Lancaster County Home Improvement Professionals
Magazine: Ask the Experts » Windows
|[ Click each Question for the Answer ]
I'm shopping for new windows for my home and have found that I can
have vinyl windows installed at the best price. They also have really
good product warranties. It seems like a good buy, but are there any alternatives
that I should consider?
Answer provided by: Philip Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
You're right in that vinyl windows can typically be bought at the lowest price (Although I am
amazed at how much some companies are charging for their vinyl windows these days!).
Many companies also do offer good warranties with them. However in the world of windows,
as is so often the case with most products, the lowest price is rarely the best value.
While most vinyl windows are great when they're new, our experience has taught us that
they are much more susceptible to some long–term problems that often begin to appear after
about 8–10 years (sometimes less). Those problems include: seal failure which leads to
fogging between the glass, expansion and contraction which can lead to both air infiltration
around the window and in the window itself, and expansion and contraction which prevents
the window from opening and closing properly. Another problem with vinyl windows that most
people don't realize until it's too late is their lack of strength. In order to build their windows
to be strong enough to support glass and properly operate, vinyl window manufacturers have
to make the frames of their windows exceptionally wide. What this means for you is a loss
of visible glass space. We've often heard from consumers who were disappointed with how
much smaller their new vinyl windows were compared to what they had.
The other thing we've learned, since you mentioned warranties, is that vinyl windows have
become more and more of a commodity. In the last 10 years we've seen an increasing number
of vinyl window companies come and go through buy-outs, mergers, bankruptcy, etc.
Many companies don't even manufacture their own windows but pay someone else to do it
for them and then put their label on them. Warranties are only as good as the company that
offers them and if you buy vinyl windows today, there is a significant chance that in 10 years
the company you bought them from won't be around to honor the "lifetime" warranty they
A great alternative to vinyl windows that we've found is a fiberglass unit. Fiberglass is exceptionally
strong. In fact, the "Integrity by Marvin" product that we prefer uses a fiberglass
called "Ultrex" that is 2X stronger than steel. This fiberglass is the same type of stuff used
to build things like boats and ladders. You'll never see a vinyl ladder. What this means for
you is that you're buying a window that has a narrow frame so you don't lose glass space,
and keeps its' shape so that it operates as well in year 20 as it did when it was new. It's also
much less susceptible to the air infiltration issues that plague vinyl units. Furthermore, because
fiberglass is virtually as stable as glass itself, the issue of fogging between the glass
is almost non–existent. We also prefer the "Integrity by Marvin" unit because its' warranty is
backed by the Marvin Company. Marvin is family owned and has been in business for over a
hundred years, so in the unlikely event that you do have a problem there is a solid company
standing behind the product.
Typically (but not always) you'll spend more to buy a fiberglass window. However, we've found
that the product is more than worth the extra cost, making it a great value. If your budget simply
doesn't allow for the extra cost, make sure that you buy the best vinyl window that you can
afford and if possible buy a product manufactured by a company that's been making their
own windows for many years.
Feel free to call us at 733.9142 if you'd like more information or come visit us at our Akron
showroom. We'd also be happy to visit you at your home or place of business. And, as always,
we offer free, no obligation quotes.
I just bought a beautiful older
home that will require some
upgrades, including replacement
windows. What can you
tell me that'll help make me a
more informed consumer?
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson, Chief
Executive Officer, Aspen Home Improvement, Inc.
First off, your timing is still
good–there are tax credits available
through 2013. A $200.00 tax credit is
available on replacement windows with
a U–value of 0.30 or less. Remember
the lower the U–value the more efficient
the window. With good quality windows
using dual pane glass you should look
for a U–value of around 0.25. For triple
pane windows, look for no more than
windows will range from $250
to $1500 per window. As you would
expect, the huge cost difference reflects
a huge quality difference.
Choosing a Company.
choosing a local company with a local
showroom who has their own installers–
no sub–contractors. Look for a
company with a track record – the more
years of experience the better–and a
company who can give you client referrals
Choosing the Right Window.
to its U–value, check into how it is
insulated. Check on the quality of the
materials and components, including
those you cannot see. Look at the outside
of the windows where the screens
are. The visual appearance of the
window vary enormously. We talk a lot
about the U–value of windows but don't
forget to take a look at the extrusion.
