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How to Buy Windows: 6 Essential Questions to Ask Your Window Contractor

Knowing how to buy windows is about more than just aesthetics. While new windows can actually increase the value of your home, they offer other benefits as well.

Energy-efficient windows could mean a dip in your electric bill. Quality windows also help with noise reduction, UV protection, and safety.

But before you choose and install your new windows, you should ask your contractor several questions. This confirms that you’ve made the right decision when choosing both your windows and your installation company.

1. How Much Will Installation Cost?

Cost is the first question on most people’s minds. You’ve already spent a pretty penny on purchasing new windows. Now, it’s a question of labor costs.

Some contractors charge for an estimate and consultation. Ask this on the phone prior to booking an appointment.

Just because a company charges for a consultation doesn’t mean you should overlook them. You’ll just need to add this expense to your budget.

It’s also important to ask if the contractor includes trim and finishes in their quote. Both exterior and interior trim gives your windows the “finished” look they need. If the installation company you choose doesn’t perform this job, you need to hire a separate company that does.

Click here to get an idea of the cost of replacement windows for your home.

2. What Is Their Experience?

Experience is everything when it comes to getting the job done right. You wouldn’t want a first-year medical student performing your open heart surgery. And you don’t want someone with little-to-no experience handling your window installation.

Ask the company you hire what their experience is and how long they’ve been in business. A reputable company will offer customer reviews and even contact information. 

Call previous clients and ask what their window installation experience was like. It’s also important to ask who will be performing the install.

Just because the person doing your estimate has 10 plus years in the field, doesn’t mean the contractor they send out will too. An independent contractor might perform both jobs himself. 

3. How Long Does Installation Take?

Renovating your home is exciting if not inconvenient at the same time. Although you’re looking forward to the final product, you don’t want the process to be lengthy.

Ask your window contractor how long the project will take. They won’t be able to give you an exact time-frame but can provide an estimate based on the size of the job. 

While estimates are made to be vague, be wary of any contractor who can’t give you a good idea of the project scope and timeline. Professionals will account for changes in weather and other circumstances that may impact turnaround time.

Other questions to ask about the installation project include:

  • Do I need to be home for the installation?
  • How do they plan on protecting your home while performing the installation?
  • How much do they clean up following installation?

Knowing the answers to these questions will reduce any interference with your daily life. 

4. Do They Offer a Warranty?

Even if everything with your window project goes smoothly, things happen. And the contractor you choose should offer a warranty for their work. 

This is known as a contractor workmanship warranty and usually covers the job for one year or more. The length of the warranty shouldn’t concern you. But the fact that a company doesn’t offer one, should.

Chances are, you may never need to use your warranty. But if a contractor isn’t willing to guarantee their work, it doesn’t say much for their abilities. A warranty helps protect your home, wallet, and the work being done. 

Most problems with window installation show up almost immediately. But even if the workmanship doesn’t withstand the test of time (and it’s outside the warranties parameters) a reliable contractor will still fix the issue.

After all, it’s their reputation on the line. 

Bear in mind that the windows themselves have a warranty from the manufacturer. This covers any damages or defects to the window’s construction, which is another thing to consider when deciding how to buy windows. 

5. Are They Familiar With This Type of Window?

There are several popular window designs available for your home. And you’ll need to choose the right one based on style and functionality. Some of the most popular window designs are:

  • Double-hung
  • Casement
  • Bay or Bow
  • Slider
  • Picture
  • Awning
  • Stationary

Ask the contractor if they have experience installing your specific type of window. If you’re purchasing the exact same style replacement window, installation should be fairly easy.

But if you’re changing a casement window to a double-hung design, things are much more complex. An expert in the field will know exactly how to make this switch. 

Do a little research and choose a company that has experience in the style of window you have.

6. Does the Company Have Insurance?

Aside from a warranty, insurance is another important thing for your window company to bring to the table. If the company offers no proof of insurance, move onto the next.

A reputable contractor has both workers’ compensation and comprehensive liability insurance. This protects the homeowner and the company in the event of an accident. 

There are a few ways to verify the contractor has insurance. The easiest way is to ask to see their certificate of insurance before the job begins. 

Reputable contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines also have higher overhead costs. Don’t be surprised if these fees are reflected in their job quote. It’s up to you to decide if paying more upfront for a safe, properly performed job is worth the investment. 

But not all contractors without insurance are “sheisty”. There are a few, legitimate reasons, a contractor may not carry full insurance.

When it comes to choosing a window installation company, you get what you pay for.

If you’re willing to take the risk on an uninsured contractor, you’ll be rewarded with cheaper rates. But you may be hit with a hefty bill if something goes wrong on the job.

How to Buy Windows and Have Them Installed

Choosing the right windows for your home is almost as important as choosing the right installation company. 

Once you’ve figured out how to buy windows that suit your taste, you can begin interviewing contractors. Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask plenty of questions. 

Ready to break ground on your next project? Download the all-important service contract here before getting started.