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Time For an Improved View?

There are many reasons to replace windows, make sure to find the right installer

Published: March 12, 2019, 6:00am
5 Photos
A bay window can add a point of interest to any home.
A bay window can add a point of interest to any home. Photo Gallery

A home remodel. Improved energy efficiency. An errant tree branch during a winter storm crashes through a large picture window. There are many reasons windows get replaced and, in a booming home-building market, many companies that will do it.

But how to choose the right one?

“Start with a reputable company that has been around awhile, licensed, bonded, and insured,” Thea Cutsforth, sales manager at Henderson & Daughter, said. “With the market being as healthy as it is, a lot of new businesses are coming into the market. With this big of an investment, you want to start with someone who knows what they are doing, that they also use a manufacturer that is established and offer a warranty.”

Once the decision to replace the windows has been made, Cutsforth recommends spending as much time finding an installer as you would with any other purchase. Depending on how many windows you want to replace, the price could rival that of a brand new car.

“If you’re getting 10 or 15 windows, that can be up to $20,000,” Cutsforth said. “Some people will purchase the windows without even seeing them. So choose a manufacturer that has been around awhile, so you’re able to see the product.”

Unlike the car-buying experience, though, you can’t just walk off the lot if you aren’t happy with the service. In order to get a good idea how much a job might cost, estimators need to be at your home, measuring windows and getting style ideas.

“It’s a hard thing,” Cutsforth said “We’re in your home, it’s an in-home buying process. It’s a much a different process when you go to a store, it’s easy to leave the store. Understand, though, if you sign a contract in your home, you have three days to cancel because of that pressure factor. If any pressure is used, you have a right to cancel. It’s really too bad when a homeowner is put in that position.”

Cutsforth offered up a few scenarios that could put homeowners in an awkward situation.

“I would caution people against high pressure tactics, significant discounts,” Cutsforth said. “Like, a window package worth $50,000, but if you sign today, you get it for $30,000. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If they say, ‘We’re as good as this company, but for less money,’ that’s a warning. Just trust your gut.”

Home Remodel

With home prices steadily on the rise, many homeowners are choosing to remodel. Replacing windows during a whole home renovation makes sense, especially if exterior siding is being replaced. With the window cavity exposed, it’s the perfect time to inspect the original installation.

“Watch out for shortcuts in a home installation,” Cutsforth said. “Rot happens from the inside out. By the time you see it, it’s made a significant amount of damage. That’s the scary thing.”

For homeowners who are aging in place, new windows can make something as easy as opening a window even easier. Instead of struggling with lifting or pushing open a window, especially in a hard to reach place, a casement window allows older homeowners to open a window with just a few turns of a handle.

“An easy change is to make it a casement window so you crank out the window,” Cutsforth said. “The window can be made with one big piece, not separate pieces of glass. It’s also better for looking out to the front or back yard. That’s our hope, to make windows that make the home more enjoyable than they thought it could be.”

Curb Appeal

With so many homes in the Vancouver area being built in the 1950s, windows were built with available materials. A lot has changed in the last 60 years, though.

“In a 50’s or 60’s home, they want to get rid of the aluminum, but keep the look,” Cutsforth said. “More energy efficient, but dark exterior or interior that will speak to a mid-century modern look. There are homes that are built in the 90’s with a Craftsman style and we don’t want to put white windows back in there. We can switch it out with a window that fits the timeline of the home.

“Sometimes people don’t like the look of their windows,” Cutsforth added. “Curb appeal is very important, and windows are one thing that help with that.”

Window Failures

If a full-scale remodel isn’t on the horizon, changing out the windows can still be of benefit to the homeowner. Not only will the newer windows be made from better materials, but with higher energy efficiency ratings, they can also start to save you money.

“The majority of business is coming from homes built in the 50’s and 80’s,” Cutsforth said. “The windows are old, not energy efficient, they feel drafty. It could be they can’t be open, the glass has failed. For one customer, the original wood windows were getting condensation on the inside of the glass and there was literally ice on the inside because they weren’t energy efficient.”

No matter the reason for replacing all of your windows, or just a few, now is the time to decide what kind of look and usability you want from a window. Cutsforth believes an experienced eye can help you spot things you might not otherwise think about.

“Our salespeople, we call them design estimators,” Cutsforth said. “They walk through the home with you, measure the windows, and make suggestions. A lot of things go into designing the room. It can be something like you don’t want the window to open, this is your viewing window, and you don’t want anything to obstruct the view.”

Not only should the window look good, it should also stand up to the true four-season weather of our area.

“We trust and believe in Milgard Windows,” Cutsforth said. “They offer an Essence line. The exterior of the window is fiberglass, which is great for the Pacific Northwest. It’s not going to rot with all of the wind, rain, and sun. It’s a durable product and they offer it with a fir or primed pine interior. Some customers don’t want white windows, they want to paint it, and the fiberglass is paintable. Then you have the beauty of wood on the interior.”

Even after choosing the style of window, what it is made of, and how it will fit with your lifestyle, there is still more to think about.

“One thing a homeowner needs to be careful of is making sure the work is up to code,” Cutsforth said. “Work with a professional that knows the code, that tempered windows are required. Another thing to think about is the egress, which is part of the fire code. If there is a bedroom with a closet, there needs to be an egress, a way out of the room. Replacing a window that doesn’t offer the egress isn’t only against code, but a safety hazard as well.”

No longer just a slab of glass, the windows of today take safety, efficiency, and style into account. With more than 40 years of experience, Henderson & Daughter will give you the windows to help you enjoy your home that much more.

“Sometimes, a window is not just a window,” Cutsforth said. “With slight adjustments, you can get a bigger bang for your buck.”

Henderson & Daughter has been providing door and window installation in the Clark County area since 1977. For a free consultation, call (360) 284-4467 or visit hendersonanddaughter.com.

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