Installing new or contemporary windows is more than just improving your exterior appeal and convenience. The 2020 Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling magazine listed window replacement as a top ten home improvement projects that boosts your home resale price with a 72 percent recoup value. Beside this value addition, efficient windows save you some 25 to 30 percent of cooling and heating energy usage resulting in 12 percent reduction on your utility bill annually.
While anyone can claim to be a window installer, do not trust them to do a valuable job within your budget. Modern window installation is a highly technical job that begins with picking a suitable material based on correct architecture, style, local climate, energy performance and other factors. Trained and certified window installers near you will ensure that your window installation is done in compliance with the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) Standards E2112 for maximum appeal and performance.
When searching for a "qualified window installation contractor near me" the following questions will help you in thorough assessment for a good hire in your neighborhood.
Are You A Licensed Window Installation Contractor?
Licensing is generally required for building construction and modification works in the United States. Depending on the state, your window installation contractor will hold a general or home improvement license provided by either state or local authority. This license serves as proof that any window installation contractor near you has met the minimum occupational and regulatory qualifications to practice the trade. Contact your state licensing department or consumer protection agency to determine the licensing requirements for window installers in your area.
Request your installer's license number and contact the licensing agency to confirm the status of the license prior to signing off on the paperwork.
Are You A Bonded and Insured Window Installation Contractor?
Construction works usually involve high risk activities, use of delicate tools, and exposure to harmful substances and environment. Sometimes these result in injuries and fatalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) reported that 1,061 fatalities were recorded in the construction industry in 2019, with as much as 79,660 non-fatal injuries recorded in the same year.
As such, it is the best practice for contractors to have insurance cover for the possibility of such accidents at work. If you work with a window installer who does not have the necessary insurance plans, you will be financially liable for injuries and damages that occur on your project. Request to see a copy of your contractor's general liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance policies, and their surety bond.
A general liability insurance plan provides financial cover for property damages and physical injuries which may arise in the course of executing your project. A worker's compensation insurance plan, on the other hand, takes care of the medical bills and wages of injured workers. Hiring a window installation contractor near you with a comprehensive insurance cover lifts off financial liability from you in the event of a work-related accident.
On the other hand, a surety bond protects your job against incompletion of your project. You can not afford to have window contracts half-completed because of the apparent dangers to which the house and its occupants will be exposed. The company which issued the bond will usually step-in to cover the costs of completing your project as agreed in the initial contract.
What Kind of Window Installation Work Are You Specialized In?
The type of window installation services your contractors render will help you decide on their suitability for your project. You certainly do not want a replacement specialist near you handling your new home windows installation; there will most likely be experience lapses in their work. Below are the two kinds of specializations in window installation services:
- Full Frame Installation: This type of window installation is typically done in newly built structures. In this case, it is also known as a new construction installation. However, it is also possible to have a full-frame window installation in existing buildings. This will usually involve completely removing the windows, the frames, the interior and exterior trim, and the sill. Your window installation contractor may have to make structural adjustments to the window openings walls as well.
This kind of comprehensive improvement may be warranted by the need to increase the market value of a property before listing it for sale, or when a new family moves into a residence and desires a change of style.
- Replacement Window Installation: this specialization involves replacing the window unit's defective components such as rust aluminum frames, rotten wood frames, and cracked windows. The scope of this type of installation is usually limited to a few window units rather than an entire building. It may also involve changing the window or windows' frame material, such as from wood to vinyl.
Who Will Do The Work?
Ask the contractor you are currently talking to who exactly will be handling your job. At times, your contractor may subcontract your project due to specification or send a co-worker. In other cases, it may be that your contractor has to engage extra hands, in the form of professional colleagues, due to your job's size. It is advisable to request proof of licensure, insurance, and bonding of such colleagues or subcontractors, as you may be held responsible if a lawsuit or any other damage arises from the job. You can further query the experience of the subcontractor with respect to handling similar jobs in the past.
Do You Offer A Warranty?
A product or service warranty is typically issued by businesses to demonstrate faith in their product or service. In the case of a product, a warranty is supposed to assure you that it will last as long as the manufacturers have claimed. The best form of warranties is written. However, warranties sometimes come implied or by word of mouth.
Window installation services will typically require two warranties: one for the installation service, and the other, for the product that is to be installed. You should ask for both of these warranties separately and instruct your contractors beforehand that they should only install warranty-bearing products for you. Some window products come with as much as a lifetime warranty, while others cover only a period.
