When it comes to pricing and installing replacement windows in your home the condition of your house, health of your used windows, and your budget ultimately determine what kind of installation is required and what kind of new windows you should get. You as a homeowner are tasked with just one job, picking the right window company. Pretty daunting, especially if you know very little about replacement windows and probably even less about window companies.
Thankfully, the market is saturated with companies that offer as many unique options as there are scenarios for a replacement project, so you have a large pool to choose from. At the very basic level, you will need to decide whether you want to go with a full-service company, buy directly from a manufacturer and find installers, or go with a dealer that offers a variety of products and sub-contracts their work.
A full-service company will be responsible for manufacturing, installing, and servicing their own windows. These companies usually have their own designated installers and will be in charge throughout the whole project.
Dealers often carry products from one or more manufacturers and offer their own installation services. In this sense, Home Depot can be considered a window dealer. With dealers, you often have an option of choice, but no guarantee as to the quality of their installers work.
Window manufacturers can sometimes be full-service companies as well. Often, however, they simply make the windows and sell them to multiple dealers.
Check out other window company reviews:
JELD-WEN vs. All Weather Windows
Pella Windows and Doors vs. Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors
Lux Windows and Glass vs. Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors
Polar Ray-O-Max vs. Ecoline Windows
Duraco Windows vs. Polar Ray-O-Max
As a full-service company, we often get to see the advantages and disadvantages of all methods. Today we’ll examine two Winnipeg window companies that have a large scale manufacturing process, but very different tactics when it comes to selling their product.
Polar Windows, formerly Ray-O-Max, has been on the Canadian Market since 1976. The company currently services Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and surrounding areas. Although Polar is one of the bigger window manufacturers in Western Canada, they have their own sales representatives and work directly with customers. Hence they can be considered a full-service company.
Polar has generally good reviews on Homestars and a high BBB rating. The negative reviews are mostly about miscommunications and lack of follow up regarding the order or service from the head office. Many homeowners mentioned they were given the run-around by the company once the installation was complete and company’s representatives were difficult to reach. Recent negative reviews also bring into question the quality of product and how the company performs installations. Pay special attention if you’re interested in getting doors from Polar as several customers in the last few years, mentioned issues with this product.
Polar Windows prides itself on their own patented technology energy efficient windows. The company carries all standard window types in over 18 different colors. For the pickiest homeowners, the company offers window manufacturing plant tours so you can see the product and workmanship first hand.
Energy Star rated and CSA certified
The company also offers a lifetime warranty on their frame, sash, and glass components. Polar defines their lifetime warranty transferable warranty for as long as the original purchaser owns the building in which the product was installed.
From its inception as an Oregon millwork plant in 1960 to its expansion into Canada in 1996, and subsequent consolidation of over twenty brands, JELD-WEN is now one of the largest window and door manufacturers in the world, not just Canada. For customers looking for local Winnipeg windows, JELD-WEN has a manufacturing facility, design center, and their head office in the city.
Regardless of which dealer they went through many homeowners mention the same problem when dealing with JELD WEN: the company refusing to acknowledge problems with the window as a product defect. Numerous complaints from homeowner state they’ve made several attempts to contact the company only to have their calls not returned.
JELD-WEN carries all standard types of windows in wood, aluminum-clad wood, and vinyl options. The company also offers a variety of entry and patio doors in common materials on the market. It is important to remember that JELD-WEN supplies product to numerous companies and renovation department stores. Therefore you may have a more difficult task of finding qualified window installers for their product. Check out our previous post on differences between full-service companies and big box stores.
Energy Star Rated
2012 Energy Star Manufacturer of The Year
There is no clear indication about product warranty terms on the company’s website. They do offer several forms for after-sales service, and info on filling out a warranty claim. In most cases, you will most likely have to turn to the company or dealer that sold you the windows to obtain and complete warranty registration. This is another point of importance if you are considering Jeld-Wen products: while the manufacturer may provide warranty on the hardware, make sure you figure out who is responsible for completing service that is related to potential installation problems.
Both Polar Windows and JELD-WEN are good companies to compare when you look at them as manufacturers. Both fabricate windows and doors on a large scale and have been on the North American market for enough time to establish a reputation. Polar is a good choice if you’re looking for a full-service approach as they have their own project consultants and deal directly with the customer. JELD-WEN has the advantage of working with numerous dealers and retailers, so you may be able to get a lower price on their windows by shopping around. You can also likely buy JELD WEN windows outright and find someone you are comfortable with to install them.
Both of these companies seem to have a similar problem when it comes to post-installation service, dealing with customer requests in a timely manner, and resolving the issues before the customer has to follow up several times.
As a full-service company ourselves, we don’t try to discourage potential clients from big box stores, or supply-only solutions. But quite frankly in our experience, the full-service way works better for most customers in Winnipeg and Western Canada. Unless they’re in the renovation business themselves, most people don’t want to have to deal with arranging work, planning timelines, and making sure everything is done right. To most homeowners, a replacement project is something that has to be done, and they simply want to pay for it and know that everything is taken care of. Having to find and arrange workers, spend time hunting down service, and being the supervisor for your own replacement can often take up more time and resources than most people want to commit.
Check out other window replacement articles:
Full Frame or Retrofit: Best Installation For Winnipeg Windows
Windows & Doors Winnipeg: How to Qualify for Manitoba Hydro Loan
ER Ratings: Are Your Windows Good Enough for Wintry Winnipeg?