A good quality window is always foam
insulated giving an extra 10 percent
saving on overall performance. Lastly,
and very, very important, check on the
Dual Pane v. Triple Pane.
You will pay
approximately $120 per window more
for triple pane but in terms of energy
savings they are approximately 20 percent
higher than the dual pane savings.
Custom v. Stock Windows.
windows (in contrast to pre–made,
standard sized windows available
at home centers and lumber yards),
maximize the performance of your
windows. With custom windows, you
have many more options to choose
from. In addition, because they are
custom sized, they will be a tighter fit
to fill your window pockets.
Vinyl v. Other Window Material.
Other than occasional cleaning, vinyl
and composite windows are totally
maintenance free. In addition, they
are less conductive and much more
In my opinion, the most advanced
window that can be purchased today
is a solid extruded composite window
with triple pane glass giving you a Uvalue
For more information, feel free to
contact us at 717.569.3700 or email
us at aspenwindows.com. There is no
charge for an informational visit to our
showroom or your home, including a
In terms of replacement
windows, just how important
is the warranty?
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson, Chief
Executive Officer, Aspen Home Improvement, Inc.
Homeowners are becoming overwhelmed,
(or is it underwhelmed),
with home improvement companies'
bait and switch tactics when
it comes to the warranty. The bold
print seems to give while the fine
print takes it away. Understanding
the specifics of your warranty
is imperative to your decision to
improve or replace anything in your
home. Mainly the reason for surfacing
these concerns is that our
company is steadily replacing more
replacement windows than wooden
or metal. This is because the homeowners
were led to believe they
had a lifetime warranty. In the end,
these homeowners have another
new window, home improvement
company, manufacturer and yet another
How will you know if you have the
right warranty for you and for the
job? The warranty is a guarantee by
a seller to a buyer that if a product
requires repair or remedy of a problem
within a certain period after its problem at no cost to the buyer.
The warranty is part and parcel of
the contract of sale. What kinds of
warranties are out there? Which
one should I look for? What are the
differences? Does my warranty stay
with the house if I move?
Unlimited or Lifetime Warranty
— best warranty to have! Repair or
replacement is not constrained
by time or dollar amount. No constraints.
— specifies under
what conditions and to what extent
product is guaranteed to work as
claimed, and the time and monetary
limits for repair or replacement.
— under an extended
period of time will never cover total
cost of repair or replacement, only
a portion. The percentage of what is
covered diminishes over time.
— home improvements
sometimes make the warranty
transferrable which can be a great
resale point to the value of your
home. An extended warranty fee is always incurred by the new owner of the property, but the original terms
of the contract are not altered.
What it all comes down to is to be
certain that you read the entire warranty
and understand the liability
of the installing company and the
manufacturer and to know how to
hold these two entities accountable.
Be sure to have solid and updated
contact information for everyone
from your sales rep, the company
they work for, and the manufacturer
of what you are purchasing. Be sure
to have all documentation necessary
to hold all accountable to stand
behind their product and/or its installation.
Do your own research.
If you need any further information,
or have comments to share concerning
this information, feel free to contact
us at (717) 569-3700 or email
us at aspenwindows.com.
I would like to purchase custom
shutters for my home, but
I am confused about all the
different types available. Can
you help me?
Answer provided by: Terrie Forrest, Window Treatment Specialist, Grauer's Paint & Decorating
This is a very common question I hear
from my clients. Lets start with the types
of shutters that are available today. First
are real wood shutters made from solid
basswood. These shutters are the lightest
in weight, which will give you more
choices in panel sizes and the ability
to hinge more panels together for large
windows. Painted or stained they offer
the most genuine custom look available.
Next are composite shutters made from
recycled wood with a fine tech coating.
This finish will eliminate the possibility
of fading, warping, splitting or peeling — since they weigh more than a
traditional wood shutter you may have
fewer options when considering them
for larger windows.
And then there are vinyl shutters. The
best ones are made with an aluminum
"inner" frame structure and then
wrapped with an outdoor grade poly
satin material. These shutters are
great for beach homes or bathrooms
that have high moisture situations.
Colors are limited to whites and off
whites. Definitely the most durable
shutter on the market.
