Windows and Doors from years past require maintenance and repair to keep them in good working order. Many times these repairs get delayed. Over time, the condition, look and efficiency will begin to suffer. When the comfort and function of the windows become degraded and the curb appeal of the home becomes faded, it is time to consider replacement or repair.
Replacement or repair?
The reasons homeowners do not repair their windows and doors as often as replacing them: cost and efficiency.
1. Often the original manufactured parts are not available. However there are remanufactured parts available at a super-premium cost.
2. There are very few people that are experts with window refurbishing and their hourly rate is high.
3. New replacement windows offer new technologies, particularly with glass, which are much more energy efficient.
4. CURB APPEAL. New replacement windows can bring an amazing facelift to the exterior of your home.
5. According to the 2016 Remodeling Magazine national survey, replacement windows and doors have above average cost recovery. Vinyl or wood replacement windows will recoup about 73% of the cost in added home value and a front door can recoup 91.1% of the cost.
Often it comes down to this, you get a better product for less cost by replacing, but it is based on your specific situation.
How to buy a window or door
There are an overwhelming number of options when it comes to purchasing a product that provides good value:
1. Start with internet research and an independent web site such as American Architectural Manufacturers Association (http://www.aamanet.org) or NFRC (http://www.nfrc.org). This web research will give you facts about energy efficiency and finish options.
2. Look at the facts. NFRC provides window and door manufactures with labels based on independent testing of windows. These scientific facts provide information about U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Visible Transmittance and Air leakage. Use this information for a preliminary factual comparison of windows and window types.
3. Find a window that you think is attractive. There are many options available for the appealing look- both inside and out.
4. The warranty will generally give you a guideline to how the manufacturer thinks the window will perform in the long run. If the manufacturer is willing to provide a long warranty, this is because their engineers and testing prove it will last.
5. Find a local dealer or that you can earnestly trust. There always has to be a person to back up the promises of the manufacturers and salesman. Make sure that the person who stands behind the organization is someone you can trust.
How to buy installation
A quality installation job is as important as the type of window or door that you select. An excellent product that is installed improperly may be subject to excessive draft, operate poorly, and have a sloppy appearance inside or out. Additionally, poorly installed windows can cause failure of the surrounding structure and costly repairs.
The following information is a guide for hiring an independent contractor or using the installers from the dealer.
1. Hire a licensed/registered contractor that can provide proof of general liability workman's compensation insurance coverage, and is EPA certified to deal with possible lead in older homes.
2. Hire experienced craftsmen. Installing a window or door can involve many following carpentry disciplines: framing, siding, drywall, interior trim and exterior trim and sometimes there are complications. Hire an organization who cares about their work and has window installation experience. Someone who can solve difficulties. Look for value, not just inexpensive price.
3. Always get references from the installing organization. Ask the company what they will do if there is a problem- how will they resolve it. Ask them about their workmanship warranty.
4. Ask them if they follow the AAMA recommended window installation practices. Ask them if they use method A or method B for window install.
Research. Compare. Choose.
A window that you think is attractive and has the factual testing to back up the claims may be from a company that is not as heavily advertised, look at your options. Most important, choose a dealer and manufacturer that you trust. Someone who will back up the warranty and promises made.