The quality and lifespan of window products are heavily dependent on how well it is installed. As such, most manufacturers require that their products be installed only by in-house installers that they have trained. The use of third-party installation contractors may void the warranty coverage in some cases. Therefore, ensure you carefully review the manufacturer's warranty statement to understand what invalidates your product warranty.
Will This Job Require A Permit
Permits, typically issued by local authorities, aim to ensure that your contractor complies with local building and construction regulations. Some of the local authorities which require a home improvement permit include Randolph County of the State of Indiana, Newcastle County in Delaware, Contra Costa County in California, Town of Leesburg in Virginia, and the City of Philadelphia.
Note that a licensed contractor near you with experience working in your municipality will know what permit is required for your window installation. However, you are at liberty to contact the local building department to inquire if your project will require a permit or not.
Will You Provide References?
Past job references will give you more than just an insight into your contractor's experience; they also serve as an opportunity to ask about their workmanship from past clients. For proven window installation professionals, references are not hard to fetch, especially of clients near you.
Contractors who have official websites or portfolio profiles provide excellent sources of past projects review and clients feedback. Also, websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Google Business Reviews provide reviews from local clients previously served by registered contractors. It is recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to demand at least three references to past projects.
Do You Have A Business License?
According to the National Institute of Occupational Health Care Safety (NIOHS), small businesses with less than 20 workers make up over 90% of all construction establishments in the United States. These small businesses are required by law to register with federal and state agencies. A typical business license authorizes a contractor to undertake paid services in a state or county. Only duly registered, licensed, and tax-compliant contractors are issued business licenses. Contractors carrying a business license must have also demonstrated that they have the financial capital and machinery requirements to execute their jobs adequately.
Ask to see a business license and match the license ID with the business name by checking the issuing authorities' websites or calling their office. You can also check at the Office of State's Secretary to further verify which commercial license is necessary for your contractor to hold.
What Are Common Window Installation Problems?
Professionally done installations will typically not give you any problems after installation. However, there are some possible problems to look out for after the job is completed, as they indicate a defective installation. They are:
- Window opening and closing problems: Properly installed windows should open freely when you try to open them and close firmly when you shut them. Errors in installation may result in your window doing otherwise. If you can feel air coming in when your window is firmly shut then there's a problem with the window installation job. Besides, faulty operation such as this may expose you to safety-compromising situations such as suddenly closing or refusing to open when you need an emergency outlet
- Stains and discoloration: A problematic installation can be responsible for the stain and discoloration you find on your window glass. The hazy glasses you notice are as a result of your window's poor job at shielding your glass against UV rays.
- Leaks and drafts: Wet stains around the base of your window is an indication of drafts which is caused by a faulty window. Also, if your firmly shut windows still let in a noticeable amount of air, then you should have a professional take a look at the installation. At times, re-caulking or weatherstripping may help, but in severe cases, a reinstallation may be the only option.
- High energy bills: You may not know this, but a rise in heating and cooling costs is a subtle indication that your windows are letting out your money. When windows are poorly insulated or leaky, the home HVAC systems will have to work harder to regulate the house temperature. You should have a professional window installer evaluate your windows if you notice rising costs.
How Much Does Window Installation Cost?
Window installation costs vary from state to state, and window installation contractors have the liberty to charge prices based on certain factors. However, below are estimates of what a typical window installation project may cost you:
per window unit
Note: The window unit basis used here is the average window size; actual prices may vary depending on the actual size of your window installation. It is also recommended to consider quotations from multiple contractors near you for flexibility and to avoid being charged outside industry standard pricing.
What Are The Factors Affecting The Cost of Window Installation?
In addition to factors such as the clients' ability to pay, the window size, and type of installation, the complete cost of installing windows is further hinged on factors such as:
- Type of installation: The cost of installing windows is affected by whether the installation is on a structure under construction or a replacement window in an existing building. In structures under construction, the window units only have to be fit into and screwed firmly into their designated frames. Contrarily, to install a replacement, the old windows have to be carefully removed, taken-out, and the new ones installed in their place. In some cases, the installation may require some structural adjustments to the frame or wall opening. Hence, replacement windows sometimes end-up costing more than new construction windows on a per unit basis.