Which louver size will be best for my
By consulting with a professional
window treatment specialist they can
guide you to make this decision with
you, based on the architectural style of
your home along with the style of décor
inside your home will play a key role
of selecting a louver size. Generally a
client will choose a larger louver size if
they decorate in a very modern style.
Larger louvers will also offer the "best
view" through the window and provide
a cleaner, less busy look.
More traditional style homes will look
best with a 2 ½" – 3 ½" louver size.
The trend today leans more toward a
3 ½" louver. If you have a very colonial
style home or enjoy a more primitive
style décor we will suggest a 1¼ " – 2
½" louver size.
What are some of the choices based
Shutters by nature are the most versatile
window treatment on the market
today. They are inherently room darkening
while also giving you the ability
to adjust the louvers to allow different
amounts of light into the room. You
can also opt for adding a "divider rail"
traditionally placed at the lock level on
double hung windows. This will give
you the ability to open or close the louvers
above or below this rail to control
the desired privacy level you need.
Another choice is whether or not to
have a "front" tilt bar, which gives you
a true traditional looking shutter.
There is also a hidden tilt option,
which is attached behind the shutter
panel, giving you a more unobstructed
view and allowing for easier cleaning.
By enlisting the help of a certified
shutter professional, they can help you
choose the best styles, features, options
and colors to ensure that you will
achieve the look AND function you will
enjoy for years.
At Grauer's Paint & Decorating, we
have full–working displays to help you
make the best choices to suit your
windows. Call us at 394.0558 or visit
our Lancaster Paint & Decorating
Center, Mon. and Fri. 7–7, Tues. thru
Thurs. 7–5, and Sat. 8–3.
know there is a tax rebate available for qualifying windows,
but does the rebate also apply to a new entry door? Is there
such a thing as an attractive security entry door? What do I
need to look out for? Is a door a door?
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson, Chief
Executive Officer, Aspen Home Improvement, Inc.
you can get a tax credit of up to $1,500 on both entry doors
as well as patio doors. However, entry and patio doors will
only qualify if they meet the 30/30 rule. That is a U-factor
of 0.30 and a solar heat gain of 0.30. The style and the quality
of an entry door will often determine whether or not it will
make the grade. For example, many entry doors today with decorative
glass units will not qualify since the manufacturer cannot
incorporate Low-E glass into such a unit which is vital to
a product to qualify.
Many of your higher quality entry doors are not only the most
attractive and well insulated but come with greater security
features. Some of the features to look out for when shopping
for a security door is the gauge of the steel surface—the
heavier the gauge the better. Look for a security lock block
located inside the structure where the knob-set and deadbolt
are mounted on the door. Heavy-gauge steel reinforcement of the
door frame and a multipoint locking system go a long way in making
a door secure.
As for making sure your new door will qualify for the tax rebate,
just remember that a quality professional company will always
show documentation stating which products do and do not qualify
for the rebate.
For additional information on energy efficiency tax credits go
to www.energystar.gov or visit me at Aspen Home Improvements.
By phone I can be reached at 569-3700.
Energy Star windows qualify for the new federal tax credit,
then as long as they have an Energy Star sticker they qualify,
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson,
Chief Executive Officer,
I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has asked me this
question in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there has
been a huge misunderstanding and misinformation about this
issue, so let me try and set the record straight to help
you make an informed decision.
Unlike previously, NOT all Energy Star
labeled windows and doors qualify. In order to qualify for the
new and improved tax credit, replacement windows and doors must
have certified U–factors equivalent to or lower than 0.30
and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.30 as well.
This is important information for
homeowners because at this point nearly 70% of vinyl replacement
windows will NOT meet the tax credit criteria.
For too long the market place has been flooded with substandard windows. These
new tax credit requirements will force manufacturers to retool and manufacture
better quality, more energy-efficient products.
To meet these new criteria, some companies are adding an additional pane of glass
or using double Low-E glass which may cause weight and aesthetic issues. If this
is the route you are taking you really need to make sure you check out the warranty
because more weight from the triple glass can cause balance and other problems
and double Low-E gives a significant coloring on the glass.
