The top five mistakes homeowners make when buying replacement windows and how you can avoid them.
I. Going for cheap
Everybody wants to find great value in their window replacement purchase, but there are some things you shouldn’t cut corners on. There are dozens of window replacement companies in Houston 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 it’s cheap for a reason. Before you settle on any window, you should do some research on the specific brand and model. Oftentimes the replacement window shown is not the same one they end up installing in your home.
Unscrupulous window replacement contractors will sniff out your motivation to save on the price and take advantage of you by providing inferior products, faulty installation, poor performance, shallow warranties, and bait and switch tactics.
You would be better off selecting the best window for your needs and install them in phases, if necessary. This is better than settling for cheap windows that are sure to bring additional heartache and expense down the road. 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 window buyers. This is when an unsuspecting homeowner is pressured into buying a window that is way too expensive, too fancy, and offers nonessential amenities.
You’ll know you’re being “sold” when the person booking the appointment for an estimate insists that all decision makers are present during the visit. This is usually an indication that the window company has highly trained sales people assigned 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 that 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 details, 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’re 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 overpaying for a good window. How will you know if the window is installed properly?
This is a difficult problem to predict, and can lead to costly mistakes. Many homeowners assume that whoever is installing their windows is qualified. But unless homeowners do their homework, they run the risk of having their windows installed wrong. So what can homeowners do to ensure they’re getting quality installation?
Quality control at the factory level is usually great. The manufacturer implements standards, processes, and scientific data to ensure that their windows meet the level of excellence consumers expect. But once that window leaves the factory, it could end up in the hands of installers with little to no professional experience. Major window manufacturers tell us that nearly 90 percent of warranty claims 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 window installation. But 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. After that, take a few minutes to verify their claim. Any reputable Houston window replacement company will gladly offer training verification.
Another thing to be aware of: Most replacement window companies in Houston don’t even use their own employees. Instead, they hire subcontractors. In this case, you want to be absolutely certain to verify training and credentials.
IV. No-name game
At Houston Window Experts, we visit with hundreds of homeowners each year. We hear their stories, meet their families, and learn how we can help them. Often we get calls from people who are experiencing problems with their recently-purchased windows, and need our help.
Many of these homeowners encounter problems after purchasing “John Doe” windows—or those whose brands cannot be identified. This is further complicated if the window fails. Window replacement companies will not be able to locate the necessary parts, and window repairs become almost impossible.
This is usually the outcome of a common scenario: A homeowner had a few companies show her some new windows for her home. Several of the companies told her about the brands they carry—who the manufacturer was, where they were located, and how long they’d been in business. (She would later regret that she didn’t buy from this company.)
One of the window companies told her that, due to their great reputation and high sales volume, they 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 this one. Not knowing much about windows, the homeowner fell for it. However, the window was not special in any way. It came from one of the many subpar manufacturers that makes private-label, inferior products for greedy companies and takes advantage of trusting homeowners.
These no-name window products may seem great at first, but you never know what problems will emerge years down the road. And when you need that company’s help with repairs, they are nowhere to be found.
The solution is to stick with brand-name windows from reputable manufacturers. 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.
V. Lack of due diligence
When buying replacement windows, nothing is more important than due diligence. You should never rush into a purchase without taking the time to ask questions. As you ask more questions, you’ll feel more comfortable about the company, and you’ll know what you’re getting. If you don’t, you should probably continue your search. Here’s a list of questions to ask any window replacement company you intend to hire:
- 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!
- Did they quickly reply to your initial inquiry? A slow response indicates poor service.
- How long will it take to get your new windows? Most windows can be made and installed within 2 to 3 weeks.
- How much is that “free financing” really going to cost you? Contractors often pay a 4 to 12 percent premium to buy those financing incentives. They bury it in the price of their windows.
- Google the name of the contractor plus the word “complaints.” For example, “ABC Window Company complaints.”
- Ask if they plan to get a permit for your project.
- Avoid the pressure to “buy today or lose the special discount.” They’ll most likely give you the same discount next month if you call them back.
- Is everything in writing? Be sure to get a written agreement indicating exactly what you will be getting for your purchase—plus any promises.
Replacement Windows Are Great!
By doing your homework and listening to your instincts, you can find a window replacement contractor that offers a great window at a great price—and installs it professionally. At Houston Window Experts, we’re here to offer you expert advice about whatever window you need.
The next step
Enjoy an informative no-pressure shopping experience in the comfort of your own home. Our window replacement expert will:
- Ask the right questions and address your specific concerns.
- Show you a variety of energy-efficient replacement window products.
- Bring sample windows and doors so you 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 doors and measure to ensure a precise weather-resistant and airtight fit.
- Explain the window installation process so you know what to expect
- Give you a written estimate for your replacement 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.