Advice On Hiring Window Contractors & Installers
Read advice on hiring window contractors and installers from industry professionals and insiders.
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Installation Over Window
I have a Silverline 9500 in my basement and it has worked well - no air leaks and no issues to speak of. I installed it myself so I know it was done correctly. I think the biggest issue with consumers buying cheap windows from the big box stores is that then also get cheap installation and that combination is not a recipe for long term success. I probably get 25% of my business fixing windows that have been installed incorrectly - gaps between the frame and sash and the window not plumb are the two most common mistakes I see. So I think for alot of homeowners they could buy a so so window as long as the installation is done properly. Of course, I would prefer to see them get a mid range window from a good manufacturer but if the dollars aren't there I say make sure the thing is put in properly.
Finding A Good Installer
Finding a good installer can be harder than choosing a window. If the frames are still good and you just need inserts, that's one thing, a full tear out is something else. For some reason, it can be hard to find a window contractor that is good at both, they tend to favor one or the other. You might talk to the manufacturer and see if they can recommend someone, a lot of companies like Pella have certification programs that will give accreditation for installers of their products. These guys usually know what they're doing.
Anthony - Installer in Pennsylvania - from 2012
Importance Of Installation
As an installer, I've worked with a lot of Alside Excalibur windows and I think they are some of the best in the business. They look good and are pretty sturdy for the price. What people don't realize is that the dealer and the installer are much more important than the manufacturer. You want to buy from someone who cares about customer service. The installer is just as important - a good installation can make a lousy window work pretty well for a long time, and a bad installer is going to leave you with a leaky, drafty window, no matter how much you paid for it. A bad installation is probably going to void your warranty as well.
Dave - Installer in California - from 2010
Hiring Window Contractors
If you are buying the windows directly from one of the big home improvement stores, I would get an outside contractor, because the big box stores go with the lowest bidders for their installers and you'll end up regretting it. A good installer can't make the window sturdier or better looking, but they can at least minimize the leaks and drafts. The installers sent out by those stores are usually paid by the window, so they rush through the work and ignore potential problems. You might get lucky and get a decent install, but who wants to gamble?
Bob - Builder - from 2009