Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Buying Windows

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In the market for new windows? Awesome! New windows increase the value of your home and make you feel more comfortable by keeping out drafts and noise. Plus, your home will instantly look refreshed. 

But not all windows are created equal and choosing which windows to purchase for your home can be overwhelming — selecting the right windows, and a reputable supplier and installer is not for the faint of heart. 

With our 16+ years of experience in Ottawa’s windows and doors industry, we’ve seen firsthand the mistakes homeowners make. Here are the most common mistakes during buying windows to avoid and how to make the whole process easier.

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  • Not researching the brand and manufacturer’s reputation

  • Over concentrating on the window profile, while ignoring the glass unit and its energy efficiency

  • Not considering long-term costs

  • Thinking”I have a new home, it doesn’t need new windows”

  • Falling in love with the seller’s personality 

  • Thinking there is such a thing as a standard window

  • Not considering the warranty

  • Thinking that windows are a simple product

  • Not checking for proper installation

  • Not considering the type of material used

  • 1. Not researching the brand and manufacturer’s reputation

    Imagine you’re buying a new car — you’re gonna go to dealerships, test drive a few models, ask your friends about their cars, and probably read Google reviews. 

    The same due diligence should be applied to buying your new windows. Since it’s a purchase you’re only gonna make once every 25 years or so, investing a bit of time can save you a lot of hassle and headache. Unfortunately, all too often we’ve seen homeowners trusting sellers right off the bat without talking to people or reading reviews first. 

    At Buildmart, you can check out our reviews on Homestar, Google, and Facebook, talk to our past clients, and see our reputation for yourself. Every company you consider should be able to provide the same.

    2. Over-concentrating on the window profile, while ignoring the glass unit and its energy efficiency

    Of course, choosing the window UPVC profile — what your window looks like and how it fits into the external design of your home — is an important decision. Whether you opt for low-profile, multi-chambered, or high-profile, our STAGE windows offer reinforced UPVC profiles for improved thermal regulation and structural integrity. 

    BUT, the profile is only 7% of the window, while the remaining 93% is all glass! It’s the glass unit that does the heavy lifting of insulating your home and creating the perfect comfortable temperature and quiet environment. Consider triple pane windows filled with argon and krypton gas which reduce the window’s heat conductivity and translate directly into saving on energy bills for you.

    3. Not considering long-term costs

    It’s tempting to choose the most cost-effective windows and call it a day. Unfortunately, in our experience, these windows don’t last and require a lot of post-installation maintenance. 

    Coupled with the mistake of not vetting your installers, homeowners end up chasing contractors to fix a problem from months ago. In the end, you are spending a lot more than if you chose a high-end product in the beginning.

    air leak between the window and window frame in lower-end window ( 10 mistakes in buying windows)
    Example: in this lower-end window, we see an air leak between the window (ie., thermal pane) and window frame, which is resulting in excessive frosting and conde.

    At Buildmart, we do it right, once and for all. Our windows last you decades with no post-installation maintenance needed. By choosing a quality product and installation team upfront, you are not only purchasing high-end windows, but you are also investing in a lifetime of peace of mind where you won’t have to think about your new windows again. It’s worth it!

    4. Thinking “I have a new home, it doesn’t need new windows” 

    Very big mistake. Time to learn about construction grade and replacement grade windows! 

    While your new build will technically have “new” windows compared to old homes with wooden frames, builders install the cheapest possible windows to cut down on their own costs. You may notice this with other things too — most new homes will have the most affordable countertops, white fridges, stoves, etc. 

    Even in “premium” homes with stainless steel machines and fancy finishes, you could still have the most basic windows. These are what we call construction-grade windows. 

    They often lead to problems with condensation, leaking, and drafts just a couple of years into homeownership, creating problems for new homeowners who were expecting a seamless turnkey solution. 

    Unfortunately, builders are often unhelpful in these instances, souring your entire experience with your new home, which instead should be a dream come true! 

    When you buy a new home, we recommend pairing this investment with upgrading your windows from construction grade to replacement grade so your home will actually last you decades with no issues. 

    Replacement grade windows are a higher-end product that offers superior energy efficiency with highly coveted ENERGY STAR and NAFS-11 certifications, which directly translate into reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the environment and lower energy bills for you.

