Choosing the Right Window for Your Home – Installation – Part 5 of 5
We’ve looked at the construction and components of replacement windows – the beauty and brawn – but we haven’t considered what is often referred to as the most important aspect in any window project: INSTALLATION.
“Even the BEST window installed improperly will FAIL.” – Hans Andersen
Evolution of window replacement materials, custom-sizing capabilities, and insulated glass advancements all converged almost simultaneously in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The world had previously only known custom applications and on-site specialty replacement products. I’ve written previously about the disappearance of old growth heartwood in the building materials industry, and as the industry was busy creating new materials, the idea of custom-sizing and insulated glass came to fruition.
Once a custom-size product could be mass produced in a timely manner, the replacement industry was set for massive growth.
Since then, the industry has become the major player in the replacement remodeling market, driven largely by a desire for comfort and updating.
Creating a replacement window that could last was just the starting point. New processes were developed for removing existing windows and prepping the opening to receive a replacement window. For the first time, contractors would have to tie-in to the structure in ways not before examined.
Additionally, early on the industry struggled with long-term performance and durability of the product. Some of this was figuring out how to custom mass produce and teach a previously undefined installation method to a nationwide team of carpenters.
Until this time, carpenters were well-rounded and were classified as either framers (those who frame buildings) and finishers (those who finish trim, moldings, cabinets and windows). Almost as soon as the replacement window and door industry had a path to market, window replacement installation specialists came to be. Not only could a specialist do a project more quickly, they could also expand their knowledge and learn to practice installs in specific applications.
Seeing the need to provide peace-of-mind to homeowners and credibility to contractors, several window manufactures banded together to provide a non-affiliated certification. These include Installation Masters and AWDI. Aspiring installers must complete a training course and exam to show a commanding knowledge of window installation in many applications.
Several manufacturers require their product to be installed to their specifications for the warranty to remain in effect. Homeowners are best served to make sure those installing their products are factory-trained, factory certified, or independently certified. We’ve seen many homeowners fall into the finger-pointing abyss that results when contractors blame the product and manufacturers blame the install for the issues a homeowner is having with a window.
Be sure to protect yourself from this situation and get any verbal guarantees in writing.
Questions for Contractors
Here is a list of questions a homeowner should be asking a contractor in regards to window replacement installation.
- Is the installation warranted?
- Are you insured?
- Are the installers your employees or sub-contractors?
- Do your installers hold any certifications?
- How do you handle an issue with product?
- Can you give me a name of someone you’ve had a product issue with?
- How many windows or doors do you install annually?
- How is your installation method better than others?
- Do you offer any additional warranty beyond the manufacturer’s coverage?
Wisconsin Home Remodeling has been serving residents of Dane County and Madison, WI with a different approach to remodeling. We blog regularly at www.WisconsinHomeRemodeling.com. Be sure to check back for more window, door, kitchen, bath and interior millwork remodeling updates.