Fire Recovery Realities

Important Questions To Ask Before Your Windows Are Replaced

by Matthew Fields

Do you own a home that has a broken window? Are you in the process of trying to get a replacement installed? When cold air is leaking into your home through a window and warm air is leaking out, you probably feel pressured to get replacement windows as quickly as possible. But if you just go with the first company you find, you may have problems with your window or windows later. Here are some things to ask before hiring anyone to replace your windows:

What type of warranty do you offer? Even the best contractor can make a mistake now and then. While the manufacturer's warranty will cover defects in the window structure itself, it won't cover mistakes made by the installer. It's a good idea to know that if your window suddenly falls out because of something like the installer getting distracted and not using enough nails, you'll be covered by the contractor's warranty.

Will you be on-site during the process? If not, who will? While the person that you talk to is often the person who will be completing the project, this isn't always so. You may talk to the owner of the company, who will then simply send a few of his or her employees out to handle your replacement windows. It's also possible that you will be talking with a contractor who will subcontract with a different company to handle the installation. With subcontracting, it may be more difficult to have any issues corrected or to be reimbursed in the case of a mistake during the install. This doesn't mean that you should avoid companies who subcontract out the work, only that you should first familiarize yourself with the possible repercussions. 

What happens if you discover lead paint? If you own an older home with original windows, there's always the possibility that lead paint still exists on or around the frames. Due to the hazard that lead paint can pose, your contractor may impose an additional fee for dealing with it while installing replacement windows. If possible, have your exterior paint tested beforehand so that you can be aware of whether lead paint still exists on or around your windows.

Is fresh paint part of the installation process? Some companies will happily include the cost of painting your new window frame or frames to match the rest of the house in their price. Others may charge additional for it or may expect you to do all the painting yourself. If they will be painting your windows to match, make sure you get it in writing whether there are additional fees for things like matching paint colors other than basic white.