Do your home work. The lower the U-factor the greater the dividends you will
receive on energy savings. These typically are products at the highest energy
efficiency level such as the Pennsylvania-made Starmark cellular composite frame
windows which are the #1 nationally-rated energy-efficient window in America
as per Energy Star performance ratings. Starmark offers a 40% guaranteed fuel
savings pledge and boasts a certified U-factor of 0.24 in double-pane glass and
a 0.15 in its triple-pane version.
For your own peace of mind and to be absolutely sure that your purchase will
qualify for the new tax credit—GET IT IN WRITING! Do not take anyone's
word for it. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) issues manufacturers
with the ratings of their windows—
ask to see the ratings.
For additional information on energy efficiency tax credits go to www.energystar.
gov or visit me at Aspen Home Improvements. By phone I can be reached at 569-3700
amazed to hear about the number of homeowners who are experiencing
window problems even though they just bought “Lifetime
Warranty” windows. What's even more amazing is that,
in many cases, it costs the homeowners to have them fixed.
If Lifetime is LIFETIME, why do they have to pay?
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson,
Chief Executive Officer, Aspen Home Improvement, Inc.
back when you were house shopping and everyone preached LOCATION,
LOCATION, LOCATION? Well, the motto for window shopping should
be WARRANTY, WARRANTY, WARRANTY. And as many homeowners have
experienced, warranties are not created equal. Of the many
things that need to be considered when reviewing warranties,
probably the most important is getting what's covered in
writing. If you don't see it in writing, it most likely is
NOT covered—despite what you hear from the salesman.
I always thought that a more truthful way for a window company to address the
warranty is to provide a “What's NOT Covered Warranty”. For discriminating
window shoppers, such disclosure would eliminate nearly 80% of the window companies
Lifetime warranties or Limited Lifetime warranties usually only cover certain
things. It's amazing how many shoppers rely on the salesperson's word rather
than the specific language of the warranty. For many homeowners, the truth only
comes out when it's too late. Unfortunately, too many honest and reliable window
companies get tarred with the same brush when “Joe Shmow Company” misguides
Lifetime warranties should always state what's covered. If it doesn't distinctly
say “Cracking or Warping” it's not covered. While it's nice to hear
a salesperson tell you that their windows won't crack or warp, if it's a true
statement, why not put it in the warranty?
Look also for labor in the warranty. Manufacturers are in no way responsible
for care and installation of the product. Today many service issues are not the
fault or failure of the window but are directly related to how the product was
installed. Good warranties today will also offer some sort of workmanship- related
coverage—in writing! Many contractors today will offer some kind of craftsmanship
coverage but do not commit to it in writing. The benefit is clearly for the contractor.
This gives the contractor the option to pick and choose which services he wants
to address and which ones he wants to stay away from, typically the more expensive
If a contractor truly has quality craftsmen and offers to his customers the very
best workmanship, why wouldn't he offer a Lifetime Warranty on his work? I hear
all sorts of reasons, “If anything is going to go wrong it's within the
first year”; hence a 1-year warranty on labor. Some even stretch it to
5 years. If it's truly quality workmanship, why not cover their work for life?
Look for a warranty you can easily read. It shouldn't take you forever to read
it and there should be no small print. At Aspen Home Improvement, our warranty
is a one-page document that can be read in a minute or less. It clearly covers
everything. Ask the representative of the company you are interviewing to let
you have a look at their warranty. Do not purchase the product if you can't read
it, understand it, and agree to it all. Take some time to go through this very
important step. If need be, ask for a copy of the warranty and take it with you
to read at your leisure. Don't be hassled or pushed into signing a contract if
you are not completely comfortable with it AND the warranty.
Should you have any window warranty questions, please do not hesitate to call
us. Because manufacturers are always looking for competent companies to carry
their windows, we have copies on file of most warranties. However, at Aspen Home
Improvement very few manufacturers warranties meet our standards and, thus, we
don't carry their products. If you call our office we will be happy to come out
and go over any company's warranty with you.
is the one thing that a homeowner can do to reduce energy costs and
increase value in their home?
Answer provided by: Tad Shepherd, Regional
Remodeling, Representative, Andersen Windows, Inc.
can replace their patio door. This is usually one area of the home
that has one of the highest traffic uses and can also be one of the
homes biggest energy losers depending on the type of door they have.
