There’s nothing certain in this world, the saying goes, except death and taxes. That may be true — but it’s not very comforting when considering installing home replacement windows. If you’re shelling out hundreds, even thousands of dollars upgrading your home windows, you want to know you made a wise, protected investment.
Home replacement window manufacturers such as Alside, Pella, Marvin, Champion, Harvey and others offer a dizzying array of warranties to ease the customer’s mind. Here’s some common terms you might encounter:
Glass: Refers to the glass used in the construction of your window and any applicable coatings. The most commonly reported problem with home replacement windows is seal failure, resulting in foggy glass. Glass warranties are essential, and it is recommended that you go with a warranty that offers at least 20 year’s worth of protection.
Non-Glass Components: The sash, hardware, trim and other portions of your home replacement window that aren’t made of glass. These are critical window features and should be protected.
Finishes: Very rarely, you’ll see warranties that extend to the exterior coatings and finishes on your windows. If you have this type of warranty, check to see if painting your windows voids the warranty!
Transferability: This term relates to whether the warranty applies only when you, as the purchasers of the home replacement windows, owns the home in which they are installed, or if the warranty stays with the windows, no matter who owns the home. Fully transferable warranties are a big plus if you plan to sell your home.
Labor and Installation: Labor and installation warranties cover the work done by the crew installing your home replacement windows. Unless a certified representative of the manufacturer installed the unit, few warranties will cover the cost of intallation. Check carefully.
Exclusions: These are things NOT covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Common exclusions include high humidity and salt spray — so if you have an ocean side home, you’ll want to check the fine print carefully. Exclusions can apply to glass, finishes, and hardware.
In addition to manufacturer’s warranties, home replacement window installation professionals
warranty their work. These are often limited warranties, so you’ll want to go over the terms of
the warranty with your replacement window specialist and make sure you understand exactly
what is covered and who you contact should a problem arise.
Home replacement window warranties become especially critical if you opt to select vinyl or fiberglass home replacement windows from a discount home center yourself rather than through a replacement window and door specialist. In those instances, many contractors will only offer you a warranty upon their installation — they didn’t pick nor provide the materials, and hence don’t want to be held responsible for any flaws in the windows. The dollars you save buying windows on sale at Home Depot will be wasted if you select a window that has a faulty glass seal or other hard to detect but critical flaw. Make sure your windows carry substantial warranties if you opt for this route.