What Makes a Quality Window?
Quality windows are beautiful windows.
A window’s design can speak volumes about quality. Older outdated window styles are common in the marketplace. New vibrant designs signify a manufacturer on the cutting-edge of the industry. Innovation is the name of the game and there are precious few players out there. Newer window designs offer more glass, and more light, while creating attractive contours both inside and out. Does the window you are considering have a generic look, or does it inspire you with its appearance?
Quality windows have great components.
Great components can be the difference between a window that may be user friendly for many years, and one that is constantly in need of service. The balance system a manufacturer chooses for a double hung window is one example. Many replacement style windows use some variation of a spiral balance. This style has been popular, in part, because it simplifies the manufacturing process and costs less than other balance styles. Variable tension can be added to a spiral balance by “winding it up”, thus making one balance usable for a large range of window sizes. One downside to spiral balances is their tendency to fatigue over time, making them less reliable long term, particularly with larger sizes. Newer block and tackle style balance systems are smoother to operate, more dependable, and last longer. Cost more? Absolutely.
Manufacturers have a similar cost versus quality choice to make on dozens of components that go into a window. From pivot bars to balance shoes to screen frames, each component will present the manufacturer a choice of price and performance options. A quality window is designed by choosing from components that are good, better, and best; rather than cheap, cheaper, and cheapest. Lock and latch systems are another example. Not only do they need to be functional and long lasting, but attractive as well. Choices are many and the costs vary widely. One hardware design for double hung and slider windows that stands out combines the lock and tilt latch together into one sleek attractive piece. This innovative idea looks great and eliminates half the hardware typically seen at the meeting rails.
Quality windows are energy efficient windows.
All manufacturers tout the energy saving aspects of their products, but only a few carry the Energy Star label “Most Efficient Window”. Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation recognizes the most efficient window products among all that qualify for the ENERGY STAR program. Windows with this label represent the leading edge in energy efficient products.
Quality windows offer unique and innovative choices.
For example, high performance insulated triple pane glass is available from most manufactures, and blinds between the glass from some. Offering both in the same window is cutting-edge. Similarly, a manufacturer that will accommodate a custom exterior window color is rare. Equally rare is a custom exterior color on mutins or grids. Having the choice of both on a window is extraordinary.
Another unique window option is the ability to select the interior trim for a window install preassembled, stained and finished to match the new window. This gives wide choice to style and color change, all the while ensuring the window and trim colors will match. Preassembled means quality workmanship and a quick easy install of the woodwork.
Quality windows deserve a quality installation.
A quality install begins with steps that ensure a clean, mess free, job site. Tarps or plastic should be placed at the window and pathways inside. Dust control measures should be discussed with the home owner and utilized. These might include removing items from the area, placing plastic over furniture and belongings, liberal use of a HEPA vacuum, or even constructing a plastic dust wall around the immediate work area. The number one complaint against window companies is leaving a dirty or messy work area.
A window project done on time and complete contributes greatly to a quality install. Likewise, a job description that includes as much installation detail as possible will help define expectations and enrich customer satisfaction.
The physical aspects of a great install are not always evident to the untrained eye. Are caulk lines exceptional or just passable? Do the sealants being used have the best properties for a specific application, or is a one size fits all approach being used? Are windows adjusted to be finely tuned, or just workable? Quality window companies know quality installation.