Consumer Reports Help With Replacement Windows Evaluation

December 26, 2009

When planning your window replacement project, it's a good idea to compare product reviews for windows you're considering, and to review product ratings. Consumer Reports is an organization that tests products and rates them. They've tested 19 types of replacement windows, and provide ratings for:

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  • durability
  • air and water leakage
  • convenience of use

Although specific ratings are accessible only to members of Consumer Reports, the organization does note certain trends in replacement window rating:

  • Wood and fiberglass windows received the highest ratings, but are the most expensive.
  • Vinyl windows are less expensive and convenient
  • Certain window manufacturers require trained installers: Consumer Reports doesn't directly test window installers as they cannot do so anonymously, but they do recommend going with a manufacturer-recommended installer. Some window products are only supplied to manufacturer approved installation companies.
  • More window dealers are offering factory authorized installation. This helps to ensure proper installation and preserves manufacturer's warranties on you replacement windows.

Here are some ways for rating potential installation companies.

Consumer reports: Individual consumer ratings for replacement windows

  • Ask potential suppliers and installers for references, and check them.
  • Ask for reviews and referrals from people who've recently replaced windows. Word-of-mouth referrals between friends and neighbors can be most effective; you can inspect the work from inside and outside of the house and get detailed information.
  • Read customer ratings: Some supplier and installation websites may have a customer ratings feature that allows customers to post reviews of products and services.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau: Check for complaints with the BBB, or contractor's licensing board to learn about complaints or problems with specific companies.

Shopping multiple replacement window brands, suppliers and installers can help you find the best deal according to your needs. Checking references and ratings is essential for getting the windows you want and have them installed properly.

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