After years of use these doors
have a tendency to warp, stick, and deteriorate due to water damage
or everyday use. And let's not forget the daily excessive heat gain
or loss caused by early insulating glass panels. If your patio door
falls into this category, replacing it is a sure and simple way to
improve your home.
The latest designs deliver
both style and performance especially when it comes to energy efficiency.
Choosing the right one will not only save you money in heating and
cooling bills, but also enhance the architecture of your room, let
in natural light, and open the space to any exterior views. If your
current door happens to be unusual in size, that shouldn't be a problem
either since most manufacturers have custom capabilities now as well.
With such a wide range of options out there how does one
go about picking “the right one”? Start by choosing a manufacturer
with a brand name you can trust; one that offers time-tested, quality
products and lasting warranty. Since patio doors are used often and
subjected to inclement weather conditions, they experience a lot more
wear and tear compared to other doors in the house. Before buying,
make sure the manufacturer includes a good warranty and service network
in case it's ever needed.
What To Look For
• The type of glass used in a patio door can make an enormous difference
in your energy bill. For example: installing patio doors with low-e glass,
a transparent heat-reflective metal coating on glass, can reduce energy loss
by 30 to 50 percent. Low-e glass also blocks UV rays that can fade fabrics
and damage furniture.
• Invest in products made from quality materials like clad wood panels
and frames that provide strength and low-maintenance, and can resist the worst
Mother Nature can throw at it.
• For an added level of security, choose a hinged patio door that offers
a multiple-point lock system that locks the top, bottom and center of the door
in one motion. Look for manufacturers that feature hardware with adjustable
door hinges, easy locking mechanisms and a wide choice in hardware styles and
finishes including fashion options such as satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze,
bright brass and polished chrome.
• Ideal for seasonal operation, retractable insect screens installed
on the interior of hinged doors can, when not in use, neatly hide away into
a small canister on the side of the door.
Creating A Look
Next, decide on a design. Regardless of whether you are updating
your current doors or going with a completely different look, a patio
door should reflect the style of the house while addressing a few practical
concerns. It not only needs to be scaled to its surroundings, but should
also be constructed of materials that are in keeping with the overall
ambiance of the room.
Types of Doors
Gliding patio doors are a good
choice when a projecting door would interfere with interior or exterior
furnishings. Unlike the aluminum frames of yesteryear, today's gliding
patio doors are available in a wide variety of contemporary styles
in sleek thin frames, or for more traditional homes, space saving sliding
French-styled doors in a classic wood design. When shopping for this
type of door look for products with adjustable ball bearing rollers
which help gliding patio doors feel like they’re floating, not
Hinged or “French-style” patio
doors are derived from an original 18th century French design called
the casement door. Manufacturers have combined traditional craftsmanship
with modern energy efficient technology to come up with a timeless
classic, designed to fit into a wide range of architectural styles.
These doors have framed panels,
with at least one panel capable of swinging in or out like a conventional
door. When the door is designed to swing out of the room, this style
can save up to 28 square feet of interior space. As with all doors,
this design should be positioned within the natural flow of traffic
in and out of your home.
The Green Factor
With more and more homeowners concerned about energy, going green is
no longer for old hippies and tree huggers. That's why before you
buy, it's important to do a little homework regarding a company's
environmental commitment. Look for products that have a Green Seal
certification, proving that energy savings can be a beautiful thing.
If you’re in the market
for a new patio door then go to www.andersenwindows. com where Andersen
can help you choose a door that is right for your home. You can also
contact me at Tad.Shepherd@andersencorp.com.
temperatures are getting cooler and we’re thinking about getting
new windows. What features should we look for in a quality window?
Answer provided by: Tim Everett, Trade Sales
Representative, Pella Window & Door
a window isn't typically a one size- fits-all kind of process. No
single solution is always right for every home or every climate.
But you can count on Pella for the solution that's right for you.
Few things enhance your home more than windows and doors. At Pella,
we take care to use the right materials for each product to ensure
they deliver outstanding performance year after year.
Here are some key components
to consider when purchasing new or replacement windows.
