What Characteristics Should You Look for in Replacement Windows?

Puzzled People’s Perfect Product Picking Process

While alliteration can be fun, I like it because it can also be memorable. With that in mind, please consider my six P’s of the product picking process.

Provider: How do you feel about the replacement window company or remodeling company you are considering? Are they experienced? Do they have outstanding references? Who will you be dealing with, and are you confident that they will do what they say?

Producer: Who is the manufacturer? Are they highly regarded? Are they a leader in their industry? What do third-party sources have to say?

Priorities: What is most important to you regarding your new replacement windows? Is it beauty, or perhaps durability? What about the warranty? Is ease of operation important? How about energy efficiency? Whatever your priorities are, make sure you consider those up front and weigh them accordingly. Only then can you make a good decision. I have seen countless homeowners get hung up on the tiniest details, which will be meaningless once the job is complete. For instance, I know of a person who purchased a lesser-performing window because of a molding detail that will never be seen from six feet away. That window, while beautiful, leaks air like crazy--and the buyer feels cheated. Know what is important to you, and let that be your guide.

Product: Choose a product that meets your needs and satisfies your priorities. Most manufacturers make a wide range of replacement window products that fit most any budget and performance criteria. Although I am a product guy, I mention this because if you work hard on the first three P’s, it will go a long way in helping you complete this step. There are options galore, and having a remodeling company and manufacturer that you trust and priorities that are thought out in advance make choosing the right replacement window much easier.

Performance: Performance could be the most important thing to consider. Every time I have asked a consumer to tell me their three “must haves” for their new windows, energy efficiency is never off the list. The other two items vary, but efficiency and performance are always in the top three. So consider the following three performance criteria: The NFRC test results and whether the window is ENERGY STAR certified; the structural rating, or DP rating; and last--but certainly not least--the air rating. All three of these are important, but most window salesmen don’t bring up the air rating, and that’s unfortunate because the NFRC rating--which most folks use to determine energy efficiency--does not take into account air leakage. So while a particular window may test great without wind, how happy would you be if--when the wind blows--so did your curtains?

Price: You may question why I put price last. It’s not because it isn’t important, it is. But it also needs to be considered in its proper context. Because in reality there is no right price for the wrong product, performance, provider or producer. I have met more than a few folks who felt the need to replace their replacement windows and trust me, that’s the most expensive path to take--especially if you’re on a budget…and aren’t we all on a budget?

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