All men may be created equal but all replacement windows are not. While there are a number of reputable replacement window manufacturers out there, there are an equal number of cut-throat discount manufacturers who know how to produce a window that looks like a quality product but begins to exhibit problems almost from the moment it’s installed. But how do you tell the difference between the quality window and the fraud? It’s a question that’s kept plenty of Toronto homeowners awake at night and we’ll do our best to answer it in this post.
How to Identify Quality Replacement Windows
There are a number of different things to look for when attempting to identify a quality replacement window. Below we’ll get into a number of them.
- The Vinyl Itself: Both “virgin vinyl” (aka that which is newly made) and recycled vinyl are virtually maintenance free. So you need to find some other way to determine quality. With vinyl that way is simple: measure the thickness. Most replacement window retailers will provide a cross section of the window. Take a good long look at it and, if possible, measure the thickness of the vinyl. You’ll want to go with the window that uses the thickest vinyl.
- Check the Corners: There are 3 common methods used for creating corners in vinyl replacement windows; fusion welding, screws or chemical welding. Fusion welding uses heat to fuse the corner elements together into a virtually unbreakable joint. A replacement window that uses thick vinyl that is fusion-welded is a quality window. Screws and chemical welding do an adequate job but over the long-term they’re prone to cracking and leaking.
- Look for the EnergyStar® Label: EnergyStar® is a government-backed initiative that rates the performance of appliances, building materials and the like and then displays the results on labels that are attached to the items. Some discount manufacturers, knowing their product will do badly with regards to an EnergyStar® rating simply bypass the process. If you’re contemplating a particular set of windows make sure they have the EnergyStar® label.
- The Warranty: Of course someone who produces an inferior product is not going to offer much in the way of warranty so you should always inquire about the warranty details before you buy. How many years’ coverage do they offer? What type of warranty are they offering? (Just on the windows or on all aspects of the product?) Can you transfer the warranty to someone who buys your house? If the vinyl is painted on the outside does the warranty cover the painted finish? More is always better with warranties.
- You Get What You Pay For: This is usually true whether you’re talking about cars or replacement windows so windows that are unbelievably cheap are probably not going to last long. Also if you see 2 windows from different manufacturers that seem comparable but one is considerably cheaper than the other, beware: they had to make up the difference somewhere. It may just take you a bit longer to discover where they cut corners. So don’t jump at a certain window just because on the surface it seems like a great deal.
Vinyl windows will make a huge difference in the way you experience your home and the amount of money you pay for heating and air conditioning. If you purchase quality. If you just go for the lowest price or neglect to look for the above quality indicators you may wind up with windows that will have to be replaced themselves in just a few years. Contact Toronto Doors and Windows for more information about high-quality vinyl replacement windows.