Top five questions you should ask your replacement windows contractor

November 18, 2011

Imagine that you have three estimates in front of you. Each is from a different window contractor. The bottom line on the estimates is surprisingly close to the same amount. They each have a good amount of experience, the proper licenses and a great track record. How do you choose which one is the best?

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Want the best deal? Ask the right questions

Many homeowners make the mistake of skipping over vital questions in their search for the best window contractor. When it's time to make that important decision, get the answers to these five questions:

  1. Is your work factory-authorized or certified? InstallationMasters offers certification that can help ensure your contractor knows the ropes. But those who are factory-certified are trained to install a specific product, and that can make all the difference.
  2. What kind of warranties are included? In order to get the most out of your warranty, your windows must be installed properly. That's another reason to look for a contractor who can complete a factory-authorized installation.
  3. Will you take care of permits? In some areas, you might need a permit for installing new windows. Research what you might need, then ask if the permit cost is included, and if the contractor will take care of that or if you need to handle it yourself.
  4. Who do I call for any problems? The person who sold you the new windows might not be part of the company that actually installs them. If the work was contracted out, find out who you need to call in the event of an issue with the windows--the contractor, the salesperson, or someone else?
  5. Are you a certified lead renovator? If your old windows were installed before 1978 and work on them will disturb painted surfaces, the contractor must be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a lead renovator. Keep in mind that this could drive up the cost of your installation.

Choosing a contractor means taking your time and looking at all the variables. The best contractor can help ensure that you make your money's worth out of your investment.

What to expect from window installation cost

Window installation cost is usually included in the price of your windows. Contractors should remove the existing windows, install the new ones, clean up the work area, dispose of the old windows and clean the new windows to provide the finishing touch.

The cost of replacement windows depends upon the size of the window, the options you choose, and whether the window is installed in an existing window frame or if new construction windows are required.

Replacement windows typically cost between $300 and $700 per window, though the cost can rise to $1,000 or more per window, depending upon custom options or sizes. For new construction windows, expect to pay between 50 and 100 percent more.

Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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