While most homeowners will assess the quality of windows they are buying, and look into companies with good window installation services, very few pay attention to the importance of window warranty at the time of purchase.
Yet, the warranty should be just as important as product quality and correct installation. When you consider that your new windows should last you approximately 25 years, you also want them to be under warranty for the duration of that time. Most importantly, you want a company that will likely still be there twenty years down the road and provide service in case you need it.
Unfortunately, not many window companies in Canada offer honest warranties or use the warranty as a sales tactic to make themselves more appealing to homeowners.
So how do you make sure you end up not only with great windows but best replacement window warranty to match as well?
Let’s go through what you need to look for in a window company’s warranty so that you can have a better understanding at the time you’re deciding on which windows to get.
What should you know about Canadian window warranty?
If you already had a window quote or are planning on getting 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. 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 Canadian window manufacturer’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.
How do you tell if a window warranty is legitimate?
Because warranties are often written in the same confusing legalese as window contracts, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what is covered and for how long. One word you will undoubtedly see on most warranties is “limited.” This is where a warranty enters the grey area. A company can say they offer a “limited lifetime warranty” on something, but once you start looking into the limitations and conditions, you will realise that the warranty itself is not worth all that much. This is especially important when you’re looking at labour warranties for your window replacement. Whether in your consultation appointment, or at the time of signing your contract, be sure to ask exactly what the warranty is on things like sealed unit replacement, screen replacement, caulking, capping, and anything else that comes to mind. Chances are, warranties for some of these factors will be significantly shorter than the overall specified timeframe.
What is a lifetime window and door warranty?
This is another common pitfall for homeowners shopping for new windows. They see that the website or contract says “lifetime warranty” and think “great I never have to worry about my windows again, they’re covered for life.” In fact, what most companies fail to mention when talking about warranties, is that lifetime usually refers not to how long you will live, but the expected lifetime of the product you are purchasing. Different materials have their own life expectancy, but with vinyl components a lifetime is considered 25 years. 25 years is also the standard lifetime for insulated glass units in your window.
Window manufacturer vs. supplier warranty
Another important aspect of a good warranty depends on the type of company you buy the windows from. If you are buying from a dealer or re-seller, you may be in a situation where the dealer installs your windows and you have to go directly to the manufacturer to get window service once you need. While this is isn’t the end of the world, adding more people to the equation usually results in longer wait times and delays in receiving parts or labour. Suppliers that have their own designated installers usually perform the service themselves. This should mean your service is processed and taken care of faster.