European Influences on North American Window Design

European Influences on North American Window Design

Are you considering an upgrade for your windows and doors? The time might be now, but first, we suggest you read our blog: 6 Questions To Ask Before Installing New Windows and Doors. If you’ve read through that post and feel like it is time, the next thing you have to consider is what kind of windows and doors you want to get. Over the past few years, we’ve noticed a lot of European Influence making it’s way into North American window design. We compiled a quick list of reasons for this influence:

European windows and doors are beautiful!

If you’ve already begun shopping around you, know that European window and door designs are unmatched by North American models. Since the European style is not widely known (or recognized) by North Americans, choosing to European Windows instantly adds character to any home.

European windows and doors are versatile!

When researching North American windows and doors versus European windows and doors, one of the first things you will notice is versatility. European designs are much more functional that North American designs - such as the tilt and turn window. The tilt and turn window can be opened two ways because the hardware inside the frame allows the window to be either opened from the top (tilt) or the side (turn).

European windows and doors are more safe and efficient!

European windows have long been praised for their superior safety and energy efficient features. Because European windows are designed to be opened in many different ways, they have multiple locking points and dual weather seals. These elements give them superior air and water tightness, as well as multiple locking points that act as added security. Furthermore, North American windows and doors are either ‘open’ or ‘closed.' Whereas European windows are designed to allow filtered air into a home through the sides, allowing warm air to escape out of the home through the top. So, what’s coming? Well, we anticipate a shift in the industry, with more and more home and business owners looking to European-inspired design and functionality when it’s time to replace their windows. If you’re a residential homeowner who wants to replace your windows and doors with European models, it can sometimes be a challenge. We can assure you that our professional windows installers will help you choose the perfect windows and doors for your home, as well as expertly install them while keeping disruptions to a minimum. If you have any questions for us, please feel free to leave a comment, send us an email, or call to speak with one of our installers. We are always happy to help! Also, if you are looking for an upgrade, we suggest heading over to the planning and design section of our website. Let us help you create your ideal new windows and doors.
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Time to Replace Your Windows

Is it Time to Replace Your Windows? Here Are the Telltale Signs

Replacing your windows and doors is probably not very high on your list of priorities, but maybe it should be. Waiting until you need to replace your windows and doors is not advisable. The longer you wait, the more damage you may be incurring; the higher your energy bills and the more money you’ll have to spend. If you aren’t certain about whether or not it is time to replace your windows and doors, here are some telltale signs, and reasons you should consider doing it sooner rather than later.

High energy bills

If you have older windows or doors then your home could be hemorrhaging heat in the winter, and cool air in the summer. Here in Ontario, energy doesn’t seem to be getting cheaper, nor will it anytime soon. So, why not protect what you’ve paid for? Older windows are generally single or double pane, but newer models have far greater insulating power. Plus, over time the window seal may deteriorate, allowing air to seep in and out. Low-Emissivity windows will keep the cold out, the warmth in, and your energy bills low.

Water damage

If you notice water damage on the walls, paint, or wood window frame then you are long overdue for a window replacement.

The door won’t close smoothly

Doors should fit tightly to the frame to create an airtight seal, but if your door suddenly becomes difficult to close then it could indicate a number of potential issues. Water damage can warp the wood, and damaged hinges may make it difficult to close. In either case, it could be time to consider replacing your door.

Draughty

If your windows or doors are letting in draughts then you’re likely paying for it, whether you have noticed a spike in your energy bills or not! Any gap in a window that is big enough to allow a draught could also be large enough to let in moisture which could cause expensive water damage.

You’re selling

It may seem counter-intuitive but the best time to replace your windows and doors might be right before selling your home. Curb appeal is more important than ever, and in a hot real estate market, investments in the aesthetic appeal can have a positive impact on selling prices. New windows and doors will also reduce your energy bills, which diligent prospective buyers are sure to check. These savings can then be added to your asking price, on top of the cost of the windows and doors.

They are ugly

You’ve bought your dream house and everything is perfect, except the windows and doors. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live in your home. Don’t settle for windows and doors that aren’t up to your standard. Replacing your windows and doors can transform the entire look and feel of your home, almost instantly.