Wood. Pella windows and patio doors offer the warmth and beauty
of wood interiors. They are available in pine and can be painted or
stained to match any decor. Mahogany, Douglas Fir or Alder interiors
are also available. The exterior of Pella wood windows are protected
by Pella's low-maintenance EnduraClad®, or EnduraClad® Plus,
aluminum cladding system that doesn't need painting. Optional wood
exterior is also available.
Fiberglass composite. Pella® Impervia
® products are incredibly energy efficient and low maintenance.
Made of a patented fiberglass composite called Duracast®, it's
the strongest, most durable material available in windows and patio
Premium vinyl. Pella
premium vinyl windows and patio doors offer a quality low-maintenance
product with the overall value and energy efficiency you expect from
State-of-the-art testing laboratory. For more than 80 years
Pella has set the standard for quality. In our state of- the-art product-testing
facilities, we continually test the components of Pella windows and
patio doors under the harshest conditions—the burning rays of
the sun, salt air, acid rain, excessive humidity, extreme hot and cold
temperatures, high wind and driving rain. Pella tests for air and water
infiltration and structural strength during the manufacturing process.
These stringent measures ensure our windows and patio doors will perform
the way we say they will. Pella products are also backed with one of
the best warranties in the business.
Energy performance. ENERGY
was created to help consumers easily identify products, homes, and
buildings that save energy and money, and help protect the environment.
As the government-backed, trusted symbol for energy efficiency, the
label identifies highly efficient products and designates superior
energy performance in homes and buildings. As ENERGY STAR® Partner
of the year for 2 years in a row, we provide the data used by ENERGY
STAR® to rate all of our windows and doors including the Solar
Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating and U-values. The SHGC rating will
tell you how effective the product is at blocking the heat caused by
the sun (the lower the number, the less heat it allows in). U-values
indicate how well the product keeps heat inside a home (the lower the
number, the better it insulates). Pella's products offer some of the
lowest U-values in the industry. Most Pella® products with Low-E
insulating glass meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all
50 of the United States. In fact, we have some products that have U-values
that significantly exceed U.S. ENERGY STAR® guidelines.
Glass options. Different
climates require different window technologies for best performance.
We offer options ranging from standard clear insulating glass to
energy-saving, Low-E insulating glass. Double- or triple-pane glass
options with between-the-glass blinds or fabric shades can further
increase energy savings and can even reduce outside noise — like
lawn mowers and traffic. Pella Designer Series windows and patio
doors with triple-pane glass are #1 for noise reduction and energy
efficiency when compared to top national brands with similar glazing.
do I choose a window and window company and feel comfortable that I
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson,
Chief Executive Officer, Aspen Home Improvement, Inc.
good place to start is by looking at the company. Being a local company
offers customers enormous advantages. If you need any type of after
sales service do you think it would be better handled by a company
that is within a short drive from your home or one that has several
hours drive? A local showroom with full-size products and knowledgeable
staff to help you is a great start. You will not only get a feel
for the company but you will see the type of work they do and the
type of people you will be working with. If it is a customer-oriented
company, the opening hours will be devised around the public as opposed
to 9-5 when most people are at work. (At Aspen Home Improvement we
are open 7 days a week.)
Secondly take a good look at the company warranty.
Reviewing the warranty up front before a buying decision is made is
a must. If you can not read the small print ask yourself “why
is it so small?” The answer may be because they don't want you
to read it. When you’re comparing different brands of replacement
windows, the details of the warranty will be the indicator of the window
quality and the company's willingness to stand behind their product.
If it doesn't appear in writing in the warranty, why doesn't it? If
it's covered by the warranty why isn't it in writing? Is it because
it's simply not covered? Don't take the salesman's word on it—ask
for it in writing. Aspen pays 100% of the costs of replacement parts
and 100% of the labor for any work required on our White Knight Elite
windows for the lifetime of the home—no matter how many times
the house is sold. And it's in writing that you can clearly read. Too
many companies justify their 1-year labor warranty by saying “If
anything is going to go wrong, it's in the first year.” Not true!
How many people do you know whose glass has fogged up or need a replacement
part? Problems can occur after year one—and they do.
Thirdly ask about the installers who will be doing
your work. Are they salaried staff of the company or subcontractors?
