Blog > Category Post > Posted: 2020-Aug-19, Updated: 2020-Sep-29

Get the best product, value and price for your window dollars

Get the best window product, value and price
Buying replacement windows can be a complex process if you want to ensure you are getting the best product, price and value available. There are lots of ways a window company can make the deal they offer you look great! But how do you know if you are actually getting a great deal?

Before you request quotes, here are some tips that will help you get a deal that not only looks great but is great!

1. Price

Always get at least 3 quotes

If you are like most consumers, price matters - but beware, not all windows are made the same. This is where some companies take advantage of subtle differences in quality, the services and the warranty they offer to bring the cost down. Unfortunately, most people can’t see the difference until its too late. So it’s very important to understand and know the differences in what you are buying.

Ask for specifications

To make it easier to see the differences in quotes from one company to another, always ask for the specifications for each individual window you are looking to replace.

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Price match

Many window companies will match or beat the price of a competitor. If there’s a company you like, but the price is higher than your other quotes, don’t be afraid to ask for a price match.

2. Type or style of a window

Learn what types and styles are best for your home

If you are looking to replace windows in an already existing home or new windows for a home being built, now is the time to consider a window style that may be suitable for the room it will go into and your needs.

Some styles are easier to clean, provide better ventilation, take up less living space, or perform better than others.

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3. Glass options

Think heat, light and privacy control

Window technology has come a long way in the last 30 years and although conventional clear glass is still available, new glass (glazing) options offer specialized finishes to enhance your living environment.

Tints can reduce light and heat in rooms that are too hot or too bright. Glass coatings can harvest solar heat, filter UV light to reduce UV damage to your furniture, or reflect hot and cold temperatures. And etched glass can help provide more privacy. There are even glass options to help keep your glass cleaner.

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Different glazing options reflect a variety of colours and will impact the overall appearance of your home both inside and out. The wrong glazing type can cause glare, poor visibility, UV damage or create hot and cold spots in your home.

Be sure to advise your window consultant about existing concerns in your home, and how to combat the issues through the use of the right glass solution.

4. Energy efficiency

Reduce your energy costs

Glass units can be configured with double, triple and even quadruple panes. The greater the number of panes, the higher the insulation potential and the less work required by your furnace or air conditioner to keep your home warm in winter and cool in winter.

Glass units can also be filled with different gasses that will affect the way the sun is absorbed, reflected or passes into your home.

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If you have an unfavourably hot or cold room or want to improve the energy efficiency of your home, be sure to ask your window expert how to control your room’s environment through double and triple glazing, through the use of different gas fills, or by choosing a different type of window. Note: Energy Star windows do make a difference!

5. Aesthetics

Increase your home’s curb appeal

It is easy to get caught up in the cost of window replacement and you may be tempted to decrease costs by reducing options that may actually take away from the character and curb appeal of your home.

Although it’s possible to decrease the price of your windows by excluding options such as grills, tints or other glazing solutions, before you look at costs:

  • survey your neighbourhood and consider retaining a look that fits in with the other homes on your street
  • think about the effects that might decrease the curb appeal and value of your home if you are planning to sell in the future
  • consider current trends and how they may add value or improve the look of your home

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6. Comfort

Make your home comfortable

Before choosing a replacement window style, think about what each of your rooms is being used for and ask yourself how you might improve the comfort of each room with a different type or style of window.

Stuffy rooms can be improved with awning or hung windows, outside views can be enhanced with non-grilled picture windows, boring views can become more interesting with grills, privacy can be created with tinted or textured glass. Take a little extra time and you’ll be able to turn every room in your house into a perfect room.

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7. Security

Protect your home

A window is a perfect and natural entrance choice into you home for burglars, so it is essential that your windows provide the best possible security for your property. Unfortunately, there is no official standard by which a window can be rated for security, However, there are lots of window features that can make your home more secure.

If you are worried about security, think about the following window options:

  • multi-locking windows
  • dual or triple-pane glass
  • self-locking latches
  • special tints that make it difficult for people to see what’s going on in the home
  • safety glass

8. Not all windows are created equally

Always take a close look at the product

All window manufacturers create windows in a similar, but different ways. If they do not manufacture all the window components by themselves, then they will use different companies to supply glass, hardware and other materials. Making it really difficult to compare one product to the next.

