When shopping for new windows, it’s important to look beyond price and aesthetics and research how you can best protect your investment. This can come in the form of anything from warranties to guarantees of workmanship by the window company you choose. Neglecting to take these factors into consideration can come back to haunt you later. You want to be assured of quality not just today but for years into the future!
What to Look For
The warranty coverage on your new windows is important for a variety of reasons, mainly in knowing you can count on long-term support on a purchase that will likely be a significant investment in your home. There are two primary areas of a warranty: product warrant and labor/installation/workmanship warranty.
The product warranty, in a nutshell, covers manufacturer defects. It does not usually cover things like damage from abuse, acts of God (fires and storms) and failure to maintain. Product warranties will cover replacement parts if any components fail due to a manufacturer defect, such as:
- Failed glass seals in an insulated glass unit
- Defective hardware
Some manufacturers may offer accidental glass breakage as part of their coverage. In general, manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for vinyl windows, with a 20/10 warranty on wood windows, which covers 20 years on the glass and 10 years on all other components.
The other part of the warranty equation is the installation warranty, which can range from one dealer to the next. You may find that one company offers a one-year warranty on workmanship and installation, while another company offers a lifetime warranty. Still others land somewhere in between those two. We recommend looking for at least a five- to 10-year warranty, as most installation-related issues will show themselves within the first year or two after installation. If a company offers lifetime, that’s great too!
Most workmanship warranties will cover:
- Service call and diagnosis charges
- Coverage to install parts provided under the manufacturer’s warranty
- Any defect related to how the window was installed
Installation warranties generally do not cover failed maintenance tasks such as caulking and cleaning tracks, which can hinder operation.
Just remember, every window warranty is not created equal. Warranties are only as good as the company that offers them, so if the company you choose goes belly up in a few years, that lifetime warranty they promised is worth nothing. This is why it’s especially important to choose a window installation company that has a solid reputation in the community with many years of experience.