Questions for Your Window and Door Salesperson

Questions for Your Window and Door Salesperson

Do you need new windows or doors and are not sure where to start? 

We get it. Home renovations, construction, and upkeep can be intimidating, and poor advice, ignorant decisions, and neglected considerations can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your renovation project. 

We want to help you sidestep these challenges by giving you straightforward questions that you can present to your window and door salesman. Your home is important to you, and you deserve someone who will treat your project as if it were their primary focus.

Questions for Your Window and Door Salesperson - Replacement Projects

New windows or doors can make a dramatic difference to the curb appeal of your home. Aside from aesthetic improvements, replacement windows and doors can also improve energy savings and resale value.

Replacement window and door projects are a little different from new construction projects. Manufacturers design replacement windows and doors for easy installation into a pre-existing opening. Consider any existing or potential problems in surrounding walls when discussing replacement windows and doors. Waterproofing should be a top priority. 

1. What's the best way to replace windows: full-frame or pocket window installation?

There are various ways that installation for brand new windows can take place. Full-frame and pocket window↗ installation are the popular choices. The choice between the two depends largely on your window replacement needs and the mainframe condition. 

Full-frame window

Installing a full-frame window requires the removal of the entire window unit down to the bare opening. The whole window (mainframe, jamb liner, sashes, and all) is removed and replaced with an entirely new unit.

While this method is costly and labor-intensive, the results are worth the investment. If your mainframe is rotting and experiencing water damage, then a full-frame installation will improve insulation. It's also an opportunity to change the appearance of your home or expand the opening for a larger window. 

The window installer you should have the experience with full-frame replacement windows. 

Pocket window

Also known as insert windows, pocket windows are new window units fitted to an existing window frame. 

The original frame of the window needs to be in good condition and level so that the new window unit can be installed without hiccups. Pocket windows are budget-friendly, easy to install, and a good choice if you desire to improve the operation and energy savings of the windows in your home. It also allows you to choose a new window style or replace your old window with new, low-maintenance material like vinyl. 

If a window salesperson can only offer pocket inserts, ensure they first assess whether the window mainframe is still in tip-top shape. 

2. Can I replace my windows in phases? 

Replacing windows in your entire home is an investment, and, understandably, you may want to do it bit by bit. Installing windows in phases allows you to spread out the cost that inevitably accompanies replacement projects.

A salesperson should not pressure you to replace all your windows at once. Any sale tactic that urges you to sign on the dotted line is a red flag. Instead, replacing your windows in phases gives you a chance to see how the company performs. 

Tip: Phase replacements in sections of the house: front, back, side, etc. 

3. Should I replace all my windows at once?

There are massive benefits to getting your window replacement project over and done with all at once. The windows will age at the same rate, the entire project may work out cheaper, and you may have financing options with the window company you choose. 

Some factors can make this process run more smoothly. Discuss the following with your window company:

  • Expected timeline
  • Cleanup process and home (furniture) protection
  • Labor expectations 
  • Scheduling and potential weather interruptions.

4. What makes a window energy efficient?

Energy efficiency is a primary reason for replacing windows. Creating a comfortable living space year-round is what most homeowners want. There are a few ways that you can improve your home's energy savings. Discuss these with the window salesperson if energy performance is one of your top priorities:

Do your homework to understand NFRC values. The National Fenestration Rating Council helps to establish energy performance ratings on windows. ENERGY STAR® Replacement windows are independently tested, certified, and verified by the NFRC and have ratings that suit energy efficiency guidelines. 

5. What makes a door energy efficient?

Ensure that the door you buy and the installation company you choose will make it their priority to protect your home from the elements. Doors need to be made of energy-efficient materials to reduce energy loss. Proper weatherstripping is the most crucial feature for sealing the door frame. A good seal protects your home and door from moisture, debris, and outdoor temperatures.  

6. How are windows and doors priced?

Pricing of replacement windows and doors is dependent on a variety of factors:

  • Material choice
  • Size and design
  • Glass options (glazing, coatings, gas filling, etc.)
  • Additional features such as between-the-glass shades, etc.
  • Quality and workmanship.

7. Does your window retailer manufacture the windows and doors?

Most retailers sell windows and doors from second-party vendors, similar to purchasing products from other big box stores. However, if you want the possibility of better pricing, then you could go with a window retailer that manufacturers its products. 