Before you choose a window, be sure to take a physical look at what is available. Most companies will have a showroom where you can see the products that you are considering, others may have a sample that can be shown at the customers home. Avoid buying a window brand sight unseen.

9. Performance

Always compare specifications

Not all windows are the same, in fact in terms of performance the results from one product to another can be quite extreme. There are lots of ways to measure window performance, but the best performance indicator in Canada comes from Resources Canada (NRCan) which provides Energy Star® High-Efficiency ratings for all Energy Star certified windows. The Energy Star window ratings are available at:

Learn more

When choosing windows, be sure to compare window performance by brand, window type and energy-efficiency. Look for companies that publish the specifications for the windows they are quoting - right on their quotes. Knowing exactly what you are getting will give you apple-to-apple comparisons that make it obvious which windows perform best.

10. Maintenance requirements

Great products last longer

Today, windows are manufactured to last (most of them) - however, wood and steel windows may need to be painted on a regular basis. Weathered windows may need to be scraped to remove loose and chipping paint. Eliminate painting altogether by selecting vinyl or aluminium and vinyl clad windows.

Cleaning

No matter what type of windows you purchase, sooner or later you will need to clean them. This can be quite a feat for a window located on a second story. Some window types are easier to clean than others.

  • double-hung tilt-in windows and double slider tilt windows are built with an easy to remove the sash from inside the home for cleaning
  • some casement window opens fully to expose the exterior glass surface
  • self-cleaning glass coatings are available that stop dirt particles from sticking and dirt can easily be washed away by rain or a garden hose
  • windows with exterior grills/grids will be more difficult to keep clean than windows with interior grills

Learn more:

To ensure you won’t have to take care of caulking or hardware issues, be sure to look for window company warranties that cover glass units, hardware and installation materials for life.

11. Scheduling

Get your order started early

So you’ve decided you want to replace your windows, and you want to do it tomorrow. Even once you’ve decided on which window company will do the installation and what you want, your windows to look like, your home will require custom-sized windows.

This means you’ll have to get in line, and if you are buying at the height of the busy season, it could take 6-10 weeks before your window order will be ready for installation. Poor weather will further cause backups and delays.

The window installation season typically begins to ramp up in March, and as demand increases in early spring, it creates longer and longer wait periods and more scheduling difficulties. Things begin to slow down again in late fall, but many companies now offer winter installation which again is subject to weather conditions. For more flexibility and smoother sailing, the best time to start your window replacement process should start in November.

Remember, you will want to get at least 3 quotes during the ordering process, you may want to explore different options and research the available products - all of this takes time, and as you consider your options, other window shoppers are scooting to the top of the installation queue.

If you are concerned about a company’s scheduling track record, be sure to check out their reviews.

12. Who installs

Look for dedicated full-time company installation teams

When it comes to installation, some companies subcontract to other companies or individuals. These installers are typically paid on a project-to-project basis - the more projects completed, the more money the installer gets. This can lead to:

  • installers not adhering to professional standards and certifications
  • non-policed use of inferior building materials
  • higher labour costs during the busy season/ higher cost to the consumer
  • issues of responsibility on faulty installations

Companies that have full-time permanent installation teams invest in their employees through proper certified training, to set standards and company-approved installation materials. They are paid by the hour, not the project, so you can expect they will spend more time on the details. Look for companies that stand by their installation process by providing great warranty coverage on their installation, labour and installation materials.

13. Overhead costs

Don’t be fooled, all companies have overhead

No matter how you look at it, there are always overhead costs - Be wary of companies that maintain multiple shops, have large fleets of pristine new company vehicles, multiple company names, or advertise that they cut out the middle man.

There are lots of expenses that a company can build into the costs of the products you are buying - facility maintenance, marketing, vehicles, transportation, research and development… and if there’s no competition on a specific product they are selling, then they can mark it up as high as they want, as long as they remain competitive.

You decide - after you’ve looked around, ask yourself, will you be paying for the product you are receiving or all those other things?

14. Years in business

Avoid shady companies

How long a company has been in business is often a good indicator as to whether they will be around to service your products in the future (should you have a warranty issue). Low-quality window companies and window installation companies are a dime-a-dozen in the Ottawa area - here today, gone tomorrow, or popping up with new or similar names after service or financial issues.

