The question of how long is a lifetime warranty for a replacement window might sound simple. Like so many things in this business, window companies have found a way to make it complicated.

There is a claim circulating that a lifetime warranty on a vinyl window (maybe any window) is actually only 7 years. The window salesman may make many claims about this “fact”, but you can be confident that none of them are true.

The salesman will usually tell you that this is a local issue.  For example, he may say something like, “did you know that in this state a lifetime warranty is only actually 7 years?”  Unfortunately, he’ll never have any evidence that the claim is true, because it’s not.

There is really only one company that we’re aware of frequently making this silly claim. As you’d probably expect they do it because they offer a shorter warranty than most companies.

Not only do they offer a shorter warranty, they also offer a higher price. That’s their problem.

Why would they do that?

I can only guess that they think it’s their only strategy. If you were tasked with selling a product for a lot more than your competitors and you offered a shorter warranty you’d have only a few options.

Unfortunately the option they take is to lie to their customers.  Strange choice.

So, how long is a lifetime warranty?

Luckily, we don’t need to guess or take anyone’s word for it.  When it comes to warranties we can just read them to see what they say.  As you can see in the video above we used 2 examples of regular old vinyl windows, not fancy models.  They both have warranties that are good for as long as you own the house.

Then, the warranties are transferable when you sell the house.  Lifetime warranties are good for as long as you own the house.

There is nothing complicated about it, no tricks or gimmicks.  You can just read the warranty to see that.

How might a company try to prove that lifetime warranties are actually shorter?

We made this video after receiving a comment on the site from a reader.  He sent in an article from the Denver Post about a person who thought she had a lifetime warranty on her windows. You can find it here.

This is the exact type of article a window company might show you to mislead you about warranties. 

The customer in the article had a problem after a number of years and the manufacturer told her the windows only had a 5 year warranty, not a lifetime warranty so they would not service her windows.

Now, it sounds like the original widow salesperson may have mislead the customer by telling her that the windows had a lifetime warranty that covered glass breakage when they did not.  That type of thing most certainly can happen.  Window salespeople may lie to you.

The problem she had was with the salesperson, not with the warranty.  The windows she bought did not have a lifetime warranty that covered glass breakage which is why she didn’t get any coverage.  There was absolutely no issue with the lifetime warranty not providing coverage.

So, if you hear a window salesperson tell you that lifetime warranties are not actually good for a lifetime ask them for some proof and post a comment here to let us know how they justified that claim.  I love seeing how they try to justify their silly claims.

Good luck with your window project!

As the YouTube channel gets going we’re going to be looking for new and interesting topics to use for our new videos. If you have a window question that you’re struggling with post a comment to let us know. We might just use it for an upcoming video.

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As always if you’d like to get a quote for your project from my company or a company I recommend check this section here. To stay updated on our new Window Wednesday series you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here or just come back to the site every Wednesday.

Have fun!

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8 responses to “How Long is a LIFETIME WARRANTY?”

  1. Cyndi Smith Avatar
    Cyndi Smith

    I just got a quote from Window World for their 4000 series window. I am having 33 windows replace at a quote of $17000.00. I have learned that the manufacturer is AMI or MI. The warranty is a lifetime warranty and was wondering is this a true lifetime warranty and is this a good product for the money. I have read reviews on WW and have gotten mixed signals from the reviews.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      Keep in mind that AMI and Mi are different companies with similar names and very different products. If the Window World salesperson didn’t tell you which product he was selling you that would make me nervous. The seem to call different products the 4000 series so that doesn’t tell us which one they’re going to actually install. They are known for being one of the cheapest possible options so there’s a bit of a “you get what you pay for” going on there.

  2. Rick Folea Avatar
    Rick Folea

    We had Renewal by Anderson come by to give us a quote. It was funny to listen to the sales pitch AFTER reading this website.

    It was almost comical.

    One thing they claimed that I would love to get your read on: He claimed that Renewal by Anderson invented all that stuff (wood windows, vinyl windows) but don’t do use anymore because of all the issues. And that now that the patents have expired everyone else is now using that technology that RBA invented.

    That’s right -he claimed that RBA invented everything that all the other low end guys are using now.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      Ha, that’s a good one. Someone emailed me the other day to say a pushy window company had offered him an “essential worker” discount because he worked in the month of March. You have to appreciate the creativity!

    2. Jim Avatar

      Andersen actually did invent the vinyl window. They scrapped it because it is not a long term solution. They owned Silverline windows and American Craftsman but sold them because how cheap vinyl windows are. By the way they invented dual pane glass and were the first manufacturer to mass produce windows. Founded in 1903. The more you know.

      Also when you don’t explain how long a lifetime warranty is it is subject to loopholes. Also look at the exclusions, many won’t cover warping which is the first thing a junk PVC window does. Also Pella loves only offering 2 years of labor so when you have trouble after year five you pay exorbitant service and labor charges. Please don’t fall for the lifetime warranty scam. I remember my wife got lifetime brakes from Midas. A year later they needed replaced, so I went to Midas and said sir I have lifetime brakes! He said you sure do, that’s for the $20 pads, we still need $450 for labor and rotors.

      1. thewindowdog Avatar

        Hi Jim, I don’t believe all of that is true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone taught you that info. For example, just about every vinyl window warranty I can think of covers warping, usually in the first paragraph. As I recall Thermal takes credit for inventing double pane windows and a quick google search makes clear that Andersen did not invent vinyl windows.

        If someone taught you that info you might want to question everything else that person has told you. This is usually one of the first steps in the enlightenment of a window salesman. Let me know if we can help with any more info.

  3. sandra stefanski Avatar
    sandra stefanski

    I built in 1997 and had our builder “Demlang” build it. We had WeatherShield Vision 2000 Vingl windows installed. Do these windows have a life time warranty

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      Hard to say what warranty WeatherShield offered in 1997, that was before we ever dealt with them. I’d say your best bet is to check with them on what the warranty was back in the 90’s.

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