How long should your new windows last? At the very least, longer than their warranty term.
There are also more textbook answers. Natural Resources Canada, for example, estimates the lifespan of properly installed vinyl windows at around twenty-five years.
This timeframe is a very popular one in the industry, and chances are you’re bound to hear about it, whether in reference to the lifespan of your custom windows or the warranty that comes with them.
Warranty is often easy to overlook when you’re still in the shopping stage, but believe us when we say, it should be a major factor in what company you decide to go with.
Why? Because most often, Canadian window companies will have very similar warranty policies, with very different commitments to actually providing service and replacing broken or damaged parts.
Look at a few industry Homestars pages and you’ll see that most often people aren’t upset with the product or quality of installation, but rather the lack of responsibility or commitment when it comes to providing post-installation service.
So how do you separate legitimate businesses from companies whose warranty policies are just sales gimmicks?
Lifetime does not mean forever
Though there are companies that claim to have a warranty for as long as the windows are in the house, most will begrudgingly admit that their lifetime warranty really means the expected lifetime of the window, and not into your golden years. As mentioned above, the estimated lifetime of vinyl windows is twenty-five years, therefore the “lifetime” warranty may be reflective of that timeframe. This still comes to a surprise to a lot of customers, so if you are dealing with a company that offers a lifetime warranty, be sure to clarify exactly what it means. And even then, if the warranty is promised for life, that doesn’t necessarily mean the company will be around long enough to honor it.
How old is the window company
Sometimes this is the most telling evidence of whether you’re likely to receive service years down the road. It’s hard to say if a company that’s been there for 40 years will still be there in another twenty. It is absolutely suspect if a company has only been around for a year or two and is already offering lifetime or twenty-five-year warranty. Beware of one-man show companies. A lot of companies are trying to target Western Canada for a quick buck, unfortunately not thinking about the customer, or standing behind their product for the duration of the warranty.
Not all window parts are made the same
Even if the company is offering a 25-year warranty on their windows, most often this doesn’t include ALL parts of the window. Again here, because the longevity of vinyl is estimated for a quarter century, companies just claim that as their warranty. Most often the warranty on labor and installation issues is much shorter and can range from 5-10 years. Glazing warranty may range between 10 and 20 years. Painted finish warranty can be anywhere between 5 and 15 years depending on the company.
Most companies will gladly provide their warranty information in writing, with breakdowns of different parts and how long they are covered for. But just like with window contracts it is still up to you to read the fine print and ask any questions you need to understand the warranty. Doing so can not only ensure you get service if and when it is required but help you pick the right company from the start.
Learn more about getting replacement windows:
Find out how much new windows in your area should cost
See our full line of vinyl window styles
Find out about our warranty and post-installation service