If you do not have access to direct manufacturer-retailers, then make sure you check ratings and reviews. Quality reviews, customer care ratings, and installation feedback are what matter. 

8. How do you measure for replacement windows and doors?

Measurements are crucial to the end product. You want your windows or doors to fit perfectly, right? Incorrect sizes can leave you with out-of-square windows, leaking, draftiness, and botched operation. 

Who is going to measure the opening? Will it be the installer or the salesperson? Is the person tasked to measure the opening trained and experienced for your specific project? How accurately do they measure?

Measuring↗ for a door or window is more than just height and width; they should also record depth and angles.

9. What's the difference between new construction and replacement windows?

Replacement windows are designed for easy installation into a pre-existing window opening. This includes the full-frame and pocket windows that we mentioned earlier. Replacement windows cause minimal disruption to the home walls, depending on the workmanship and window type. 

New construction windows are for new buildings or openings made during a renovation or build. They have a nail fin that fastens to the studs or sheathing of a building. If your project involves exposing the raw studs of the wall, then the installer will use a new construction window. For more information, have a look at this article: Replacement vs. New Construction Windows

10. How does the replacement process work?

Renovations are always a little inconvenient, but it is possible to contain the chaos with window and door replacements. This all boils down to the company's replacement process.

Will they be removing all the old windows or doors at once and then going back to replace them one at a time? This would leave your home exposed and open.

Or

Does the installation company work on one window or room at a time? This would contain the work so that there is little disruption to your home. The company can clean as they go, and any interruptions - weather, timeline, etc., will not leave you with an open and dusty house. 

11. How long will replacement work take?

The expected timeline for the replacement project depends on the scale of the plan and size of the installation team. On average, experienced installers working in pairs on one window at a time can get 8-10 windows installed in a day.

Speak to the salesperson about the setup of the team who will do the installation. Is there someone who will make sure the schedule is adhered to?

12. Can you tell me about your installers and their process?

You want your windows and doors to be installed properly. Find out:

  • Does the window or door company use sub-contractors or their crew? 
  • If subcontractors - who are they, and what is their track record? 
  • Is everyone on-site certified and experienced?
  • Who will manage the project?

13. What should I do to prepare for the replacement day?

You can expect some mess during window and door installation. To equip yourself, find out if you'll need to adjust the space or if it's part of their service to move furniture, use drop cloths and clean up afterward.

Find out how much parking space they may need and if you need to clear anything from your property to make accessibility easier. 

14. What kind of warranty comes with my product?

There are two leading warranties that you should ask about - product warranty and workmanship/installation warranty. 

Manufacturers usually have a warranty on the product, which is related to the quality of the product itself.

An installation warranty covers errors that may occur due to poor installation. If the window or door dealer uses a contractor for the installation, find out who holds responsibility for the work. Also, how long does the workmanship warranty last? What is covered? Labor, accidental breakages, poor installation, overtime due to poor time management, and subsequent damage are all things that you want protection against. 

15. Do you have a showroom?

An in-home consultation with color samples might be good enough. But sometimes, to get the bigger picture, popping into a showroom can finalize your choice. Seeing styles side by side, comparing tints and color choices, and seeing grid options can confirm your decision. Or change it completely.

A showroom also provides credibility to a company. Seeing staff, experiencing client service face-to-face, and getting a feel for their brand can solidify whether the company is the right choice for your home project. 

16. Who do I contact if I have additional questions and can't reach my rep?

After a window and door rep has visited, it's normal for a few additional questions to pop up. The agent you spoke to should be your first point of call, but you should have a secondary contact person if you cannot reach them. Is it the customer care line or the contractor? 

If the project is already underway, you should have the contact details of the contractor or installation team leader. 

Questions for Your Window and Door Salesperson - New Construction Projects?

New construction projects may be more complex as openings for windows and doors are yet to be created. The window or door style will be determined by the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space.

1. How do you measure for windows and doors in a new house or building?

You're right to expect tedious measuring from an expert for new construction windows and doors. Measuring the rough opening should be done from three different places on the width and height, and frame dimensions and window sill width are separate measurements that need to be completed. 

2. What type of window and door frames are used for new construction projects?

A door frame is made up of the jamb, casing, and threshold of a door entryway. Similar to new construction windows, these frames are fitted and attached to the building wall. A knowledgeable team will give you a few options. The frame they use may be determined by the wall exterior of your home and should provide good weather sealing. 

