Deciding to replace your windows is a little like getting married: You’re making a big investment; you’re going to live with your decision for a long time; and you want whatever you choose to make home lots more pleasant.
How Do I Know If I Should Replace My Windows?
Again, this is a little like getting married: Sometimes you just really want to, and sometimes, by golly, you have to. So, how can you pick wisely? We have a few tips we hope will ease the process.
Chances are you know if you must replace windows. High energy bills, windows that fog up or won’t open, drafty rooms, water leaks, rotted wood, and bugs sneaking in are all signs it’s time to act. The good news is that new windows add to the resale value of your home. So you’re likely to get your investment back if you pick windows that fit the style and price range of your home.
Not every problematic window needs replacing, though. First, know that replacing old windows won’t automatically give you a snug house. You may get more payoff more quickly by adding insulation and sealing air leaks.
Second, if the window is basically sound, it’s often possible to strip off old finishes and re-paint or re-stain the window. Even glass that fogs up can be resealed without replacing the entire unit.
If, however, you can tell you have significant problems like wood rot, it’s time for the old heave-ho, in my book. Still not sure? A conversation with a general contractor can help clarify your options.
I Think I Want New Windows. Now What?
If you hire a professional to replace your windows, understand that you’re buying two things—the window itself and the team installing the window. To cut costs, some folks buy their own windows and then hire a handyman to put them in.
That works, but there are advantages to working with window replacement specialists who have all the tools and procedures for doing the job very quickly and well.
Next question is: Who’s doing the work? You or a professional? If you’re considering DIY, the web sites of manufacturers such as Pella, Marvin and Anderson will help you think through your choices. The website of the Efficient Windows Collaborative is another useful resource. You can also check with Consumer Reports to get replacement window ratings. Finally, the National Fenestration Ratings Council provides information on the energy-efficiency of different window products. Once you’ve done some research, a visit to your local home improvement store is probably in order.
Even among window replacement specialists, you have choices. The big, brand name companies such as Pella, Marvin, or Anderson have local franchises that focus on their products. Then there are smaller, local firms that may lead with a particular brand but also represent a variety of manufacturers. They can discuss many different products with you so that you find what’s best for your situation.
If I Hire a Replacement Window Company, How Do I Know They’re Good?
In a word: Research. Talk to your neighbors. Visit sites like Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp. Experts recommend getting bids from at least five installers. Be sure to give each installer the same specs so that you get bids you can compare. Many people don’t realize that replacing the window does NOT automatically include replacing the structure around the window. So ask all the hard questions about exactly what the installer will and won’t do.
Then, check credentials. Any installer should be able to produce his contractor’s license, certifications, insurance bond, trade association memberships, contact information, project portfolio and office address upon request.
Finally, as you negotiate your project, be straightforward about your budget. You might find a deal if someone wants to drum up business during the slower winter months. And don’t forget to check for follow-up policies, extended warranties, or discounts. The good news is that window replacements can be done in any season. No need to wait for warm weather! So now could be the perfect time to beat the rush and get a jump on your next home improvement project.
How Can We Help?
At McCann Window & Exteriors, we know that, of all the beautiful spaces in the world, the best is the one you call home. Please reach out if we can be of help with concerns regarding your house’s windows, doors, or siding. We’re standing by to help you create the home you absolutely love in 2019. Learn more about McCann Window & Exteriors by visiting https://mccannwindow.com or calling (847) 892-4071.