Security and safety

Old windows and doors certainly have their charm. Enough even to make up for their inefficiency, but one area that you simply can’t compromise on is safety and security. Newer windows and doors are built to prevent break-ins. While the chances of a break-in are low (unless you are living in a dangerous neighbourhood), they do happen. It always pays to be prepared. The other factor that you should consider is fire safety. Many new windows and doors are designed with fire safety in mind. That means windows that are easier to escape from, and doors that meet the highest fire safety standards.
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Installing New Windows & Doors

Top 6 Questions To Answer Before Installing New Windows & Doors

When viewing your house’s structure and design alongside its landscaping, there is one factor that plays an important role in the exterior and interior design: the windows and doors. People say a home's’ windows and doors frame the overall appearance of their home. They can add an aesthetic to the house's structure; adding more lighting to rooms, making it appear larger and allowing for better air circulation.
As you begin thinking about replacing your windows and doors, ask yourself these questions:
  1. What do you like about your current windows and doors (appearance, trim, operation)?
  2. Are there any recurring issues (cold drafts, overheating, poor operation, water leaks, condensation, etc.)?
  3. Do your current windows function or work well? Is their location where you would like them to be? Do they permit enough natural sunlight and ventilation?
  4. Are there any fixed windows you want to replace with accessible windows that open?
  5. Do you want to improve the security of your windows and doors, or reduce outdoor noise due to traffic or other sources?
  6. Is energy efficiency a main goal for your replacement project? Do you want to benefit from existing energy efficiency incentive programs?
Make sure to discuss these questions with your contractor to provide a thorough assessment and scope of your project. We always examine both the outside and inside of the home or multi-family property; to look for any signs of water penetration and moisture. These types of intrusion problems are usually a strong indicator that your windows and doors need to be replaced to prevent further damage from occurring in your home. It’s always a good idea to improve the natural ventilation with new windows. Determine the location and type of operable window unit would work best for your home. You can increase ventilation by using more window units, preferably located on opposite or adjacent walls to encourage cross ventilation. If cross ventilation is not possible, a single window can ventilate a room effectively when opened at the lower part of the window and flow out at the top. There are numerous types of operable windows available. Ask your replacement window contractor about different styles of operators and how they impact appearance, ventilation, security and ease of use. If you want to limit outdoor noise, using laminated glass in windows and glass doors works well in blocking noise. Furthermore, when combined with appropriate hardware, they can also be highly resilient to many types of forced entry. We offer products with noise-blocking and higher security options that give more added protection. If you are considering taking advantage of a window replacement incentive program, learn about the program’s requirements before you commit to new work. With most incentive programs may need you to start with an energy audit to be qualified for rebates. An audit may also recognize additional energy efficiency procedures you may want to consider for your project. Use these questions as a checklist to better understand what kind of windows and doors you are looking for. At Thermo-Bilt, we can help you comprehend and access incentive programs, to better help you decide on which windows and doors can provide the most energy-savings, and help you decide which products will work best in your home.
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The Best Windows and Doors For Home Security

The Best Windows and Doors For Home Security

It’s the first thing we do upon entering our home, and the last action we take when we leave: lock our windows and doors. It’s become an unconscious action, close to second nature. We feel the most comfortable and at ease when we are secure at home. We’ve taken the time to compile a list of the different types of windows and doors that will keep you safe and protected.

The Best Windows To Keep You Safe:

Polycarbonate & Plexiglas Windows
Polycarbonate & Plexiglas windows are also known as acrylic plastic windows that are the same width as traditional glass, but are at least 10 times stronger and more durable than their counterpart. They are also 250 times more resistant to impact than acrylic windows. With their extra strength, Polycarbonate windows are generally more expensive, but add higher value to your home and additional security.
Reinforced Glass
There are different materials you can use to secure and reinforce your glass. One of the most popular is tempered glass, which is more durable than traditional glass and difficult to break. It is also one of the least expensive options for reinforced glass, although it is still expensive when compared to traditional glass panes.
Laminated Glass
Another option is laminated glass, also known as safety glass. It is a great choice for any home’s windows. What makes laminated glass different is, it consists of a vinyl layer that is placed in between two sheets of regular glass.This makes it difficult for a potential burglar to break through safety glass, it would require striking the same spot repeatedly, which would create a lot of noise – proving to be an excellent theft deterrent.
Mesh Glass & Bullet-Resistant Glass
Although a rarity to come across, some people value the extra security for their windows by installing wire mesh glass or bullet-resistant glass. This option is the most expensive for families, and would not provide extra security benefits over less expensive reinforced glass options.  
Window Bars
A historically traditional way of adding additional security to your home is to use window bars. Window iron bars can be customized in unique designs to fit your home’s style. They are a great way to make your home highly burglar-resistant; even if the window is smashed, the perpetrator will not be able to squeeze through the bars into your home. However, many people are resistant to installing iron bars because it gives the impression and feel of a prison.

