Deciding to get new windows at your residence is the first step to a more comfortable home and energy efficiency savings. But a custom window replacement is a multi-stage process that will often require you to align your schedule to someone else’s. While companies today do their best to accommodate their clients’ timelines, circumstances can often delay things, or change the planned completion dates.

Shipping delays, manufacturing errors, and even bad weather are some of the reasons installations get postponed or delayed. Although you can’t predict these things, knowing general timelines for window replacement projects can help prepare you for planning a replacement to take place at your residence.

On average, a custom windows and doors project takes an average 6-8 weeks to be manufactured and installed from the date your contract is signed.

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How long does a window replacement take?

The size and type of your window order plays a role on the amount of time the windows take to be manufactured, shipped, and installed. If you are getting basic windows without any custom upgrades it may be possible to install them within 4-6 weeks from signing the contract. But that is rarely the case, as most homeowners usually want additional features for extra energy efficiency. Coloured vinyl, SSP or privacy glass, and custom shaped windows take extra time to manufacture and push the project timelines back a couple of weeks.

In most cases, companies also account for delivery times when giving homeowners a timeline for their projects. Because the physical shipping of the windows is often done by third party logistics companies, your windows may be delayed without the manufacturer being able to do anything to speed the process up.

Your window contract and project timelines

By law, in Canada,  you have ten days after signing a contract with a window company or any contractor to nullify the contract. The company usually won’t submit a window order to be manufactured until that time period has passed. This is also a good period of time to make any changes or additions that you overlooked in your initial window quote appointment. However, if you need the windows as soon as possible, you do have the option to waive that clause as a customer and have the company process the order immediately after signing the contract.

The company also won’t process a contract unless the downpayment is paid in full. Most companies collect a 25% deposit at the time the contract is signed. It is often not the end of the world if you don’t have the money the day of, and good companies will work with you, but delays in payment result in order delays, pushing your window installation back.

A bigger detriment to how long it takes for your windows to be manufactured is an incomplete contract. And, unfortunately, the customer is often responsible for this. We often tell homeowners that the more they know in preparation for their appointment the more likely they are to get what they want, regardless of the company they go with. Yet many people take the “a window is a window is a window” approach and put very little thought into what kind of custom windows they want. Yet when a project consultant comes over and asks what grill styles they like, whether they prefer high profile or low profile windows, or what color finish they want on the inside, the response is often one of confusion followed by “we’ll need to discuss it some more.” And there is nothing wrong with that; after all project consultants are there to educate and show you all the available options. But if you are concerned with having your window installation as soon as possible, help take the guesswork out of decision-making and do as much research as possible. This will ensure your contract is complete right away and can be processed without delays.

Can I schedule my window installation when I sign my contract?

This is another common question that comes up. A lot of times when signing a contract, homeowners also want to be given an exact date when their installation is going to take place. Most people simply aren’t comfortable handing over a lot of money to a stranger only to be told their windows will be installed “sometime in the next two months.” Yet all the factors mentioned above make it impossible to narrow the window project to one single date.

But a window contract absolutely must have a commencement date written in. Usually, this is written in a specific month in which the installation is to take place. This gives the company some leniency if there are delays, yet obligates them to have the work completed in the time originally agreed with the customer.

How can I get my windows as soon as possible?

Sometimes we get calls from customers whose windows have been broken, or they have another reno project that requires windows to be installed prior to completion.

Besides doing your research and fully completing the contract, one solution to speed things up is to do the installation in stages. Need that kitchen window installed before the tile is put down? Painters coming to do the living room next month and the window hasn’t been ordered yet? You always have the option to sign multiple contracts with the company. If you’re in a pinch and need the installation like, now, take care of those priority windows first. A smaller order for just one or two windows can be processed, manufactured, and shipped much faster. There are also fewer options to decide on with fewer windows, so it’s less likely for there to be mistakes or discrepancies in the contract. That way you can get the priority windows out of the way, and let the rest of the order come in later.

Another advantage of doing a window replacement in stages is you can see the company’s work firsthand and make a decision whether you’ll go with them to do the windows in the whole house.

How long should a window installation take?

The long awaited day has finally come, and your new windows are about to go in. How can you best prepare to make things run smoothly? How long the actual window installation will take obviously depends on how many windows there are. If you got just a couple of standard windows it may be possible to install them in a few hours. However if your project is in a multi-storey home, has more than 5 windows, or has complicating factors like a bay window, your installation will take at least a full day.

Depending on the condition of your old windows, and the structure surrounding them, skilled installers can replace a window in roughly thirty minutes to an hour.

Another factor that can contribute to installation time is the exterior finish of the windows. If you are getting windows with aluminum capping, your installation times may be significantly longer. Unlike a vinyl brickmould that fits on the exterior edge of your window, aluminum capping needs to be bent, cut, fitted, and caulked around each window. This has to be done not only in a way that protects your windows from outside moisture, but also that it looks appealing and seamless to the eye. That’s why installations with capping can take longer. On especially big projects, window companies can devote an entire day just to do the aluminum capping on all the windows.

Be sure to discuss all the options available when it comes to your installation day. Most project consultants will be happy to compromise and find something that works both for you and the company. Some customers can only make themselves available every so often and need specific accommodations. Or you may be replacing the windows in your whole house and more installers need to be allocated to your job to get it done in a timely manner.

Whatever your specific situation is, there are always solutions to make sure your order is installed properly and in a timely fashion. But remember, you as a customer have some responsibility too. Clients often try to corner project consultants with “make or break” demands, forcing agreement just to close the deal. And the person that is upset in the end is often the client themselves because they tried to force their idea of how things should be done.

Finding a compromise, and properly planning the timelines of your replacement project, is the first step in ensuring longevity and the quality of your new custom windows.

Check out these replacement window resources:
Learn about the cost of replacing windows
Check out our window installation infographic
Read some FAQs about getting new windows and doors

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