- Type of Window: Window style and designs vary, and your taste and specification will affect the overall cost. In some cases, the type of windows to be installed is dictated by the area of the house you will be installing them. For instance, casement windows, which are most commonly used in the dining and bedroom, fall in the mid-range windows by cost. Bay and bow windows, on the other hand, are the most expensive window designs and are usually used in the frontal area of houses due to their great aesthetic feature. Sliding windows, awning windows, and hung windows are some of the other common window styles.
- Type of window material: Windows are made from a variety of materials such as wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass, and metals. A windows installation contractor may offer professional advice on which material will be best for your project, considering factors such as your house's location, the climate in your area, and sometimes, security and safety. Although wood is generally a popular material for windows, it costs more to maintain because of its susceptibility to disease and wood termites. Aluminum windows may be cheaper and cost less to maintain; they are more prone to breaks and rusts, especially in high humidity climates.
- Cost of additional materials: If you have also contracted your window installer to install protective accessories to your windows, then the cost of these materials will add to your full contract cost.
- Cost of labor: This is the cost charged by your window installation contractors for their professional services. This may be affected by their level of expertise and the volume of work they will be doing, such as the number of window units to be fixed.
What Qualifications Should A Window Installer Have?
Window installation professionals typically require more hands-on training and on-the-job experience. Your window installation contractor does not require a college degree to be qualified to handle your projects. However, a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent is generally required for technicians. A post-secondary qualification such as a technical school qualification is usually an acceptable qualification and can be taken in place of an apprenticeship.
Professional associations also offer training and certification for qualified members. The American Door and Window Institute (ADWI), for example, offers certification programs to window and door installers. Members seeking certification must have a minimum of two years of work experience under their belt and must obtain a minimum examination score of 83% to get certified. The National Association of The Remodelling Industry also offers different categories of voluntary accreditation and certification programs for interested members.
Overall, in addition to a high school diploma, your windows installation contractor should have an apprenticeship or technical school certification. You may ask to see a professional qualification they have obtained; this will usually serve as a testament to their dedication to professional growth.
Do You Need A Window Installation Professional or A Handyman?
Windows installation contractors are trained on the technicalities and safety measures in windows installation. Handymen near you, on the other hand, have no job-specific training in the practice of windows installation.
Professional window installation contractors also carry relevant insurance and bonding coverages, which will typically cover the risks inherent in their work and make-up for service default. Handymen may not have a valid insurance cover. In the event of an accident, you could be facing a lawsuit for employing an unlicensed and uninsured worker.
Hiring a trained, licensed, bonded and insured windows installation contractor constitutes making a well-informed decision concerning users' safety, service and product quality and efficiency, and adequate compensatory coverage.
What Are Common Post Window Installation Expenses?
Some key expenses that you may incur after installing new windows include:
- Cleaning: After a complete house installation of glass windows, you may need to employ professional cleaners to do a thorough cleaning of the glass and frame of each window unit. This will enhance the appearance of the newly installed components and give your home a sterling look.
- Painting: If your windows installation contractor used cement and concrete in the installation process, then you may require the services of a painter to apply a paint overlay to the newly plastered areas.
- Installing window accessories: For example, to protect and elongate the lifespan of your glass windows installation, you may choose to install protective coverings such as an insulated glass unit, windows protection burglary frame, and hurricane shutters. Your window installation contractor may be the best specialist to ask about this.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Window Installation Expenses?
Typically, homeowner insurance plans provide financial compensation and coverage to policyholders for damages that accidents such as smoke, fire, burglary, lighting, and flood cause to their insured properties. Hence, if you are installing windows to replace what was destroyed by an event covered by your insurance plan, then your homeowner insurance policy will cover the cost of the window and perhaps the installation costs too. Whether or not your insurance policy covers your window installation cost depends on the terms of your insurance policy. Hence, ensure to determine the full coverage details of an insurance plan before signing off.
Can I Use Digital Payment To Pay My Windows Installation Contractor?
Yes, you can. Digital payments are increasingly becoming the most popular means of payment for small businesses across the US, including window installers near you. This type of payment is fast, safe, secure, convenient, and cheap. Also, digital payment service providers safely maintain transaction records and make them available on request. Hence, these digital transactions meet the FTC's recommendations to keep payments cashless and securely keep payment proof. Inquire from your window installation contractor what type of digital payment they accept, such as debit or credit cards, bank transfers, and mobile wallets.