There is one question that plagues all home renovation projects: do you go with a more established reputable company and pay more, or do you choose a relatively new company and hopefully save some money on your project?
Just like the age-old chicken and egg question, this one may never be truly resolved as both types of companies have their own pros and cons.
When it comes to window companies big manufacturers often have the advantage of a better product but lack in customer service and post-installation care simply because of the volume of customers they deal with. Smaller companies, don’t always have the product to match, but are more intuitive to the homeowner’s needs.
These may be just generalizations, but if you overlook how old and big the company is, what you’re looking for at the very basic level are three things.
1. Window quality compared to price. Some homeowners are ok with lesser performing windows if they can save money.
2. Quality of the window installation. Whether you’re getting retrofit windows or a full-frame replacement, a bad installation can negate any performance advantages a window has.
3. Warranty and timely service. Assuming a company matches the two criteria above, you technically shouldn’t worry about this. Wrong. Even if your windows are of high quality and are installed properly, that doesn’t mean there won’t be issues down the road. Considering a standard warranty on vinyl windows in Canada is roughly twenty years when things go wrong you want somebody that will be there to take care of it like the windows were installed yesterday.
So who has superior windows, a big brand or a newcomer company? Find out in our comparison:
Supreme Windows has been on the Canadian market since 1967. The company is based and manufactures all their windows locally in Calgary. The company opened an all-in-one local manufacture and office facility in 2008, equipped with the latest equipment in window manufacturing technology. Supreme specializes in renovation as well as new construction projects for the residential markets.
Supreme offers the whole gamut of vinyl window options. The company makes double pane slider windows and triple pane for other types. Vinyl frame options come in the white or desert sand. Although the company only manufactures vinyl windows, they offer a good variety of choices and optimizations whether to suit the look of your home or improve its energy efficiency.
– Energy Star rated
– Member of The Calgary Region Home Builders Association
– Homestars Best of 2013
Supreme Windows dealers and distributors warrant that their window and door products will be free from material and manufacturing defects for a period of five years. Glass sealed units, frame, sash, glazing stops and mullion connectors are protected by warranty for twenty years.
As one of the oldest manufacturers and installers in Calgary, Supreme has a good reputation with their clients. They have few negative reviews on HomeStars, and the company seems to take an involved approach towards resolving issues as their BBB page suggests.
Although Supreme participates in the ENERGY STAR program and provides information and rating for different performance values, the company’s product is not CSA certified. The CSA tests and certifies windows to ensure that they perform properly and actually meets the ratings claimed by the manufacturer.
All Star Home is a relatively new company on the window replacement market compared to Supreme. Although there is no specific date of the company’s inception provided, judging by a fairly recent BBB accreditation, they probably haven’t been in business for that long. All Star specializes in replacement windows and doors for the residential market.
It is important to mention that unlike Supreme, All Star Home doesn’t manufacture their own windows. However, they do claim to get them factory direct. All Star carries Energy Star certified windows in all common styles and types. The window pages on the company website have the information about performance and ER ratings provided, so you can see right away how the company compares to others. Although it isn’t overtly stated, judging by the window performance information, the company mostly deals with double pane windows. Although they are not as efficient, double pane windows can still be made to match most climate zones in Canada, and are a great option for people looking for a budget window replacement.
–ENERGY STAR rated
– CSA tested and approved
– 2013 Top Choice Award Winner for Best Window and Door Company in Calgary
There is no warranty information provided on the company website. Because All Star Home doesn’t manufacture their own windows, the warranty is probably similar to that given by the production line. If you are considering this company make sure to find out the terms. Remember, standard warranty for insulated glass units and vinyl hardware should be at least twenty years.
All Star Home has a very positive online presence. Most of the clients compliment the company on professional and courteous service. Their BBB page is also clean of any recent complaints. The negative reviews that do exist, mostly date back several years and are about poor quality product. No recent reviews like that exist, which may mean that the company switched its supplier, or raised attention to quality in their manufacturing. The advantage smaller window companies have is that they can work with multiple suppliers, even at the same time, and, therefore, can provide exactly the windows you are looking for. In reality, however, as a customer you have to do the extra research to verify that the supplier a company works with is respectable.
As you can see, these two companies are very different in the scope of their work, products they offer, and the scale of projects they work on. Supreme Windows manufactures their own windows locally and has years of experience and business presence to show for their reputation. All Star Home is a much smaller, newer company that installs windows manufactured by someone else. So is it fair to compare such vastly different companies?
In short this goes to show that when it comes to window replacement, biggest and most reputable is not always best. Although the windows advertised on both of these company websites are ENERGY STAR rated, Supreme’s don’t seem to be CSA certified which can be alarming to homeowners. Some customers were also unsatisfied with how the company follows up with service requests; a common story with bigger window manufacturers.
All Star Home on the other hand, doesn’t provide any warranty information about the windows, or their suppliers in general, meaning you would have to ask the right questions during your consultation to verify the quality of the product, and how long it is covered by warranty for. All Star Home does seem to excel at customer interaction and providing a good, honest service when it comes to window replacement.
At Ecoline Windows, we work with a manufacturing facility that makes windows to the highest quality requirements. All our windows are ENERGY STAR rated, and CSA certified. But besides great product, we also understand the importance of correct installation, customer service, and warranty. We combine the quality of big manufacturers with the personal service of smaller window companies.