What is a good indicator that a window company is reliable?
Unfortunately, too many times homeowners pick window companies for the wrong reasons. Where a company is located or based out of, is one of those baseless reasons. And don’t get us wrong, we are all about supporting local economy and businesses in the city. But what if sometimes these businesses don’t provide good enough products or services?
Remember, quality of the windows and their correct installation is more important than where they come from.
The argument against out of city window companies in Calgary is that because the windows come from the East (generally from Ontario) they are not warm enough for the cold Alberta climate. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, all good windows in Canada are approved and rated by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and meet international ENERGY STAR requirements.
Information on window ratings for different companies can be found on this Natural Resources Canada page.
You can also search whether a window company is CSA certified.
The whole purpose of certifying windows is to ensure that they meet the specific climate criteria for different parts of the country. A window is considered efficient when it gains more energy than it loses. When testing windows, these organizations consider the climate conditions in different areas across Canada and determine what performance levels are required for each geographic region.
As such, ENERGY STAR has divided Canada into three distinct zones. In order to be considered efficient in Calgary, windows must meet performance requirements for CLIMATE ZONE 2.
Check out: How To Compare Replacement Windows
What matters more, is whether the windows match your local climate requirements, rather than where they are manufactured. Plenty of window companies in Calgary do not even manufacture products that match climate Zone 2 requirements. That is why their product may not appear on the Natural Resources of CSA websites. What’s worse, is some companies will resort to lying and tell homeowners that their windows do meet the necessary requirements, or even say that windows in Calgary only need to qualify for Zone 1.
So, why can’t Calgary window companies manufacture windows that meet local climate zone requirements?
REAL DIFFERENCE MAKER: a window company’s manufacturing capability
Of course, we’re not trying to speak about ALL local window companies here. But many of these companies existed since and even before vinyl windows became a national standard for replacement projects. Because standards for window performance have improved, the manufacturing process has to improve as well in order to keep up. Unfortunately some of the local companies in Calgary today, fall short when it comes to manufacturing highest quality windows.
Because most local companies are relatively small in terms of their size and volume, improving the technology to meet stringent requirements is often just not financially feasible for them. A lot of times these companies assemble their windows manually or using dated methods. This doesn’t always mean the window is not as good, but it is certainly a slower process when compared to technically outfitted manufacturing facilities. Simply put, if you go local, you may end up with a lesser performing product that still takes the same amount of time to manufacture and install, as a high-efficiency window from outside the province.
Bigger companies can often afford to work in several provinces because they have bigger production facilities. Bigger facilities and a technologically inclined process ensure that a company makes better performing windows for less, as they are generally mass producing in big volume. This also means they can offer higher quality products for lower prices.
The relatively small size of Calgary window manufacturers also means that they don’t always carry as much variety when it comes to product selection or additional features. You may be fine if you are looking to get a couple of basic windows, but from our experience, most homeowners like to add at least some flair, and having more options can afford you that.
Does the cost of shipping matter in the final price of the windows?
Another reason people will sometimes be dissuaded from purchasing from a company that isn’t local is because they think that the cost of shipping will drive up the price. While the prices obviously have to accommodate for shipping expenses, the actual cost difference is not that high. Because these companies often ship hundreds if not thousands of windows into a city on a weekly basis, the actual shipping cost per window is very low. If it comes to a slight increase in price for getting better performing windows, think about how long you want your replacement to last. Good windows won’t need to be replaced again for at least 20 years. Buy a bad product and you may be looking at another replacement project five years down the road.
Showroom vs. No Showroom
This seems to be a hot topic of contention with a lot of clients who are looking for window companies in Calgary. The thinking here, of course, is that because companies have a showroom they are somehow more reputable and respectable.
That may be true. But showrooms also require space and resources to make them look appropriate, as well as staff to maintain them. And guess where all these costs are going to come from?
In reality, the mobile approach actually works better for the homeowners. Whereas in the showroom your project may get assigned to whoever is there that day, with mobile, a project consultant is assigned specifically to your job. They will be the person responsible for your entire project and are a fulcrum between you and the window company. Project consultants also carry a variety of samples so you can play and interact with the windows. If you are still unconvinced and want to see how a window looks installed, you are better off asking to see a completed project in the neighborhood. If a company isn’t shy about the quality of their work, they won’t have a problem finding a local project to show you.
But the biggest reason to have the consultation appointment at your house, is because that’s where the windows will be installed! A knowledgeable project consultant will be able to see the problems that need to be resolved, where the areas that require most attention are, and maybe even advise you on a few windows that don’t need to be replaced just yet. This way you can feel safer about the quote you’re given, and know that the price won’t go up once the time to measure the windows comes.
Support local business
A lot of the time the decision to go with a local business is about pride and investing into the place you live. There’s no doubt that Alberta has been going through some trying times in the last year, and buying windows out of province while local companies suffer may seem too cruel for some.
But in reality, just like a window that is made in Ontario, the majority of the window’s parts in Calgary is often manufactured in the United States and then assembled locally. Out of town companies still employ local installers, supervisors, and staff. While the manufacturing may not be in the city, these people are just as much from Calgary as employees in the local companies.
And while the economy will surely bounce back in the next couple of years, supporting a company with the worse product today, hardly helps stimulate the kind of honest, quality business most homeowners want in their city.