Replacement Window Shopping Mistake #17 – Taking a suggestion from a window installer.
I hear from an extraordinary number of people about their experience shopping for both new construction and replacement windows. Very frequently I hear about how surprised someone is to be having a problem because the window they picked came so highly recommended. When they tell me an installer recommended the product I’m not surprised at all.
Folks sometimes think that because an installer works with windows all day long he must be an expert. Window installers certainly do know a lot about windows, but they’re usually not window experts in the way you’d want them to be if they’re suggesting products.
Remember, the installer has completely different priorities than the customer when it comes to selecting a window.
Ask yourself what is important to a window installer. He wants the windows to be inexpensive, he wants them delivered quickly, he wants the people he orders from to be knowledgable and helpful especially if/when he orders something wrong.
Now ask yourself what is important to the end user (you) when selecting a new construction or a replacement window. You probably want the windows to hold up for the long term. You’d want them to seal out the elements, to be energy efficient, to operate easily, etc.
You see a window installer doesn’t really care about the air infiltration rate of a new window. He’s not walking around the house in his socks on a cold Sunday morning feeling a draft. He’s not operating that window 10 years from now or dealing with a warranty issue down the road.
He installs the window, it works well, he gets paid and walks away. That’s a great window in his book.
Installers don’t make bad suggestions because they’re bad guys. They make bad suggestions because their priorities are different than yours.
The difference between a window with a 0.26 and a 0.04 air infiltration rate is not important at all to a window installer. He probably doesn’t know the ratings because they’re meaningless to him. They’re just not part of his job. He probably doesn’t know what the condensation resistance rating is or how one option will affect the STC rating. Those things just aren’t what he deals with.
These things aren’t important to the installer, but they’re very important to you.
Of course it’s definitely important to have a good installer involved in your project. You want someone who knows what he’s doing, who’s been around the block a time or two and who will be able to make sure the project turns out great.
Just don’t let the installers pick out windows for you. Putting in windows for a living is different than living with windows for 5, 10 or 20 years.
Do you agree with this thinking or do you think I’m completely wrong? Post a comment below and let us know about it.
For more info on different types of replacement and new construction windows you can find our section on window ratings and reviews here and you might also get a laugh out of our section on replacement window sales tactics.
If you’d like to hear from someone who can probably make a pretty good suggestion you can find our listing of the best replacement window companies here.