When you hear the word "warranty," certain things come to mind: protection, safety, and peace of mind. After all, a warranty is meant to keep you covered in case anything goes wrong with your purchase. But sometimes, warranties can be confusing. A common question we get from our customers is this: How long does a lifetime warranty on replacement windows really last?
A lifetime warranty is a way of guaranteeing that a product has been built to last "for life." See what "for life" means according to the FTC↗. When you purchase a window with a lifetime warranty, it means that the manufacturer is going to stand behind their work. If something goes wrong with the product, they will fix it or replace it free of charge (unless it's a prorated warranty or the service is noted in the exclusions). Your manufacturer can only void the warranty if you breach the warranty's terms, like not reporting any damages within the allotted time frame. Lifetime warranties can have limitations on how long certain parts of the window will be covered under the warranty — make sure to read your warranty terms!
The difference between a limited lifetime vs a lifetime warranty lies in the warranty details. What you really need to determine here is whether the warranty is a "full" warranty or a "limited" warranty. If your warranty says, "Lifetime Warranty" in big letters it may be including "limited lifetime warranty" in the smaller text below.
Limited lifetime warranties typically guarantee the quality of the certain parts of the window for a certain amount of time. According to the FTC↗, "lifetime" can refer to the life of the product, it can mean while you own the product, or as the purchaser/registered owner of the product lives.
With window warranties, lifetime usually refers to the life of the window meaning as long as the window is installed/in use. Windows aren't the type of product that you can purchase then take with you if you decide to sell your home so many window manufacturers allow the warranty to be transferred to the new owners of the home. If the warranty can't be transferred after the sale of a home, then the "lifetime" warranty ends with your coverage as the windows (which are part of the home) no longer belong to you.
TLDR: Depends on who or what's lifetime you are referring to...
It seems like a lifetime warranty on replacement windows should last "as long as you own the house" but even owning the home for your lifetime doesn't guarantee that the window warranty will remain in effect. Unfortunately, Lifetime warranties are only as good as the manufacturer makes them. It's possible that they may not last a lifetime, but in almost every case, they will expire at some point, typically after 20 years. The length of time depends on the type of window and the manufacturer
Yes. Most companies will let you transfer the warranties to the new homeowner, but it's generally a good idea to contact them ahead of time to make sure you know how they want to handle it. Some warranties (particularly for high-end windows) require you to pay a small fee for the transfer. If so, that fee is likely tax-deductible, just like any other closing cost. And if you're buying a home with a warranty on it, you can ask the seller to pay that fee as part of the transaction.
A typical lifetime warranty includes:
Your warranty will not cover defects caused by normal wear and tear, accidental breakage, abuse, or neglect.
A true lifetime warranty offers comprehensive protection no matter what happens to your window. It's usually issued by the manufacturer and covers all defects and installation costs. That means that if your windows begin leaking before they should be expected to wear out (even after 20+ years), you can have them fixed free of charge. A lifetime warranty also guarantees that the company will still be around to send a repair expert when your window finally breaks apart.
Most window manufacturers do not include labor costs for window warranty claims because they usually don't take part in the installation process. They might cover labor costs if they trained and certified the window installation technicians that installed your windows.
The answer to how long a lifetime warranty on a replacement window last is somewhat complicated since it can depend on several factors. The manufacturer's policy, the type of warranty offered, and whether you're the original or subsequent homeowner are just a few.
To find information about your window warranties contact the company that sold you your windows. If you know who manufactured your windows you can also look up your warranty in the company's technical documents. This resource center is available from many major manufacturers and includes new and old warranty documents, you should be able to find yours by product and year.
We don't currently serve your area but do want to help you plan your project. Try our Build & Price tool to get an idea of window & door costs within DFW. Your area may be higher or lower but at least you'll have some idea of the price.
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