A Value-Oriented Guide
by Jake Parker
Have you ever considered replacing your home's windows? Perhaps your current windows aren't keeping out winter's chill and summer's heat. Maybe they operate poorly, are drafty, or have fogged glass. Even worse, perhaps they're allowing water into the home, which could be causing unseen structural damage and mold growth. If any of those problems catch your attention, then this guide is for you.
You benefit in a variety of ways from replacing the windows in your home. With superior energy efficiency, replacement windows make your home into a more pleasant and comfortable living space while significantly reducing what you have to pay on your monthly energy bills. By locking out water and providing greater resistance to break-in's, new windows create a healthier and safer environment for your household. Replacement windows can beautify your home and, by minimizing maintenance headaches, give you more time for your life's priorities. Finally, by reliably providing these benefits year after year, replacement windows give you the enduring satisfaction of having made a great investment. The key to achieving all of these benefits is this:
High quality windows installed by professional craftsmen and backed by a company with a proven record of satisfying its clients.
To provide a better understanding of why that combination of factors is critical, let's break that statement into three pieces.
High Quality Windows
Replacement windows are similar to many other types of products (toasters, blue jeans, etc.) in that they are available in a wide range of price points. On one end of the spectrum are windows that are made as cheaply as possible. These products, which are sold primarily on the the basis of price (often advertised at less than $200), can certainly be an improvement upon a busted, non-functional window. For those who simply need a quick fix at a minimal cost, this type of window can be a solution. However, because of their use of cheaper component parts, their energy efficiency, durability, ease of use, and overall aesthetics all suffer in comparison with better crafted products.
On the other end of the spectrum are premium windows that can cost you over $1000 per unit. Sporting well-advertised brand names and sometimes integrating exotic materials in their construction, such windows are certainly not cheap. However, unless you place a high value on the name stamped on a window's lock, these windows can be quite expensive. The reason for this is that much of their cost is going to pay for the marketing campaigns behind them. The quality of their components is often no better than those used in less costly products and, in some cases, their parts and warranty coverage are actually worse.
As you would probably expect, it is in between those two extremes where the best overall values are usually found. Such windows use high quality components throughout while avoiding costly gimmicks. They can be characterized by not requiring "special glass packages" to be energy efficient and not treating standard window accessories such as screens as "extras." Such high quality windows capture most of the benefits of expensive windows without the associated price premiums.
Installed by Professional Craftsmen
Just as important as the quality of a replacement window is the quality of the installation. In fact, even the most expensive window won't perform well if it's installed by someone who is inexperienced, rushed, or both. Even worse, a window that's installed incorrectly can cause even greater problems than those that prompted the replacement in the first place. So how can you avoid such problems?
Finding out the average number of years of experience possessed by a company's installers can be helpful. If apprentices would be involved, keep in mind that it can be difficult for an installer to keep an eye on more than one or two and still be effective. Another fact to consider is whether the installers are employed by the company or sub-contracted. While there are certainly some very skilled and professional sub-contractors in the market, installers who are paid hourly wages may have less incentive to perform a rushed job.
Backed by a Company with a Proven Record of Satisfying its Clients
By having high quality windows installed by professional craftsmen, you maximize the likelihood of a pleasant, trouble-free project. However, any remodelling project can present unexpected problems, from water damage hidden in your walls to a sill broken during the installation process to a window with a manufacturing defect. The larger the size of a project, the more likely it is that such problems will be encountered. It is in those cases that having an established company dedicated to your satisfaction is critical to a positive outcome.
To check on a company's record of caring for its customers, take the follow steps: Ask for a certificate of insurance mailed directly from the insurer to you prior to the start of work. This ensures that you are protected against expensive liabilities such as an accident during the installation. An "A" or "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau is an important sign, as is a solid record with Angie's List. If a company has a history of frustrating its clients, those sources can help you avoid them. Finally, checking on the number of years they've been in business and getting referrences is always a good idea. While there are some very good companies that were only recently established, a longer record of service is often the result of a business approach that emphasizes customer satisfaction.
If you're considering the replacement of your windows, you want a hassle-free experience that you will feel great about for years to come. That kind of experience doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, but keep in mind that the cheapest options available are rarely the ones that best meet your needs. By sticking to the keys above, you maximize the return on your investment while minimizing the time and stress involved.
And the Winner is...
by Jake Parker
We're very happy to announce that the winner of the $500.00 J & J Gift Certificate for Spring 2010 is Everett Truttmann of Fenton, MO. Congratulations, Everett! Be sure to contact us within the next two weeks to claim your prize.
Our next drawing's winner will be announced in July. In the meanwhile, be sure to let your friends, family, and neighbors know about our contest. With the random drawing for the $500 J & J Gift Certificate being limited to those in the St. Louis area, the odds of winning are quite good! You can sign up at our website, jandjsidingandwindows.com.
Over the last 20 years, J & J has established a reputation as the St. Louis area's premier retractable awning installer. Today, J & J installs more of these units than anyone in the region. With three different lines (Sunsetter, Americana, and Durasol) to meet your needs, J & J can help you find the right retractable and have it installed by our in-house professionals. Give us a call today!
Tax Credit Products
From windows to doors to siding products, J & J is able to save you money with an array of tax credit qualifying products. Unlike some of our competitors, J & J's commitment to carrying quality products meant that we didn't need to update our product lines to meet the more stringent requirements. Email us for details.