roofing and window contractors don’t hesitate to provide references, too. Call the references they provide, and ask them about the contractor’s work ethic and their projects. You can also ask if it’s OK to visit them and take a look at the windows the contractor installed on their homes.
When you’re replacing or installing new windows, remember to consider the quality of the products as well as the workmanship. The best contractors back their products and workmanship with warranties because they are confident with the quality.
Get in touch with AllPoint Construction for your home improvement needs, including roofing and windows. Call us at (734) 526-4955, or fill out this form to tell us about your project.