How do you get the most out of your window replacement in Edmonton? While the answer will realistically be different for different homeowners, there is one thing that remains true across the board: the more you research, the better your chances of being satisfied with both your new windows, and the window company you go with.
Our project managers in the Edmonton area often point out some common misconceptions that clients have about window replacement Edmonton. A lot of these myths or false assumptions come up time and time again. So we decided to come up with a list of 6 common things you should know in order to be well informed about window replacement and how it might affect your purchase.
1. All window replacement companies in Edmonton have the same warranty
One of the important factors to consider when planning a home renovation project and looking for custom windows Edmonton, is how long it will be protected by warranty, and how long will the company cover it for.
Since modern vinyl windows have a life expectancy of roughly 25 years, the warranty on them should be similar to that term.
Any windows store Edmonton will offer product and workmanship warranties. Some companies offer Lifetime warranty (25 years) on product replacement parts while others offer only 20 years.
Workmanship warranty also varies, some companies offer 5-year warranty on labour while others offer only 2 years. Labour warranty is especially important to take into consideration. While most companies offer a labour warranty, this warranty only covers problems that are a direct result of window installation. If one of your window parts, or the sealed unit fails, the company may replace the part free of charge, but charge you for the labour.
2. Local manufacturers are better than non-local
This is another common misconception homeowners in Edmonton have. On some occasions, we were being told by misinformed clients that windows should be manufactured locally in order to be suitable for the local climate.
There are 2 main things that determine whether the window is acceptable for a specific climate: NAFS tested ensures that the windows are compliant with Air tightness, Water Window load resistance, Forced Entry and Strength/Ease of operation. The second thing is Energy Star qualification.
Regardless of your window manufacturer, it should be certified by the NAFS, Energy Star rated and have all the performance information displayed on the window at the time it arrives in your home.
You can check window performance stats on this Natural Resources Canada website.
3. All companies install windows up to code
Although there is no official certification for window installers, professional companies should follow CSA440A guidelines or manufacturer’s guidelines for window installation. However, you should be aware that it is not the norm for every company in the industry.
Not all window companies work according to installation guidelines. The window industry also has its fair share of handymen that install windows as a side job and work during the window replacement season. They do not always follow proper industry installation standards which might affect the proper window operation and energy efficiency of the windows in the future.
4. All companies order windows to meet egress
When we talk about egress windows we refer to the fire code where windows should meet minimum size limitations for bedrooms in case of an emergency. From our experience, most windows companies will not inform the client about window egress requirements.
The housing law states that every room in the house that can be considered a bedroom must have fire code compliant windows that can be used as an exit in the event of an emergency.
Window styles that qualify as Egress Windows
5. Everybody is allowed to take a downpayment
This is another common misconception. In Alberta prepaid contractors are supposed to be bonded by Service Alberta in order to to collect down payments. Since custom windows need to be manufactured for any given window replacement project, it is not uncommon for the window company to ask for a downpayment.
If you suspect you may be dealing with an untrustworthy company, ask for their Service Alberta license. This license is not easy or cheap to obtain, and fly-by-night companies usually don’t bother with it.
6. All companies service their clients year round
Not all companies work all year-round therefore clients might get into a situation where there will be no customer service and no one to service their windows if needed during the off-season. If your windows were installed by a handyman or a third party, you may have difficulty getting service in a timely fashion, if not at all , even if it looked like a great job from the beginning.
If you’re considering a high quality window and doors replacement and have a few quotes lined up, it is often tempting to go with a company that offers the best price.
If a sales consultant hears what the other company is willing to do for you, chances are they’ll offer to match or even one-up the competition, but in reality you may be comparing apples to oranges.
If the windows and services offered by two different companies are the same or very similar, the price can vary by hundreds, but definitely not thousands of dollars.
If the difference between quotes is more than 10% of the total cost, this should really be a cause for alarm.
Here are five things you may be getting ripped off on or not being told by a window company you’re interested in.
1.The Type of Installation
Ecoline installers doing another window renovation project in Edmonton.
There are specific pros and cons to full-frame and insert (retrofit) installations, and one might be more appropriate for the condition of your windows than the other.
The big problem is that there are companies on the market who sell insert windows as a full-frame replacement. At the very least, in a full-frame replacement the brickmould, jamb, and frame get replaced, usually for vinyl parts. These additional parts and labour are what drives the cost of full-frame replacements significantly higher than retrofits. Knowing the difference between the two can save you thousands of dollars, but equally as important, ensure you get the right windows for your home.
Another reason for a big difference in price is the quality of the windows, patio doors and front doors themselves. This is an important thing to look out for with companies that carry different types of windows.
Sometimes a company will advertise energy efficient triple-pane units that are on par with competition when it comes to Energy Ratings, but the product that actually goes into the home is of substantially lower quality.
Regardless of who you go with in the end, make sure that the brand and make are specified both on the contract and the windows that arrive in your home.
If a product consultant really wants to beat the competition, they may lower the price beyond a profitable margin for the company and believe it or not, some companies will go back to the customer and ask for more money after the contract has been signed.
This is where you will really regret going with the cheapest option; because now not only do you have to pay more than you expected, but the completion of your project depends on it. When you are ready to sign the contract, make sure you discuss the fact that the amount stated is the final amount you are going to pay.
If the quote is put together properly and isn’t designed to trick you, the company should be fine with making the contract sum the final amount for the project.
Many companies in the window industry and home renovations today, capitalize on market demand. They set up shop in a city quickly to start giving out “free quotes/free estimates”, sell and install as much as they can, and move on to another place.
Not coincidentally, these are also the companies that offer the lowest quotes and offer you just about anything you can dream of as long as you sign with them.
Unlike companies that are in it for the long run, these businesses usually don’t invest in proper safety nets like insurance.It is way easier to ride off into the sunset and leave a customer hanging, rather than invest their own money upfront to secure a business that won’t exist in a year’s time.
It may seem like an afterthought, but make sure to ask a company if they are bonded and insured. Even if they may not have the best product, at least this will tell you if a company is serious about their business and customers in the area.
The same can be said about a company’s accreditation. All trustworthy businesses today take part and are accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a good indicator of how long a company has been in business for (the age of accreditation should be fairly close to the age of the company), and how well they deal with customer complaints.
BBB Edmonton had Ecoline Windows do a window replacement project for them.
The age of accreditation is also an important factor in a company’s rating. A company may have an A+ grade on BBB, but in reality has only been accredited for less than a year and has had no complaints opened against them.
5.No Service Department
If you spend some time researching window companies online you’ll find one thing in common throughout most of the negative reviews. When customers complain about a window company it usually isn’t about the quality of the product or installation. Most customers express their dissatisfaction with a company if they are not getting timely service when things go wrong.This is actually a major concern if you consider most windows have a warranty of at least twenty-five years.
Look for companies that have a designated service department. This way you’ll know that your investment isn’t only protected on paper, but there is actually someone there to help you and make things right.