The Best Doors To Keep You Safe:

Have you ever checked to see the material and make of your entry doors? Do a quick test. Simply, knock on your entry door and look for a hollow feel and sound. If they are hollow, you need to replace your doors immediately. Hollow doors are merely sheets of veneer over a cardboard core and give little security or protection. Tests have proven one good kick to the door at the right angle can penetrate the frame and lead to forced entry. When replacing your home’s doors, all exterior doors should be solid and made from the following materials:
Fiberglass
Using fiberglass offers the best value and performance. They are crafted to be energy-efficient, secure and easily attainable. These doors can be designed and customized in many ways, such as a smooth surface or in an embossed grain texture to make them look like real wood. Fiberglass offers resistance to wear, tear and dents; and can be painted and stained more easily. Although not as strong as solid wood or metal doors, they are moderately priced and require little maintenance.
Solid Wood
Always imitated, but never duplicated. Solid wood doors provide a more high-end look that other materials try to mimic. They are a little more costly than other options, but solid wood doors offer approved tests and rating for resisting larger wear and tear. Solid wood doors are also least likely to dent and scratches are easy to repair.
Metal or Steel
These are a very popular choice and account for about half the market. Metal or steel doors are relatively inexpensive; they are strong, heavy and very energy-efficient - especially for keeping heat or cooling loss at bay. Although more susceptible to dents and scratches, they offer higher security than fiberglass or solid wood. Take into consideration the type of windows and doors you want for your home. At Thermo-Bilt, we carry a collection of options suited for your family’s security needs. Be without worry, we can help get the best value and choice designed for your home. Contact one of our representatives to get a free quote today!
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Instant Curb Appeal Beautiful window in a room

How to Get Instant Curb Appeal with Your Windows and Doors

There’s something romantic about purchasing a new home with instant curb appeal. And when it comes to a new home it’s often love at first sight. So, if you are planning to sell your home and looking to attract buyers, you are likely looking for ways to boost your curb appeal. Windows and doors are central to building your home’s first impressions. From the street, windows are often the first things potential buyers will notice. Next, they will walk up to your home’s front door. By then your home has already made a substantial impression, good or bad, on potential buyers. To make sure that you have made a good impression boost your curb appeal by improving or replacing your windows and doors.

Start with Windows

Assess what kind of attention your windows need. If they are still functional and attractive, then you may only need to touch them up with paint to ensure they look their best. However, if you plan to sell your home in the next few years you might want to consider investing in new windows with a transferrable warranty. This will allow you to enjoy the benefits of more efficient, more attractive windows while you still live in your home, while adding value to a future sale.

Take Advantage of the Best Time to Renovate

If you plan on starting a large project – like installing a bay window, you will need to consider the time of year that will work best. Window installation is most easily performed in the milder months of spring and summer. For big projects this is the ideal time of year. However, if you’re installing smaller windows, you might consider a fall installation. Not only will window and door installers be more available, but any plants, trees or shrubs around your windows will be dormant, making the windows accessible without having to jeopardize your landscape. Remember to consider your landscaping when choosing your windows. For example, placing plant window boxes is an easy way to create a focal point around your window investment.

