Tom Shafer

When to contact a window manufacturer

September 30, 2011

When you need to make repairs to a window, you may be tempted to go out looking for generic parts. Guess what? You won't be able to find them. Each manufacturer makes proprietary parts for their windows, so the only way to get the window replacement parts you need for your particular brand and model of window is to contact the manufacturer.

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How do I find out who manufactured my windows?

The easiest place to find the name of your window manufacturer is on your warranty. If you can't find your warranty, it might be a little more challenging.

Windows are usually labeled inconspicuously so the information does not wash off. If you do find a manufacturer's label, it might reveal only the date of manufacture and the window's dimensions. If the manufacturer's name is not there, it could be etched into the glass, or it might be on the lock. Sometimes you can find it on the spacer separating the glass lites.

Typically, you will come across a silver or gold sticker from the testing laboratory certifying the window meets their specifications for strength and thermal properties. If the manufacturer's name is not there, either, the series or model name just might be. Using that bit of information, a quick online search could uncover the name of the manufacturer.

How do I get a foggy window repaired or replaced?

If your window glass is foggy, you need to contact the manufacturer. It could be a broken seal. Most manufacturers warranty glass units for 10 years or more; if you are covered, the manufacturer should repair or replace units with faulty seals.

If you don't know who manufactured the window, then you can contact your local glass fabricator--a shop that sells shower doors, mirrors and the like. They might be expensive, but can usually make you a new unit more quickly and effectively than a hardware store or big box retailer.

What about the plastic strip that holds the glass in; can't I buy that locally?

Unfortunately, no. That plastic strip--which is properly called the glazing bead--was designed by the window manufacturer specifically for that make and model, as well as that style of window. The glazing bead for a casement window won't work in a double-hung window, for example, even if they are both from the same manufacturer. This is one time you have no choice but to contact the manufacturer.

If you are buying replacement windows now, a word of advice for the future--put your warranty in a safe place. One day, you might just need to--let's say it all together--contact the manufacturer.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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