The new construction frame may have a nail fin, a box frame without a nail fin, a wood brickmould, or a flush flange. Correct frame choices will increase comfort, energy efficiency, and security. 

3. Are new construction windows installed from the inside or outside?

The window installation process may differ from one company to the next. What you want to establish with this question are expectations. There are a few factors involved that do not make this answer very clear cut:

  • Window type
  • Rough opening condition
  • Wall width

 You'll probably find that the contractor needs to work both inside and outside of the home. 

4. How long does it take to install new construction windows?

Once a rep is familiar with the scale and unique needs of your project, they should be able to give you an idea of the timeline. The last thing you want is a vague answer to this question, and a schedule outline is vital for time management for you and the construction team. Be aware that in today's climate timelines for construction projects have been unpredictable because of supply chain issues. If you are planning on purchasing windows for a new home or a replacement project, make your choice as soon as possible because some products can take up to 20 weeks to arrive.

5. Can you negotiate the price for new windows and doors?

Do you need some breathing room in your budget? While there may be some wiggle room, retailers who offer 2-for-1 deals or exorbitant savings probably started with highly inflated prices in the first place. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. 

You may want to cut costs if the quote is more than you expected. Instead, choose a reliable retailer with good reviews and exceptional products, and then work out a payment plan with them. Don't compromise on quality; this is a worthy investment↗. 

6. What qualities should I look for in new windows and doors?

Before you customize your window and door choices, take a look at this list of qualities that you should look for:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Low maintenance (or a level of care you're aware of and comfortable with)
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Suitable aesthetic for your home design/architecture
  • Smooth operation
  • Warranty coverage.

Red Flags to Watch Out for When Buying Windows and Doors

Choosing a trustworthy company for your door and window projects is vital. Not only will you end up with quality products, but you'll be treated with respect. Customer service can make or break your experience with a window installation company.

There are a few red flags to look out for when you're shopping for windows and doors.

1. The pushy salesperson

If a pushy salesperson approaches you, run! Your home is an investment, and any decisions you make should be yours. Most salespeople work for commission, but that's no reason to be pushy.

Genuine respect and a clear presentation of products should speak for themselves, without any arm twisting.

2. The salesperson isn't listening to you

Are your questions being answered? Do you feel as though you've walked away from a consultation with vague answers or none at all? A salesperson that hasn't taken your concerns, questions, or decisions into consideration is pushing their agenda - to make a sale. 

Before you enter into any contract, you should feel like a valued customer. If the first impression leaves you anxious, ask to speak to another contractor or try another business altogether. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are my timeline and budget respected?
  • Have they answered my questions?
  • Do I feel like a valued customer?
  • Does the company make me feel like I have a partner in the project? 

3. You are not given a detailed contract.

Get it in writing! A contract protects you (and your home). With a contract, there is no finger-pointing or "he said," "she said," but it provides a clear and understandable agreement that outlines all the details. 

A contract will highlight compliance with local codes, product choices, scheduling, right-to-rescind or termination terms, manufacturer warranty specifications, cleanup arrangements, insurance details, payment terms, and more.

Make sure you understand all the fine details and terms of the contract to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. 

4. You are asked for full payment upfront

Every company will have a unique payment structure. And as the customer, you should be comfortable with what's happening with your money. 

It is customary for an installation company to ask for a deposit, but total payment upfront is uncommon and unnecessary. To protect your finances, choose a company that provides you with a clear payment structure. When it comes to finances, you want transparency about costs and payment timelines.

5. Refusal to provide references, especially when they have no public reviews

A transparent company should provide you with references, addresses, and contact details of contractors or clients they've worked with before. Anyone who sidesteps this kind of information is hiding something. 

When you have references, you have the chance to ask detailed questions about customer experience, crew cleanliness, and whether timelines and budgets were adhered to. 

Do your research to find out what other customers are saying about the company in question. By looking at public reviews on Yelp and Google, you can get a good idea of the offered service. Can't find any of those either? Ask yourself why. 

Find the best company for your window and door project

Making improvements to your home can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be stressful. And you should not feel confused or forced into a decision. The team you choose should put you at ease with precise details, honest information, and transparent contracts. 

Do you feel more prepared for your window or door consultation? We hope so. Being prepared with educated questions can ensure that your renovation or build is in good hands. Knowing what red flags to be aware of can also streamline the process, as you can move on to a more trustworthy and attentive service provider.

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     -Bobby

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