    Replacement grade windows offer premium insulation, blocking unwanted heat and UV rays in the summer and maintaining a warm home in the winter, minimizing heat loss. Plus, triple-pane windows are the go-to solution on the market to block out loud noise from highways or busy intersections so you can enjoy your home in peace. 

    5. Falling in love with the seller’s personality 

    Any window seller, provided he has enough time, can convince you his product is the best. If the seller is responsive and communicates well, it’s just a part of the deal. And we don’t blame you! 

    It’s important to have proper sales representatives. 

    And a good salesperson can sell you anything. But the other part is the actual product they are selling. Don’t blindly trust the salespeople and the pretty words they say — it’s their job! — instead, use discernment and be sure to look into the company, the manufacturer, the reviews, and the reputation, and ask around for true opinions about the product. 

    Here at Buildmart, we always give our clients time to consider their options, ask questions, and we never pressure for a commitment until you are sure and have checked us out. 

    We pride ourselves on our values and ethics so even after the product is sold and the deal is done, we are here for you should you need any maintenance or have any follow-up questions. 

    6. Thinking there is such a thing as a standard window

    We get this very often from our clients. For some reason, most people think all windows are standard, and it’s easy to just buy a replacement window of the same size and kind. Actually, there are no standard windows! Every window is unique, having its width and height, as it’s tailored to perform a specific function in the house. 

    Of course, there are the most common types of windows like awning, casement, hung, curved, bay, and bow, but the size will still be unique to your home. 

    That’s why taking careful measurements is a very important step in our process. We then send the measurements to our manufacturer, who custom-makes every single window to be the perfect fit in your home. We don’t have a supply of windows on hand since each one has to be cut individually and created, just for you! 

    7. Not considering the warranty 

    Not all windows are created equal. Having a 20+ years warranty (or a lifetime warranty) on windows is usually a strong indication that this is a quality window. Don’t accept anything less. 

    Just as your installers need to have insurance, your windows need to have a warranty. If a warranty is not offered, your alarm bells should go off since this likely indicates a lower-quality product. For example, we offer a 20-year warranty on glass, a 15-year warranty on hardware, 15 years on paint, and a lifetime transferable and non-prorated warranty on frames & installation! That’s how much we stand behind our team and our work. 

    8. Thinking that windows are a simple product

    While it may seem really straightforward to get new windows, you will be surprised by how many choices you will have to make! 

    We think this is exciting because you can truly customize your new windows.

    Do you want bay windows? Bow windows? Awning windows? Hung windows? 

    And what colour do you want them to be? Black? White? Cashmere? Chestnut Brown? 

    With Antique Brass paint-to-order European hardware? Or Brushed Nickle? Standard White? 

    There are infinite combinations, to make your new windows truly a perfect fit for your home. 

    Take your time to understand what you need! And we are here to help guide you every step of the way or make recommendations. 

    9. Not checking for proper installation

    OK, so we’re good on the windows. But the windows aren’t the only thing to choose carefully, they still need to be installed on your home and it’s a job that can make or break your entire windows experience. If installed properly, your windows will last you a lifetime, and literally, decades without much maintenance needed. If installed poorly, you’ll have immediate issues with your new windows.

    Make sure you check the reputation of your installers and verify the quality with your windows company — this is hugely important to make good on your investment into new windows. Good windows and bad installation unfortunately mean bad windows. Protect your investment!

    10. Not considering the type of material used

    Besides the unique window size, the type of window you like, and its colour, it’s also key to consider the type of material used in your new windows for the longevity of both function and cosmetic look. Are your windows virgin vinyl (UPVC) or reground (also called recycled) vinyl?

    Virgin UPVC doesn’t fade over time and maintains its colour better, while vinyl containing reground PVC is cheaper but fades out quicker and can crack, warp, and become brittle over time. While both are sound modern solutions, virgin UPVC will maintain the bright white colour for decades while reground UPVC can irreversibly turn yellow or blue in the sun and alter the look of your home. 

    Our STAGE windows are manufactured from 100% lead-free durable virgin UPVC for the best quality on the market. With extra vinyl and heavy-duty reinforcements, the windows will maintain their structural integrity and, thanks to the virgin UPVC, their colour for decades to come. 

    Contact us to get a quote for window replacement in the Ottawa area!

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