Your Home’s Focal Point

Speaking of focal points, don’t forget your front door. The right door can dramatically increase your home’s curb appeal. There are many different options for the material of your front door, including wood, steel or fiberglass. Long narrow windows flanking your door will also add to your home’s curb appeal by making your home look and feel bigger. You can achieve the same effect with an arch window above the door. Thermobilt doors offers a wide range of size, colour and style choices, perfect for your home’s unique architectural style. Replacing your front door isn’t your only option. If you already have a high quality door it is a good idea to freshen up its look. Add a touch of class to your home by installing a new door knocker or applying a new coat of paint. Experimenting with colours and hardware can make older homes seem like new again. Ultimately, your windows and front doors draw the eye. Paying a little attention to these features will allow you to attract buyers and add value to your home.
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Winterizing Your Windows

Prepare for a Cold Winter: Winterizing Your Windows & Doors

With winter approaching it’s important to prepare your home. Drafts or leaks can make the winter season in your home uncomfortable, and even cause susceptibility to illness. Proper preparation does more than keep you warm and snug, it can lead to significant energy savings. Here are some tips to help you stay warm this winter, without running up your heating bill.

Finding the Source of Leaks and Drafts

One or two drafts can cost you serious money! A leak or draft can decrease your home’s energy efficiency by anywhere from five to thirty percent. To find the source of leaks and drafts check where two different building materials meet, for example: corners or frames. If a visual inspection does not yield results another option is an incense test. Light a candle or a stick of incense and hold it in front of your window or door. If the smoke wavers, then you could have cold air sneaking in.

Caulking

Improve your window’s ability to seal out the cold by scraping away old caulking and applying new caulking. To do this, first clean the dirt from the window with soapy water and then wipe dry. Apply fresh caulk around the window frame and siding. For the best results, use exterior grade caulk, either one hundred percent silicone sealant or acrylic caulk that will last for years.

Weather Stripping

Once you are finished caulking outside, you can move inside and begin weather stripping to seal around the sash – which is the movable parts of the window that opens and closes. Although there are many options for weather stripping, one of the easiest are window insulation kits. These large sheets of adhesive plastic cover your window, insulating it, and when properly installed are virtually invisible. The one drawback is that you cannot open your windows until spring.

Check Your Door’s Alignment

Like your windows, you can improve your door’s insulating power by looking for drafts and leaks. Then solve those issues by caulking the exterior and working on your door’s frame. However, it is also important to check your door’s alignment; adjusting the hinges and strike plates if necessary.

Replace Inefficient Windows and Doors

Even though replacing your windows and doors is an investment, it’s an investment that proves its worth because it will increase your home’s energy efficiency. This increased efficiency will save you money.

Consider Thermo-Bilt windows. They are made of low-emissivity glass, which has a thin metallic coating that reflects heat back to its source. Thermo-Bilt windows also breaks down organic material, which allows in more light. Allowing more light in reduces the need for energy consumption. Thermo-Bilt doors are also built with energy efficiency in mind, no matter the material.

There are many ways to identify areas that are draining your home’s energy efficiency. However, it is important to recognize when the simple fixes are not enough. Consider Thermo-Bilt windows and doors if you are looking to invest in your home’s energy efficiency.

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a 4 panel window depicting each of the four seasons through each window pane.

3 Reasons Why Fall is The Best Time to Replace Your Home’s Windows

As you wind down after a busy and fun-filled Summer, it’s now the ideal time to start tackling some of the home improvement jobs in order to button up your home in time for colder weather.  If you’ve been thinking of replacement windows for your home; don’t wait until you feel the uncomfortable draft of cold air coming from a leaky window. This could also cause you to experience higher than normal costs from heating bills. You can always schedule a window replacement job anytime of the year. You certainly want to take advantage of the beautiful crisp-warm weather that Autumn has to offer. Especially, while you upgrade your home’s value and appearance with new windows! Here are some benefits why Fall is the best time to replace your home’s windows:

Homes shrink in colder weather such as, during the winter

Why is this important? Well, in colder weather the cracks in your home’s foundation become exposed and as a result could make the installation of your new windows tricky. Experienced professionals will still be able to successfully install new windows during winter however, it requires specialized skills and tools which may add to the overall cost of installation.  Which is why it is recommended to replace your windows during mild to cool temperatures, ideally in the Fall.

Replacing windows exposes your home to the elements

Yes, there may be a gaping hole in the wall where your window is supposed to be while the installation job is in progress.  Although professionals work very hard  to maintain your comfortability in your home by limiting the exposure to the outdoors, still the outside air will come through your home.  If you have small children in your home, it is ideal to replace your windows in the Fall. So that exposure to outside air will be less of an issue. In fact, the weather during Autumn may actually be refreshing in your home while your new windows are being replaced.

