The company that installs the window is just as important as the company that builds the product itself. Your relationship lasts much longer than the window replacement process. You not only want a quality window that you love, you want a window company you can trust to help you through the window replacement process and support you after the purchase and installation of your window.
When you’re comparing competing window companies, consider these 8 criteria and stack them up side-by-side. By comparing more than cost, you can find the best of both worlds — a quality, stylish window from a reliable window replacement company.
8 things to look for when comparing top window companies
It’s easy to get hung up on price. You have a budget and you want the best deal. But beware of bargains. The quality of the materials, craftsmanship and installation all factor into the cost of replacement windows. You may save on the initial costs, but you could be sacrificing quality. And that can create unexpected costs down the line.
Look beyond the sticker price and consider the potential cost of the window throughout its lifetime. How much money will you save on energy bills? Are there any costs in caring for or maintaining your windows? How long are the windows expected to last? Will the installers perform a quality installation? You may find that the higher price tag pays off over time.
Wood, vinyl and fiberglass are the most common window materials, and there is a range of prices between the three options. There’s also a range between brands and among different product lines within brands.
Go deeper than the type of material and make sure you’re comparing the same level of quality. For example, some windows have solid wood interiors, while others do not provide the interior aesthetic that can be achieved with a solid wood interior.
Glass is see-through. So you can’t see the differences between glass options, although there are many. Many manufacturers claim energy efficiency. Make sure they can back up these claims with actual ENERGY STAR® certification. Then look at the actual specifications and ratings of the glass so you can compare your options based on a standardized system.
Consider your climate and your home’s needs. Will your windows face extreme temperatures? Is environmental noise an issue? Do you need more strength with tempered or impact-resistant glass? Compare the intended uses for each brand’s glass options and the materials that go into the products.
Selection and customization
Some basic window types and styles are offered across the board. That might be all that’s offered. A wide selection is important. You don’t want to be boxed into one look. You want to find the best fit from an array of options or customize a window unique to your home.
Compare options for wood types, designs, paint and stain colors, glass, hardware, trim and grilles. Which window company has the widest selection? Which choices are limited to a standard set of options and which can be customized to your tastes? Rank the options by what matters most to you so you can compare selections on the things that have the greatest impact on your final decision.
You can buy the highest quality window on the market. But if it’s installed poorly, you won’t get what you paid for in performance or looks. Some window manufacturers certify their installers to expertly install the windows they make. These installers have training and expertise in the brand’s product line. Manufacturers may also train and certify contractors specifically for window installations that can perform larger remodels.
You have several installation options, so check the certifications between manufacturers and the contractors that install their products. Ask questions about the installation process to understand what’s included, assess the expertise of their installers and uncover hidden costs.
Most people don’t think about a product’s warranty until something goes wrong. A good manufacturer’s warranty might be helpful in the long run. The length and level of coverage varies by manufacturer. And oftentimes, by product.
A strong warranty can show the manufacturer is confident in the quality of their windows and will rectify problems that occur outside the normal wear and tear of daily living. Consider if you have warranty coverage on the window unit itself, its installation, or both.
Online research is an important part of the window buying process. Eventually, you’ll have to leave the comforts of your computer and interact with a live person. Talk to the sales staff at your local window replacement branches. Ask questions. Visit a showroom. Get an in-home consultation.
Customer service is important. How does the window company make you feel? Do they adequately answer your questions or brush them off and try to pressure you into a quick decision? What service or support do they offer after installation? Window replacement can be a big investment. Only choose a window company you can trust to get the job done and be there for you after the sale.
Good or bad, testimonials are persuasive cases that can help you decide between window replacement companies. Ask around. Who have your friends, family and neighbors used in the past? Are they happy with their windows? You probably won’t be able to find many people who have used more than one window company. But their experience can help guide yours. You may even get to inspect their windows more closely to check the quality of work.
If you don’t know of anybody who’s used a particular company, request references. They should be able to provide a few names to contact. Browse each window replacement company’s website and social media accounts to see examples of window replacement projects in your area. Some companies even have a map of projects they’ve completed near you. You’ll get a good idea of their work and might even find related reviews.
Compare window replacement companies yourself
As you go through the window replacement process, it can be hard to keep track of everything you learned or experienced along the way. Download this comparison chart to help make an informed decision based on the eight criteria and find the best company for your window replacement project.