The most important thing to remember with any renovation project is that teamwork is key! Make sure all homeowners are involved in the window replacement planning process with the chosen contractor. Communicate and evaluate things together to avoid any surprises and ensure everyone’s expectations are met.
Identifying Needs & Wants
It’s helpful to start by assessing what’s absolutely needed vs wanted. For example, maybe you need 3 windows replaced but you’d like to see about getting all of them done. Maybe you want wood interiors, but you’ll settle for a low-maintenance alternative if the price is right. Getting your options written down will make the quoting and decision making process much easier. It will help you to acheive your most important goals in a budget friendly way, and maybe negotiate that extra crown molding in the process.
Consider a professional home inspection
- Research brand reputations and manufacturer warranties.
- Look at photos – If you have a brand in mind, then look for window contractors that readily install the brand of windows you are interested in. Manufacturers will often have a list of preferred contractors that are specially trained in their products.
- Read reviews and testimonials on various websites.
- Look for certifications, awards, and other endorsements that show they have a good reputation.
- Ask around – referrals are often the best source for good quality contractors. Referrals are one of our best sources of new clients for window replacement at Opal Enterprises.
- Do they offer all the services and experience you desire? Example: trim work, custom window finishing, color matching, project communication…
Getting Window Replacement Quotes
It’s smart to get a couple different quotes. Narrow down your options to 2 or 3 contractors. Even as window contractors ourselves, we feel it’s important for every homeowner to see a few options. This way we both know we’re a good match. It also helps with understanding of the service and process. Quoting is about much more than price and it’s important to evaluate everything. Getting windows replaced is not a commodity, but rather a service that is provided inside your home!
Look at more than the sticker price. Evaluate each quote carefully. Many homeowners end up with poor experience by simply choosing the lowest price. Sometimes it really is too good to be true. Every company is unique. Some focus on service and high quality products, and some are more focused on offering the lowest price or fastest service. Choose a contractor that meets your budget, quality standards, and service needs. Consider the long term and look at the big picture.
- Consider the quoting service experience.
This is likely to reflect on the future service experience.
- Was the contractor courteous? patient? informative? transparent? concerned with your needs? good communication?
- Did they take their time to fully evaluate your property and needs?
- Was the quote carefully prepared with a detailed proposal?
- Compare the differences.
- How do the products/brands differ?
- How does the service differ?
- Are possible overages mentioned (lead paint testing, frame repair)?
- Does the quote describe the window installation technique? (new construction vs insert)
- Will there be a porta potty onsite?
- Is permitting and city regulation assistance included?
- Is cleanup included?
- Read the fine print.
- What guarantees are offered?
- What are the terms and conditions?
- Is the contractor properly licensed and insured?
- Do they offer labor warranties?
- What time of long term support do they offer?
- Do the products meet your needs – look at brands, window materials, window series or line, efficiency ratings, manufacter warranties to make sure the replacement windows are right for your home and lifestyle.
- Is the quote detailed and thorough? The proposal should include details about the window installation process and products to be installed.
Making Final Decisions and Signing the Contract
Still undecided? Talk to each contractor. Ask questions and tell them any concerns you have. If price is an issue, then give them the opportunity to make product and service adjustments and possibly negotiate. The contractor might offer a great option that will save you material cost without sacrificing on the desired outcome. An honest contractor is your best resource for information.
Preparing Your Home
Window installation can get a little messy. Most window installers will cover sensitive areas and clean up, but it’s good to prepare for some dust.
- Clear the window replacement areas and remove obstacles:
- Clear the areas where the windows are being installed beforehand.
- Remove clutter, artwork, decorations, furniture, and anything breakable out of the way.
- Protect sensitive plants and remove outdoor obstacles.
- Some contractors will help with this, but you might want to remove window treatments ahead of time to make things efficient.
- Prepare for the project:
- During a window replacement some of the interior paint will be disturbed. You may need to touch up the areas around the window.
- Most window installers leave the window treatments up to the homeowner after window replacement. Be prepared to put the originals back up yourself or new one’s if desired. Ask the contractor ahead of time if you desire additional services.
- If you have shutters, those will need to be removed and replaced by the contractor. Plan ahead by deciding if you want the same, new, or no shutters.
- Depending on the installation type and circumstances, some siding may need to be replaced around the window. Your window contractor will help to work out these details.
- Talk with your window company to see if there’s anything else you can do to make things go smoothly.
- Consider project pairings:
- Due to the disruption that window replacement causes, it’s a great time to also replace siding and/ or repainting interiors. If you’re already considering doing other projects, then it’s a great idea to combine them. Bulking services can lead to discounts and minimize future renovation disruptions.
Get ready for the project by allowing extra time to be available to the contractor. Make sure you can be home at the time of the window replacement. If you have pets, then make sure they can be secured and out of the window replacement zone. Keep in mind that there will be a hole in the wall for a little bit. If the weather isn’t great, then you may need to face a little heat or chill. Keeping a few comfortable areas closed up can help minimize this. Take a deep breath and smile, your new windows are almost here!
Partnering with your Contractor
Be a partner to your contractor, they’re on your side. Keep open lines of communication. Describing your needs, wants, and concerns is essential. The window contractor wants to make you happy and get the project completed successfully, so help them help you. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have a concern. Be sure to express any schedule conflicts ahead of time. Tell the contractor your expectations. A good contractor will work closely with you to minimize headaches and exceed your expectations. Reviews and referrals are everything to them!
Woohooo! You did it! You have new windows!
Test the window with the installer. Make sure everything works properly and you know how to use it. Read up on how to maintain and clean the window, every material is different. Finish up your new windows by installing window treatments and adding your desired design elements. An interior designer can help with this part.
Time to enjoy your new energy efficient windows!
Window Replacement with Opal Enterprises
If you’re in the Chicagoland area consider partnering with Opal Enterprises for your window replacement project. We carry top window brands like Andersen, Beechworth, and Alside. Our service area includes areas around: Naperville, Downers Grove, Wheaton, St Charles & Fox Valley, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Orland Park, and North Chicago Suburbs. Opal offers window replacement, exterior door installation, siding replacement, and roof replacement. Project consultants will work with you to design your dream exterior and improve your home.