Winter is coming and it is much more difficult to change windows in the winter

We briefly covered this already but, it’s always helpful to be thorough.  Our professionals are able to replace your windows during the winter and this may require specialized technique and tools to ensure that when your home expands during hotter weather. In the Summer, you don’t experience any thermal cracks in the window. It can be a tedious and more a difficult job, which is why typically busy season for window installers are during the summer or fall.  You’ll certainly want to consider getting your windows replacement job done during more mild weather conditions to optimize the overall results. For more information or to obtain a free quote, contact Thermo-Bilt Windows & Doors.  We service Markham and the GTA area, located at 3790 Victoria Park Ave #203 in Toronto or 16 Esna Park Drive #106 in Markham. Our services include: Window Replacement Services Window Installation Services Door Installation Services Door Replacement Services Planning and Designing Rebates and Financing Support We’re happy to answer any questions and provide our best recommendation for your home’s window and door replacement needs, give us a call today.
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child looking out through a window over a window ledge

5 Things to Look For in Windows Replacement Companies

Seeking out window replacement companies can be as  challenging as purchasing a new vehicle.  It’s the type of decision-making you don’t have to face often.  For most people, they only have to consider window replacements a handful of times in their life meaning, they're probably not too experienced with the whole ordeal. Well, we’ve provided a helpful list of the 5 most important things to look for when inquiry with window replacement companies.  Here they are:

a. Energy Efficiency

Most people consider replacing their windows with new ones to improve both their homes aesthetics and to lower their energy consumption.  With rising energy costs, everyone loves seeing savings on their energy bills.  Replacing your windows is one very effective way to improve how your home retains heat and keeps the cold air out.  Just a friendly tip that insulated windows that make your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer

b. Self-Cleaning

When considering various window types, it’s important to inquire if the windows are self-cleaning.  Yes, there are windows that are self-cleaning! It’s a great option to avoid having to pay high costs for professional window cleaners or having to labour over doing it yourself. Coated windows practically clean themselves and provide better  insulation.

c. Safety & Security

When obtaining quotes for your new windows, most people are seeking a great deal however, another important feature to consider is the safety and security the new windows would provide for your home.  There are various window designs that are made up of different materials. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a window type that is both suitable for your everyday preferences and provides ultimate security for your home.  Thermo-bilt’s best recommendation is to look for F-10 (no forced entry) rated window locks. d. Free Quotes

You shouldn’t have to pay any money upfront to get the information you need to make the important decision to replace your windows.  A professional window replacement company should provide you with a free quote or estimate. e. One-day Installation

Furthermore, your home will be exposed to the outside elements while your windows are being installed. It’s important to find a company who can complete the installation in one-day.  It would not be ideal to have gaping holes overnight, where your windows are supposed to be.

Thermo-Bilt Windows & Doors can offer you all of these benefits.  For more information or to obtain a free quote, contact Thermo-Bilt.  We service Markham and the GTA area, located at 3790 Victoria Park Ave #203 in Toronto or 16 Esna Park Drive #106 in Markham.

Our services include: Window Replacement Services Window Installation Services Door Installation Services Door Replacement Services Planning and Designing Rebates and Financing Support

We’re happy to answer any questions and provide our best recommendation for your home’s window and door replacement needs, give us a call today.

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Choosing the Correct Time to Replace your Windows

When is the best time of year to replace your windows?

Replacing windows is a major investment which can provide big savings over time. With a life expectancy measured in decades rather than years, your choice in windows will affect you now and in the future. Window replacement is a serious commitment. Leaving anything to chance is simply not worth the risk. That is why so many people want to know: when is the best time of year to replace your home’s windows?

Factors to consider when you are replacing your windows

When replacing your windows there are many factors that you need to consider like style, colour, and materials. Before you call a contractor you should have some idea of what you want, and what your budget is. Once you have a rough sketch of what you want, the next question is: when?

Replace your windows right now!

Unfortunately, many people don’t have the luxury of choosing when to replace their windows. Instead they are forced by leaks, damage, drafts, and other issues to replace their windows immediately. If your current windows are allowing moisture, precipitation, drafts, or bugs into your home; the best time to replace your windows is always right away! Old, ill-fitting windows that allow the outdoors inside are costing you money every single day. Moisture can cause mold, warp wood, and even cause structural damage. On top of that, in the summer a window that doesn’t fit properly will allow in hot air, and let it out in the winter. This can add a serious chunk of change to your energy bill.

