So you’ve decided it’s time for a beautiful new door or window that shows off your personality, adds both cosmetic appeal and financial value to your home, and (hopefully) increases energy efficiency resulting in even more savings. You’ve found the perfect solution. The next step is actually getting them into place.
Many homeowners consider themselves Do-It-Yourself types, be it from a desire to save money, an independent personality, or a multitude of other reasons. For the homeowner with patience, an understanding of the task at hand, and perhaps a bit of experience, this is certainly a viable option. Then there are the rest of us. This group consists of homeowners who either don’t meet that description, or simply prefer to have the work done by a professional to ensure the job is done correctly and/or with less effort on our part. In some cases, a warranty won’t be valid unless installed by a professional.
So how do you go about choosing a window or door installer? The most important advice is to do a little homework before you commit to anything. You’ll want to get several detailed bids, preferably at least three. This should list the materials and products the installer will use, and specify what is (and is not) included in the price. Start and finish dates are an important thing to take note of at this time, as well.
It’s standard procedure to have an agreement regarding the payment terms, and this should be listed as well. Like with any other type of work being performed by a contractor, you should never be expected to pay full price up front – 20 to 30 percent up front is a common number, with the rest being made in payments as the work is completed for lengthy projects, or immediately upon completion of the job to your satisfaction for smaller jobs. This ensures the work will, in fact, be completed in a timely manner and with a quality that is up to par.
Be sure the contract covers the specifics of any warranties, including those for workmanship, in case a problem develops over time. If a window or door is improperly installed, this can cause the product to become damaged, and that’s where the workmanship warranty comes in.
Once you’ve narrowed the list down to a few contractors, you’ll want to ask for references. A reputable company can refer you to previous satisfied customers, and in addition you should utilize online resources such as review sites and social media outlets to get a good idea of how the contractor operates. Next, consider the length of time the contractor has been in business – longer doesn’t necessarily mean better, though, so it’s still worth considering a newer company with good references, and sometimes that may even save you money. Lastly, find out if your state requires home improvement contractors to be licensed, and check that your chosen contractor is in compliance before signing any type of contract. Many contractors are licensed even in states where it is not required by law.
Trust your instincts, and be wary of a contractor who tries to push you into signing anything before you are ready. If you are able to have a good rapport with your contractor, the work is likely to go more smoothly due to better communication.