Great Lakes Windows Warranty Review

great lakes windows warranty review and info

The warranty is a critical part of buying new windows and this Great Lakes windows warranty review is here to help you make a smart decision. Many people don’t think much about a window warranty until it’s too late.

We see a lot of comments on the site from folks with window problems who are frustrated that they can’t get warranty coverage. There is one easy way to avoid that fate. Understand the window warranty before you buy to avoid frustration later.

I wrote a Great Lakes windows review yesterday where I said the warranty wasn’t as good as some others. In rereading the warranty today it seems I may have been a little too critical. Or, maybe not. Let’s find out.

How long is the Great Lakes windows warranty?

Like most warranties this is called a “lifetime warranty”. What does that really mean? You might hear a competing salesperson tell you that a lifetime warranty is really only 7 years. It turns out there’s no truth to that at all.

The warranty on these Great Lakes windows, and most other windows, is good for as long as the original purchaser owns and lives in the house. That’s a critical distinction because if you rent the house or if it’s a second home the warranty term is much more limited. You can see that specified in the actual warranty here:

If you don’t live in the house as your primary residence the warranty is only 10 years. This may sound like a long time, but in year 11 that distinction will be pretty important.

The term is also more limited after the warranty is transferred. More on that below.

What is not covered by the Great Lakes windows warranty?

The number one way to avoid being unhappy down the road is to understand what is covered by your warranty. There’s no point in being mad about something not being covered years down the road. Understand the coverage now so you won’t be frustrated later.

When you read the Great Lakes windows warrant you’ll see that there is a lot of language that will allow them to deny coverage down the road. That might make someone nervous about future coverage.

As you can see here, there are many ways for them to avoid coverage.

In the text above you can see they don’t provide coverage for things like “normal deterioration”. What exactly is normal deterioration and how is it different from abnormal deterioration? I have no idea.

Also important to note other limitations. For example the coverage on interior blinds in patio doors is only 10 years on the blinds and 1 short year on the exterior handle. That seems pretty short to me.

There is no coverage for condensation outside the sealed glass unit and no guarantee that the claimed efficiency ratings will be realized in real life.

Also, there is no coverage for caulking (this is very normal), no coverage for labor and no coverage of the installation.

There is a glass breakage warranty but it’s optional. Interestingly it only covered 5 broken sashes. That is a lot of broken sashes, but I haven’t seen other manufacturers limit the total coverage like that.

If you think glass breakage coverage is included you’ll want to get that in writing and that coverage is not transferable. More on transferable window warranties below.

Is the Great Lakes windows warranty transferable?

Yes. Like many warranties it does get more limited when it’s transferred. This usually isn’t a huge deal as the buyer of your house probably doesn’t know that and probably doesn’t care all that much. When you advertise the house you can say the windows come with a warranty and that’s usually where that conversation ends.

But, it’s worthwhile to understand the limitations after the warranty is transferred. For example, there is no glass breakage coverage once the house is sold.

The term of the warranty also gets much shorter after it has been transferred. See chart below for insulated glass coverage.

As you can see, the original purchaser gets full coverage, but the next owner gets a prorated warranty on the glass. Again, not a huge deal in my eyes, but something to be aware of.

Are the warranties for all Great Lakes window models the same?

Basically yes. There are some differences in the actual wording since some features like painted exterior or internal blinds are not available in the cheaper model. Overall the coverage for available features is pretty similar.

What’s the bottom line?

The Great Lakes windows warranty is pretty decent. There are a fair number of limitations. It also looks there are several ways they could avoid coverage down the road if they wanted to. That might not be 100% ideal, but it’s something you’ll find in many window warranties.

One real upside is that the company is owned by Ply Gem, a very large manufacturing company so you’d think they’ll be around for a long time.

Overall I would say you should understand the limitations and I would not let the warranty keep you away from these windows.

Other posts about Great Lakes windows that you might find helpful:

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.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Update: We now have more recommend LOCAL window companies than ever before.   Click here to see who we recommend in your town.  It's 100% free.  You'll thank me.  There is no better resource; you're going to love it.  See for yourself right here.  

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