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In the home improvement world prices vary tremendously from contractor to contractor and from product to product. So how do you select the best value in replacement windows? The answer to this question is multi faceted and includes: Step 1 – Finding the Right Product; Step 2 – Finding the Right Installer. And since we’ve compared hundreds of windows already…Step 3 – Our Recommendations.
Step 1: Finding the Right Window Installation Company
There are many companies out there that install windows so choosing the right one is almost as important as the actual window selection. Reason being, the majority of window sales are done at your house with an in-home presentation. During these presentations the sales representative will go over your various options. Here tips to getting the right company through the door:
- Check out reviews online like Angie’s List and Guild Quality.
- Avoid companies that offer a flat price in their advertising, like $189 window specials. These companies are designed to up sell you to what you believe is a better window.
- Interview the appointment setter before you schedule the appointment. See what types of window options are available (wood, vinyl, fiberglass). You don’t need grill the phone person but it is important that the customer service rep is knowledgeable because they are a good representation of the sales process.
- Find out brand names of window before the sales presentation so that you can do product research ahead of time. With hundreds of window lines, many companies offer exclusive windows for the region making it harder to compare.
- Be wary of large window companies that claim no sub-contractors. Many of the big box window suppliers like Home Depot are too big and too vast to offer installs by actual employees.
Step 2: Finding the Right Window for Your Home
When looking at windows there are 3 primary categories to consider; Wood, Vinyl and Composite. Aluminum is not included in this list because it is extremely inefficient and is outdated as a residential window option.
Wood Windows: Wood windows are ideal for historical and luxury homes and can be manufactured with high end wood species such as cherry or white oak. Wood windows offer the greatest variety in terms of lite/grille patterns, hardware options and sizes because of their intricate manufacturing process. They also offer the highest price tag with luxury windows costing up to 3 times that of a vinyl window. Although extremely beautiful, wood windows are susceptible to moisture, and may require maintenance such as painting. When purchasing a wood window, it is recommended to go with aluminum clad on the outside of the window to protect it from the elements.
Vinyl Windows: Vinyl windows also offer a seemingly endless array of options and can even include a wood laminate to replicate the wood look, although it never really does. Where vinyl windows excel are in the energy efficiency. Vinyl frames can be foam filled and the glass options can offer the best energy efficiency in the market with product innovations such as triple pane and heat mirror technology.
Composite Window: This is category features the latest in window frame materials and includes materials such as fiberglass windows as well as vinyl/wood pulp mixtures. Composite windows take the best features of vinyl (energy efficiency and low maintenance) as well as the best features of wood (durability and look) to create a multifunctional window. They are also priced in between vinyl windows and wood windows, creating a new market for savvy window shoppers. Note: They aren’t as luxurious as wood or as affordable as vinyl but they do offer great value.
Step 3: Our Recommendations for Best Value
Wood Windows: Marvin Ultimate Clad
The Marvin Ultimate Clad Window has been voted number one in performance by Consumer Reports and when comparing wood windows it is the gold standard. Marvin has been manufacturing wood windows for 100+ years and offers their brand exclusively through preferred contractors and lumber yards ensuring the highest quality from start to finish. Where the real value comes in, is the finished product. If you are installing a high-end window you want it to function that way resulting in longevity, beauty and home value. No other brand offers the long-term value of Marvin.
Vinyl Windows: Serious 600 Series Windows
It is only fair to give this distinction to the company that pioneered heat mirror technology. Heat mirror uses a thin mylar film in between two panes of glass to create an additional insulating layer while blocking up to 99.9% of UV rays that can damage your carpet, drapes and furniture. Heat mirror windows like the Serious 600 are less expensive than triple pane windows while offering some of the same energy efficiency. When you factor in the thousands of dollars in replacing faded carpets after 10 years, the heat mirror is a seemingly inexpensive option.
Composite Windows: Infinity Fiberglass Windows by Marvin
There aren’t many composite windows on the market with the main competition for the Infinity Window being the Renewal Window. Although the Renewal Window is stylish and modern it is made up of a vinyl and wood pulp mix that is inferior to fiberglass. Much of the reason for choosing a composite is to upgrade from vinyl and the Infinity Window by Marvin does that beautifully by using Ultrex. Ultrex fiberglass is 8x stronger than vinyl and offers a thinner frame giving your replacement window more glass space to let in natural air. When comparing price, Infinity also outperforms the competition, choosing to offer customers a better price and better window to drive sales versus simply relying on expensive advertising.
For more information on replacement windows call Global Home Improvement at 888-234-2929 or online at www.globalhomeinc.com.
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