When you hear the word ‘warranty,’ what comes to mind? Maybe you think of it as insurance for a product, a guaranteed service if something breaks or goes wrong. Maybe you see it as a contract between a business and a consumer. Maybe you don’t even think of it at all.
Is warranty important? When should you think about it when looking to purchase a new product?
When it comes to investing in your home, you need to ensure the products and services you pay for are going to last a lifetime. This means the warranty on your windows should last a lifetime too.
The warranty, or contract, for your windows that a company offers is important during your research and consultations with potential companies. You need to make sure that the company you choose has the right intentions with the services they offer you.
There are many different types of warranties, and every company has its own terms and policies a part of theirs. So, how do you know what a good warranty looks like?
Southwest Exteriors has been replacing windows for the past three decades and has seen many window warranties in our lifetime. We know what makes a warranty good, bad, and ugly, and our expert design consultants know what should be guaranteed in a window warranty.
In this article, we will define what should be included in a window warranty, what a lifetime warranty is, and red flags to look out for when examining a warranty. After reading, you can feel confident when going into a consultation with a potential business to make sure you’re getting everything you need in a window warranty.
What is standard in a window warranty?
Just like a delicious holiday pie, there are a number of ingredients that are necessary for a warranty to ensure it is right. If you’re missing any of these things, your project won’t come outright.
If anything breaks or goes wrong with the frame of the window, it will be included in the warranty.
Not including breakage, if the glass of the window stops working the way it’s supposed to, it will be covered by the warranty. For example, if the glass of the window is constantly foggy and doesn’t come out with a thorough clean, you can replace the window with the warranty. This should include failure of any films or added energy-efficient coatings on the glass, but this must be clarified in the warranty.
All hardware and moving pieces of the window should be covered in the warranty, such as the locks and balance system which keeps the window from sliding when it is opened. If your double-hung window won’t tilt in or out like it is meant to, the warranty should cover the cost to fix it.
Labor and installation
If this is not included in a warranty, then the company will not be held responsible if the window is not properly installed. This means that you could be paying hundreds of dollars to have the installation fixed if any problems occur on top of the installation fees in general. Craftsmanship is important.
Bonus - Glass break coverage
While this is not necessary, glass break coverage in your warranty means your window is covered if it breaks. This quality is the least of your worries in a window warranty because getting a window replaced due to a glass break is rare. Unless you live in a home of baseball players, glass break coverage shouldn’t be the greatest of your concern for a window warranty.
When examining the warranty for your replacement windows, you have to ensure that all parts of the window will be covered during the lifetime of the warranty.
What could accidentally break? What could potentially go wrong during the installation process? The answers to these questions are what you need to make sure are covered in the warranty.
An example of a common window warranty might include 20-year glass coverage, 10-year frame coverage, and two-year installation coverage. What is included in a warranty is reflective of the company and the price you will pay.
An inexpensive window replacement may come with a short-term warranty that would not be ideal for someone living in their forever home.
Whether you are just in a starter home for a few years or have established your roots for the next several decades, the definition of a lifetime in your warranty must be clarified before signing on the dotted line.
What does a lifetime warranty actually mean?
Hearing ‘lifetime warranty’ would commonly make you think the window is going to last a lifetime, your lifetime. However, the definition of a lifetime is different for every company and product.
While you might be offered a lifetime warranty for your replacement windows, you have to ask if it is the lifetime of your life in your home or the lifetime of the windows. The lifetime of a window might only be five years, so the company might define it as a lifetime warranty.
Things to consider when defining the lifetime of your window warranty are the lifetime and longevity of the company as well as its reputation.
If a company is only in its second year of business and offers a 20-year warranty, can you trust that they will still be in business for the next 20 years? Not to say that a newly established company cannot succeed with reputable status, but you must consider if they are trustworthy enough to handle your job.
After outlining the specifics included in a window warranty, defining the lifetime of that warranty is the second most important element. Never assume lifetime meaning to last your lifetime.
Ensuring you understand every detail of the warranty is most important to make sure you do not get ripped off or find yourself in a sticky situation.
Red flags to look out for when choosing a window replacement company
When making any decision on choosing a company for a home renovation, you have to ask the right questions and a lot of them to make sure you are getting exactly what you are asking for and wanting. Here are a few red flags to pay attention to when consulting a warranty with a window replacement company.
#1: They aren’t prepared.
If you are firing detailed questions about the company’s warranty, products, or services and they do not seem to have any answers, you might want to keep looking. The best companies will answer all of your questions before you even ask them or at least have that answer readily available.
#2: They dodge questions.
If a company admits they do not know the answer to your question right away but promises to find the answer for you, that is one thing. If you ask a specific question and they start to talk circles around you, that’s another. You want your question to be answered as thoroughly and specifically as possible, and if a company keeps dodging your questions and changing the subject, this is a red flag.
#3: They push you to sign.
Agreeing to hire someone to replace your windows is a huge deal. You have to trust the company and feel confident in the job and the products they will provide. Do not feel pressured to sign a contract and warranty unless you are sure about the deal. You may be reeled in with discounts only offered when you sign that day, but if the company isn’t right, you’re going to lose way more money than that discount saved you.
When making any deal, it all comes down to trust in the company. If you do not feel like someone is being honest with you or trying to sell you a worse deal than it sounds, trust your gut.
Now that we’ve identified some red flags to look out for during a window replacement consultation, let’s recap what to make sure is included with your warranty.
Making sure your window warranty is a good one
If you take nothing else from this article, remember these qualities when going into a window replacement consultation:
Installation and labor coverage
Define the lifetime
Not all warranties look the same. In order to get the service and warranty that is best for you, consider your top priorities for your project. How long do you plan on staying in your home, and how long do you want your windows to last? How important are company values and reviews to you?
At Southwest Exteriors, we strive to be fully transparent in all of our products, services, and warranties. We offer a lifetime warranty on all services for the entirety of your life in your home and define this warranty explicitly during each consultation. Our warranty ensures if anything goes wrong with your window for as long as you are in your home, whether it be five years or 50 years, the cost to fix or replace your window is covered.
Remember to read the fine print and ask plenty of specific questions about the warranty for your window replacement job, and trust your gut feeling if something does not sound right in a warranty.