A window breaks, you refurbish your home, or you just get it in your head that you’d like a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, it’s time to replace a window. You might be tempted to go for the fastest, cheapest option, but if you do that, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Before replacing your window, consider these five key things. You’d be surprised at how much trouble you can save yourself in the long run.
1. Choose Your Materials Wisely, Especially in B.C.
The most common choices for a window are either wood or vinyl. So, it might come as a surprise that the best material option for a frame is actually neither. Vinyl might be great because it’s low maintenance, but it’s also prone to cracks that result in the whole window needing to be replaced. And while wood is a long-time favourite, modern wooden frames degrade quickly, particularly in harsher, wetter environments like the Pacific Northwest.
This is why Renewal by Andersen created Fibrex. Fibrex presents all of the sturdiness of a wooden frame, with the low-maintenance upkeep of a vinyl frame. It won’t chip or crack, and it won’t degrade any time soon. Fibrex is forever, almost!
Fibrex also allows for narrower frames, giving you more glass, wider views, and more light. It can even be given the appearance of a painted wooden finish to maintain that rustic woodwork feel.
2. Aesthetics are Key
Homeowners get about 73% of their replacement window investment back when they resell the house, according to a National Association of Realtors’ Cost Versus Value study. Choose the wrong windows, though, and replacements can detract from home value.
“Like custom kitchens and original wood flooring, windows are important architectural features,” says North Vancouver realtor Amy Mackey-Hornack. “Replace them with a cheaper product, and you downscale the house.”
In addition, cheaper windows at big box stores don’t have the colour options that allow you to match your trim. This is where a quality Fibrex option really shines; you get the low maintenance of vinyl without sacrificing aesthetics with a plain matte finish.
3. Hire Licensed and Insured Professionals who Only do Windows
This should never need to be said when it comes to any sort of home improvement, but the truth is it usually does: always go for a licensed and insured professional who specializes in the task at hand. Always.
A poor installation will cost you far, far more than the money you save on a cheap job. You might create a hole in your vapour barrier, ending up with gaps around your windows that allow in insects in summer and rack up your heating bills in winter. It will cost you more upfront, but the time, money, and hassle you save in the long term more than make up for it.
This plays back into the point above—a poorly installed window will absolutely affect the value of your property. Nobody’s going to want to pay a premium price for a place that has poorly installed windows.
4. Know What the Manufacturer’s Warranty is
Winters in B.C. can be harsh. It’s why you need quality materials, why you need a professional whose focus is windows, and why you need to ensure you’re getting at least a two-year installation warranty.
Most big box stores simply don’t offer a warranty on installation. Those that do may only do so for a few months.
- Go with a specialist window replacement company. They’re more likely to have the extended warranties you require to get the most out of your purchase.
- Go for a company that’s been around for a long time with a strong reputation. You want to make sure that the company is actually going to be around for the time it takes to honour the warranty itself.
Your windows are going to be exposed to some harsh weather conditions and they need to stand the test of time. Don’t risk it.
5. Don’t Choose a Window Based Solely on Price
This point has already been made, but here we’ll stress it again: don’t skimp on the cost.
Having a budget is obviously going to keep your options targeted, but always keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for. If you go for the cheapest option to start with, be prepared to fix it again in the foreseeable future. Generally, you should only need to replace windows once or twice in your lifetime. It shouldn’t come up that often. Spending a bit more on it today will help ensure that it’s only once in a lifetime, not two, or three, or four.
Do your research to find out why some features and glass options cost more than others. Weigh the long-term benefits against the short-term investment. When in doubt, focus on the long-term value over the cost. If it’s time to replace your windows or doors, give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We offer window replacement services in the Greater Vancouver Area, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Campbell River.