One of the biggest parts of the window replacement project that gets overlooked during quote and consultation appointments are the warranty terms. Yet, when you consider your new windows as a long-term investment, you always want the warranty to reflect and uphold the quality of your new windows.
How long should new windows last?
Part of understanding whether a window warranty is good or bad is in figuring out how long your windows should be in normal full functioning condition. While the quality may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the acceptable lifetime of new vinyl windows in Canada is 25 years. Of course, you want a warranty that covers your windows for the duration that is close to that timeframe.
What should you know about replacement window warranty?
Chances are if you have already had a quote appointment or are planning one, when the question of warranty comes up, the salesperson will tell you it’s a lifetime warranty. We’ll get to exactly what means a little later in the blog. But for now, what you should know, is that not all parts of your window are covered for the same period of time.
When looking at a window company’s warranty, there are three main things to pay attention to:
1. How long the vinyl components in the window are covered for. Usually, this refers to brickmoulds, jambs, and any vinyl part of the window. This is where most window companies offer a lifetime warranty, so it is not uncommon to see warranties for 25 years.
2. How long the insulated glass unit is warranted for.This is the most important part. The insulated glass unit is the actual sealed combination of glass panes and gas-fills. This is where the real magic happens in modern windows when it comes to keeping your home warm and comfortable, and saving you money on energy bills. Unfortunately, these are also the most susceptible parts of a window. Most window companies offer warranties on their sealed units ranging between 10-20 years. Take note, however, that this warranty usually doesn’t cover acts of nature. Hail damage, flying pebbles, or a wild baseball throw will mean you have to pay for a new sealed unit out of pocket.
3. What is the company’s labour warranty, and what exactly does it cover. This is almost as important as the sealed unit warranty. Most window companies have labour warranties ranging between two and ten years. However, the labour warranty only covers problems associated with correct installation. Hence, you will likely be charged for a sealed unit replacement after 1-2 years even if the window company offers a generous labour warranty. Some window companies consider sealed unit replacement “skilled labour” and don’t offer any warranties on that work.
For many homeowners in Regina, and Saskatchewan in general, the warranty should be one of the most important points of consideration when choosing a renovation contractor, or a window company. There is often a lot of confusing information about warranties. Because your new windows should last roughly 20-25 years, many companies will often lie about their warranty terms, knowing full well that they’ll never be the ones actually responsible for rectifying the problem.
Here are the 5 things you MUST know about window replacement warranty in Regina:
1. What does lifetime warranty REALLY mean?
This is important, as it is one of the things homeowners misinterpret about replacement window warranty. The term lifetime generally refers to the expected lifetime of the product, and not the homeowners last time. Most home renovation products and appliances have to meet a certain quality standard, usually upheld and tested by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). For vinyl windows, the expected lifetime is 25 years. So even though your windows come with a lifetime warranty, they are usually only covered for that period of time.
2. What is covered by a window warranty?
Before answering this question first let’s determine who is providing the warranty. Many window replacement companies act as a distributor for window manufacturers. In this situation, the manufacturer is responsible for the warranty on the product, and the company for the installation. Of course, if you are dealing with a bigger window company like All Weather Windows or Pella, the whole process is done in-house. Renovation stores like Home Depot, Rona or Lowe’s will carry windows from numerous manufacturers and provide in-house installation. This divide can turn into a headache when it comes to receiving window service, as it usually results in long wait times.
Usually, a manufacturer’s warranty covers the glass, frame and hardware.
3. Installation warranty
This warranty is usually provided by the company you sign a contract with. However, if the company outsources their installation and hires a contractor there also a possibility of more confusion. In the case of installation, it is very rare that problems will arise a few years down the road. In most cases, you can spot defects in the first few months to a year after the windows were installed. A minimum of one-year installation warranty is acceptable by industry standards. Some companies offer two to five-year installation warranty, but most don’t cover sealed unit replacement or “skilled labour” as part of that warranty.
4. Prorated or Non-prorated warranty
A prorated warranty means that a homeowner will need to pay partly for the service, and each year the percentage that a homeowner will need to cover increases.
Non-prorated means that there will be no payment required for the replacement of failed parts at any time during the warranty period. Seeing as most window components need professional expertise for proper installation, the homeowner will generally be responsible for paying any labour charge that is incurred.
5. Can window warranty be transferred
Most window companies will allow you to transfer the warranty to a new homeowner. This may well be a selling feature if you plan to sell your home in the future.
A company can set itself apart from all the rest by how they deal with service issues. The speed and efficiency in how they respond to your concern is a great indicator of how dedicated a company is to providing quality service. Another good way to tell how well any potential issue will be dealt with can be determined by a company’s service department organization. Ask such questions as “What are the company’s procedures in case of a service call?” or whether the company even has a designated service department. Finally, when looking at a company’s warranty policies it is important to understand what preventive measures are taken to minimize the number of service calls. Quality control in the warehouse and in the field, as well as the company’s installation policies are good indicator that a company cares.
At Ecoline Windows we stand behind the quality of our product and installation. Our vinyl windows and insulated glass units are warranted for 25 years. We offer a five-year labour warranty on issues related to installation of the windows. Very early in the game we realized that most dissatisfied window customers aren’t unhappy with the product or installation. They are most often upset because their service or warranty requests aren’t being processed efficiently, or worse yet, at all. That is why we created a designated service department to deal with nothing but warranty concerns and services.