When replacing a door, it's best not to hang loose

December 24, 2011

Just as windows and doors prices sometimes have additional installation or transportation costs, window and door replacement requires more expertise than you might think. These are D-I-Y jobs only for the most adept.

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Replacing a door or window is like trying to insert a square peg in a less-than-square hole. Over the course of time, houses tend to move and settle. All that shifting can be most pronounced in large openings, like doorways.

Many sliding, front entry and French doors come pre-hung in frames. This helps keep the door square and operating for the duration of the door's life. Equally important is the waterproofing that happens around the entryway to prevent warping and rotting.

Brand-name doors and windows that make contractors happy

You might be able to find a regional or local door maker, who offers beautiful custom work at a reasonable price. These places certainly exist and can be a good value, particularly in this economy, when local businesses need to earn extra cash.

That said, these three nationwide companies can help you compare windows and doors prices and quality. Use these for a benchmark:

  1. Marvin produces made-to-order, high-quality windows and doors. As a company, they focus on energy efficiency and most of their products come standard with insulated glass and good seals. Their sliding glass and French doors are in the premium price range.

  2. Milgard offers a variety of styles and materials, ranging from value aluminum doors to premium fiberglass. In the mid-range price point, their vinyl patio doors are covered by a lifetime warranty.

  3. Andersen Architectural Entranceways: Like the other companies mentioned above, Andersen is a window and door manufacturer with a great reputation for quality and craftsmanship. In addition to patio and sliding doors, Andersen's architectural series of solid-wood entry doors allows for a high degree of customization, including transoms and sidelights.

Want that warranty to last? Get windows and doors installed by a pro

When comparing different manufacturers, be sure to read the fine print and understand how their installation guidelines relate to the warranty. Sometimes, if there is a problem down the road, and a door or window was not installed properly, then the warranty becomes void.

Make sure that the contractor you hire has worked with the kind of door you are installing and is aware of any special installation requirements. Windows and doors prices can include installation, during the actual purchase. Whether you're working with a major manufacturer, big box retailer or local builder, it's best to pony up the dough to get it done right and make sure your investment lasts a long time.

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