The top five mistakes homeowners make when buying replacement windows and how you can avoid them.
I. Going For Cheap
While everybody wants to find great value in their Replacement Window purchase, there are certain things that you don’t want to cut corners on. There are dozens of Houston Replacement Window Companies that offer windows for outrageously low prices. We have seen window prices as low as $179! Buying one would be a costly mistake.
While a cheap window might be tempting, you need to be aware that a cheap replacement window might do a cheap job at performing it’s job for you. Before you settle on any window, you should do some research on the specific brand and model that is being offered. Often times the replacement window shown is not the same window they end up installing in your home.
Unscrupulous replacement window contractors will sniff out your motivation to save on the price and take advantage of you through inferior products, faulty installation, poor performance, shallow warranties and bait & switch tactics.
You would be better off selecting the best window for your needs and install them in phases, if necessary, than to settle for a cheap window that is sure to bring you additional heartache and expense down the road. If you want cheap windows, perhaps you should just keep the windows you have now. Protect yourself from this common mistake and you will be far happier in the long run.
II. Going For Broke
This mistake is as common as the mistake above. The only difference is that it appeals to the opposite spectrum of the Houston Window Buyer. The mistake of “Going For Broke” is when an unsuspecting homeowner is pressured into buying a window that is way too expensive, too fancy and offers a few more amenities than windows that are half the price.
You will know you are about to be “Sold” when the person booking the appointment for an estimate insist that all the decision makers are present during their visit. This is ussually an indication that the Window Company has highly trained sales people who’s assignment is to “hard sell” their windows to you. I have heard of window companies in Houston staying in people’s homes for over two hours as they attempted to convince them why their windows are worth $1,000 each! In reality, their “exclusive” window is simply a mass production window with a private label so you cannot compare it to other popular brands on the market.
The best way to protect yourself from paying too much for a replacement window is to delay the urge to buy the first, most expensive window you see. Instead, ask for detailed specs, product brochures and a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty. This will arm you to do your online research to see if their windows are really worth what they are asking you to pay.
III. Improper Installation
Ok, let’s suppose you didn’t make the mistake of buying a cheap window and you didn’t get suckered into over-paying for a good window. How will you know if the window is installed properly?
This is a difficult problem to predict and perhaps the most costly of the mistakes people make when buying replacement windows. Here is the problem; a homeowner does their homework on the window manufacturers, the types of glass available, the details of the vinyl, wood, composites or fibrex, and even examines reviews on the internet to make sure that the window they are about to purchase is of good quality and value. Where they make a mistake is not paying close attention to who will be installing the windows and what their level of expertise is. What often happens is- good windows get installed wrong and they don’t work like they should.
Quality control at the factory level is usually great. The manufacturer implements standards, processes and scientific data to ensure that their window meets the level of excellence that they have promised to deliver to their consumers. But once that window leaves their factory, it could end up in the hands of who-knows-who and who knows if the installer has enough experience to install the window properly. Major window manufacturers tell us that nearly 90% of warranty claims that they receive point back to failed installation procedures, not window problems.
With replacement windows gaining in popularity, more and more companies have decided to try their hand at installing windows. Roofing companies that are great at roofing are not necessarily great at installing windows. You wouldn’t let a roofer work on your plumbing would you?
The best way to be sure your windows are installed properly is to ask the replacement window company if their installers are trained by the manufacturer to install the windows and take a few minutes to verify their claim. Any reputable Houston Replacement Window company will gladly offer verification from the manufacturer of their training.
One more thing to be aware of- most replacement window companies in Houston do not even use their own employees to install their windows. If they are going to use sub-contractors, be absolutely certain to verify their training and credentials.
IV. No-Name Game
At Houston Window Experts, we get to visit with hundreds of homeowners each year. We get to hear their stories, meet their families and learn how we can help them with their home. Often times we get calls from people who already purchased replacement windows and they are expereincing problems and need some help. Other times we learn that they purchased windows a few years before and are ready to buy some more windows to complete their project.
The all too common problem for many of these homeowners is that the windows that they have can not be identified and are the “John Doe” brand of windows. If they need parts- we can’t find them, if the window failed- we don’t know who to call, they are orphan window brands and they are impossible to work on.
What usually happened was this; a homeowner had a few companies come out to show her some windows for her home. Several of the companies told her about the brands that they carry, who the manufacturer was, where they were located and how long they had been making windows. (She would later regret that she didn’t buy from this company).
One of the companies told her that they had a Special Window. They told her that due to their great reputation and their high volume of window sales, they had created a special, exclusive window just for their customers. They told her that she could not find this window anywhere else and that all other windows were inferior to their window. Not knowing much about windows, the homeowner fell for the nonsense that all the other reputable window makers she had heard about could in no way compete with this Exclusive Window she was seeing. The truth is that the window she bought was not special in any way. The window she bought came from one of the many sub-par window makers that make private-label inferior products for greedy companies who take advantage of trusting homeownwers.
These no-name window products come from what I would equate to a puppy mill of windows. While it may seem great at first, you never know what problems to expect years down the road. And when you need that company the most, they are nowhere to be found.
The solution is to stick with brand-name windows from manufacturers who are likely to be in business many years from now. That way, in the event that the company who installed the windows is out of business, you can still find parts, service and warranty work for your purchase.
V. Lack Of Due-Diligence
In this category I will briefly list a few things you should be on the look-out for, and a few questions to ask when deciding who to choose for your window replacement project. Don’t rush in to a purchase without taking the time to ask these questions. As you ask more questions, you should feel more comfortable about the company. If you don’t, you should probably continue your search.
- Is the contractor insured? (Ask for a current copy of their liability insurance policy)
- Do they have references? (Don’t just get them, call them too!)
- Were they prompt in replying to your initial inquiry? (Slow response indicates poor service)
- How long will it take to get your new windows? (Most windows can be made and installed within 2-3 weeks)
- How much is that “Free Financing” really going to cost you? (Contractors pay a 4%-12% premium to the banks to buy those financing incentives. They bury it in the price of their windows)
- Google the name of the Contractor with the word “complaints” in your search. (i.e. ABC Window Company Complaints)
- Ask if they plan on getting a permit for your project.
- Avoid the pressure to “Buy today or lose the special discount“. (They will give you the same discount next month if you call them back)
- Is everything you were promised in writing? (Be sure to get a written agreement indicating exactly what you will be getting for your purchase)
Replacement Windows Are Great!
With a little knowledge, doing your homework, and using your instincts, you can find a Window Replacement Contractor that will offer you a great window at a great price and install it professionally for you. At Houston Window Experts, we are here to offer you expert advice about buying replacement windows in Houston.
The Next Step
Enjoy an informative no-pressure shopping experience in the comfort of your own home. Our Window Expert will:
- Ask the right questions and address your specific concerns.
- Show you a variety of energy-efficient replacement window products.
- Bring sample replacement windows so you can see your options up close.
- Provide expert advice to help you select the best replacement windows for your home and budget.
- Inspect your old windows and measure to ensure a precise weather-tight and airtight fit.
- Explain the window installation process, so you will know what to expect.
- Give you a written estimate for your new windows, including expert installation and taxes.
- Walk you through our window ordering and installation process so you know what steps to take next.
To schedule a Free In-Home Consultation, please visit our Free Quote page or complete the form at the right side of this page.