Make sure to check out the video "Questions to ask a replacement windows contractor" down below
So, you’ve decided to take the leap, begin your research into local window replacement companies, and decide to schedule a few consultations with your top choices.
Chances are you are no window expert, so how are you supposed to know which company and products are best?
Before going into a consultation with any window replacement contractor, it is important to prepare questions ahead of time. You want to make sure you will have all the information you need to know before making a decision.
With Southwest Exteriors, our goal is to answer all your questions before you ask them. We want to educate you on all aspects of the different window products we offer, our processes, warranty, and anything else you need to know.
As an established, San Antonio-local window contractor for over 30 years, our staff knows what you need to know from a window contractor. We deliver the information you need before you have to ask and want you to get the same from other window contractors.
In this article, we will outline the top six questions you should ask a window contractor during a consultation and examples of what a good and bad answer would be.
Asking questions is important during your consultations because you want to know what to expect and what you’re getting into. If you don’t ask the right questions and get all of the information you need, you may be blindsided by hidden fees, faulty products, and problems with your windows in the future.
Great answer: “We have been a local business for over 20 years. Here are a few reviews from our clients over the years, but if you Google us, you’ll be able to read a lot more.”
This is a clear answer with shown proof of the company’s existence.
Not so great answer: “Our windows have been manufactured for 82 years.”
You may not realize it, but this could mean that the manufacturer they work with has been in business for 82 years. But how long has the contractor been in business?
It is important to distinguish between a window contractor and a window manufacturer.
The window contractor is the company you will be in contact with to complete your window replacement job. The window manufacturer is the company that makes the windows and works with the contractor you may potentially hire.
This is important to clearly define when asking or researching how long a window contractor has been in business.
The longevity of the contractor you are looking at is important in determining whether you can trust them to do the right job.
If a company has been locally established for many years and has an extensive list of reviews you can read, it is likely you can trust them more than a company that is just starting out or isn’t able to prove its credibility.
2. Do they have their own installers, and how long have they worked for them?
Great answer: “We’ve been working with the same installers for the past 8 years. Unlike most contractors, our team exclusively works with window installations, so they are experts in their field.”
Having an installation team that has been with the contractor for many years proves they are trustworthy and know how to do the job right.
Not so great answer: “We just started working with our installers about a month ago, but they know how to do the job right.”
While it may be true that the installers are qualified and know how to replace windows, you may want to choose a company that has examples of the work the installers have done over many years.
Many contractors hire installers from outside companies, and many installers work with a lot of different companies to do a lot of different jobs.
Installers who have worked with the same contractor for many years are likely to be more reliable than an installer who just started with a contractor. It’s a bonus if the installers only work in that certain type of work such as window or door replacements.
3. What is the warranty?
Great answer: “We offer a lifetime warranty on your windows and the installation as long as you live in your home. What that means is that if you have any problems with the windows, no matter if it is in two years or 20 years, we will cover it for you.”
This company explicitly defines its warranty policy so you know what to expect.
Not so great answer: “We offer a lifetime warranty.”
This company offers no details in its warranty and what a lifetime means. If a company only tells you this about their warranty, you need to ask what they mean by ‘lifetime.’
When some companies say they have a lifetime warranty, they might mean the lifetime of the window which could be only five years. You also need to ask what all is included in the warranty such as installation, hardware coverage, and glass coverage if anything were to go wrong with any part of the window.
Warranty is a big part of your replacement window project, and you need to know exactly what you need and what you will get.
4. What is my return on investment with the project?
Great answer: “There are so many factors that you can look at to determine exactly what your return on investment, or ROI, of this project will be. We can look at the energy efficiency of your current windows and compare it to the prospected new windows so you can see the difference. I can’t give you an exact number on what your ROI will be, but I can show you the data we have.”
This company is being completely honest in telling you that you cannot answer that question with an exact number.
Not so great answer: “Your return on investment with these new windows is going to be 50%.”
There is no way of knowing that this project for this client will give them a 50% ROI.
When discussing what your ROI for your new windows will be, a great company will be focusing on what you want to gain from new windows. If your goal is to upgrade your old and worn windows to something more sustainable and energy-efficient, then they can help you see how you can get a large ROI for what you want.
If your goal is to get a new look in your home, then what you would want to discuss is the ROI of spending a little more for a high-quality, upscale style that will last and you will love.
5. What product is right for me?
Great answer: “After going into the details of all the products we offer, which do you feel is best for you? We can discuss it further and compare it to the other products you are curious about.”
This company respects that this project is yours and wants you to be educated on all of the products so you can make that decision fairly.
Not so great answer: “This aluminum-clad window is perfect for you. Because you want this type of look, it’s really the only type of window that will work for you.”
This company is pushing one specific product on you and backing you into a corner. They are deciding for you.
Your window replacement project is your project. If you do not feel educated on all products one contractor offers, make sure to clarify any concerns or questions you have.
You want to make the best decision for yourself and your home, and allowing a contractor to make that decision for you may result in disappointment in your new windows and possible problems you weren’t expecting to run into.
6. What type of glass is used in the window?
Great answer: “The glass in these windows is called Low-E which helps to block infrared and UV rays to protect your home from excess sun heat.”
This is a specific type of glass that the company outlines for you and explains what it is.
Not so great answer: “The glass in these windows is a special type that blocks the sun to keep unwanted heat out.”
Does the window block the sun? Did they just mean heat from the sun? What kind of special glass is it? This answer just leaves you with too many other questions.
The glass that comes with your window is just as important as what the window is made of. There are a handful of different types of glasses that windows are commonly made of such as laminated, tempered, and low-E.
The glass that a window is made of is going to affect the energy-efficiency performance and strength of the window.
Should your window consultation be free?
Many window replacement companies offer free consultations to prospective customers as a way to provide an estimate of the cost of the project and discuss the customer's needs and preferences. While not all companies offer free consultations, it is common practice in the industry.
A free consultation can be beneficial for homeowners who are considering window replacement, as it provides an opportunity to gather information and compare options from multiple companies without incurring any upfront costs. During the consultation, a representative from the window company will typically visit your home to take measurements, assess your current windows, and discuss your options for replacement.
However, it's important to note that while a free consultation can be helpful, it is not always a guarantee of quality or professionalism. When choosing a window replacement company, it's important to research the company's reputation, credentials, and experience, and to ask for references and examples of previous work. It's also a good idea to get multiple quotes from different companies to ensure that you're getting a fair price for the project.
In summary, while a free consultation can be a valuable tool for homeowners considering window replacement, it's important to do your due diligence and choose a reputable and experienced company that can deliver high-quality work at a fair price.
The importance of doing your research and asking questions
Any home remodeling project is a big deal and is a large investment. It is important to research the companies you are considering for the project and prepare questions ahead of a consultation.
Asking plenty of questions will ensure that you will be educated on all products and services offered and what strings are attached to them like installation and warranty.
Are you prepared for your window consultation?
If you’ve scheduled a consultation with a window contractor or are looking to soon, use this list of questions as a guide to ensure you get all the information you need.
To recap each of the questions we’ve covered:
How long has the contractor been in business?
Do they have their own installers, and how long have they worked for them?
What is the warranty?
What is my return-on-investment?
What product is right for me?
What time of glass is used in the window?
Remember to do your research on what type of windows you are looking for as well as research into potential contractors you want to do the job.
When you work with Southwest Exteriors, our goal is to educate you on everything you need to know about the windows we offer and all their details. We strive to be open and honest no matter the question you ask and hope to gain your trust and confidence in our abilities.