Choose the most convenient time

If you are replacing your windows for stylistic purposes, or as a preventative measure then you have a bit more leeway and can schedule your project depending on the weather and season – two important factors when choosing the best time of year to replace your home’s windows. Remember that window replacement is a disruptive process that will expose your home to the elements (to some degree). While expert window replacement specialists will do everything they can to make the process as minimally invasive and disruptive as possible, no matter who you hire there will be a point between the old windows removal and the new windows installation when your house is open to the world. If you have the luxury of choosing then the best time to replace your windows is when the weather is the driest and mildest. You want to avoid the peak of summer or the dead of winter since during these periods you’ll want to keep your house air conditioned or heated. You’ll want to avoid the rainy spring for obvious reasons. Comfort aside, the extreme cold and wet can also negatively affect the installation process as caulking won’t seal properly, and window parts may contract in the cold. Late summer is arguably the best time to replace your windows, especially around late August or early September. As many households are focussed on getting their kids back to school instead of home improvement. Early fall may also be a less busy time for your contractor. In addition to the mild, dry fall weather, in early to mid-September your kids will be out of the house, minimizing any disruption caused by the replacement process.   So, when is the best time to replace your windows? Whenever works best for you. But keep in mind that you ideally want mild, dry weather, and that the process will always be a bit of a disruption. However, the payoff of new windows will be decades of savings and enjoyment – well worth the investment.
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Learn why the History of your Windows is Important

How to Tell When Your Home’s Windows Were Made Knowing when your home’s windows were made is very important, but unless you were the homeowner at the time they were installed, or were given that information when you bought your home how can you know for certain? Even then, can you trust that the information that was passed onto you is completely accurate? Even if you don’t have a reason to believe that you were misinformed, there is no substitute for checking first hand and seeing for yourself – especially since it is so easy to tell when your home’s windows were made. How to date your windows: 1) Open your window. 2)  Inspect the inside of the frame. You should be regularly cleaning your windows but if not you may have to apply some elbow grease to clear away any dust. 3) The date should be etched into the inner metal frame of the window. 4) In addition to the date of manufacturing there should also be some additional information like the name of the manufacturer. Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to date your windows. All window manufacturers do things somewhat differently, and even then the same manufacturer may vary their dating process slightly between different models. What to do when you can’t find a date on your window If you can’t find the date on the inside of the window frame then you’re going to have to do a bit of detective work. If you manage to find the manufacturer’s name on the window then there is a good chance that if you keep searching you will eventually find the date as well. If not, then your next best bet is to visit the manufacturer’s website, find your window model, and look up the information online. This still may not give you the date. The next step will be to call the window manufacturer with as much information about your window as possible. Once you’ve been able to find your window model, keep track of everything you know. Know your window’s story For example, if you’ve been living in the house for five years then you know the windows are older than that. If the windows weren’t brand new when you moved in, then it may be safe to guess they were at least seven years old. Call the manufacturer with all this information and a description of your window and they will usually do their best to help you. If you choose to email the manufacturer, then consider attaching photos of your window. If they can’t provide you with the exact date then they should be able to tell you where to find it on the window. Were contractors hired to install the windows? If so, then call the contractor and ask them for any information that they have. They should be able to provide you with a date, or at the very least with some manufacturer and warranty information. The importance of knowing when your windows were made Knowing when your windows were made will help you answer the following questions:
  • Are they still under warranty? Most windows are under warranty for 10-30 years depending on the manufacturer, model, and materials. If you experience any damage or other issues then it is important to have the warranty information readily available in order to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
  • Do they need replaced? You shouldn’t wait until your windows are in obvious need of repair.
  • Can I afford to replace them? Knowing how old your windows are means that you can plan ahead for major repairs or replacements instead of being stuck short on cash with a potentially pricey project on your hands.
When you uncover the date of your windows or have new windows installed be sure to ask for as much information as possible, and keep track of any paperwork relating to the windows. If you sell your home, then remember to pass this information on to the new buyers – they’ll appreciate it!
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