Many of us find ourselves needing to replace those leaky and drafty windows and doors. Finding the right window or door is difficult for most home owners. We may know what we want it to look like but have little idea between sash, double hung, or awning type window. Is the door to be wooden, metal, insulated or cladded? Does it have mortised hinges and reinforcement for applied hardware? There are so many features and materials available in today’s market. Start with what you do know and as you investigate the possibilities you will learn what is available by asking questions. Prices are as varied as features and quality. The old rule, “you get what you paid for” applies here. But you don’t have to buy the best to get a good buy. You can buy a decent door or window at the local building supply store provided you have bought the right product to meet your conditions. The question is now the installer. More investigation is needed here.

These are some things that may help you. Contact at least 3 local door or window suppliers. Visit their show room if possible to discuss their products and available features. Obtain any literature that would help you make a decision. Have them come to your home to evaluate your situation. Ask them to supply you with a quote. Ask for the following in the quote:

  • Cost to be broken down in two categories material and installation for each door or window type.
  • A copy of the product specifications and installation instructions.
  • State the installation requirements and approximate installation period.
  • State and provide any warranties. Are warranties provided by the window manufacture or their company?
  • State payment schedules. You should never need to pay 100% up front. A certain portion is not due until the job is complete and you are satisfied.
  • Ask if the installers are employed by the distributor or contract installers.
  • Ask when installation would begin once an order is issued.

You are now ready to look at the building supply stores. You are educated and have a good idea of what you need and want. With a little help you will be able to evaluate the products and make a good choice.
If you have a brick exterior then retro-fit windows will be less expensive to install. If you have wood, vinyl or Hardy plank siding, consider using ‘new construction window’. Removing the trim boards is easy and you will be able to get a positive weather resistant flashing installation. Most failures of windows and doors is in the ability to keep water or moisture out. They are designed to divert any moisture that may get behind the cladding to the exterior if properly installed. New construction windows will always perform better and longer than retro-fit installations. Choosing the right door or window is half the battle the other is proper installation.

Once you have made your selection, do not forget to provide the submittal to the board for approval. Provide the required information on the form and enough information for the board to determine the architectural style and overall quality.

Upon Installation be present for installation. Once the installation is complete, test all moving parts completely. Look at the entire installation from both sides very carefully. Have the installation tested by spraying water on all surfaces of the door or window. This may not be allowed until the next day to allow for the caulking to cure.

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