Companies that plan to stay around, invest their time and energy building a future by making their customers happy.

15. Reputation

Look to unbiased review sources that are not sponsored by organizational membership

Reputation has become a huge influence on the consumer. Companies know that a great reputation will sell products and services. Be careful, there are lots of ways for companies to artificially position their products and services above the rest.

  • Exclusive awards (subscription-based memberships) - sold to companies that pay to participate
  • Monopolized products/technologies that no one else has and cannot be compared

Reputation is not just about how well a company performs with their customers, but how well they address customer issues. There are lots of places, where you can go to check the reputation of a window company: The Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, Yahoo Reviews.

16. Hardware

Just because it looks the same, doesn’t mean it is the same

It’s not always practical for window manufacturers to manufacture every part required to make a window, especially operational windows. So many window manufacturing companies in Canada import commodity hardware and window parts from other countries.

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Often when brand new, it’s impossible to see the difference between quality and non-quality parts, but time will tell, low-quality parts will rust out, bend, wear and break. To ensure you are getting quality hardware, ask about hardware warranty and materials used, such as stainless steel and aluminium.

Better materials last longer and warranties offered at 25 plus years pretty much guarantees the products will last longer under regular use.

17. The laymen customer

Just because it looks good doesn’t always mean it is

Windows are not typically products that consumers buy on a regular basis, so it’s easy to buy an inferior product without even knowing it. It’s a very grey area for most people who are in the market to replace their residential windows. It can be of great benefit to you to understand the market that you are buying into.

If you are hoping to get the best price, best warranty and best product out of your buying experience, it’s essential that you do your homework - Visit informative websites, talk to your neighbours, ask lots of questions and listen to the answers you are getting.

Good companies will have great salesmen who have been in their employment for years. They can answer your questions, provide great advice and will ensure that all measurements and proposed solutions will satisfy the customer fully.

18. Retrofit vs replacement

If you don’t have a reason to keep it, replace it!

There are two types of window replacements that are widely used on the market - retrofit and full-frame installation. The least expensive is the retrofit which involves the insertion of new window units into an existing frame. Full-frame installation is the replacement of the window frame plus the window unit.

There are many circumstances where you would want to choose one type of window replacement over the other, but full-frame installation makes certain that everything from the frame up, is, or has been done correctly and ensures a longer life for your new windows. Unless you specify that you want a retrofit, make sure your quote is for a full-frame installation.

19. Experienced window advice

Listen closely to what your window specialist is saying

Choosing replacements windows can be a complex process, so ask lots of question including the opinion of your window sales representative. A seasoned window specialist will be able to give you advice based on the hundreds or thousands of customers that they have served throughout their career.

Advice can be insightful, but beware, what’s best for your home will always be subjective, and keep in mind, you may be convinced by another party to change a window style only to wish (after installation) you had stuck to your original decision. When all is said, go with your gut feeling.

Don’t give in to pushy salesperson that use shady sales tactics, offering one-time take-it-or-leave-it deals, or corner-cutting solutions to save you money. Remember, the replacement window business is very competitive and if the deal sounds too good to be true, maybe it is - typically you will be paying for exactly what you paid for - no more, no less.

Don’t believe everything you are told (most companies believe they have the best) - sales representatives don’t just work for a window company, they also work for you, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want, a good sales representative will at least try to get you what you want whether it’s a better price, quicker installation date, or specialized option.

Understand the required payment structure and be wary of companies that ask for full payment, or payment in “cash only” before the job is complete. Make sure all your concerns are documented in a contract.

20. Warranty

The warranty says it all

There are many window replacement and installation companies in and around the Ottawa area that claim they have the best window warranties in the business.

Make sure you look for warranties that include the product, the hardware, the glass units, and the installation including labour & materials.

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Summary

Going forward with a replacement window project typically requires a lot of research. By paying attention to the details and asking lots of questions, you can avoid costly mistakes that will derail your home improvement plans. And when all is said and done, you can expect to see reduced utility bills, a more comfortable home, little or no maintenance tasks, and a more secure home environment.

Got more questions?

If you would like to know more, give us a call or send us a request for more information. We’d be happy to address all of your questions or concerns. Contact Us.