Did you know that if a subcontractor installs your windows and you
pay the company, the installer can put a lean against YOUR house if
he doesn't get paid by the company? It doesn't matter if you have paid
or not. This is a huge risk to take. Make sure they have proof of insurance.
If they damage your property or an accident happens to them while on
your property they MUST have insurance.
And last but not least—consider the product.
If you made your selection based on the above points, the rest should
be easy to figure out because the company couldn't offer an inferior
product and still stand by its labor and product warranty. If they
did, they would be losing money by running around fixing problems all
day—for free! Most windows today have an Energy Star rating and
most people think that's the only thing you should look for. Again,
not true! Make sure you check out the window's drainage system and
its welded insulated frames. The vinyl frame needs to be substantial.
In our showroom, we have some samples of what NOT to buy. You may be
able to poke a pencil through a fiberglass screen, but should it tear
simply by running your finger nails across it? Look for anodized aluminum
screens which are much stronger and don't rust.
In short, to ensure you are making a wise decision,
you must do your homework. Visit the showrooms and ask your questions.
Ask the representative(s) to explain things in a way that you understand
and make sure things are in writing. Sign your contract only when you
are comfortable with all aspects of the deal. If you are feeling pressured
to sign, don't.
I am considering new window
treatments and have looked at
a variety of options. One that
I keep coming back to is shutters.
While I really like their
looks, I don’t know much
about them. What can you tell
me to help me make my decision?
Answer provided by: Randy Hock, Owner, Budget Blinds of
Shutters are and will always be a mainstay
in popular window coverings. They
bring elegance and class to any room and any décor. Shutters are energy
efficient and also add value to your
home. So here are some popular questions
about shutters that can help you
decide if shutters are the right choice
for your home.
What are shutters made of? There are 3 types of shutters—wood, faux wood,
and plastic. The wood shutters are
usually made from American basswood
which is a very dry wood. The faux wood
is made from medium density fiberboard
(MDF) and then is coated with
a plastic wrap. The plastic is usually a hollow core plastic material.
What are some of the options that
come with shutters? Shutters do have
a wide range of options. Louver size
can range from 1 ¼” to 4 ½ ”, mounting
options with different trims, hidden
tilt bar, and stains and colors all give
a personal touch to the shutter. And
yes…they do come with remote control.
I have tilt-in windows—can I still have
shutters? Yes. There are a couple of
options that allow the tilt in window
feature to work. The easiest one is to
do an outside mount. This would mean
that the shutter would be mounted
with our trim and would not impede
the movement of the window tilting
in. The other option is to do a direct
mount. This would be a good option if
you want to keep your trim. We apply
the mounting hardware directly to your
sill and therefore enable the shutter
to open completely and allows the
window to tilt down. It is always recommended
that one of our professional
design consultants come to your home
to look at the installation to make sure
there are no other issues relating to
installation that need to be taken into
What kind of stains and paints are
available? There are many types of
stains that come from the manufacturer.
If you have wood floors or trim that you
would like to match, usually the stains
from the manufacturer can do the
trick. If you have a hard to match color
we can custom stain the shutter with a
swatch from your stain. Paints are the
same way. It is almost impossible not
to find something that matches with
If I want to keep the bottom portion
of my shutter closed and open the
top, what are my options? There are
two options for this particular situation.
One is called double hung. This means
that a panel is split into two panels
one top and one bottom. They are then
hung individually and act as an independent
panel. So if you want to keep
the bottom closed for privacy you can
open the top for light. The other option
is to have a divider rail in the middle of the panel. This allows the louvers on
the top of the panel to operate independently
of the louvers on the bottom.
This is the most common application
and the most cost effective. Double
hung also can have some light gap due
to the window being out of square.
Shutters are one of the most beautiful
window coverings on the market today.
They enhance every room and raise
the value of your home. One thing to
remember with shutters is that shutters
are always made square and windows
rarely are in square. So manage
your expectations if you have inside
mount shutters. Sometimes there may be light gaps along the side of the
panel that are different from the top to
bottom. That is normal for this type of
application. Outside mounted shutters
are easier to play with the square of
the window, therefore, eliminating any
light gap that isn't consistent. In the
central PA area inside mount shutters
are very popular with the fact that we
usually have good depth to our sills.