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Vinyl Exterior Window Shutter
CHOOSING A VINYL REPLACEMENT WINDOW CONTRACTOR by John Rocco
Whenever i write an article, it's usually tailored to the do
it yourself homeowner to help them save some money on the high
cost of labor these days. This article is for the "not so
handy" homeowner who wants to have new vinyl windows installed
in their home.
So, where do you begin? Well, the first step is to get estimates.
You should always get 3 estimates. Keep in mind that the price
you are quoted doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the
product. For example, I used to wear the hat of Owner, Salesman,
and Installer. So, when I would give an estimate, my only markup
would be to pay my salary.
On the other extreme, some companies have an inside sales staff
who do telemarketing as well as mail solicitation. These people
set up in-home estimates. Then, there is an outside sales staff
who visit the customer for an in-home estimate. If the customer
signs a contract, there is another employee who measures your
windows. Then, the installation crew comes out and actually installs
your windows. In many cases, you never even see or talk to the
Now, imagine if this company, let's call them shears, was selling
the exact same window that I was selling. After you got both estimates,
you might be inclined to think that my product must be inferior
if I'm able to sell it so much cheaper. The reality is, it's cheaper
because I pay two salaries; my salary and my other installer's
salary. The other owner has to pay his own salary plus Inside
sales, outside sales, field measurer, and installation crew.
So, as you get each estimate, here are the important things
to know about that particular brand: What kind of warranty do
they offer? Any reputable vinyl window manufacturer should offer
a lifetime warranty because any quality vinyl window and door
really is made to last a lifetime. Ask how long the MANUFACTURER
has been making vinyl windows. A lifetime warranty is meaningless
if the manufacturer goes out of business.
Once you're confident that the manufacturer is well established,
find out how long the installer has been replacing windows. Make
sure they are licensed and insured. Being licensed and insured
doesn't necessarily mean they're good, but it does give them accountability.
I knew an unlicensed window installer who was as good as any licensed
installer, but if he were to mess up a job, the customer had no
recourse against him.
Once you are satisfied with the price, manufacturer, and installer,
you can determine the level of quality of the actual product.
You can get all hung up on specs such as U-Value, R-Value, Air
infiltration, etc. But, I believe you can actually get more confused
if you start trying to compare all of those numbers. Just ask
if the product is an energy star rated window. If the answer is
yes, then you know the specs meet the highest government standards.
You can confirm this by going to the Energy star website.If the
manufacturer is listed on the energy star site, you can be sure
that the U-Value, R-Value, SHGC, and Air infiltration tests have
met the requirements.
So, now you can concentrate on some of the functional parts of
your window. If you are in the market for a single hung or double
hung window, ask about the mechanism that is used to hold up your
window sashes. If they still use the old spring and string method
(sometimes referred to as block and tackle), or the spiral metal
balances, you are not getting a high quality window
The constant force balance system is more technologically advanced.
It uses a titanium coil that is designed to last longer than you
or I. Also, a good quality hung window will have sashes that can
tilt in so you can clean the glass from inside the home. This
is a nice feature to have, especially if your windows are on the
second floor. Just these two items can tell you a lot about the
quality of the window.
On horizontal sliders, look at the weep holes located on the
lower fron of the window. There will be one on each end. These
holes are there to drain out any water that might get inside.
On many windows, the weep hole is just a punched hole that leads
to the inside track. Unfortunately, with this type of situation,
a strong wind can blow cold air and dirt through those holes,
right into the home. A better quality window will have a one-way
trap door on the weep holes. The door stays closed against wind
and dust, but if any water gets into the inside track, the door
will open to allow the water to escape.
Also, check the frame corners. A quality window has welded corners.
The vinyl corners are welded through a heat and cool process.
A lesser grade window will use screws to hold the corners together.
When you make your appointment for the estimate, be sure to request
a sample of the window be brought to your home so you can visually
check these things.
A salesman is taught to focus on their product's strong points
and avoid the weak points, so it's up to you to stay focused yourself,
and don't allow yourself to be distracted. "How long has
the manufacturer been in business?" "What is their warranty?"
"Are the windows Energy Star rated?" "Are the installers
licensed and insured?" "What mechanism holds up the
sashes on the hung windows?" "Do they tilt in?"
"Are the frames welded or screwed together?" "Do
the horizontal sliders have weep hole covers?" If you get
satisfactory answers to these questions, you are on your way to
a positive vinyl window experience.
About the Author
John Rocco has been installing replacement windows since 1978.
To learn more, visit How
To Install Windows
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