Here we’ll be looking at the Soft-Lite windows warranty review to see if the warranty on these windows is any good. You’ll hear a lot of claims about window warranties from the commission based in-home salesmen so it’s important to understand what is actually covered, and what is not.
Before we get into that there is another important risk to consider. Soft-Lite is a relatively small window manufacturer which is risky. They were recently purchased by Harvey Industries in New England and that may provide additional stability. I suppose the jury is still out on that.
How long is the Soft-Lite window warranty?
SoftLite advertises this as a lifetime transferable warranty and that’s exactly what it is. The warranty clearly states that it’s good for as long as the original purchases owns and lives in the house.
It’s also transferable one time and then it’s good for as long as the second owner owns and lives in the house. Also, pretty good.
If a competing salesman tells you anything about a lifetime warranty only being good for a certain number of years he’s lying to you. We’ve heard that claim for years and have never seen any documentation to back that up. So that claim in is just a lie in my book.
Are there limitations to the coverage term?
Yes. If you don’t live in the house full time the warranty is only 10 years from installation and it’s not transferable. That’s a big difference. They also state that if the house is used for long or short term rentals the commercial 10-year warranty would apply. They even specifically mention VRBO and AirBNB so if you rent a room on the side your warranty might be very limited. Something to be aware of.
Here’s the relevant section on that limitation:
What is covered by the Soft-Lite window warranty?
The coverage of this window warranty is pretty solid. They cover all of the vinyl frames, moving parts and insulted glass for the full term of the warranty. That’s relatively common in this industry, but we do see some window warranties will shorter coverage.
There are some important limitations and you can find those below.
What is not covered?
There are a few important limitations to the SoftLite window warranty. For example, the warranty on the internal blinds is only 10 years. That’s shorter than some other manufacturers, but similar to what many companies offer.
Another important limitation is that shipping of parts or labor to install the new parts is not covered. That means if there was some substantial failure down the road you could still be responsible for a substantial cost to fix it. You’d get the parts for free but the labor and shipping costs could add up.
There is also only 10 year coverage on painted exterior frame. That’s also relatively common.
In addition to that, glass breakage is not covered unless you purchase a glass breakage warranty with the windows. Without that optional warranty the only glass breakage coverage would cover a stress crack within 1 year of installation.
How do you register and transfer the Soft-Lite windows warranty?
This is an important aspect to note. The Soft-Lite warranty must be registered within 60 days of installation in order to be valid. If you don’t do that you might get no coverage at all.
Also, if you transfer the warranty to the next buyer of the house there’s a $250 fee. The transfer also must be completed within 6 months of the transfer of property ownership. If that step doesn’t happen the new owners would have no warranty at all. Fees for warranty transfer are pretty common, but $250 is on the expensive side
What else should you be aware of?
There are a couple more interesting aspects to the warranty. For example, if you have a problem and they deny your claim you can’t sue them. The warranty says you need to pursue your claim through arbitration. And, you need to do it in Ohio.
Arbitration is often confidential so you wouldn’t be able to see what problems other customers have had. They also say you can only enter into arbitration as an individual so there’s no opportunity for a class action claim. We recently saw Renewal by Andersen add this language to their warranty too.
I’m not a lawyer, but this aspect of this warranty doesn’t seem to be great for the customer.
Finally, they note that the foam filled cavities may not actually be filled with foam. That’s been the subject of lawsuits against other window manufacture. These other companies were advertising foam filled windows that were not actually foam filled. It sounds like Soft-Lite is trying to make sure they don’t get sued over that.
What’s the bottom line?
Overall the warranty is perfectly decent. If you’re planning on renting the house or putting it on AirBnb I might suggest looking elsewhere but for an owner occupied house it’s a perfectly good warranty.
It does sound to me like they’re trying to make sure they have ways to deny claims down the road, but I suppose every company does that. Be sure you understand the limitations and requirements and you’ll probably be just fine.
How can you find a great window company?
That part is easy. Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.